Once there was a young man named Maury who lived in a far away land that few people visited. This land was populated with all manner of strange animals and bizarre landscapes. Trees grew to be two-hundred feet tall and creatures never seen anywhere before roamed its mysterious woods. Some of these had two heads and others had multiple tails. Some were large and ugly; some were small and attractive. They were all unique, that was for certain. They came in all sizes, shapes and colors and bore little resemblance to animals located elsewhere in the world. Here, there were no rivers or streams to speak of; however, there occurred regular showers that provided water to the vegetation and assured sustenance for all the inhabitants of this mysterious area.
All of these creatures lived in relative harmony until one day a stranger arrived in their midst. This stranger had very poor manners and odd ways of communicating with the residents of this forest. He would yell at them to get out of his way, push them aside or intimidate them with his great variety of weapons. This was a very unhappy man. He had been banned from his own homeland by neighbors and acquaintances because of how poorly he treated them. Over the past few years he had become more angry and surly than previously. It was thought that this change might be due to the loss of his wife who had died of a terrible illness. Until that event he had been a more reasonable man who was just given to periodic outbursts of temper, no more or less than other individuals living in his area. So this change in behavior had caught his contemporaries by surprise.
It was when this man's wife died of that very rare disease that his demeanor changed for the worse. He yelled at or attacked anyone who came near him. Eventually he had upset nearly all of the people in his home area. These individuals finally had enough and made the decision to have him banished from their land. That is how this surly man came to this place where Maury and the strange creatures of this forest lived. His former villagers did not know who or what resided in these strange woods. All they cared about was that this location was a good distance from their home area and they would be well rid of this grouch who had become intolerable to bear.
So when the stranger first arrived here, he was unsurprisingly angry as ever. He cursed and swore and threatened vengeance on his former villagers. His bitterness made him unapproachable. The creatures in this wooded area had never seen anything like this before. They had become used to Maury who was always even tempered and amiable. They expected that all humans would be like this. Maury treated them with respect and fairness. They in turn respected and honored him even though he was as different from them as they were from each other.
When this strange angry man appeared in their midst, the creatures of this land became understandably distraught. They were not used to being yelled at, let alone attacked or threatened in any manner, so they had no idea how to deal with this. Many of them experienced feelings they never felt before - hurt, anger, rage, dismay - all very unpleasant feelings with which they had little experience. A delegation representing all of the creatures was sent to see Maury in order to address the impact of this intruder. Along the way questions such as "Should we kick him out?" came up. "Should we physically remove him?" others asked. And, ultimately, "What can we do to be rid of this blight?"
When the delegation arrived at Maury's home, they were quite excited and speaking all at once. "A strange man has come into our midst. He is obnoxious and surly. He upsets us very much. He threatens us and calls us rude names. We want to be rid of him. Help us please to get rid of him" they cried out. Maury listened intently and acknowledged their great distress. He told them he could see their hurt and suffering, and he could easily understand why they wanted to be rid of this man.
Maury suggested there might be another way to deal with this intruder and shared with them a plan. He explained that the behaviors they had observed were not unknown to him. He had seen them displayed by others back where he once lived. Maury believed that this situation could be handled in a more productive fashion than by just casting this individual out. He suggested that all of the creatures present return to their homes and put on their finest attire. Then would they please join Maury at the location where the surly man was last seen.
"What we require here is a celebration," he told them, "rather than a condemnation. We need to celebrate because a lost soul has found his way to us and, rather than reject him, we should welcome him in our usual friendly manner."
"We," he went on, "can continue to be our usual happy selves if we choose to. And let's see how he responds to us then. We already know how we are affected by his outbursts and surliness. Let's see how our customary demeanor affects him."
Maury's point was well taken. All of the creatures went to their homes to put on their finest attire and then headed for the clearing where the stranger had been last seen on this day. As they approached the area the man jumped up and started yelling again. Maury motioned for all to stay calm and to continue to approach slowly. The man yelled louder and began to make threatening gestures. The group continued to move closer. Maury then stepped forward and greeted the man
"Greetings, good sir, welcome to our forest. How may we help you?" he asked.
"By leaving me alone," the man shot back.
"I see," Maury continued. "You wish to be alone. But we of the forest invite you to join us in our celebration."
"What celebration?" the man grumbled.
"Well, when a new creature arrives in our midst we all gather and put on our finest attire to welcome him and make him feel at home."
