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Reply To: What’s In a Name?” with Stephen Gerringer”


    There has been so much such rich material from everyone posted in this thread at present it would be hard to cover all of it with the proper attention each deserves. But Mary brings up something I think may be particularly relevant to us all in some form or another; and that is what we as individuals are imprinted with concerning social imperatives; or put another way not only the value systems that are handed down; but the things that are asked of us that we strive for without realizing it. In other words what are the things we strive to attain in finding our place within the society we live in? Or what are the “activating symbols” we inherit as opposed to the ones that the heart responds to? Here I think lies part of the clues or pathway into discovering our own individual mythology.

    (Mary writes):
    “My dad lived a life heavily immersed in symbols and mathematics and in translating the math into real architecture/buildings when figuring construction plans and also loved folklore and folk music and was so into religious symbols in his spirituality. This reminds me about how the symbols in language can sometimes fit the myth in our lives and vice-versa. So often we feel in symbols as much as we think in symbols.”


    I was thinking about how our society as well as our family influence steers us from childhood on into directions we as individuals may not actually be interested in following but we do so anyway subconsciously because it is the accepted norms that everyone else follows. I was thinking about a dream I had the other night where the word: “mantle” stood out as something important that I should look up. Well; after several unsuccessful attempts to find the definition I was looking for the one below finally appeared in the Cambridge dictionary:

    “mantle noun (RESPONSIBILITY)
    [ S ] formal
    the responsibilities of an important position or job, especially as given from the person who had the job to the person who replaces them:
    She unsuccessfully attempted to assume the mantle of the presidency.
    He has been asked to take on the mantle of managing director in the New York office.”

    I then realized this was the sort of thing people go to school to find and achieve a career from and raise a family with because it’s a socially imprinted norm. Now this may compliment something to which the heart on certain occasions may respond to or not given a particular set of “planned” circumstances; but it does not necessarily include the: “dimension of mystery or chance” because it is an “assumed” life path of choice; and one’s life does not always unfold in that kind of specific planned way.

    So this brings us back to what symbols represent within finding and following what has meaning to any particular individual; and not a socially agreed upon symbol that represents nothing to the human heart of a specific individual; this represents the personal myth he is talking about. Dennis Patrick Slattery’s book: “Riting Myth, Mythic Writing – Plotting Your Personal Story” approaches this challenge in multiple ways; each exploring various dimensions of the human psyche which this extremely good clip I posted recently in another thread describes here.

    (As an example of what he is describing he offers the symbol of the “Spiral” and what I might think of could be: “the Labyrinth and the Ariadne thread” that leads one in and out of the confrontation with one’s inner Minotaur or perhaps to the healing of one’s inner wounded child. Lots of  different ways to think about symbols and how to use them. This is just a suggestion because this book is extremely helpful in exploring one’s inner landscape.)