A legend is a story coming down from the past;especially one popularly regarded as historical although not verifiable. Synonyms for legend include fable, myth, mythos, allegory, parable, fantasy, fiction, narrative, saga, story, and tale.–The Oxford English Dictionary

“When the truth of appearances has faded and is long forgotten, the truth of reality prevails as legend.”–Edna Lister

  While a legend is a story about supposedly mythical or supernatural beings or events, such stories often embody wisdom or a cautionary tale. Knowing and understanding the purpose and meaning of legends is essential to comprehending your eternal identity with God, the Source of All. Legends are parables and allegories of instruction, vehicles of useful and interesting information. They represent different phases of the human mind, its efforts and struggles to comprehend nature, God, the government of the Universe, the permitted existence of sorrow and evil; to teach us wisdom, and the folly of endeavoring to explain to ourselves that which we are not capable of understanding.–Albert Pike
  Legends grow from facts. You must search for the truth in legends, to unfold their hidden facts. A good man once said Truth is concealed in and symbolized by legend and myth. Legend, with Facts and Vision, forms the seventh lesser trinity of Via Christa Degrees, whose keynote is Relationship. Legends persist. When the truth of appearances has faded and is long forgotten, the truth of reality prevails as legend.

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert…Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
’My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

–Percy Bysshe Shelley

Edna Lister on Legend

Legends instruct and serve as vehicles of information. They represent the different phases of the mind, and humanity’s efforts and struggles to comprehend nature, God, the government of the universe, and the permitted existence of sorrow and evil. Legends teach us wisdom, and the folly of endeavoring to explain that which we are incapable of understanding.–Edna Lister, The 20th Degree, September 21, 1935

The ancient mysteries of Eleusis, for instance, dramatized some legend that illustrated the workings of the visible universe that revealed the Divinity.–Edna Lister, The 23rd Degree, October 19, 1935

The legend of the mysteries of how Osiris and Isis became gods forms the basis for all Western legends and mysteries.–Edna Lister, The 24th Degree, Saturday, November 2, 1935

The stories from ancient Greece, Egypt, and the Mediterranean, about the Hyperboreans, Atlantis, and so on, are all legends. People who need reassurance of God form legends to cover their emotional needs. Each legend contains truth and you must seek, unwrap and unfold the core of truth in each. Yet legends also may gather the moss of opinion, prejudice, bigotry, pride, and fear from the personalities of the people who tell them.
  When you unwrap what others have covered with moss, you unfold the soul or mental faculty that they have obliterated. Moss-covered people try to cover you in moss, too. Don’t live in the shade where it can grow, but stay in the Light where you’ll find the truth. Search for the truth in legends, to unfold their hidden facts.–Edna Lister, The 33 Degrees of Soul Conquering, November 3, 1959

Legends grow from facts. For example, in the prehistoric era, Isis and Osiris were king and queen of Egypt. The legend of Isis and Osiris serves as the basis and model for all other Western mysteries.–Edna Lister, The Legend of Isis and Osiris, April 14, 1964

A myth or legend is a story portraying truth, an explanation of phenomena, a legend. Myths are relative truths and are sometimes told as fact. We may comprehend myths on various levels: spiritual, as stories of the gods; intellectual, as history in time and location; emotional, as the subject matter of a story and our reaction to it.–Edna Lister, The Mysteries of Egypt, May 5, 1964

Truth has always had to be clothed in allegory, myth, legend and figures who serve to flesh out hidden meaning and truth. In all histories of the gods and heroes, the mysteries lay hidden, couched in astronomical details and in the history of visible nature. These, in turn, were only symbols of higher truths and of truth more profound.–Edna Lister, Ancient Myths and Mysteries, May 11, 1965

All the legends formed into myths and given as mysteries have been for one purpose: To teach initiates that the apparent rule of evil and darkness is but temporary, and that of Light and good are eternal.–Edna Lister, Osiris and Isis: The Model for All Later Mysteries, May 25, 1965

