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Down the Rabbit Hole
Paul Kiritsis, PsyD Clinical Psychology, DPhil., MA (History)


Mythology and Folklore

Culture Wars II

Culture Wars II: In this installment/episode, clinical psychologist Dr. Paul Kiritsis interviews Eshwar Krishnaswamy (Ash) about immigrating to Melbourne, Australia, from Malaysia. Topics include upbringing, the experience of racism, cultural stereotypes, traditional gender roles, nationalism and ultranationalism, boundaries, cuisine, the far-reaching implications of mythological  ..

Culture Wars I

Culture Wars I: In this installment/episode, clinical psychologist Dr. Paul Kiritsis interviews C'ante Was'te Winyan (Charity Anne Ross) about the pros and cons of growing up in a bicultural home. Topics include upbringing, the experience of casual racism, cultural stereotypes, identification and dis-identification, psychological and religious worldviews, the far-reaching implicat ..

"The Authorship of the World" Speech

“The Authorship of the World” is a short lecture that was given at the Sofia University Commencement Ceremony on Saturday 22nd June, 2017, as a student response to the graduation theme, “Many Paths, One Humanity.” Click on the link below to hear the lecture: ..

Isis and the Sun God's Secret Name: Video

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Isis and the Seven Scorpions: Video

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The Reason for Narrative and Storytelling: Video

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"The School of Light and Colour" from Confessions of a Split Mind


The role of narrative in personal development

Desire for subsistence and inherent meaning is a driving force to be reckoned with, and its sheer value and aptitude in being able to relegate our perceived differences to the wastebasket of triviality is reflected in the cross-cultural immanence of oral and written myth in bygone civilizations and through Hollywood movies, television serials, genre fiction, and pop magazines in the co ..

The Role of Narrative in Psychotherapy and Healing

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” –Maya Angelou Creative narrative and storytelling stands at an evolutionary junction reflecting the gradual emergence of semantic language, culture, and the social brain. They predate science, property rights, medicine, the consumer societies birthed by the Industrial Revolution, the religi ..

Work in Progress: "Confessions of a Split Mind"

Below are pictures from my personal journal, a work which is swiftly evolving into my own version of Jung’s Red Book.  ..

The Ancient Egyptian Mother Goddess in the Context of Archetypal Mythology, Narrative, Healing, and Postmodern Spirituality

Save for reflecting the sociocultural milieus and encompassing blueprints for emotional stability, identity, and behaviour in all known cultures, mythical narrative probably emerged, in part, as a mechanism of neural integration and coordination between the dominant and nondominant hemispheres of the brain–in other words to facilitate homeostatic balance and psychosomatic health. In ..

The Icarian Children: A Modern Myth about Consciousness, Illness, and Belief

We all sat along the edge of the steep precipice, our small feet dangling in the air freely. Perusing the sprawling ocean that seemed to go on forever, I said, “Any ideas?” “How bout we crisscross blue moons and black pearls?” asked Ariel. “You’re such a crackpot,” said Gabriel with a condescending look. “We’re supposed to  ..

Consciousness, Illness, and Belief: Isis and the Sun God's Secret Name

The ubiquitous Re, mightiest of the Egyptian deities, was known throughout the kingdom of Upper and Lower Egypt by innumerable names. All were common knowledge except one which he shrewdly kept hidden from the conscious awareness of every living creature, divine or mortal, great or small. And the principal motivation for shrouding it? Well, knowledge of such enabled the beholder unin ..

Consciousness, Illness, and Belief: Isis and the Seven Scorpions

After gathering the dismembered parts of her brother-husband, the stoic Isis decided that it would be best to retire to some remote edge near the Nile Delta, a place from where she could gain some perspective on Seth’s inherent nature and calculate her subsequent move. But it wasn’t long before her newfound quietude was interrupted by ibis-headed Thoth, the god of writing, who ..

Precognitive Dreams and the Bigger Picture

Last year I conducted a comprehensive investigation into the frequency and nature of precognitive dreams, the results of which were published in the e-book, Dreamscaping without my Timekeeper: A Critical Investigation into Precognitive Dreams (2013). The experimental venture turned out to be a great success and validated past research where there was statistical support offered in fa ..

From Apples to Aphrodite: Fifth E-book now available

The e-book From Apples to Aphrodite (2013) covers most of my earlier work on Hellenistic history and culture and includes articles that were written for the “It’s all Greek to me” blog tour held at ( in mid-2011. The work is divided into five specific sections, all of which are orientated towards a different aspect of Hellenis ..