"Why would you do that?" the man growled.
"Because we all have been lost at one time or another sir, because we all have felt rejected and afraid, and, because we all have felt angry about one thing or another and needed to yell at life in return."
The man seemed to relax at this point and then began to speak in a quieter, less aggressive tone.
"Well, for such a strange group of creatures, you seem to know quite a lot about people who are not from here. How is it that you know how I feel?"
"Because," Maury replied, "my friends and I have felt the same at one time or another. Look closely at us. Are we not odd? Are we not the strangest bunch of creatures you have ever seen?"
"Yes, you are," the man replied. "Now that I look at you, I can see that you are indeed an unusual group of individuals."
"And that is why we live here," Maury continued, "because no one in the outside world would accept us as we are. If we did not conform to their expectations, or meet their particular standards of appearance, we were driven away. Eventually, we all wound up here."
"So, how did you get to be so friendly?" the man asked.
"Well, in the early days of our arrival here, we were not so friendly. We also yelled and threatened each other. But then one day we began to talk about how we came to be here and about our losses and hurts. As we shared with each other our feelings of pain and rejection, we started to feel better. We then made it a practice to talk with each other regularly and to engage new arrivals as soon as possible. But it's been so long since we had a new arrival that many of us have forgotten how to behave. We had not considered our own losses for some time now, so we didn't recognize where you were coming from at first. But, as you can see, we do now and we wish to welcome you among us."
The man looked dumbfounded; he was sad and happy at the same time. He recognized that he was welcome and he acknowledged their kindness. He asked them how they could be so friendly when he had been nothing but rude from the moment he arrived. He went on to share that he had never experienced this level of acceptance before, even back when things were going much better in his life. He admitted that his biggest hurt began when his wife died, but that there had been hurt in his life before this tragic event. It seems our surely man was so pleased at how accepting his audience was that he simply wanted to share everything with them. There was something in the air; that was certain.
Our surly man continued to share his life story with the creatures of this strange land. He apologized for being so rude to them earlier. Now that he felt free to speak a look of relief began to spread over his face. Maury then stepped forward to shake his hand and formally welcome him again. He assured him that the apologies would be accepted and began explaining how things were perceived and dealt with in this strange land.
"First, we acknowledge and value all life forms. We make no distinctions and place no greater priority for one individual over another. All present here are important and contribute to the fabric of our existence. We have learned that we need each other. What one of us cannot do another can and so on, so that all our needs are met. We have all come to appreciate and value these unique contributions."
"Second, all creatures, great or small, require Love. There is no exception to this rule. We believe that even the inanimate objects in our midst require love, so we make it a priority to provide each other with that basic nourishment."
"Third, we value each other's uniqueness. Within this great diversity we are strong and capable. Because of our differences we can help each other in unique ways, and we have accomplished great things as a result. Our diversity is our strength. In the outside world, where conformity presides, our distinctive features were considered aberrant and we were usually condemned. Most of us were banished from these areas because of our unique yet unusual capabilities. In this realm, where cooperation reigns, we accept these differences and we celebrate them. Our view once again is that diversity means strength and, what others have rejected about us, we have demonstrated to be of great value."
"There is no waste here. A creature with three tails can swat more flies than another with one tail. An individual with two heads can carry on multiple conversations and look at an issue from two sides at once. A two-hundred foot tree may deliver little shade but does provide a platform from which to view incoming weather patterns, the migration of birds, and the approach of strangers. Everyone has a useful function; everything here has value. Even an angry, surly man such as yourself can provide value if we can help you get through your pain."
"Fourth, we believe that all creatures, all persons, all living things are basically good. And we're willing to bet that a surly man is angry because of some trauma or injury rather than as a function of character or disposition. We have yet to be proven wrong on this, and you sir are the latest arrival to substantiate our belief. For a while there many of us forgot these premises and were ready to cast you out. However, we soon remembered and we're happy to welcome you as is our usual custom. Now, you sir can join us if you wish and share with us your vast experience and knowledge. We will be enriched by that sharing and blessed by your arrival here. Will you join us then, and share what you have to offer?"
"I will" the man replied enthusiastically, "and I thank you for receiving me so warmly. You are truly and incredible group of creatures and I appreciate your generous invitation. Please let me repay this kindness by offering you whatever talents and abilities that I possess, so that I too may make a contribution to this unique and wonderful place."
