Tag Archives: legend

The Myth Behind the Days

The God Mars
The God Mars
Humans are incredibly imaginative creatures. When faced with concepts that cannot be explained with the current level of technology, we create elaborate stories to fill in the holes. Of course, as time passes and our level of understanding increases, we are able to replace these stories and they become the myths and legends of old. However, we never truly leave these legends alone, and if you look closely, you can see their memories reflected in modern day life.

Mythology can be seen in many aspects of our lives from the names of the months to the stories we tell our children. Even the days of our week, words that many of us use daily, are remnants of these past gods and their influence upon the world.

This will be posted on a Tuesday. A simple word that probably resonates more to you as the second day of the workweek than an old homage to the lost gods. The real story, however, relates Tuesday with the Roman god Mars. Mars, or Tiw in Old English, is the Roman god of war, and second in the pantheon only to Jupiter. Tuesday (Tiwesdæg) is a reminder that Mars was always watching with his spear raised, and that you only lived in peace because you won the war.

Next we look at Wednesday. Wednesday was named after Wōden, the Old English equivalent of the Norse god Odin. Wōden and Odin both of whom gain their origins from the Roman god Mercury, who is the messenger of the gods. His appearance was very close to that of Hermes to include the winged shoes and the herald’s staff. He is attributed as being a psychopomp, which is a being who guides the dead to the afterlife. There are even stories of Mercury bringing dreams to people as they slept.

Thursday is probably easily recognizable these days as remembering Thor, the Norse god of thunder. Thor is well known for his giant hammer, Mjolnir. This hammer had the ability to return to Thor’s hand when thrown. Even with all his power, he wore a belt that doubled his strength. He is known for his temper and was a dangerous warrior. Thor was a favorite god among the working class. Many wore necklaces of Thor’s Hammer and asked him for blessings of fertility.

Friday was named after Freya, the Norse goddess of sex, beauty, love, and fertility. She was awesome. She was beautiful, a leader, and she had a chariot pulled by cats! She owned an amazing necklace that was coveted greatly and a cool falcon feather cloak. Back in the day, Friday was considered a lucky day. It was a day to get married, have children, plant crops, etc. This was all due to the blessings the goddess would grant on her day.

Of all the days of the week, Saturday is the only one that maintains its Roman origin. Saturday is named after Saturn, the Roman god of agriculture and harvest. Saturn’s influence can be seen in Roman lore as a golden age, or time of abundance, among men.

Sunday, named for the Norse goddess Sunne (or Sunna) also known as Sól. Sunne rides across the sky in her chariot pulled by the horses Allsvinn and Arvak (meaning “Very Fast” and “Early Rising”.) Sunne is said to be pursued by a wolf named Skoll. (In fact, Eclipses are said to be the cause of the wolf getting close enough to take a bite out of the sun.) Sunne will continue until the Ragnarök, the “end of days’ for the gods. During Ragnarök, many of the gods, such as Odin, Thor, Tyr, Heimdall, etc, will be killed. Sunne herself is said to be finally caught and consumed by Skoll. Once this happens, Sunnes daughter will take her place and provide sun to a new world of peace and love.

And we’ll end with a beginning. Monday gets its name from the old English Mōnandæg, or Moon day. The Greek Goddess of the moon is Selene, or Luna to the Romans. She is depicted as a beautiful woman with long black hair. She rides across the sky in a silver chariot that is pulled by either a pair of horses, a team of oxen, or even dragons. She is well known for her love affairs, including one with Zeus, the king of gods. Selene is a favorite among poets and authors for the love of the moonlight.

So, what does this have to do with writing? Looking at the history and myth behind simple words we use to tell what day of the week it is does more than tell a nice story, it adds depth to our world. You can take one word and link it back to centuries of people and gain an understanding of how their minds worked. As you build your worlds, maybe you should take some time and look at how the past has influenced and defined the people and their beliefs. It can be the little things that not only provide a little bit of depth and dimension to your world, it can be a fun exercise to get your ready for writing in a new world.

Writing in Our World Instead of Another

A guest post by Michael A. Rothman.