How I Conquered Fate: An Excerpt from the Autobiography of Queen Isis

It was quite dark for a hot and dry desert day. “Get off the camel,” he ordered. “Why?” I asked. “We’re not even half way there yet.” “Just get off the damned thing.” I swung my foot under the back of the crouched animal, jumped off, and then held my hands towards Seth for the little bundle of j ..

The Pivotal Role of Personal Mythology in Psychotherapy and Healing

Do you know what a myth is? Do you think you could dish up a substantial explanation of myth without using the word story, folktale, or fairy-tale? I’ve encountered so many monolithic interpretations of this word from people who supposedly understand its dynamics as to fill a room full of gold florins. Many will purport that myths are primeval, rudimentary, and pre-scientific  ..

The Greek World of Folklore: The Dress That Went Into a Wallnut

Dr. Paul Kiritsis relays the medieval folktale, "The Dress That Went Into a Wallnut": The World of Greek Folklore: The Dress that Went into a Wallnut ( ..

The World of Greek Folklore: The Ballad of the Dead Brother

Dr. Paul Kiritsis recites the demotic ballad "The Ballad of the Dead Brother" in both the Greek and English languages. Click below to watch: Recitation of "The Ballad of the Dead Brother" in English ( Recitation of "The Ballad of the Dead Brother" in Greek ( ..

The World of Greek Folklore: The Sad Nightingale

Dr. Paul Kiritsis retells the Greek folktale, The Sad Nightingale on YouTube. Click on the link below to watch the video: The Sad Nightingale ( ..

The World of Greek Folklore: The Bridge At Arta

Dr. Paul Kiritsis recites the demotic Greek ballad, "The Bridge at Arta" on YouTube in both the English and Greek languages. Click on the links below to watch them: The Bridge at Arta (English version) ( The Bridge at Arta (Greek version) ( ..

The Greek World of Folklore: Beauty and the Swan

Click on the link below to follow Dr. Paul Kiritsis as he retells the authetic Greek folktale, "Beauty and the Swan" on YouTube": Dr. Paul Kiritsis retells the authetic Greek folktale, "Beauty and the Swan" ( ..

The Greek World of Folklore: The Soothsayer

Click on the link below to see and listen to Dr. Paul Kiritsis's retelling of the folktale, The Soothsayer: Dr. Paul Kiritsis retells the folktale, "The Soothsayer" ( A soothsayer makes a magic potion ..

The Greek World of Folklore: The Water Nymph and the Veil

Click on the link below to watch Paul's retelling of the folktale The Water Nymph and the Veil: Dr. Paul Kiritsis retells the folktale "The Water Nymph and the Veil" ( The Attar Cup in Aagerup - the Moment of Departure, n.d. by Richard Doyle ..

The Greek World of Folklore

“Folktales are prose narratives of fictional content invented by individual people. They are more often than not communicated orally, have no religious or sacred content, and might concern themselves with magic, enchantment, monsters, and talking animals. No aspect of these stories carries or pretends to impersonate truth. Many cultures have established formulas with which they comm ..

The Promethean Myth in Light of Jungian Psychology

The name Prometheus has cultural associations to creation, theft, progress, evolution, intelligence, and fore-thinking. In fact, the etymological route of the name from the words pro (before) and manthano (learn) links the word in question to the latter and explains why the Latin Servius claimed that Prometheus was a man of great foresight. Like many of the other deities, it appears that  ..

Greek Creation Myths: Hesiod's Theogony

As we have thus far discerned, myths are humankind’s earliest attempts to explain the phenomena of the universe. Most primordial cultures did this by unconsciously projecting their inner psychic terrain onto the suprapersonal powers that mediated their immediate surrounds and formative environment. The vital need to ascertain a sense of order in an often chaotic outer realm led to t ..

A Genealogical Chart of Greek Mythology

Harold Newman & Jon O. Newman, A Genealogical Chart of Greek Mythology (Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press, 2007) As has been pointed out by a conscientious reviewer on, this book appeared on the front cover of the New York Times back in 2003 for the reason that it contains a comprehensive chart in the style of a family pedigree encompassing  ..

The Greek Gods and Goddesses: Dionysus

In classical mythology, Dionysus was the Greek god of wine and wine-making, merriment and drunkenness, as well as vegetation and fertility. His epithets “Acratophorus” and “Endendros”, two words meaning “giving unmixed wine” and “he of the tree”, connect the god to the aforementioned traits. The god was frequently depicted with an entourage  ..

Classical Hades: A Chapter in the History of Hell

A great many centuries before Jewish and Christian ideas surrounding heaven and hell appeared, the progressive and sometimes outrageous poets, playwrights, historians, and philosophers of classical and pre-Socratic Greece had already bequeathed to the Mediterranean world a pantheistic religion and a literary tradition surrounding majestic gods and goddesses whose behaviours imitated outri ..