And a resounding "cheer" was heard far and wide as all the creatures of this "land faraway" rejoiced with their new arrival. Another lost Soul had been salvaged by being rescued from the grip of his former pain and losses. Another flower in God's great garden was beginning to bloom and celebrate his life and value. Our stranger, who was so surly and sad, began to express himself anew, this being aided by the support and friendship of his new found friends. As a result his pain began to heal and the losses from the past receded. Through the freeing up of his creative self-expression, this once surely man began to thrive again, and yes, all would be well in his world.
The magic of time is limitless. Each generation brings to the scene a potpourri of resources designed to stir the imagination. Today, it is the movie theatre, a symbol of a decadent society to some, a mystery to others and a joy to many. On the screen of life are an abundance of mythical images. On the screen of a theatre these Images are played out for us in small vignettes. We see them light up the movie screen and prepare us for a journey into our psyche. We project them out onto the screen so we can take them in. The producers do the work. We absorb the result.
In recent times, movies have become more artful, more subtle, more sophisticated and certainly more advanced. With advances in technology and special effects, they create an illusion, take us to places we've never been and teach us something about ourselves in the process. They allow us to laugh and to cry while offering us experiences that we would not have otherwise. They expose us to a great variety of avenues offered by life. They teach us about relationships to ourselves, to others, and to the world around us. In turn, they teach us to appreciate each other.
Each vignette that lights up the screen carries an essential message. The human spirit is alive and well, and playing out its mythical heritage on the theatre screen. The screen of life is cast into a movie and we can enjoy it from the comfort of our own perspective. Movies advise us of life's many possibilities.
We don't have to live out every eventuality in life. We can watch and live them out vicariously. This way, we are exposed to a multiplicity of events that can affect a person's life. We are witness to the multitude of mythical images available to us at this time. Pay attention! The smallest of cues may hold an important key to finding our way Home.
Mythical images have purpose. They convey a message and deliver a point. Their many characters set the stage for what the protagonist is about to learn. We are all main characters at some point in our lives and bit players at other times. This is the scene in which we participate and follow whenever a life lesson unfolds. Lessons, big and small, are played out in larger than life mythical tales such as the stories of Hercules and Ulysses. Other lessons, big or small, can show up in subtler forms such as 'The Heart is a Lonely Hunter'. We get a taste of everything somewhere along the way if we are living consciously.
When a man and a woman meet on the movie screen of life they set in motion the mythical imagery of the centuries gone before them. All that has been learned about emotions and relationships are brought to the fore and played out in this new drama. Such lessons are universal and played out repeatedly beginning with Adam and Eve moving through to today's Harry and Sally.
We watch; we enjoy; we appreciate. We see ourselves as one of the characters. We see the characters as if they are us. We view what transpires with this couple or ourselves not realizing an old play is afoot. These protagonists represent millions of players over the years and have been portrayed in many theatrical performances, reminding us of what has been learned about relationships to this point.
When mythical imagery enters the scene, it cuts to the core of the drama. That is where the heart is and where the stakes are highest. Each man and each woman, playing out their scene, are unaware that a myth is being re-enacted. When acting consciously, they can know that they are part of a larger fabric, a piece of life's web that they are able to construct and then return the lessons learned to the whole of life experience. In so doing we continue to invest in and refine the myths of yesteryear in the present. Movies contextualize yesterday's myths. This is mythology in action. Myths never die, they only change form.
If mythology is fact based, then each play or movie is one representation of that fact, and one example of a particular genre of myth. For example, the myth of the hero is the most widely known and is found in every culture. Joseph Campbell is one researcher of myth who deciphered and described their main parameters. He clearly demonstrated that all myths are a derivative of one Master Myth, the Hero Myth, with each referring back to the basic structural sequence of "Separation, Initiation and Return". Heroes leave the surface world to go underground and deal with dark mysterious forces. Once there, they go through a psychological cleansing process via the challenges they encounter and the lessons they learn about themselves. They then return to the surface of their lives enlightened, stronger, wiser and share that knowledge with the World.
Heroes and heroines usually enter a path of service after having passed through their personal trials. When they are fully healed they have much to offer. Even if they are not, they can still be and example and teach what they have learned. It may not be the entire heroic scenario, but their contributions will still have value.
