Reference: Robert W. Brockway, Myth from the Ice Age to Mickey Mouse A collective definition of myth composed of many theories might be framed by the following paraphrase: Myths are stories, usually, about gods and other supernatural beings. They are often stories of origins, how the world and everything in it came to be in illo tempore. They are usually strongly structured and their meaning is only discerned by linguistic analysis. Sometimes they are public dreams which, like private dreams, emerge from the unconscious mind. Indeed, they often reveal the archetypes of the collective unconscious. They are symbolic and metaphorical. They orient people to the metaphysical dimension, explain the origins and nature of the cosmos, validate social issues, and, on the psychological plane, address themselves to the innermost depths of the psyche. Some of them are explanatory, being prescientific attempts to interpret the natural world. As such, they are usually functional and are the science of primitive peoples. Often, they are enacted in rituals. Religious myths are sacred histories, and distinguished from the profane. But, being semiotic expressions, they are a "disease of language." They are both individual and social in scope, but they are first and foremost stories.