Oral History, Myth, and Egyptian Folklore

Part 1: Oral History and Myth History in the written form has only been around for about five thousand years, since the evolution of Mesopotamian script known as cuneiform and Egyptian hieroglyphic picture writing. History as we know it has also been recorded only by those who can write, mostly educated men until late, each with their own biases and opini ..

The Therapist: Psychologizing the Myth of Orpheus and Eurydice

Jim Sweeting was quite fond of quoting the axiom, “Chemotherapy destroys ailing cells and psychotherapy ailing thought patterns”. The vast corpus of his professional opinion was hinged on those golden words. According to Jim, the use of anti-psychotics, barbiturates, narcotics, and other wonder drugs that most clinicians were vastly dependent on in treating their  ..

The Magic Room: Reinventing the Myth of Narcissus

The myths associated with Narcissus appear in an early eighth-century Homeric Hymn and in Ovid’s narrative poem “Metamorphoses”; the latter unravels as a story of a beautiful youth who falls in love with his own likeness reflected on the surface of a pond and perishes whilst trying to get up close and personal with it. Here, it has been contemporized and retold. The auth ..

The Greek Gods and Goddesses: Asclepius

Asclepius, the Greek god of healing and medicine, was a son of the god Apollo and Coronis, a Thessalian princess, and was highly revered in all of Greece proper. His name denotes the condition of cutting something open and he is best known for his wand called the Rod of Asclepius. The latter is comprised of a staff surmounted by an entwined serpent and occasionally a pair of wings, m ..

Pygmalion and Galatea: Reinventing a Timeless Myth

The myth of Pygmalion and Galatea appears in Ovid’s narrative poem “Metamorphoses” as a story of a sculptor who becomes enamoured of his own creation, an ivory statue of a woman. Here, it has been contemporized and retold by Dr. Paul Kiritsis.The skeleton of the myth has stayed faithful to the original though the author has taken the liberty that comes with all creative  ..

A Contemporary Retelling of Eros and Psyche

The story of Eros and Psyche is a second century mythologem told by the Latin writer Apuleius. It appears nowhere else in the classical literature. People usually attain worldwide fame for exhibiting exception skill in a sporting activity or being adroit in a particular avenue of intellectual inquiry, but in a time before this one mortal woman, the daughter of  ..

The Midas Touch: Gift or Curse?

When one is told that they possess the Midas touch, what is being inferred is that they are harbingers of good luck and serendipity, or proliferators of ‘gold’. Many people would have heard this figure of speech being used in conversation, though it is impossible to understand without knowledge of the beautiful myth which underpins the saying. The tale itself, retold  ..

An Analysis of Agnolo Bronzino's "Allegory" featuring Aphrodite and Eros

If you click on the link below, you can watch Dr. Paul Kiritsis analyze the Renaissance painting "Allegory" by Agnolo Bronzino featuring Aphrodite and Eros, or Venus and Cupid. ( ..

The Winged Eros: An Ancient Symbol of Divine Love

Scouring the last twenty or so years, I can think of no moment that was more empowering, satisfying and enchanting for the contemporary Greek and the Hellenic Diaspora than the Opening Ceremony of the 2004 Summer Olympic Games. One hundred and eight years had elapsed since the Modern Olympics were last held in Athens, a date which also signified their re-induction in ..

The Greek Gods and Goddesses: Zeus

Zeus, the principle deity of heavenly Olympus and of classical Greece, appears to be a primordial entity that has been worshipped in the Balkan Peninsula from at least the third millennium bce. His name derives from dyeu, a Proto-Indo-European word which means “to shine” and connects the god to the sky, thunder and the heavenly realm in general. Zeus was the king of the stars  ..

The Greek Gods and Goddesses: Hestia

Hestia was the Olympia goddess of the hearth, domesticity and family, the latter being an entirely sacred denomination for the Greeks. Together with Artemis and Athena, she formed an exclusive association of virgin goddesses worshipped as the triune aspect of the Great Mother Goddess. According to some Hellenistic sources it is alleged that when the Titan Cronus, otherwise known as Father ..

Christmas Goblins: The Greek Kallikantzaroi

Christmas has always been a season infused with the spirit of anticipation, as well as the mutual exchange of well wishes and presents. Then there are those oppressively opulent Christmas lunches and dinners in which the vast majority of partakers gorge themselves as if it were their last day on earth and spend the next three weeks nervously evading the bathroom scales and wondering  ..

