Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Children's Mythology

The Mythology of Children

(All photography by Rick Doble)

This is the sixth blog that I have published on the day of my birthday. I started doing this in 2013. This year I am intrigued by our human need to create stories.

Why would hundreds of young children 
want to go to a graveyard?

In Beaufort North Carolina, young children bring toys to a grave they have heard about. It is the grave of a young girl who died at sea on her way back home to Beaufort. To preserve her body, her father put her in a keg of rum and then buried her in the rum keg around 1750.

To me, it is fascinating that young children, probably five years old to about nine years old -- judging by the toys they leave, have passed the story of this girl's death from child to child. I don't think that the children are hearing about this from adults. It is a children's mythological network, if you will. 

I took these first pictures in 2015. After storms and rain, this grave was completely cleaned off by people who oversaw the graveyard. 

This second set of pictures is from 2018. 
You will see an entirely new crop of gifts for this dead child. The grave has been wiped clean at least three times since my first photographs, probably more.

Judging from this behavior, it appears that we humans are instinctively myth making beings. We need stories and we need rituals to understand our own existence. 

There is a name for these types of stories that children make up for themselves and other children, stories that they don't tell adults or want adults to know about. It is their world and their mythology. 


Here are some other stories that children have made up. This is from an article in Miami Florida.
To homeless children sleeping on the street, neon is as comforting as a night-light. Angels love colored light too. After nightfall in downtown Miami, they nibble on the NationsBank building -- always drenched in a green, pink, or golden glow. "They eat light so they can fly," eight-year-old Andre tells the children sitting on the patio of the Salvation Army's emergency shelter. The small group listens intently to these tales told by homeless children in shelters.
Miami New Times
Author Ashley Cowie had this to say about ancient beliefs in hunter-gatherer societies today who believe in ‘animism' an ancient worldview in which everything is alive.
Imagine for a moment a reality ... where material and spiritual realms are simply different parts of ‘one thing.’ In that world, free of pre-scientific reasoning, our forebears projected concepts of soul, spirit, and sentience onto fern and fauna, light and shadows, thunder, wind, rain, and sunshine.It can be concluded that ... rituals are rooted in the profound belief that humans cannot live without making and ‘maintaining’ associations between the natural and supernatural elements of nature and our destiny.