The POWER OF MYTH episode 3 – The First Storytellers
What do our souls owe to ancient myths?
they were designed to put the mind in accord with the body and with the universe. The mind can want what the body does not want. to put the mind in accord with the body and the way of life in accord with what nature dictates.
Myths help us to go what and accept natures way and not resist it… birth life death. Childhood to adulthood to old age...
In India, changing your dress and maybe even your name… your whole way of life as you go from one stage of life to the next.
the problem in middle life, when the body has reached its climax of power and begins to lose it is to identify yourself not with the body which is falling away but with the consciousness of which the body is a vehicle…
Identifying with the Christ or the Shiva in you. The Christ does not die. it lives on and resurrects.
“The Image of Death is the beginning of mythology”
Grave burials. – Something was there that isn’t there, and where is it?
the notion is of a plane of being behind the visible plane, which is supportive and which we must acknowledge. This is behind ALL mythology. What we don’t know supports what we do know.
The basic hunting myth. the animal is a willing victim… with the understanding that their life, which transcends their physical entity, will be returned to the soil or the mother through some ritual of restoration.
The hunt IS a ritual… the animal is food, is life. Respect for the animal that is killed. and more than respect, that animal becomes a messenger of divine power… and the hunter winds up killing the messenger, killing the god. Guilt is wiped out by the myth. it is not a personal act, you are fulfilling nature.
When we sit down to eat we thank god, or our idea of god. These people thanked the animal. We see animals as a lower form of lie, Early hunting people didn’t have that relationship. the animal is in many ways superior… having powers that the hunter didn’t have.
The buffalo dance. The Blackfoot tribe, stampeding the buffalo off the cliff. Minnehaha… marries the buffalo. The shaman. her father goes after her. Sits to rest.. the magpie comes along… shamanic bird. He asks the magpie where his daughter is… at the buffalo wallow. the magpie flies to the girl. She’s knitting while the buffalo sleep. the buffalo trample the father to dust. he disappears. She cries, and the buffalo says why are you crying? these are our children, or wives… if you can put your father back together I’ll let you go. she puts a piece of vertebrae on the grown and puts her blanket over it. She sings a song, and he stands up… the buffalo are amazed. they say why don’t you do this for us? We’ll teach you our buffalo dance, and when you’ve killed us you do the dance, and we’ll come back to life again.
Death Burial and Resurrection…
the white man’s slaughter of the buffalo was a sacramental violation. they shoot the animal, leave the body to rot and take the pelts. Turned the buffalo from a god to a
“you can address anything as a “thou” and you can feel a change in your psychology as you do it.”
can you imagine, within 10 years to lose your environment, to lose your food supply, to lose the object of your spiritual life.
The cave – this world is primary, and the world out there is secondary…
What were they used for? The prevailing wisdom is that they were to prepare boys for the hunt. The boys learn not only to hunt, but to protect the animals, but what rituals to perform, and in their own lives, to behave no longer as boys (their mother’s sons) but as me (their fathers’ sons).
ritual is the enactment of myth. By participating in a ritual, you are participating in a myth.
the female initiation. to sit in a hut for a number of days and realize that she is a WOMAN. A vehicle of life. Life has overtaken her. Woman’s what it’s all about – giving birth, giving nourishment. She is identical with the goddess an d her powers. To the woman, it happens. To the boy it’s a different process. he has to be turned into a man, and voluntarily become a servant of something greater than himself.
‘The woman becomes the vehicle of nature, the man becomes the vehicle of society.
What happens when society no longer embraces mythology, and ritual… people don’t know how to behave in a civilized society. behaving like barbarians. no rituals by which they become members of society…
the function of a ritual is to pitch you OUT not wrap you back in where you’ve been all the time. with respect to ritual, it must be kept alive. So much of our ritual is dead.
Folk tales, are transforming all the time. they mythology transforms with the people. It stays alive. the environment shapes the story. The story responds to the environment. But we have a story that comes from the first century BC and has not changed. The only people that can keep it alive are artists. His function is the mythologization of the culture and the world. revealing the mysteries of growing up and becoming a human being. Artists are the mythmakers of our day.
Klee – Picasso – mythmakers in our day.
The mythmakers in earlier days were the counterparts of our artists.
In the early cultures, the shaman would be the equivalent of the poet or artist today. The shaman experience is a kind of schizophrenic crack up… Dreams. Dying and resurrecting. Mystical encounters. The shaman is drawn from the normal experience into the role of the gifted.
Shaman vs. priest. The priest is a functionary in a social order. The deity to whom he’s devoted is one who was there before he came along. The shaman’s deity is a familiar, from his own personal experience, and his authority comes from a psychological experience, not a social order.
Black Elk Speaks – 9 year old Sioux boy - I saw myself on the central mountain of the world and I had a vision of the sacred world. and the central mountain was his peak in South Dakota, but the central peak was everywhere. Stillness and movement are together. The central polestar of the universe. The experience ofhte eternal aspect of your action in the temporal.
god is an intelligible sphere, known to the mind, and his center is everywhere, and his circumference is nowhere. And each of us is a manifestation of that mystery.