"Myth renders the
Eternal Soul visible so that it may be
visualized, represented, heard, and made audible."
Myths express the profound
permanent tendencies in the
nature of man.
like fables, contain moral visions that can be understood consciously.
Unlike fables, which are basically limited to a one event thread,
myths include a narrative of multiple
events that build threads on multiple levels of understanding, typically both
subconsciously and consciously.
the myths that men hold evolve as
well. The essence of
the timeless mythical narrative is its
evolutive capacity, its dynamism,
Defining myths literally is a huge mistake as
some of the mythical narrative elements
designed to stimulate the subconscious become corrupt as they are not meant to
be taken literally. Doing so robs the myth of the very thing that makes it
a myth: the interpretation of a very direct relation between man and the
temporal structure of his life.
"We must have no
illusions; when facts are presented
in all their brutality and nakedness, and when, in contrast,
a mythical, expository system is presented, man
spontaneously chooses the myth and refuses to acknowledge reality." - Jacques
Mythology of other cultures may appear
fragmented to outsiders when in actuality outsiders have not been in versed in
symbol system that all individuals of the culture subconsciously recognize.
Myths become fragmented internally for basically two reasons:
1) purposefully fragmented - replacing one social cultural tradition
with another or one power structure with another - the effect of State
2) accidentally fragmented overtime as
understanding of original meanings becomes misunderstood, is purposefully
corrupted or as cultures merged (very real here and now.)
natural philosophical approach,
patterns congruent with a
natural way of thinking in conjunction with
an accurate understanding of
basic metaphorical reality, it becomes simple to reconstruct more realistic thought
pattern of individuals of other time periods and places.
The whole mythologies of all Great
Religions are well wrought poems that point through the
Veil of Cognitive
Blindness to Supreme Reality.
Gnostic Mystery Traditions
carry a carefully crafted poetry within which the Acolyte finds
that bring Reality Alive.
The first condition of any modern mythology must be to cleanse the
Doors of Perception.
second condition is that of Awakened Heart.
these two conditions have been met the
Promise of God's Dream is
fulfilled and we, individually and jointly, fully become the sensory organs and
consciousness channels of the Creator and
Unfortunatetly as global
consumer culture does not recognize spirituality as a valid form of expression
it can not take on the guise of
active gods to be addressed collectively or individually and around whom
the traditional patterns of
relationship with divinity are organized.
mythological sentiment of the elites tends
to center on the irrational belief that a well-armed totalitarian police state
can bring everlasting happiness to the
family of man.
To the elites,
who must protect their assets,
god comes in the guise of
a beneficent tyrant.
And the religious mythological sentiment of
the masses tends to center on the irrational belief that they actually have a
chance of joining the elites in their
man-made heaven on earth.
"Myth appears as the condition governing the
adherence of the masses of men to a certain civilization and to its processes
of development or of crisis. The definition of myth as the "motivating global image" is certainly
the most exact." - Jaque Ellul
Most often the
motivating global image of a myth is
a subconscious image. If one becomes
aware of the mystery which informs this
motivating global image then this
image is given an aspect of obviousness and certitude so fundamental as to be
dangerous to the
the unveiling of
the mystery can
deflate the ego.
Myth building is social
step 1: decide on the outcome you desire;
2: get all the "facts" lined up;
step 3: round up people that agree with
step 4: interview them - 1% -
appear to represent the whole social
step 5: collect your monetary reward for myth building!
grandeur of the social engineer
Children are afraid of the unexplained so many
years ago the ancients began telling mythical narratives to both entertain and
enlighten the listeners. As these mythmakers spun their yarns they
attempted to share with the younger generation all that they had learned. This
body of knowledge was incorporated into the myths of the tribe warning of
possible pitfalls and suggesting fundamental principle courses of action.
"Myths are stories
about the wisdom of life. What we are taught academically is not the
life. Although we receive technological information there is reluctance to
admit the life changing aspects of the
technologies we persue.
today - anthropology,
the study of religion, and so
forth - there is a
tendency to specialization.
A specialist scholar has to know his
subject extensively in order to be a competent specialist.
Buddhism, for instance, you have to be
able to handle not only all - the
European languages in which the discussions of the Oriental come, particularly
French, German, English, and Italian, but also
Sanskrit, Chinese, Japanese,
Tibetan, and several other languages.
This is a tremendous task.
Such a specialist can't also be wondering about the difference between
the Iroquois and Algonquin.
Specialization tends to limit the field of
problems that the specialist is concerned with.
The individual who isn't a specialist,
but a generalist like myself,
sees something over here that he has learned from the specialist, some thing
over there that he has learned from
another specialist - and neither of them has considered the problem of why this
occurs here and also there.
generalist gets into a range of
other problems that are more genuinely human than specifically cultural. " -
adapted from Joesph Campbell
themes of myths are the same,
they have always been the same.
There are historical as well as
aspects of the similarity of myths.
