Creation, Cows and Sacrifice | Jon White on the Motifs and Interpretation of Indo-European Mythology | The Cave of Apelles

Jon White has studied Indo-European mythology for more than thirty years, particularly focusing on cosmogony and creation myths. As an independent researcher and lecturer, he shares this knowledge on his YouTube-channel @Crecganford .
Mr. White visits Cave of Apelles to detail the major motifs or “mythologems” of the Indo-European mythological tradition and what they denote. Considering that the Indo-Europeans lived in the Pontic-Caspian steppes about 7000 years ago, how did their stories spread to ancient India, Persia, Rome or Norse Scandinavia – changing, yet still retaining their core?
Combining the study of myths with fields like linguistics, archeology and etymology Mr. White will unravel cross-cultural similarities in stories like The Cosmic Twins, Defeating the dragon, The cattle raiding myth and The wild hunt.
He will also share his ideas on how we best are to understand myths. Are they projections of the human psyche, the condensed ethos of a culture or symbolic manifestations of natural and cultural history?
More intriguing still: is the presence of myths and archetypal images particular to Homo sapiens or have they been transferred between human species?

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Chapter markers:
00:00 Intro
01:27 Who is Jon White?
04:21 Defining “myth”
11:57 The Indo-European creation myth and sacrifice of the cow
19:22 Who were the Indo-Europeans?
24:06 The academic study of myths
30:18 Cattle, three-headed monsters and Twins of creation
37:36 “Fame does not decay” – the magic of writing
41:00 Over 70 000 years of fighting the dragon
45:59 From cows to women – the problem of translation
50:27 The veracity of the poetic and prose Edda
56:27 The divine twins vs the creation twins
1:00:11 Defining “archetype”
1:04:31 What is NOT Indo-European?
1:06:25 Mythology and mindset
1:08:29 Inuit myths, and stars as protagonists
1:13:41 Ways of understanding myth
1:16:51 Polytheist vs monotheist worldviews?
1:21:25 Myths as projection of the human psyche?
1:31:39 Myths as condensed images
1:34:17 Pre-human myths?

This episode featured Jon F. White & Jan-Ove Tuv and was filmed and edited by Bork Nerdrum.
The centerpiece was a reproduction of “Sleeping Twins” by Odd Nerdrum.

Fergus Ryan
Matthias Proy

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  • Apelles was asked why he touched and retouched his pictures with so much care, to which he replied:
    "I paint for eternity"