Reply To: Seeking Answers
” As far as myths in ones own life, Joe Campbell’s reference to experience really hits home. I feel it especially in Nature, though I’ve had some beautiful human events in my life as well (and sometimes nature has been woven through those) With Campbell when he mentions the books…it seems he used to reference the Goddess Libera (Roman Goddess? Of reading/knowledge-have to re-check) as a metaphorical inspiration.”
Yes reference to experience and connecting them with what and how Joe describes a particular myth, is what works best for me. I have been able to connect to several small and big myths, depending where I am in my life, and how I am looking at various patterns in my life. While reading a Joe Campbell book, I was able to link myself to two Native American Myths. Now I don’t even recall in what book it was, but the way, he summarized that myth, it appeared to me, that was definitely me, the ending was elusive, which it still is.
And similarly with symbols. There are symbols of my own childhood tradition, that are rather deep in me, and I feel the mystery and wonder of those symbols, even though, I no longer participate in the rituals. Were I living in my childhood home, I’d be participating in those rituals annually, semi-annually, at a societal level but I don’t any more, yet they are deeply buried somewhere in the psyche.
About three ago, I spent two years in Oslo, Norway, and was so taken by Norsks’ nature rituals, practiced at a societal level. One night, every month or every two months, when it’s the darkest, a date is set to walk into the forest from many paths. Here’s a scene form one such night. It’s pitch dark, a few lanterns keep people from falling into snow banks or puddles, walking though the dark forest, chilled to the bone, gusty winds, isolated raindrops, lured by the smell of hot chocolate, I make my way to a hilly part of the forest. I can’t see a thing, except a small bonfire, with a few folks handing out hot chocolate, and a few minutes later I see a thousand others just sitting quietly in the dark, and so I receive my hot cup and sit down on a nearby boulder. It must have been about 5 minutes or more, when my eyes began to see… what I saw was a HUGE pristine lake, reflecting the lanterns that lit the path that I and others had taken…this large silent lake just looked back at all of us, as if to say, “in the dark, eyes begin to see” The lake and the lanterns, the sky and the dark evergreen trees all went deep into my heart. I Have not forgotten that experience. My deep Nature experience.
Then there have been Nature symbols, right from childhood that began to surface as I read more and more of Campbell. Again, it’s as you say, our experience is what opens up the symbol.
Should I go on with childhood symbols, Sunbug? It’s in Nature, and came to me after I began hiking our local mountain. It’s not a huge mountain, just 700 meters, but right in the middle of the city, so no driving, or parking, just hiking uphill. There’s one that just came recently into my conscious awareness, and hence the geometric design on my profile pic.