Forum Replies Created
July 8, 2022 at 11:55 pm in reply to: Releasing the Dreamings,” with mythologist Joanna Gardner, Ph.D.” #74757
@jamesn. you put it all beautifully. Thank you so much for sharing the video clips. I am a big believer in the power of creative work to help us express our prima materia, to use the alchemical term, rather than acting it out. That’s a wonderful avenue to the gold of insight in the dream that Campbell relayed in the video clip.July 8, 2022 at 10:48 pm in reply to: Releasing the Dreamings,” with mythologist Joanna Gardner, Ph.D.” #74758
@sunbug thank you for sharing these reflections! I especially appreciate your river metaphor. The image / soul of rivers can represent so many of the issues you are exploring here, and potentially guide you ever further along the journey.July 7, 2022 at 2:54 am in reply to: Releasing the Dreamings,” with mythologist Joanna Gardner, Ph.D.” #74762July 6, 2022 at 2:27 am in reply to: Releasing the Dreamings,” with mythologist Joanna Gardner, Ph.D.” #74765
Regarding your second comment, @jamesn., for me two things are more important now than they have ever been before: heart-centered courage, and amor fati, or love of one’s fate — which can be challenging, to say the least. But if fati were easy, we wouldn’t have to work at loving it!
I believe we can do whatever we are called upon to do. The questions are, will we listen and hear the callings of our hearts? And when we act on them, how will we do it? Will we drag our feet, or will we dance along the way?July 6, 2022 at 2:14 am in reply to: Releasing the Dreamings,” with mythologist Joanna Gardner, Ph.D.” #74767
Hello @jamesn.! I think you are spot on about propaganda influencing the projections that separate people from reality. That connects back to the Campbell clip you shared, where he describes how systems can separate us from ourselves, from our authenticity. Combine the two ideas and we have people separated from the reality of their own authenticity, and the authenticity of their own reality — which is perhaps another way to say they are separated from their souls.
Thank you for sharing that clip. Campbell sounds prescient there, especially in light of the people we keep seeing in the news who have been conditioned into senseless violence and aggression through some combination of propaganda and vulnerability. I hope they find their way back to their souls.July 5, 2022 at 10:06 pm in reply to: Releasing the Dreamings,” with mythologist Joanna Gardner, Ph.D.” #74770
Releasing false beliefs can be difficult, for sure, and the path is rarely easy. Especially when it requires telling the truth over and over, louder and louder in order to be heard over the cacophony of lies.
I’m interested in your metaphor of lions, tigers, and bears, too. Dorothy makes friends with her lion, tiger, and bear, and finds in them the exact soul qualities that she needed to have accompany her. It’s an image of teaming up with what seems to be the opposition, making friends with antagonists, releasing all the energy that would have been wasted on conflict and making the energy available for collaboration and cooperation. Not always possible, but sometimes it is.
I salute you on your journey, @bishopme, and wish you every blessing.July 4, 2022 at 2:45 pm in reply to: Releasing the Dreamings,” with mythologist Joanna Gardner, Ph.D.” #74773
“fantastic planetary showtime” – I love that. And authenticity is such an important avenue to soulful living. Finding authenticity, holding it, safeguarding it, expressing it, and valuing it, in ourselves and everyone else. Your words allowed me to feel that authenticity – thank you @doro!July 1, 2022 at 10:33 pm in reply to: Releasing the Dreamings,” with mythologist Joanna Gardner, Ph.D.” #74775
Stephen, thank you for raising the topic of soul for discussion! And thank you, too, for mentioning the Mythologium. The Mythologium is a place for mythologists and friends of myth — meaning you, mythic reader — to share ideas, inspire each other, and amplify each other’s work. The 2022 program is now live, and we are so excited about this year’s theme of Myth and Ecological Consciousness. Please do feel free to visit the Mythologium site for more info (of particular interest might be JCF’s panel!) and to sign up to receive Mythologium emails.
Now, back to the topic of soul. In the Campbell passage quoted in the MythBlast, Campbell was using the term in a colloquial way, and not as defined by Jung or Hillman. Extending the idea of soul to a community, however, does gesture toward depth psychology, relating to Jung’s idea of the collective unconscious (from which Jung believes mythic motifs can arise across cultures), and also to archetypal psychology’s assertion that soul doesn’t live within us, but rather we live within soul. Soul, in this view, is far, far greater than ourselves.
To me, soul implies a person or community’s (or planet’s) most inward essence and most fulsome totality, both at once. Soul embraces all dimension of experience. For humans, that means mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional experience — and then also an extra something. Soul carries the ever-present possibility of more meaning, more depth, more experience. You could think of it as the greater mind, body, spirit, and heart that encompass and enfold us, each and all and perhaps the entire cosmos. I sense it as the qualitative dimension of all other dimensions, the context in which individual and collective experience unfolds.
Soul is the truth of our being, and it is that which allows us to recognize misalignments with our truth. When we are aligned, or in accord as Campbell would say, that’s when we can most easily experience the extra something through intuition, insight, synchronicity, and creativity — the images, ideas, and understandings we could never have come up with on our own but instead feel given as though from outside ourselves. These, I believe, are the language of soul.