The worship of material things has caused good, old-fashioned faith to shrink until no more Shekinah glory fills the sanctuaries. We have no pillar of cloud by day, no fire by night to guide us, no more mysteries in our temples. In ancient Greece, with its mysteries from Egypt, handed down from Abraham, with its legends, its myths, all fueling the fires of faith in God, faith reached a burning peak of sacrificial splendor.
  The Crusaders went forth to sacrifice life itself for their faith. Knighthood grew from the legend of Jason and the Golden Fleece. Jason slew a dragon and carried the golden fleece to Thessaly, where it became the symbol of a goal, the goal gained by selfless sacrificial service through the growth of the soul. The golden fleece symbolized magical protection, rescue and miracles, and epitomized the soul in its search for the Holy Grail. The golden fleece symbolizes the golden silence. The Holy Grail represents oneness with God.–Edna Lister, The Golden Fleece, July 4, 1965

Legends and myths survive when barbarism buries philosophies. Truth fills the legends and myths.–Edna Lister, Invisible, Powerful You, December 12, 1965

The story of the burning bush is more than legend. It is a history as well. It assumes importance for us because they have told it not only in the Book of Exodus, but in the Gospels of Mark and Luke; Stephen repeated it in Acts of the Apostles.–Edna Lister, Seven Manifestations of God: The Burning Bush, November 2, 1969

Jesus epitomized history. If he had not affiliated himself with and represented history, his life would have been like a myth, he would have ended as a legend.–Edna Lister, When Is Healing Lawful? November 22, 1970

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Edna Miriam Lister
The original Pioneering Mystic,
Christian Platonist philosopher, American Idealist, Founder, Society of the Universal Living Christ, minister, teacher, author, wife, and mother.

Edna Lister

Etymology of legend: Old French legende, from Medieval Latin (lectio) legenda, ("lesson") "to be read," from Latin, legere, "to read."

Legend is a Via Christa Degree.


History has its truth, and so has legend. Legendary truth is of another nature than historical truth. Legendary truth is invention whose result is reality. Furthermore, history and legend have the same goal; to depict eternal man beneath momentary man.–Victor Hugo

I believe that legends and myths are largely made of "truth," and indeed present aspects of it that can only be received in this mode; and long ago certain truths and modes of this kind were discovered and must always reappear.–J.R.R. Tolkien

All religious expression is symbolism; since we can describe only what we see, and the true objects of religion are The Seen. The earliest instruments of education were symbols; and they and all other religious forms differed and still differ according to external circumstances and imagery, and according to differences of knowledge and mental cultivation. All language is symbolic, so far as it is applied to mental and spiritual phenomena and action. All words have, primarily, a material sense, however they may afterward get, for the ignorant, a spiritual non-sense.…The very word spirit means breath, from the Latin verb spiro, breathe.…To present a visible symbol to the eye of another is not necessarily to inform him of the meaning which that symbol has to you. Hence the philosopher soon super-added to the symbols explanations addressed to the ear…. Out of these explanations grew by degrees a variety of narrations, whose true object and meaning were gradually forgotten, or lost in contradictions and incongruities. And when these were abandoned, and Philosophy resorted to definitions and formulas, its language was but a more complicated symbolism, attempting in the dark to grapple with and picture ideas impossible to be expressed. For as with the visible symbol, so with the word: To utter it to you does not inform you of the exact meaning which it has to me; and thus religion and philosophy became to a great extent disputes as to the meaning of words. The most abstract expression for Deity, which language can supply, is but a sign or symbol for an object beyond our comprehension, and not more truthful and adequate than the images…or their names, except as being less sensuous and explicit. We avoid sensuousness only by resorting to simple negation. We come at last to define spirit by saying that it is not matter. Spirit is—spirit.–Albert Pike


Harper, Douglas. Online Etymology Dictionary, 2024.

The Holy Bible. King James Version (KJV).

Hugo, Victor. Ninety-Three. Frank Lee Benedict, trans. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1874, 159.

The Oxford English Dictionary: Compact Ed., 2 vols. E.S.C. Weiner, ed. Oxford University Press, 1971.

Pike, Albert. Morals and Dogma. Charleston: SC. 1871. pp. 62, 63.

Tolkien, J.R.R. The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien. New York: Houghton and Mifflin, 2000.