See, here is the problem with being the Monday Word Whore, you have to directly follow up Jeffe's brilliant posts.
That being said, I love this topic because I love to play around with mythology. I have been a mythology fan since I was a wee child and found Bulfinch's Mythology in a set of book and encyclopedia we had at home. I read that book cover to cover, my little mind sparking and firing. Ancient gods were like superheroes to me. I mean there was an automatic connection for me with Thor being a Marvel Comics superhero AND a Norse God of Thunder.
I dug on the Greek and Roman mythology. It was cool. Hercules did some stuff that tripped my trigger, and Perseus had a great adventure. I really like the godlings (half god/half human offspring, usually sired by that horndog Zeus who couldn't keep it in his pants. I mean a LOT of ancient Greek chicks fell for that "Let me show you my thunderbolt" line)
But then I turned the page and found the Norse.
Thor, Loki, Odin, Freya, Sif, Baldur, Vikings, Ragnarok, Valhalla, Valkyries, berserkers, and all the other things that went with it, now THAT was the stuff. I loved it. Still do. These are things that are rooted deep in my writer DNA. You will see them pop up over and over again. I have two stories in my head, one where the ancient gods fled earth and are now back to cause mayhem and another with Thor told as a sword and sorcery all Robert E. Howard style.
I also love Biblical "mythology" and play with it a LOT in the Deacon series. I twisted the story of the Crucifixion and the legend of Longinus, the Centurion who pierced Christ's side, to give my vampires a new origin. (read book one BLOOD AND BULLETS) I did no disservice to the history, just spun a terrific little "what if" that became one of the coolest things I have written (IMHO).
My newest WIP is based in a newer mythology though. It's taking it's start in the Lovecraft Mythology, Cthulhu, Dagon, Azathoth, and Nyarlathotep all show up. It's a lot of fun and I am twisting that mythology HARD. :)
Myth can be a great place for story ideas, things you can pick up and run with, but it's also something you should read to understand STORY. Almost every genre story is a hero cycle. If you want to know what the hero cycle is all about then read mythology, that's where it's based from. Plus, you get the best monsters from mythology. Write me the story where Cerberus gets loose and Hades has to come up and find him. He comes up to this world and discovers the modern world and modern women, falls in love with a Humane Society worker after centuries of separation from Persephone.
On second though, scratch that, I'll keep that idea. :)