I don't think I know a book of mythology that I wouldn't
reccommend. If the secrets of the universe Aren't hiding in them
somewhere, probably very thinly veiled, it's still great exercise
for the brain to go looking.
Stith Thompson's "Motif Indexes" make a really good starting point. It helps to remember nothing in myth or folklore is too good to be true.
Here are some that often help represent the Goddess as such a number of good, upstanding things that you kind of just know that all that talk about human sacrifice and all of that is rather exaggerated.
MacKenzie, Donald A. (Myths and Legends) China and Japan (Senate pub.)
MacKenzie, Donald A. (Myths and Legends) Pre-Columbian America (senate pub.)
Harris, Rendel. The Ascent of Olympus
"Watch me work": Neo-Grecian Shaman's View of Several Pieces of Classical Literature.
My own initiation began with the way Robert Graves presents "Echo and Narcissus and the tell-tale background information. in The Greek Myths". The pattern is applied to other works.
Taking the purpose of literature in the Grecian traditions to fufill the role that it does in Native American cultures for example, namely embodying, communicating and preserving shamanic knowledge, you could get an interpretaion of the Trojan War story as an allegory for the difficulty getting an oral medicine down a patient in an emergency where there might be seizures or lockjaw or the like to make it incredibly difficult.
An additional support that the gates of Troy mean "teeth" in this respect may be seen in reading "Spartans" as "Spartae" the "Sown Men", which are likely the Ophrys orchids which favor calciferous soils. Teeth are also calciferous, calcium ions are involved in the neurological processes in question, and the Ophrys orchids are sarcastically, or rather, Sagaciously (*sagittarius=satyr*; satyrium=orchid) highlighted regarding the fact that the mouths of the figurines are humourously not closed but rather gaping as wide as can be! The broadest grins imaginable, they also indicate the antidepressive properties through Signatures or Correspondences.
It is likely the Doctorine of Signatures not only indicated that this meant that these were useful for conditions such as lockjaw, just like thier cheerful appearance embodies their well known chemical activity for which they were alledgedly once employed as antidepressants.
(The Doctrine of Signatures might also provide that many members of the mint family should be used as more favorable substitutes in many situations, since they are easier by far to cultivateor obtain, and the also-tiny flowers are often reminscent of many important orchid forms.)
Going so far as to take Plutarch's "On Sparta" to be in this view (as well as the Satires, cognate of Satyrium, meaning Orchid: Juvenal's satire, translated "What to Do With a Fish" may refer to the many of these floral figurines which have fish tails on them, for example... not to mention the relevance of mermaid stories to these archetypes for another) still seems to yeild amazing consistency with the theory here since quotes in a section of the work are proportioned by gender very similar to the proportion with which the *humanoid* flowers of the genus Ophrys (also known as Bee Orchids) appear to be "Male" or "Female" figurines.
It is possible to follow the theme of calcium here also to see such consistency as to require the postulation that occult perception was put to use to gain the information (ie, it has been cited in Catoptromancy, the visual divination which might also display atoms or molecules if not clairvoyant microscopy; Mugwort, used to activate clarivoyant instruments, can aslo be plausibly suspected of acting on calcium in the body to cause divinatory abilites without instruments).
If such a style of interpretation is correct, vast treasure-troves of ancient wisdoms may be surviving intact in our storybooks, in readily recognizable form..
To treat the story of Echo and Narcissos here, Graves'version contains the informative footnote that a medicine is made from the flower Narciussus and used to treat deafness. Dwelling on this auditory theme, or theme about hearing, ie Echo, who can only repeat the ends of sentences, and ends up pining away in a cave until nothing is left of her but her voice, we observe that she speaks as the hard of hearing hear, hearing incomplete sentences and gradually fading; the cave can also represent a tube used to amplify one's hearing, and the corollary of the Narcissus flower suggests such a tube.
Narcissos, who is bends over a stream gazing at his own reflection embodies not sound but light; atropine as found in the Narcissus bulb is indeed used by optometrists to dialate the pupils of the eye. He becomes, humourously, since eventually he comes to be bending over a stream, the object of homosexual love!
The theme of bending over streams suggests also bears fishing, and Narcissos contains a root word for bear, "Arcos". Thus he is also a bear. The word Narcotic, parallel with Narcissos, might most literally translate, "a herb that puts bears to sleep", perhaps if this is so, a humane alternative to battling one.
This story may also serve to show the similarities and differences between sound and light, and yet also proceeds toward practical suggestions in abundance about dealing safely with wild animals.
Even so, it is still capable of such feats making suggestions about the telomeres (Bodies of nucleic acid polymers which shorten with age) in context, peices of biochemical information which begin with time to "only repeat the ends of (genetic) sentences"!
Some on-line Mythology Resources can be found on the Magickal Resources pages of this site, and others on Anders' Magick Pages.