For a fantasy writer, it’s very convenient to create your own world – because you follow the rules that you set. Much like the famous Twilight Zone saying, you control the horizontal and vertical.

However, what if you want to embark on a journey that isn’t quite set in the mundane world you’re familiar with, yet you might be exploring some of our world’s mysticism? Things like numerology, religion, and legends are all fodder for creative authors to take advantage of.

Why would someone choose to dive into what is essentially someone else’s world? Use its characters and storylines?


The answer is rather simple – people are already familiar with the beliefs of certain religions. That being said, if your story relates in some way to something familiar, you’ll have a premade audience that will instantly relate in some fashion to your work. Think about it. How many people are familiar with the parting of a particular sea, or the turning of water into wine?


These images are only the beginning, consider other concepts that have been leveraged such as fortunetelling or numerology. In the case of numerology, Dan Brown in the oft-cited bestseller, The Da Vinci Code, uses numeric sequences as clues. He poses many what-if’s that people could go ahead and investigate on their own.

In fact, I just recently finished a manuscript that leverages numerological concepts that follow both a religious and numerological theme. The earliest forms of the bible were written in Aramaic (same lettering system as Hebrew). From this, a numbering system that assigned numbers to letters and words was formed and is oftentimes referred to as gematria. Many studies associated with the bible and its hidden meanings use gematria as a form of numerology. An example of such a thing would be where I use an upcoming villain’s name as a code. His name is Bedsem. It’s a play on words in another language, but suffice it to say that I’ve used the gematria system to associate a numeric value to it. One that people might recognize with a simple illustration.


Yes, I’m guilty as charged. I’ve crossed several genres of religion and “sciences” to associated my villain’s name with what is oftentimes posed as the ultimate villain.

Consider that with numerology, you have the ability to pose many “what if” type of questions to the reader. Take certain “coincidences” in the world and make them go “hmm”.

A word of caution, though. Some people might take offense.

Let’s face it, as authors, we will inevitably write something that people will take offense with. I recall having a scene in one of my earlier books where I had two twelve-year-olds holding hands when one of them decides to give the other a kiss on the cheek.

Wholesome, right? Not a big deal, you’d think?

Well 99% of the responses came back on stating how refreshing and wholesome the book was and how nice it was to have something that was “safe” for the kids to read, yet was an epic fantasy. I only mention this because I got one or two comments that inevitably crucified me (ok, maybe poor choice of words considering context) because I was treating kids as sexual objects who shouldn’t look at each other that way. And to think most people don’t believe we live in a puritanical society. Hah!

When you begin to leverage certain things that people might consider a pseudo-science, you might not get too many critics – unless you’ve botched up your facts. However, once you dive into religion or certain cultural affectation or historical references, that’s when the people who take offense can most certainly come out.

For instance, Salman Rusdie wrote a book called The Satanic Verses. It won many prizes and was critically acclaimed by the literary establishment. All good things. Good until such time as some very conservative followers of a particular religion took great offense. Since the book does touch on one of the prophets from this religion, there were those in the conservative community that didn’t appreciate the way their prophet had been characterized. Given this belief that their religion was being assaulted, there were calls for the author to be killed.

Needless to say, this is the extreme of such possibilities – but when you leverage the topic of religion, it needs to be with both eyes open. Understand how others would appreciate your work or possibly misunderstand your intent.

I’ve spent years informally studying religion, numerology, and related topics – so I’ve been cautious about introducing these things. Nonetheless, these are tools in an author’s toolbox that are easy to deploy, and they can be a powerful draw to an audience that is a match for your subject matter.


Mike has had a long career as an engineer and has well over 200 issued patents under his name spanning all topics across the technology spectrum. He’s traveled extensively and has been stationed in many different locations across the world. In the last fifteen years or so, much of his writing has been relegated to technical books and technical magazine articles.

It was only a handful of years ago that his foray into epic fantasy started, but Mike is a pretty quick study. He’s completed a trilogy, has a prequel under consideration with editors, and is actively working on another series.

In the meantime, if you want to see his ramblings, he lurks in the following social media portals: Twitter – @MichaelARothman, Facebook, his blog, and his books.