What about you? When and how do you experience soul? What images come up for you when you think of the individual soul and/or a community’s soul? I’m also keen to hear your thoughts about the questions at the end of the MythBlast: How might a community release its soul from false beliefs, disidentifying from myths that cause misery and harm? How might a community enter more fully into the realm of truth, beauty, and creativity?October 29, 2021 at 1:56 am in reply to: The Antlered Child,” with Mythologist Joanna Gardner, Ph.D.” #74086
Dennis, what a wonderful story about Sandy’s friendship with Hannah! It really is amazing what our cousins in the animal family can awaken — that sense of kinship, that surge of renewed vitality, that quickening of creativity. It’s easy to imagine Hannah now tending to her new kid, remembering her home by your garage and the companionship she found there.
I think you’re right that an impulse toward truth-telling can be a response to the blatant falsehoods of magical thinking. It can be an urgent feeling, too, of needing to correct someone who is trapped in a delusion. Perhaps because of the tragedy that occurs all to easily when the delusion grows so strong that those in its grip will defend it with physical force. Sweet Tooth offers images of that phenomenon as well. I look forward to hearing your thoughts about the show!October 22, 2021 at 2:28 pm in reply to: The Antlered Child,” with Mythologist Joanna Gardner, Ph.D.” #74088
I love Gus’s ears too! They’re so expressive and convincing, and so simultaneously human and deer. I think you’re absolutely right that the show gives us the feeling of that “something more” at work / at play than we can see on the surface, or that any of the characters realizes. I love how you phrased it – a feeling of “becoming.” And fun, as you point out! If that’s not magical, then I don’t know what is. :))October 20, 2021 at 1:20 pm in reply to: The Antlered Child,” with Mythologist Joanna Gardner, Ph.D.” #74090
What a gift, to be able to share your yard with a fawn! I love your description of that moment of awareness-before-awareness when you encounter a deer. It reminds me of a wonderful book by Graham Harvey you might find interesting, called Animism: Respecting the Living World. Meanwhile I hope you enjoy Sweet Tooth – I look forward to hearing your thoughts!October 17, 2021 at 1:25 am in reply to: The Antlered Child,” with Mythologist Joanna Gardner, Ph.D.” #74092
Stephen, thank you so much for bringing in these images. I think you are absolutely right that these Paleolithic images of dancing animal figures represent residents of the imaginal realm. They also function as access points between the every-day and imaginal worlds: the images exist physically in here-and-now reality, and at the same time they grant us entry into the more-than-real by way of our imagination.
And thank you for pointing out their dancing! That kinetic energy also underscores their dual aspect. The figures are not literally dancing, and yet they give us the imaginal experience of animal rhythm and movement. And don’t they convey some of the true, actual vitality and energy of real animals? Imaginal images employ literal falsehoods to portray adjacent truths. (There’s a wonderful scene in Sweet Tooth Episode 2 when Gus hears music for the first time and can’t help but dance. Highly recommended!)
You also raise a fascinating question about magical realism and magical thinking. The distinction, for me, lies in the terms “realism” and “thinking.” Magical realism apprehends reality by means of awe, amazement, and wonder, while magical thinking involves errors of logic and fact. Magical realism is an experience of the sacred through artistic imagery. Magical thinking, on the other hand, is a defense against reality, often involving denial and delusion, as you quite rightly point out. Magical realism can be a very vulnerable position to take, in its openness to experience. Magical thinking is often brittle and embattled. While freely confess that I am not immune to magical thinking, my aspirations lie in the camp of magical realism.
Sweet Tooth is very interesting as an example of magical realism. I think the show’s primary genre is science fiction, positing a “what-if” scenario in a future where scientific work has resulted in an unexpected situation. But in moments like the buck’s arrival behind Gus, the fictive world opens out beyond itself, exactly the way magical realism can do. I also feel that the show renders its magical moments in particularly generous and open-hearted ways, which I appreciate very much.
At least that’s how I see it. Very curious to hear others’ views on Sweet Tooth and any of these topics!September 3, 2021 at 1:13 pm in reply to: To the The Female God of the Labyrinth,” with Joanna Gardner, Ph.D.” #74207
What a wonderful quote, and what a wonderful way to evoke the mystery of Ariadne, which transcends any individual plotline. One thing this collection of plotlines suggests is that she who is Most Holy on Crete suffers and is silenced as a result of contact with the mainland’s sacred powers. It’s a dynamic that continues to play out to this day.August 31, 2021 at 3:17 am in reply to: To the The Female God of the Labyrinth,” with Joanna Gardner, Ph.D.” #74209
Hi Jordan, you articulate the zoom lens of consciousness so eloquently! To extend the idea another step, we can also zoom out on “positive” sensations and emotions. I find that it doesn’t diminish their enjoyment, but rather it seems to create space to hold more of everything — lightly and with compassion for self and others. And of course it allows mythic themes and images to reveal themselves. I’m glad you connected with the zoom image!August 31, 2021 at 3:09 am in reply to: To the The Female God of the Labyrinth,” with Joanna Gardner, Ph.D.” #74210
Hi John, I love your interpretation of Ariadne and her connection to science, and then of course to the rejection of science. That reading cleverly collapses the rejection of science and divinity into the same gesture, and shows how both rejections involve the rejection of miracles as well. I think the thing about opening our hearts to Ariadne and to the labyrinth is that then we can sense how she opens her heart to us. Thank you for your willingness to join the conversation!