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Mythology and Risk – Module 25





Previous any four modules in SPoR.




This module examines the nature of myth with respect to risk. Mythology is examined throughout history, civilizations and societies using the framework of four layers of myth: International, National, Local and Personal.


Myth is unique and should not be confused with fairy tales, legends, fable or being ‘true’ or ‘untrue’. It is a unique form of narrative and literary genre that has its own ‘being’. Myth is closely tied to ritual and the creation of meaning based on assumptions about purpose and explaining life. Myths establish their own ‘truth’ ie. they are not true according to evidence but are mythically true according to belief, faith and ritualised knowing.


Myth is best understood Poetically and Semiotically. One cannot apply rationalist notions of thinking to myth. This also includes the myth of objectivity and the myth of scientific method.


The four layers of myth correspond to the four layers of the culture cloud and examples/case studies are used to help participants understand how myth is constructed and maintained.


Myths of risk and safety are also examined and de-mythologised using a range of SPoR tools.


Required text


Ricoeur on Myth and Demythologizing


Purity and Danger


The Sacred and Profane


The Power of Myth,%20Commemorative%20Edition%20%282004%29.pdf




Videos Lectures


The video series is here:

Pw on regiustration.


Learning Outcomes


  • Increased sensitivity to myths/mythology
  • Increased awareness of dialectic-mystery-faith
  • Learn the connection between Poetics, Semiosis and Myth
  • Develop hermeneutics skills – symbols as myth, myth as symbol
  • Develop tools to help myth sensitivity/demythologising
  • To connect: ontology, semiosis, language and meaning
  • Sensitivity to the embodiment of myth
  • Understand the dialectic in belief/faith/myth/facts
  • Understand dialectic and seeking balance




  • Mythology and de-mythologising
  • What is myth?
  • First Nations Dreamtime myths
  • Egyptian myths
  • Greek and Roman myths
  • Mystery cults – Mithras
  • Indian Myths – Shiva, Ganesh
  • Universal myths/National myths/Local myths/Personal myths
  • Correspondence to cultural layers (culture is carried by myth)
  • God myths, ANZAC myths, Canberra myths, Safety myths
  • Obsessions, superstitions, ritual necessities, beliefs, interpretations
  • Myth (cultural) is not fairy tale (child fiction), legend (exaggeration of real person/act) or fable (moral story re animals) nor factual (evidential).
  • Blurred boundaries
  • Mythology in risk and safety
  • The construction and sustaining of myth through ritual
  • The shape of belief
  • What is a worldview?
  • Mythology tool
  • Ritual tool
  • Gesture tool
  • Symbol tool
  • Creating culture myths
  • The linguistics of myth
  • Correspondence between culture layers and myth layers
  • Understanding myth Poetically, Semiotically,
  • Culture of safety myths






You are expected to keep a journal (A4 if possible) of reflections particularly in relationship to reading the readings and making visits on a related semiotic walk.

Your journal is a thinking, documenting, reflecting book where you use the visual and spacial literacy tools provided in previous units (and experience from the unit on Semiotics) to interrogate space and place and how these relate to following-leading. The key questions for thinking are on the visual and spacial literacy tool.

Your journal can include: photos, floor diagrams, concept mapping, sketches, dot points, flyers, pictures, notes, Venn diagrams, images of semiotics, concept maps, doodles, notes on words, slogans and text or any form of input that helps show how you think and reflect on what you saw.

The purpose of the journal is for you to demonstrate your skill in interrogating place and place and how this defines philosophy.

All philosophy (methodology) is displayed in method, design and the physical world. Eg. Architecture as a philosophy is evident in design, art, music, theatre, literature and the Poetics of Space.

Your journal needs to be posted to Rob at 10 Jens Place Kambah ACT 2902 or







CLLR maintain a dropbox readings account where all readings relevant to studies can be accessed.


Reading List


Mary Douglas


Purity and Danger


Risk and Blame


Risk and Culture


Mircea Eliade


The Sacred and Profane


Myth of the Eternal Return (Cosmos and History)


Tales of the sacred and Supernatural


List of Books


Joseph Campbell


The Hero with a Thousand Faces,%20Commemorative%20Edition%20%282004%29.pdf


The Power of Myth,%20Commemorative%20Edition%20%282004%29.pdf


Paul Ricoeur


An Introduction to Ricouer’s Language and Hermeneutics


Fallible Man


Ricoeur on Myth and Demythologizing


The Symbolism of Evil




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