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Wodan heilt Balders Pferd by Emil Doepler

A scene from one of the Merseburg Incantations: gods Wodan and Balder stand before the goddesses Sunna, Sinthgunt, Volla, and Friia (Emil Doepler, 1905)

Mythology can refer either to the collected myths of a group of people—their body of stories which they tell to explain nature, history, and customs—or to the study of such myths.

As a collection of such stories, mythology is an important feature of every culture. Various origins for myths have been proposed, ranging from personification of nature, personification of natural phenomena to truthful or hyperbolic accounts of historical events, to explanations of existing ritual. Although the term is complicated by its implicit condescension, mythologizing is not just an ancient or primitive practice, as shown by contemporary mythopoeia such as urban legends and the expansive fictional mythoi created by fantasy novels and manga. A culture's collective mythology helps convey belonging, shared and religious experience, behavioral models, and moral and practical lessons.

As the study of myth, mythology dates back to antiquity. Some (recent) approaches have rejected a conflict between the value of myth and rational thought, often viewing myths, rather than being merely inaccurate historical accounts, as expressions for understanding general psychological, cultural or societal truths.

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