The Greek Gods and Goddesses: Demeter

In classical mythology, the goddess Demeter is painted into the cosmological domain as a fundamental aspect of Mother Nature. She was extremely popular with the simpletons and the rustic population of the Hellenic lands, presiding over the fecundity of the earth, agriculture and the cycle of seasons. Her most common epithets were Thesmophoros and Sito, two Greek-route words which den ..

The Greek Gods and Goddesses: Hermes

In classical myth the god Hermes acts the messenger of the Olympians, the living, tangible connection between the heavens and the earth, as well as a psychopomp. His epithets Diaktoros and Psychopompos definitely allude to the two just mentioned qualities. As Zeus’s chief emissary, his physical movements were fluid, swift and elegant, effortlessly transitioning between realms bedeck ..

The Greek Gods and Goddesses: Hera

Hera is the Olympian goddess of women and feminine sovereignty, as well as the sanctity of marriage. Her epithets Akraia (She of the Heights), Basileia (Queen) and Teleia (goddess of marriage) definitely attest to such. Together with Zeus, Poseidon, Hestia and Pluton (Hades), she comprised one of the many children of Cronus, or Father Time, and Rhea, the Earth Mother. Her intimate relatio ..

The Greek Gods and Goddesses: Poseidon

Poseidon is one of the mightiest Olympian gods, second in prominence only to Zeus. Together with a host of other gods and goddesses that included the latter, Hades, Hestia and Hera, Poseidon is the spawn of the Titans Cronus, or Father Time and Rhea, the Earth Mother. An explicit reference in Homer’s Iliad expounds the notion that when Cronus divided the cosmos up amongst his childr ..

The Greek Gods and Goddesses: Athena

Athena, or Pallas Athena as she is sometimes called, is the preeminent Olympian patroness of civilised life, warfare and the metalworking of weaponry, agriculture, as well as moral virtues such as justice, balance, orderliness and wisdom (what the ancient Egyptians called maat). She was also an avid defender and corroborator of the reputed Greek heroes Perseus, Heracles, Jason and Od ..

The Greek Gods and Goddesses: Ares

Ares is the Olympian god of war, slaughter and bloodshed. He is the progeny of king and queen of all gods and mortals, the mighty Zeus and the jealous Hera, respectively. It appears that both abhorred him, predominantly because of the debased, inhumane and rudimentarily based characteristics and qualities of human nature he came to epitomize. The Greeks fostered an immense ambivalence tow ..

The Greek Gods and Goddesses: Artemis

Artemis is a pre-Greek deity assimilated into the classical Greek pantheon. In her Olympian guise, she yields a strong, independent, fierce, numinous and powerful presence; sovereign of the wilderness, the hunt, women, childbirth and defender of all youth. She was the first of two twins born to Zeus and Leto, a daughter of the Titans. Of course the other was Apollo. Together with the Hest ..

The Greek Gods and Goddesses Apollo

Apollo or Phoebus Apollo, as some like to call him, was the Olympian god of the arts, but especially light, music and poetry (Phoebus denotes the condition of “shining” or “brilliant”). He is the progeny of the mighty Zeus and Leto, a daughter of the Titans, and was allegedly born on the Aegean island of Delos. It appears that Apollo was revered throughout the whol ..

The Greek Gods and Goddesses: Aphrodite

Aphrodite is the Olympian goddess of love, sexuality and beauty. In the Iliad, Homer puts forth the hypothesis that she is the progeny of Zeus and Dione, though in Hesiod’s Theogony and most other poetic sources she is introduced as the daughter of Ouranos, the sky, and the sea. In fact, the etymological route of her name definitely attests to the latter. In Greek, Aphrod ..

Eve: The Fallen Goddess

Few people living in the developed countries of the world wouldn’t have heard of the creation account of Genesis central to the mythology of Semitic monotheism. As an exponent of the tribal Arian and Semitic psyche, the myth itself ascribes the creation of our universe to an entirely chauvinistic and compromised male Godhead named Yehovah-Elohim. In actual fact, everything that migh ..

On the Origin of the World

At times, one can marvel at the sheer scope of archaeological treasures that have come to light in the last few centuries–the discovery of the Valley of the Kings in Egypt, the excavation of ancient cities like Troy, Cnossos, Pompeii and Herculaneum, and the unearthing of important historical artefacts like the Tarim mummies, the Turin Shroud and the Dead Sea Scrolls. Once in  ..


Choosing to contemporise, reconstruct, retell or interpret any ancient myth, particularly fragments of universally recognised mythological discourses such as Homer’s The Iliad and Odyssey or Hesiod’s Theogony, can be for the most part an incredibly daunting and hair-raising experience. Yet for any writer who intuitively penetrates the dark veil of entertainment or explanatory  ..

