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Reply To: The Fires of Love-Death, with Mythologist Norland Téllez


    Yes, Stephen, I welcome the lighter start. I realize that the subject matter I gravitate towards in my mythblasts may be a bit heavy or “dark” at times and it would be helpful to trace on a more personal note the trajectory that leads me to explore the depths of the unconscious—a place that by definition holds all the unpleasant truths we would rather hide from view.  As you may imagine, this penchant of mine is what first led me to study depth psychology in the first place, following Jung’s dictum about not being content to “imagine figures of light” (i.e. ideology) but instead to take up the work, as unpopular as it may be, of “making the darkness conscious.”

    I was born in Managua Nicaragua in 1971 in a modest household of working professionals. My mom was a school teacher at that time and my dad a painter and photographer. This obviously had the biggest influence on my becoming an animation artist—and anybody who looks at my website may be surprised to find that professionally I create child-friendly animated content—as well as a PhD in Mythological Studies, having graduated from Pacifica Graduate Institute in 2009. So you could say that from my mom, I inherited the love of learning and academic performance, and from my dad, my artistic talent in drawing and painting. But this would be only the most superficial answer of the question of my origins. It corresponds to the level of the persona where it is important to keep everything “light” and pleasant, always agreeable and easy to digest. But it would be a different matter were I to share a little factual piece of my life story, the kind of experience which I think does inform my interest in the underside of things, the dreaded “negativity” that informs the way I study myth, so to speak, through a Xibalban or underworld approach—a methodology I developed in my dissertation on the Esoteric Dimensions of the Popol-Vuh.

    So why the interest in the “necrotypal” perspectives of the Underworld? Because therein lies the prima materia of truth. Nothing is more mythic than a true story. After all, as we know, all great myths express great truths whose genealogical lines reache us to this very day.

    So do you want to know what this piece of my true story is about? Having been born in Nicaragua and lived through a brutal dictatorship in a revolutionary environment which culminated in civil war, the story of where I come from may not be suitable for polite conversation! It’s funny you should ask me that as a means to keep things light and easy. Of course, I don’t blame you, but it did make me—and my family—smile.

    Having lived through such an experience—the civil war which exploded in 1979, when I was 8 years old—not to mention the traumatic passage of immigration to the United States—has made me feel great affinity with the African American experience in this country (apropos of African American History month), this peculiar state of having 2 souls or “double-consciousness”—something which, as we know, was also characteristic of Jung too with his personality 1 and 2, what he called in the Red Book the “spirit of the times” vs “the spirit of the depths”—except that as people of color perhaps I may say that it is precisely in the times that we find the depths. To quote W. E. B. Du Bois:

    “One feels his two-ness, — an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.”