Monday, March 18

The Dragon Pearl & Korean Mythology

***Shout out to our 15yo...who found this to be the most difficult of the Modern Mythology posts!***


There are three types of myths in Korean culture - the shin, cheonseol, and mindam.  Shin stories are about ghosts or spirits, and are usually supernatural tales.  Cheonseol is based on Confucianism, and shows humans who rise above their station in life to challenge the gods.  These stories are often handed down, like folklore, and usually involve something that was left behind, such as a flower or rock.  Mindam stories might have someone overcoming a difficult situation through luck or trickery.  These stories are about common people.  Unlike western myths, the spirits in Korean myths are not always evil.  Life and death are considered part of the same process, and life can co-exist with death.

Creation story
The world did not exist until Yul-ryeo, a god, and the goddess Mago both appeared.  Yul-ryeo died, but Mago gave birth to Gung-hee and So-hee, two goddesses.  Each of the girls gave birth to two Men of Heaven and two Women of Heaven...these were the Heavenly People

Then Yul-ryeo was revived, and the earth, oceans, souls, fire, water, and earth were created.  These became the plants and animals of the world.  The Heavenly People ruled from a fortress called Magoseong, in honor of the goddess Mago.
CharacterPronunciationMeaning
shin                                shin                   spirit, god, divine, supernatural
hwahwa                    words, to talk
cheoncheon                    transmit, hand down
seolseol                                  to say, to speak
minmin                    people, mankind, folk
damdam                    to talk, to converse

Read
  • The Dragon Pearl
    • Min comes from a long line of fox spirits, but you'd never know it by looking at her. To keep the family safe, Min's mother insists that none of them use any fox-magic, such as Charm or shape-shifting. They must appear human at all times.  Min feels hemmed in by the household rules and resents the endless chores, the cousins who crowd her, and the aunties who judge her. She would like nothing more than to escape Jinju, her neglected, dust-ridden, and impoverished planet. She's counting the days until she can follow her older brother, Jun, into the Space Forces and see more of the Thousand Worlds.  When word arrives that Jun is suspected of leaving his post to go in search of the Dragon Pearl, Min knows that something is wrong. Jun would never desert his battle cruiser, even for a mystical object rumored to have tremendous power. She decides to run away to find him and clear his name.  Min's quest will have her meeting gamblers, pirates, and vengeful ghosts. It will involve deception, lies, and sabotage. She will be forced to use more fox-magic than ever before, and to rely on all of her cleverness and bravery. The outcome may not be what she had hoped, but it has the potential to exceed her wildest dreams.
Make / Do
Watch / Listen
Define / Identify
  • Sang-je
  • Mireuk
  • Seokga
  • Haemosu
  • Dalnim
  • Jacheongbi
  • Yeomna
  • Paritegi
  • Samshin-halmang
  • Gameunjang-aegi
  • Jowangshin
Think
  • How does Korean mythology compare to Greek or Roman mythology?
  • Write a short (one or two paragraph) myth that falls into one of the three categories of Korean mythology.

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