A woman instinctually remembers how to give birth to her child, even though it is her first time in labor. A teenager rebels from family conformity so that she may find her own voice. A man takes a walk in the forest to unwind from a long week of corporate work.
These incidents are seemingly not random, as they occur again and again around the globe. Instead, there is a sense that they arise from a universal continuity which lies at the foundation of myth and its meaning. A unifying language courses beneath the surface of everyday survival and play, a language which reverses the scattering of Babel and, concurrently, offers purpose to individual expression.
This is the language of myth.
By 1963, when Mircea Eliade’s work entitled Myth and Reality was first published, the term ‘myth’ had already begun to stabilize in semantic value from its formerly accepted understanding as ‘fictional fable’ to a more complex definition of ‘sacred truth’. Eliade suggests that from the time of the fifth century to the nineteenth, the Western notion of myth had been gradually compressed to connote superstitious tales told by primitive and uneducated people to help them relate to their mysterious surroundings (1).
Today, however, myths are realized as universal imprints that originate within the collective human psyche and profoundly influence and affirm the human experience. Thanks to scholars such as Eliade, our understanding of myth has expanded to respect its immensity as “an extremely complex cultural reality, which can be approached and interpreted from various and complementary viewpoints” (5).
The term mythology may apply to the vast study and observance of this “cultural reality.” A mythologist is a story hunter who unearths the treasury of symbol, story and ritual that lies embedded within the soils of every culture, to recover meaning to the human experience.
From time immemorial, world mythology has adopted and informed astronomy, alchemy, mathematics, physics, chemistry, architecture, literature, dance, sex and medicine to deposit its rich treasury of meaning into our current human culture. Each human walks a different journey, witnessing the grandeur and squalor from a different point of view. At the same time, we are all one dynamic field of consciousness.
Our mythic experience lives as a universal truth—energetic imprints, symbols, stories—so profoundly real that the question of fact (ie: Did the events actually occur?) is irrelevant. Myth provides metaphor that informs your beliefs and your relationship to the world. It inspires your behavior and provides purpose for your life. Myth offers messages of healing and hope. It advances lessons that, when recognized, keep us from repeating History's mistakes.
The creative power of the archetypal goddess empowers the birthing prowess of the first time mother. The rebellious teenager must take to life’s symbolic battlefield, alone. It is her hero's quest to discover her authentic truth and individual significance. The corporate worker journeys into the woods to restore the breath of his true nature as part and parcel of infinite reality.
Throughout the world, meaning, purpose, and inspiration is granted to each human experience through the pervasive influence of myth.
Soul Stories offer messages of healing and hope.
They provide clarity, inspiration, and purpose.
Soul Stories transform everyday routines into rituals or transformation.
They return sacredness to the human experience...and give life meaning.
Lessons From Uncertainty:
Worry less. Play more.
Do less. Love more.
One of the grittiest lessons to cross my heart again and again, is knowing that human beings are both profoundly powerful and utterly vulnerable.
We are the Soul Artists.
Our lives are composed from the melody of every thought and action.
We paint the colors of the universe with our creative vision.
At the same time, we are wildly susceptible to forces beyond our control.
Today is uncertain.
As I try to figure out what to do…how to prepare…what I can say “for sure...”
I am faced with the cosmic punchline that every day is uncertain.
My entire body speaks as I hold my child: “Every moment is an exquisite gift.”
Today is no less predictable than was yesterday, last month, or a year ago. Ongoing cycles of transformation–creation and destruction–are the very nature of being. Waves of change course through the human experience with groundless eloquence, like weather patterns of calm and chaos. They cannot be wrangled into rational obedience. Though we try.
It is the Soul Artist’s way to distinguish the storm from the vastness of sky.
–to climb into the stillness at the center of the turning wheel
–to listen and to feel
–and to be.
Worry less. Play more.
I’m not grasping anymore. No more thrashing about for some semblance of stability. I let my heart be buoyant, surf the current into the flow. That’s where we all go, after all, anyway.
Do less. Love more.
and I find a groundless ground.
–a taproot to the infinite whole
–a lifeline to a bottomless hope where nothing is ever destroyed, but always, forever, transformed.
There is a certain freedom in surrender.
We meditate on that most glorious and supreme creative source, whose effulgence illumines all realms (physical, psychological, and spiritual). May this divine light illumine our intellect.
Chant the Gayatri Mantra in Celebration of the Winter Solstice and the return to light.
The dark, stillness of winter, with its long nights and cold days, allows for inward turning and contemplation. The light within may become more visible. After all, love light always shines brightest in the darker spaces. Let this mantra accompany you into the courageous adventure of facing your shadows and running your wolves this season.
This mantra is an invocation for the dawning of a new awareness—an awakening to the balance within.
WHEN TO CHANT:
You can hear the chant of the Gayatri Mantra throughout India, especially at the break of day. Develop this practice as part of your Morning Ritual.
Begin the New Year with Kali Moons.
Offering three moon cycles of God/dess Archetypes, Action Steps & One to One Support, Kali Moons is the first installment of the Eleven Moons Online Series–a journey to realize your wholeness. Return to the rhythms of Nature within the dance of eternity.
About The Author
R.R. Shakti, PhD
Founding teacher of Inner Power Yoga®, Shakti is a Contemplative Mythologist, ritual facilitator, and writer who presents a Tantrik approach to personal empowerment and social action. Through contemplative story-telling and mind/body practices, she offers a vision of deep peace and radical freedom.
PSYCHE + SOUL