If you want to find your own mythology,
the GOLDEN KEY is with what society do
Every existent mythology has grown up in a society in a
When a mythology collides with another mythology an
alchemic reaction occurs and they amalgamate. Once they do you get a much more
These myths, bits of
information, from ancient times, which
have to do with the themes that have
supported human life, built civilizations, and informed religions over the
millennia, have to do with deep inner problems,
inner thresholds of passage, and if you don't
know what the guide posts are along the way
you have to discover it for
Myths are clues to the spiritual
potentialities of human life.
ask you to turn inward for the
to see this you must read
other culture's myths,
not those of your own culture,
intrepret your own religion in terms
of the concepts and symbols that you
have been taught.
If you read the myths of
other religions, you begin to see the
you to put your mind in touch with the
experience of being alive.
subject catches you, there is such a feeling, from one or another of these
traditions, of information pointing to a very deep and potentially rich life
that you too can enjoy.
Whether I am reading
Polynesian or Iroquois or
Egyptian myths, the images, the
symbols and the conceptual archetypes are the
Every mythology has to do
with the wisdom of life as related to a specific culture at a
original intent was to integrate the individual into his culture and the
culture into the field of nature.
Every mythology attempts to
unite the field of nature and the culture with an individual's inner
Unification is a harmonizing force.
for example, is based on the idea of duality; good and evil, heaven and hell. Because of this our
religion tends to be ethical in it's accent. Sin
and atonement, right and
Civilizations are grounded on myth.
The civilization of the Middle Ages was grounded on the myth of the fall, the
redemption on the cross, and the carrying
of the grace of redemption to
man through the sacraments.
The cathedral was
the center of the sacrament, and the castle was the center protecting the
cathedral. There you have the two
forms of government - the
government of the spirit and the government of the physical life, both in
accord with the one source, namely the
grace of the crucifixion.
There are three centers of
what might be called mythological and folkloristic creativity in the Middle
Ages. One is the cathedral and all
that is associated with monasteries and hermitages. A second is the castle. The
third is the cottage, where the
common people are. The cathedral,
the castle, and the cottage - you
go to any of the areas of high civilization, and you will see the same - the
the village. They are different
generating centers, but in so far as this is one civilization, they are all
operating in the same symbolic field.
folk tale is designed as
sometimes for instruction if their is a moral to the
legend is designed to elicit social cohesion
bringing the warrior hero,
the brave knight, the slayer of dragons to
save the social culture from imminent
The myth is designed for spiritual instruction,
redemption for the
There's a fine saying in
India in regard to these two orders
of myths, the folk idea and the elementary idea.
The folk aspect is
called desi, which means "provincial," having to do with your culture.
That is for young people. Through desi a young
person is brought into the
culture and is taught to go out and slay monsters. "Okay, here's
a soldier suit, we've
got the job for you." But there's also the elementary idea.
Sanskrit name for that is
marga, which means 'the Path.'
The Path is the trail back to the
reality of the Self or Eternal Soul.
The myth comes from the
imagination, and it leads back to it.
The society teaches you what the myths are, and then it disengages you
so that in your meditations you can
follow 'the Path'.
definition of a myth would be stories about gods but this is
There are two related types of
These myths deal with a god or gods that are
personifications of the motivating
power in human life and in the universe - the
power of your own body and of nature.
spiritual potentiality in the human
The same power that
animates our lives animates all the life on Earth.
oriented mythology would be of an Earth cherished
Then there are
culturally specific myths.
There is the mythology that is strictly
sociological, linking you to a particular
You are not simply a natural
man, you are a member of a particular group.
Brotherhood is confined to
a bounded community.
communities, aggression is projected outward.
For example, the ten
commandments say, "Thou shalt not kill."
Then the next chapter says,
"Go into Canaan and kill everybody in
That is a bounded field.
The myths of participation and
compassion pertain only to the 'in' group, and the 'out' group is totally
This is the sense of the word 'gentile' - the individual is
not of the same order.
In the history of European mythology, you can
see the interaction of these two systems.
Usually the socially oriented
system is of a nomadic people
you learn that your
center is in that group.
The Talmudic mythical religious traditions are
a socially oriented mythology in which nature is
In the 19th century, scholars
incorrectly thought of mythology and
ritual as an attempt to
magic, not mythology or religion.
religions are not attempts to control nature
but to help you put yourself in accord with nature.
is thought of as evil, created by the Demiurge or Saklas, or endlessly modified by
Lucifer or Satan , you do not put
yourself in accord with it, you attempt to control it, and hence the tension,
the anxiety, the cutting down of forests,
the strip mining of mountains, the damming of rivers, the
overfishing of the seas, unsustainable agricultural practices, toxic
pollutants, the destruction of entire ecosystems and the annihilation of
imperialistic accent here separates us from
I will never forget the experience I had when I was
in Japan, a place the people have never heard of
the Fall. One of the Shinto texts
says that the processes of nature cannot be evil. Every
natural impulse is not to be corrected but to
be sublimated, to be beautified. There is a
glorious interest in the beauty of
nature and cooperation with nature, so that
in some of those Japanese gardens you do not know where nature begins and art
For myth to function in a
society the individual has to be able to find an aspect of myth that relates to
his or her own life.
basically serves four functions.
