In the movie Mindwalk a female physicist states that we “need a new vision of the world.” This is a statement that I agree with whole-heartedly. We have risen as a species on Rene Descartes’ mechanical image of the world, seeing every living thing as a machine, like a clock (this comparison was made in Mindwalk). If something is not working we can disassemble the machine and fix the broken piece or simply do away with it. Thomas Moore talks about this image in his book Care of the Soul when he writes that, “It’s remarkable how often people think they will be better off without the things that bother them.” (p. 5) He also discusses the image of the Psychologist as the mechanic and how we will go into therapy and say “this is what’s wrong, now fix it”. But Moore goes on to explain what he does in dealing with this, “…I try to give what is problematical back to the person in a way that shows its necessity, even its value.” (p. 6)

In our society today we are taught that running efficiently is of the most importance. We work our bodies with this in mind, we train our brain to do calculations like a computer, and we see food as fuel. When there is a malfunction in the “system” we seek a way to fix or remove it as quickly and easily as possible.

But where does this leave free expression, compassion, and beauty? Have we no room for these things in today’s world? I would say that we do have room but nobody is using it.

Descartes’ image of the world and everything in it as a machine has helped us dramatically to improve our lives and to evolve at an unbelievable rate. But the bottom line is that those views are dangerous to us now. If we continue living like we have been the world is going to be a very dark place. I can see this already happening everywhere I turn. I see it in the depleting ozone layer, in global warming, and in the crazy rate in which we drain our resources. I see it in the starving nations, the tortured children and animals, and in the dumps and waters overflowing with garbage. Most of all I see it in my own city, community and life. We give up so very much to run efficiently, like good little machines should, but we are NOT machines, our world is NOT a machine, and the beings in it are NOT machines! If we continue to keep this view, to have this be our “image of the world” or our world myth everything will die.

So what do we do about it? Of course I have many ideas in this area, as I’m sure you’ve already guessed. First I feel that as a culture we need to again embrace the feminine, this is already happening, just take a look at the impressive growth of the Goddess religions and mythologies, this would add to the new world vision already mentioned. Secondly, we need a new world mythology. There, the answer to every question ever asked, a solution to the problems of today’s world. I know this sounds simple but please, stick with me and I will explain.

Let me first, clarify what I mean when I say that we need a new world vision and this will naturally lead into the embracing of the feminine. It is no secret or deep insight that today, technology means more than anything. Let us once again take a quote from Moore, “…we can’t live without technology, but we can live without beauty.” (p. 278) Kala Trobe also makes this observation; “We have created (as a species) a culture in which science and the rational are revered above the primal and intuitive, whereas, in fact, both should be taken in equal measure.” (p. 33)

What these quotes say to me is that we cannot live without male aspects of efficiency, technological advance, and of course reason and logic, but we can live without the female aspects of creativity, art, imagination, and emotion.

Proof of this lies at the root of our culture, in our schools. Art and music programs are cut daily to make room for more logically based disciplines such as math and computers, and also the ever-evolving sports. What happens to our children when we do this, when we cut away all the creativity and fluidity from their educations?

They grow up in a world much like we did, where efficiency and logic are key and creativity, beauty, imagination, and emotion are not. They learn to be competitive, insecure with their looks, emotions, and even their wants and needs. They learn to smother those aspects of the feminine that their souls are crying out for.

As a beginning to our new world myth we could first begin holding these two sides, masculine and feminine, as being equally important. The world is alive, as are the many beings inside of it and any being is nurtured by beauty and creativity. Instead of drowning out our natural impulses to create and observe things that are eternally beautiful we could begin embracing those impulses. Just taking the time to really look at the world around us, to see the birds pecking at the ground, the squirrels jittering from tree to tree, or simply acknowledging the change of seasons would have an effect on us. In order to do this we would first have to see the world as alive, for me that is not hard to do, but for others it may be, and here is where mythology could help.

We already have an amazing collection of mythologies at our disposals. There are shelves and shelves of them in every library, at every bookstore, and even in most of our homes. I agree with Carl Jung when he said that naively wishing for the good old days is a dangerous act in deed, but that is not what I am suggesting we do. I am not suggesting that we go back and dig up those mythologies in order to read them as fact. I would not be so simple-minded as to suggest that we go back to the days of superstitions and witch trials, I certainly would not want to be burnt at the stake.

What I am suggesting is that we take another look at those ancient mythologies and the many world mythologies that still exist and, with our current knowledge intact, study them for what they have to offer. Elsa-Brita Titchenell explains this much more clearly in her article Mythology Today, “If we recognized the never-failing wisdom, thinly veiled in all ancient traditions, the human predicament would be greatly relieved and mankind would be less prone to suffer the delayed effects of its own unwisdom.” (1999). And Moore has this to say, “…we could resurrect mythmakers of the past by recovering an appreciation for mythologies from around the world.” (p. 221)

So how would we go about re-discovering world mythologies? We could always start right here, right now, by bringing these mythologies into our own lives. The Tarot is a type of mythology and a good introduction to the archetypes and the archetypal situations revolving around and within mythology. Jung himself states, “the set of pictures in the Tarot cards were distantly descended from the archetypes of transformation…”(p.38). Here is one beginning.

Then there is the making of our own mythologies and the mythologies of our children. As a parent we instantly become myth-makers and Gods for our children, and that is a responsibility I take very seriously. The simple telling of your story is always a wonderful place to begin. Richard Stromer says that, “…the practice of personal mythwork can be described as any activity that engages one in deep imaginal, symbolic, metaphorical, and archetypal reflection on the story of one’s life.” (p. 35) Just tell your story, the story of your upbringing, your ancestors, and yourself.

Adam Blatner listed the telling of stories, writing a journal, making art, “re-enchanting everyday life, adding angels, faeries, and magical moments”, and “ornamenting” life with symbols as ways of mythmaking. (2002)

I tell my son stories about our day’s activities where he plays the hero, the trickster, or whatever and for us that is mythmaking. We make up stories about magical beasts and ancient guides playing in our lives. In our lives a mean person becomes a lonely dragon and a trying situation turns into the trickster at play. We begin everyday by telling each other about our dreams from the night before and we go to bed each night reciting one thing we did to help another being that day.

There are so many ways to let your life become a magical, mythical place. All you need is a little time and a little imagination. Let the world and the things in it become an active player in your mythology, pay attention to your dreams, and don’t be afraid to be a little creative.

Studying mythology, learning the myths of other cultures, and looking for ways that myths are playing out in our own lives will have effects on us and our families that will last for generations. “The ultimate result of such a personal encounter with mythology is nothing less than a fundamental and profound alteration of the way in which one envisions one’s life and engages the world.” (Stromer, 35) According to Moore by studying mythology we could learn to “…perceive the myths we are living every day and to observe those that are particularly ours as individuals.” (p. 223)

There is a reason why mythology has lasted so long and why it is still around despite the many wars that have been raged against it. We need mythology, maybe more now than ever before. We need to be reminded of the bigger picture and the lasting effects of the decisions we are making everyday. We need to be reminded that there is always something bigger going on and that each of us are not only surrounded by the sacred and divine, we are a part of that sacredness and divinity. We can choose to either encumber it or make it more magical by having our very presence. I choose to be present. How about you?

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