The Golden Bough - James George Frazer So far, while it does a lot of mythological name-dropping, and the very thin veil of a theme seems accurate, I'm tempted to say that this book is a real mess. Goddesses with mixed up attributes, bald-faced assumptions about ancient societies, and rampant misspellings almost turn me off. And yet, I have stamina. I have fortitude. I shall endure another escaped slave trying to murder me so he can break off the branch of my sacred tree and so take my place.

Some random, albeit unfortunate, quotes:

"And they were forced to lay upon some erections."

"And she was given the gift of a cock."


Seriously enough, I've been very impressed by the work. Ok, so on my ebook reader, it only runs up to a little under 1500 pages, and there are at least a dozen accounts as proof of each point. I cannot, in good faith, find fault with much of his conclusions. I was astonished to realize how many assumptions I had held about Osiris were completely balderdash. At least I've been put to rights about the real reason he was worshiped. Hint: it wasn't because they never found his penis.

Overall, the main themes are drilled into our skulls so thoroughly that there's no way we could ever forget them, even if we tried. The best and the worst that I can say for this work is that it is very thorough. I can honestly say I've heard discussions of the many themes, as I'm sure most of us have; fertility deities, all manifestations thereof.

What I was most astonished to feel, after reading this work, was a great sadness. I look back at all of the thousands of cultures that have independently worshiped the same principles over time and see how they were systematically wiped out as "poppycock", and I wonder about the now-lost depth of understanding that is now lost to time and chronos... and I wonder if Uranus ever did find his penis.