Allen, Paula Gunn. Grandmothers of the Light: A Medicine Woman’s Sourcebook. Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 1991. ISBN 0807081035

Gunn retells twenty-one Native American goddess stories from across North America. Some are set in the time before time, some in the modern day. (LC)

Campbell, Joseph. The Masks of God: Creative Mythology. New York: Penguin Books, 1968, reprint: 1976.

________. The Masks of God: Occidental Mythology. New York: Penguin Books, 1964, reprint: 1981.

________. The Masks of God: Oriental Mythology. New York: Penguin Books, 1962, reprint: 1988.

________. The Masks of God: Primitive Mythology. New York: Penguin Books, 1959, reprint: 1969.

At the time that I read these in the early 70s, I found what he had to say about the importance of myth in contemporary life to be inspiring. Since that time, many criticisms have been made of Campbell's interpretations and syntheses and you may want to read some of those before reading this series or any other work by Campbell.

Nonetheless, Campbell is a master storyteller and his works are a joy to read. (SR)

________. Myths To Live By. New York: Penguin Books, 1972.

Myths to Live By contains essays based on lectures given by Campbell from 1960–1972. Campbell relates various mythologies to contemporary issues of that time. It is interesting to compare the opinions he had during the 60s with those he shared with Bill Moyers in The Power of Myth in the 80s. I would recommend that a reader start with some of Campbell's other books that describe various myth systems before tackling this one. (SR)

Campbell, Joseph and Bill Moyers. The Power of Myth. New York: Doubleday, 1988.

An excellent introduction to Campbell and his work. (SR)

Gray, Louis Herbert, and John A. MacCulloch. The Mythology of All Races, v. 3: Celtic, Slavic. Cambridge, MA: University Press, 1918. Kessinger Publishing’s Legacy Reprints series. ISBN 143263237X

Gray and MacCulloch were the editors for the whole thirteen-volume set of The Mythology of All Races. In this volume, MacCulloch himself does the honors for the Celts, offering a rundown of their gods and heroes. For the Slavs, Jan Machal provides one of the few surveys of Slavic mythology available in English at the time; Gray adds a chapter on Baltic myth. (LC)

Mails, Thomas E. Secret Native American Pathways: A Guide to Inner Peace. Tulsa, OK: Council Oak Books, 1988.

Mails outlines the belief systems and spiritual practices of four Native American tribes— the Hopi, the Cherokee, the Apache and the Sioux—and then outlines ways to tap into their traditions and adapt them to our lives today. Some very powerful stuff here. (LC)

Puhvel, Jaan. Comparative Mythology Baltimore, Maryland, US: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1989.

This book has lots of interesting information, but I don't think it is arranged as usefully as it could be. From the title, I was expecting the whole book be like the last few chapters: a discussion and comparison of common themes, deities, or ideas found throughout Indo-European myths, but instead got expositions of basic myths culture by culture, starting with Vedic India and moving throughout various European cultures. While there were comparisons with the other cultures’ myths, these were not well explained within the chapters nor well cross-referenced within the book. The final chapters in which he does discuss overarching themes were much better done and more useful to the lay reader.

One hint for using this book effectively is to chart out who’s who and on what page you find him/her/it/them as you read each chapter. Many of the mythological characters and concepts had similar-looking (but often unfamiliar) names and I felt lost without a scorecard to remind me who was who. Puhvel would cite a reference to similar entity or idea in another chapter by indicating that the information could be found in “chapter x.” Rather than having the reader skim through a whole chapter to find the reference, it would have been more helpful and less disruptive to have referred the reader to the specific page or pages the cross-referenced material could be found.

Also, Puhvel had the tendency to have lengthy parenthetical digressions of the linguistic origin and development of various names and terms. Although these would be very helpful to someone with a linguistic background, they really belonged in footnotes or end notes and not embedded into the main text.

In a nutshell, lots of interesting information that is relatively difficult to access by the lay reader. (SR)