Water appears quite frequently in the myths and stories that human beings have been telling each other since time immemorial. What would you say is the most powerful use of water in myth?
JC : The most obvious use of water in the myths of men is the story of the universal flood. Most people living in modern Western society are familiar with the flood story in the Book of Genesis the first book in the Judeo-Christian Bible. But this myth of a universal flood actually is told in other non-Biblical cultures. The ancient Babylonians, Assyrians and Sumerians all have stories of a universal flood. Now you might argue that this is the same story told in the Bible because these cultures all arose in the same geographic area. However, the ancient flood story also appears in Hindu and Greek mythology as well.
So the flood myth is a recounting of a event common to humanity at some point in the distant past or somehow taps into some unifying psychological aspect of humanity.
JC : That is correct. If in fact this mythical flood was an actual historical event just imagine all the water damage Utah this flood must have caused.
Indeed Water also plays a prominent role a symbolic force in various rituals. Can you speak a little on this subject.
JC : Certainly. Water is used in many religious contexts as a means of affecting a symbolic cleansing. The ritual of baptism should be familiar to all. What baptism is is a symbolic cleansing of the soul of the person being baptized. There is also the element of being born again through baptism. Anyone who has witnessed a birth knows that a great deal of water is involved. We also speak of a woman’s water being broken. So in this way water carries with it a double symbolic meaning vis a vis baptism.
It is interesting that the mythic depiction causes water damage Utah whereas the symbolic, ritualistic view depicts cleansing.
JC : Death and creation are two sides of the same coin.