As a child, I remember sleep being the inevitable outcome of stories, with vivid dreams being their delightful by-product. To me, sleep would eventually be reached by floating through a colourful and surreal realm of tales shaped by an unbound imagination. It is only now in my adulthood that I miss this oral tradition during sleepless nights, where I crave a familiar voice guiding me through the vast and unknown lands of stories, before gently lulling me into a deep sleep.
Therefore, in present times I find myself levitating towards mythology podcasts. These try to capture the dramatic effect of storytelling which we all loved when we were younger, and try to include myths from all over the world. When I listen to these podcasts I am not filled with nostalgia, because they do not narrate innocent, childhood tales. Rather, they take that forgotten art of storytelling that we all remember from our childhoods and combine them with new information and multicultural myths, which make them an all-together familiar, but novel experience.
Storytelling is a universal human tendency; across the world, this oral tradition transcends all boundaries of culture and nationality, making it one of the deepest possible threads that connect all humanity. Be it the cave paintings of the early man or cautionary European stories now known as fairy tales, human beings have always had the need to pass on knowledge.
And this tendency has created a collective cultural reservoir, where stories from the beginning of time to the present all survive through their connections to one another.
Maybe that is why being part of a storytelling session feels so special; it involves becoming the receptors of your culture’s fears, joys, anxieties and triumphs. Therefore, revisiting this tradition through mythology podcasts showcases a perfect blend of the modern with the ever-present.
In a world that is becoming increasingly smaller and yet more isolated, mythology podcasts keep the spirit of this oral tradition alive, while making it a more personal and individualized experience.
I remember a time in my childhood, where sleeping was always preceded by my grandmother’s stories. My sister and I would eagerly wait for her to be done with work after lunch and dinner, and then we would gather around her, buzzing with anticipation for her new tale. Her stories encompassed popular tales of mythology, folklore, and even history, always presenting all three worlds as a connected whole.
My grandmother instilled a love for stories in my soul, which is why I always crave a story before going to bed. Not only does this practice help me keep alive the memories of those whose stories have shaped my imagination since childhood, but it also allows my mind to decide the world it wishes to encounter in my dreams.
While dreamless sleep is the most restful, there is something to be said about the exhilarating quests of dreamscapes, which leave you breathless and energized upon waking.
With mythology podcasts, I can choose to immerse myself in the world, and eventually dreamscape of my choice. Given that they cover myths from all around the world, from Nosferatu to Narasimha, you all can actually choose a myth according to your mood. And let me tell you, even if you are simply craving some good sleep, the intonation, pauses and rhythm of these podcasts are guaranteed to lull you into a peaceful slumber.
Check out Mythology by Parcast Network to get access to a wide range of myths from diverse cultures.
Another interesting feature of mythology podcasts is their tendency to move away from polarizing impulses. Sure, in childhood we enjoyed simple stories with pronounced didacticism, but it is only when we grew up that we realized the grey areas these left untouched. These podcasts collect multiple versions of the same myth to give you a more balanced view and allow you to form your own opinions with regard to the myth.
Try listening to Mythunderstood by Dragon Wagon Radio to get multifaceted viewpoints on several popular myths.
For those of you looking to indulge in myths specific to a particular culture, Mythology and Fiction Explained by Marios Christou is a great podcast for those looking to know more about Greek and Christian myths. Myths from ancient Indian epics are explained in Myths And Morals, Thersa Matsuura’s Uncanny Japan delves into the folklore and superstitions of Japan, and Mythology Central will give you a glimpse of Roman myths and European folktales. Therefore, there is always a mythology podcast available for different moods and tastes.
Mythology podcasts also take enduring symbols or motifs of our times, and explore their emergence and connotations across cultures. For example, a mythology podcast by Parcast had an episode about Mermaids, and it traced this enduring image right from Assyrian times to Irish coastal myths. Thus, these podcasts become a great way to understand certain impulses of mankind that manifest in similar images across cultures.
When sleep feels elusive and your mind feels troubled and overburdened, the stories from these podcasts help you take your mind off immediate worries. Their modern take on timeless storytelling traditions brings back that anticipatory buzz before a good story and provides new and exciting ways to look at tales from the past.
Therefore, listening to a mythology podcast before sleeping will definitely remind you of simpler times and allow you to ease into dynamic dreamscapes, and finally into a restful sleep.
What are some in-depth mythology podcasts?
Some of the most in-depth mythology podcasts on Spotify are by the Parcast Network, as mentioned in the above article.
What are the best mythology podcasts on Spotify?
Podcasts by the Parcast Network are best for in-depth knowledge. Those of you looking for lighter, more fun content can look at Drunk Mythology, and Let’s Talk About Myths, Baby apart from the ones mentioned above.
What are some good podcasts for beginners looking to learn about mythology?
The above-mentioned resources are a pretty comprehensive place to begin for novices looking to dabble in mythology.
Written by Visakha Chowdhury
The author tries to walk the treacherous tightrope between 10.00 p.m. and 2.00 a.m. bedtimes, willfully falls to the dark side a bit too often, and miserably tries to claw their way back to an eye bag-less existence.
Find her on Linkedin.