Reply To: The Fires of Love-Death, with Mythologist Norland Téllez
Norland and Stephen and Robert and All,
I am wondering where I have heard this story before about the logs and the boy and girl being killed under them, but I did not recall the part about the cannibalistic aspect of that ritual. And thank you Norland, also, for telling us more about yourself and the difficult and dark times you have been through and your family and community, along with your Mythblast. It is a good reminder that not all our current “Newer Age” practices, whether being meditation or shamanic or pagan reconstructionist type groups or solitary practitioners, come from such a light place as many people might like to think they did. We often like to glorify those days of old thinking how “magically mythic” life might have been back then, but then there is the dark side too. And while this is not directly pertinent to the subject matters of this Mythblast, I also want to say that in saying the “dark side,” I do not feel or think that all darkness is of course evil–we have beautiful darkness of a night of a romantic crescent moon or the brighter darkness of a beautiful full moon or the moon’s reflection on water or snow and so many ways in which the dark can be beautiful or good and not evil. But sometimes, it is ugly, hideous.
And Robert, I enjoyed your lists of questions about the possible symbolism in the ritual–so many of those meanings you give seem to also say at the root that there is a death-in-life aspect and a life-in-death aspect in this world we know around us and even in the cosmos if we study the life of–the start and stop–of stars. In the life celebrating summer solstice, since light is already at its height and longest day of the year, right after that high point, the longevity of the days will start decreasing down to the death of that height finally on the winter solstice or shortest day of the year and as the shortest day of light of the year, it will from that point on also increase again in its “reborn” or “”life-in-death” aspect until the summer solstice again bringing us back to the death in life aspect. I suppose anyone could switch those around depending upon how they would like to look at it–we could say that the life in death and the death in life are in both solstices.
I also appreciated the following commentary on personal myth which Stephen wrote about helpful to describe my own feelings about writing about oneself or background:
Joseph Campbell did not like to dwell on his personal history and resisted writing a memoir, believing that one’s body of work matters more than one’s biography (ironically, in his lengthy, detailed Introduction to The Portable Jung he spends considerable time discussing aspects of Jung’s life that played a role in his personal and professional development); it took the concerted efforts of multiple friends to persuade Campbell to agree to participate in the documentary The Hero’s Journey: A Biographical Portrait.
My sense is very different – I believe one’s background and experiences inform one’s work, especially in the creative sphere. One needn’t know the intimate details of Picasso’s complicated relationships with Dora Maar, Marie-Thérèse Walter, and other lovers to appreciate his work, but such awareness does add a layer or two to one’s understanding.
I feel this way too. My own writing about Jungian depth psych comes most usually from my own experience. I love to write about my own hardships as well as my dreams–which are sometimes one and the same! I feel as if in many ways my life can “testify” to the theories of Jung and then what I love about Campbell is the beauty of the mythology that he can add with his ideas and writings on myths. And with that combination I feel I am often swimming in the ecstasy of bliss that Campbell would tell us to find and follow–or actually as he would tell us it finds us, that we find it has been waiting for us all along, as he says.
I think my psyche needed to mention something about bliss!–not to ignore the awful darkness completely, but only for now, for now I am signing out for a while at 4:30 AM to get some sleep.