The first is the
mystical function which allows one to
realize what a
universe is, what a
wonder life is and thus allows one to experience
awe before this mystery. Myth
opens the universe to the
dimension of mystery, to the
realization of the
mystery that underlies all
forms. If you
lose that, you don't have a mythology. If
mystery is manifest through all things, the universe
becomes, as it were, a sacred image.
You are always addressing the transcendent mystery
through the conditions of your actual reality.
The second is a
cosmological dimension, the dimension with which science is concerned - showing
you what the shape of the universe is,
but showing it in such a way that the mystery again
Today we tend to think that
scientists have all the answers. But the
great scientists tell us, "No, we haven't got all the answers. We're telling
you how nature works - but what is nature?" You strike a match, what is fire?
You can tell me about oxidation, but that does not fully explain the reality of
The third function is the sociological one - supporting and
validating a certain social order .
Here is where myths vary enormously from place to place.
the reality of fire.
The third function is the sociological one -
supporting and validating a certain social order .
Here is where myths
vary enormously from place to place.
You can have a mythology for
polygamy, a mythology for monogamy.
This sociological function of myth
has taken over on Earth - and it is out circumstance.
Myth is that field of reference to what is
absolutely transcendent. The
imagery is based on the experiences of humans in a particular
community, at that particular time and place.
Myths are so intimately bound to the culture, time, and place that unless the
symbols, the metaphors, are kept
alive by constant recreation through the arts,
the life just slips away from them.
The only mythology that is valid
today is a mythology that includes the entire Earth and of humanity as one
social cultural group.
The closest thing to a planetary mythology is
Buddhism, which is really not so much a
religion as a philosophy of living life.
The task at hand for humanity
is only to understand and know what reality is, and then use that knowledge to
act correctly within the relationship of
the brotherhood of all of these beings, both human and animal, that inhabit
We have to seek
accordance with the wisdom of nature and
realize once again our
brotherhood with the animals.
To say that the divinity
informs reality and all things is falsely condemned as
pantheism when in reality this
mode of perception is panentheism.
pantheism suggests that many gods
inhabit the universe, but that is not
the idea of divinity informing
reality at all.
of divinity informing reality is of an indefinable, inconceivable
mystery, thought of as a power, that is
the source and supporting basis of all
life and being.
If we think of ourselves as coming out of the
Earth, rather than having been thrown in here from somewhere else, you see that
humans are of the Earth.
Humans become the sapient
consciousness of the Earth.
are the eyes of the Earth.
Human voices are the voices of the Earth.
(It is false to believe that
human intellect is needed to
control the Earth - that involves stepping into the
Myths and dreams come from
the same place.
The myth puts you into a dream all the time, the dream connects you with the mystery which you are a part of.
from realizations that have
to find expression in symbolic form.
Myths come from sages with spiritual
power and depth who experienced their lives as being
inadequate to the spiritual
aspect or dimension of their being.
The only myth worth thinking about in the immediate future is one that
includes the whole Earth, not this
city, not these people,
but the whole Earth and everybody on the Earth.
What mankind needs to
deal with will be exactly what all of mankind's myths have dealt with - the
maturation of the individual,
through adulthood, through maturity, and then to the end of life. These new
myths must relate to the social culture of humanity
as a whole and to the reality of nature and
This is the ground of what the myth has to be to be viable
for a global culture.
A myth to fullfil these functions already exists
the eye of reason, not
of my nationality;
the eye of reason,
not of my religious community;
eye of reason, not of my linguistic
the eye of reason staring out
from the top of a
pyramid on a one dollar bill surrounded by
the words 'In God We Trust'.
some mythological god but the God that opens
the eye of reason within each
Do you see?
Will the logos prevail?
see the Earth from the
moon, you do
not see any divisions there of nations or states.
We need an inclusive
philosophy for all the peoples of Earth,
not for this group, that group, the 'in' group or the 'other' group.
Such an inclusive
philosophy could use the Earth as a symbol.
That is the homeland that we
are going to be celebrating.
Those are our
sisters that we are one with.
Humanity need this all
A myth that identifies the individual, not with his
local social, cultural or political group, but with
the whole Earth.
A good model of this
could be the America of the founders dreams:
small sovereign states acting in cooperation through a federation which
would equally protect individual human rights and the rights of the communities
of the inhabitant peoples of each state without disregarding the individual
interests of anyone of them.
If America could just return to the
principles of America's founding
fathers dreams, whose model is the model
Americans should emulate, then America could lead the way to an
Earth of unprecedented
enlightenment through material
- adapted from Joseph Campbell
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