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Reply To: Journey Through Myth,” with Mythologist Norland Téllez, Ph.D.”


Thank you so much for this, Norland.

I really love the idea of “the twice born.” I would love to ask people in what ways they might feel “twice-born” whether in religious ways or not. I know I relate to this term and idea in a couple ways that have nothing to do with religion per say. That we are twice born being born from the womb of myth is also a quite fascinating thought to me.

I only at first glance/reading have a few first thoughts:

Norland, you write, “The fully rebirthed adulthood of the twice-born no longer needs myth as an object of belief; we see through its imaginal garbs and are no longer affected by its “lures and threats,” as Campbell put it. Growing up in the reflective mirror of philosophy we become reborn in the light of reason as the mytho-historic consciousness of the truth” This rings so true to me; yet, I cannot help but think that sometimes some people want the lures, the beautiful imagery and language, just for the mythic material itself. It might seem like the child who just discovered there is no Easter bunny or Santa Claus, yet still wish they could believe the myth. Many practicing pagans I have known said they did not believe the gods were “actual” and “real” but said that they were representations of energies behind the forms in which they supposedly embodied. So while the God or Goddess was not “real,” to them, the energy behind the form was real. Some pagans I have known have also called themselves atheists, but are animists instead, believing that some sort of life force flows through everything. I have met so many people with so many different ways or reasons for being pagan (and also Catholics for that matter or other religions) that it almost seems that perhaps they simply just want to live the poetic mythic life of lore—the fairies, the elementals of the flora and fauna. There is something sad about the children’s film, “The Last Unicorn,” when we cannot believe that unicorns exist anymore—or maybe as when we are growing past childhood and into adolescence that we cannot believe the things of childhood anymore. Author Robert Dahl said something to the effect that in his view there are two types of people in the world: those that see with the child’s eye and feel the things of childhood and those who don’t. He said that those who don’t are probably bankers and ______.” I cannot remember the rest of the quote and could not find it on the internet yet. Dahl, like Blake, felt that in order to write one must have the eyes of a child. Dahl said to write and to better one’s life one needed some type of “magic” in his or her life.

So what I am thinking here is the possibility that many people who call themselves pagan or Hindu or Christian or Catholic have actually grown beyond the first birth and the religion they were baptized into and have learned beyond that into a more personalized spirituality (whether or not through their religious framework they were born with the first time) and then when they go beyond it or else abandon it then go back to it that that can also be what is “the second birth.” Yet, they can label themselves a “pagan” and perhaps be in their second birth—and they have their “reasons” for loving it, for being so—so it does then seem to me to go along with what you say about “reason.” That makes sense to me that poetry and reason and that some spirituality and reason can go hand in hand even when most people say they would not, that faiths and miracles and the tall tales of the Bible go against “reason.” I totally enjoy what you write about reason as archetypal, when you so beautifully express , “In the order of true myth (vera narratio), Reason assumes its proper “equiprimordial” role and archetypal status; it becomes, like the Heraclitean fire of becoming, constitutive of the universal order of the world, the fiery spark of a cosmic consciousness of being and time:

Here I think of the concept of “born again” as in born again Christian—and perhaps there are “born again pagans.” Maybe they feel they have come back to life somehow upon experiencing the harmony with the earth in the earth spiritualities. This so that too, when as you quote Aristotle, when you write, “it was Aristotle long ago who pointed to the basic link between philosophy and myth in a mutual state of wonder at being itself:

‘For it is owing to their wonder that men both now begin and at first began to philosophize […] whence even the lover of myth is in a sense a lover of Wisdom [or a philosopher], for the myth is composed of wonders.  (Aristotle, Metaphysics; The Basic Works of Aristotle. Ed. Richard McKeon, p. 692),’”

it seems also a matter of love of poetry and love of lore (lore is just one letter away from the word love)

I had some other thoughts but alas I lost them.

I found the discourse on reason in this context in myth quite helpful and providing great insight. Thank you,