Three Little Pigs

‘Little pigs, little pigs, let me in!’ the wolf cried, sitting cross-legged outside the straw house. ‘Oh shit, the Vishnu thing is back,’ the philosopher-priest pig told the science pig. ‘Or Jesus Christ I’ve heard it call itself.’ ‘It was Viracocha last week and Amun-Re last month,’ the poet pig said. ‘Little p ..

Becoming the Minotaur: An Exercise in Active Imagination

The night was preternaturally silent and void of its usual disturbances. We’d walked a fair distance from Cnossos and were yet to hear the fluttering wings of an owl swooping down towards an unsuspecting rodent, or the eerie cry of a jackal loitering around the desert in search of a decomposing carcass. There was no moon, so we had to make do with what little light came from the sta ..

The Labyrinth

The idea of a labyrinth being built beneath the Cnossian temple-palace to imprison the likes of a theriomorphic creature in the Minotaur would, to the rational majority at least, demonstrate outlandish absurdities that the musings of a hyperactive imagination can at times come up with when it has little else to do. Thus to gain a firm grasp or understanding of where the concept of the lab ..

Legends of the Labyrinth and the Minotaur

In ancient times, one could gain entrance into the temple-palace of Cnossos by following the paved Royal Road that runs perpendicular to the east bastion. For a foreigner entering the open air theatre for the first time, the sheer size of the structure and its advanced technological feats would have been awe-inspiriting and constituted something of an ethereal experience. Given this, it&r ..

To Propitiate the Earth: An Exercise in Active Imagination (Part Two)

Cnossos, 1645bce Potinija watched the priestesses closely as they busied themselves about the sacrosanct, innermost sanctuary of the Juktas temple. The laborious procedures associated with the ritual had to be enacted with great love, passion and attention to detail; otherwise the invocation would not work. No doubt, the Wise One Eilythia was to be commended for her brill ..

To Propitiate the Earth: An Exercise in Active Imagination (Part One)

Cnossos, 1645bce Potinija wove her way in and out of the water, propelling herself forward with the powerful muscles in her tail. There was no way any human being could ever swim like this; their bodies just didn’t allow for it. The feeling of inhabiting a foreign body was still somewhat eerie, though it was one she’d grown used to with tim ..

Plato's Atlantis: Fact or Fiction (Part Two)

he fabled continent made its one and only appearance in Plato’s The Dialogue of Timaeus and Critias, a treatise in which the pre-eminent father of Western thought performed a critical dissection on politics, the perfect state, and governing bodies in general. In all likelihood, the trials and tribulations of Socrates left such a lasting impression on Plato’s psyche that it mot ..

Plato's Atlantis: Fact or Fiction? (Part One)

Santorini was once a quiescent island composed chiefly of limestone and schists. It became the Aegean’s protagonist of periodic cataclysm only after the present Hellenic Volcanic Arc came into existence some three million years ago, a time when eruptions began at a depth of one thousand meters on the adjacent Aegean seafloor. Since then, the volcano has reconstituted and dismembered ..

An Old Greek Folk Tale About "Fate"

Once upon a “fate” there lived a very wealthy, insolent and selfish man named Andros (Man) who, like most suffering from the dangerous affliction of material wealth, was always disgruntled and never at peace. He was rich in all things: large fields to grow fruit and vegetables; animals like cows, sheep, donkeys and goats to fill them; properties with single and multi-storey ho ..

An Original Vampire Story from Crete, Retold by Paul Kiritsis

The village of Kallikrati in the region of Sphakia in Crete has a long history associated with revenants and the supernatural. Wild and untamed, the people possess psyches that resemble the trunks of Californian sequoia trees. Their gnarled branches tower into the heavens and seek communion with the divine, their roots on the other hand are submerged in the soil of the Underworld, in the  ..

The Greek Vampire

The belief in paranormal denizens called vampires (vrykolakas or katakhanas in Greek) who subsist in the sphere of the living by feeding on a pranic, sustaining life force, usually in the form of blood, may in fact predate the advent of civilization itself. Contrary to popular twenty-first century thought, folkloristic conceptions of vampires weren’t introduced into the region of Gr ..

The Greek "Nymph"

As we’ve discussed in the opening blog of the “It’s all Greek to me” series, the ancient Greeks saw their gods and goddesses as archetypal powers that existed in the world of “being” and manifested through its conscious extensions (and sometimes independently of them). The personification of natural forces on the part of these archetypal powers—fo ..