Heroes and heroines go to the well of transformation many times. Internally they are brought back to that place where they are still blocked. They move on when they surrender to the forces that guide them and their cleansing is complete. While they are stuck, such as Prometheus' foot in a rock, we see that they are driven and unable to take flight. An uncompleted journey shows someone still struggling, caught by some archetype, unable to move past until new information is at hand or some old belief is surrendered to a truth now standing before them. A completed journey shows a man or woman at peace with themselves.
The heroic journey is paradoxical. Life brings us back to that place from which we need to free ourselves. This may be some trauma or psychic rupture from childhood that obstructed our evolutionary path. Many of our mythical stories are symbolic of this state of affairs. Sometimes it's a life in ruin or a state of contradiction from which the hero is trying hard to break free. Some important new player steps in and moves us along. As an example, a depressed young woman steps into a drug store to buy medications with the intent to overdose. An elderly man approaches her and offers a rose which someone had passed on to him. The young woman accepts the rose, leaving the drug store and her intentions of self-harm behind. She enters a nearby hospital, eyes a patient in a hallway and offers the rose. One person with ones small gift made a huge difference in another person's life. Our heroine returned to her path and resumed her journey of growth. The rose timely and broke the spell. While paying her helper's gift forward she renewed her faith in life and herself. Today I know her to be vibrantly alive having moved forward into a life of service.
There are many important characters in all forms of the heroic journey. We never make it on our own. We are guided, nudged, pushed, shoved or propelled into our unique direction. Often they need a kick or a gift to get back on track.
We do this for each other all the time, often unwittingly. We inspire, guide and teach each other. We motivate, challenge and support. We are every actor and bit player. We are all of these because we are living and breathing mythology and we exude this power from our very core. When we see it and feel it, it becomes magic. At that point we know that we are one with the Creator, God, Spirit or Consciousness.
To learn more about yourself read a mythical story or two; preferably some that have similar themes to your own life. There are only a few versions of the main mythical adventure that are re-worked over and over again so its main parameters will soon become visible and familiar. That's when we begin to see ourselves everywhere. We follow ourselves into the next scene. We check out of the action from time to time to review what we've learned, and then return to the fray prepared to learn more. It can't be a play without some repetition. We are venerable creatures after all, capable of much more than we realize.
We move into a more extraordinary realm of consciousness, a source of energy and thought in action, playing itself out in a never ending variety of roles and situations. Beggar, thief, prince, pauper, Christian, Muslim, Jew are roles from which we can sample. We try them on through identification with various characters available to us through movies, plays and books. It is school of a sort. We sample as much as we can. We may identify our favorites early in the process, but not commit to them until the taste testing is over. We apply ourselves to a variety of situations, characters, crises, events, love, joy, hate. We trade hats with each other. It's like one big slumber party where we try on each other's clothes. At times we may be living someone else's life vicariously, and they may be living ours. We're not always conscious of this, but some part of us is paying attention, as we may be reminded later.
We try on lots of roles and experiment with various patterns of behavior. After a time we choose our favorites, that is those that feel most in sync with who we are. These we wear with greater comfort and regularity. A teacher by nature, usually teaches. A healer by nature, usually heals. Within each of these possibilities a number of additional choices are available. These would be opportunities to specialize and develop a specific talent, for personal or professional application. The great mosaic of Life reveals many amazing opportunities and achievements. We have a lifetime to polish the jewel of our talents. Practice makes perfect, we are told.
We focus on our true nature at this point. We set out to refine our particular talents and abilities. That means repetition from several different perspectives, with less venturing into alien territory. That would defeat the our individual purpose. We want to be good at what we're capable of doing, so we specialize. That's the point here. The Creator needs specialists in all the important venues of human experience. People with experience get the job done.
That's where we, aspiring heroes and heroines, enter the stage. We are the ones the Creator is looking for, the ones that are required now. The Creator has called out to this Army of Light, heroes and heroines coming together in this grand mythical adventure to bring home an awakened humanity.
This is an awesome task. Humanity is poised on the brink of a great leap forward. The Army of Light is coming together to help usher in this new consciousness. No one knows with any certainty how this is coming about, but many of us have felt it coming for a number of years. We've seen this awareness grow and expand within the past years including the understanding of our place on this planet and our relationship with all its inhabitants. This growing awareness is now visible in such areas as climate change, personal growth, human rights and our interdependence with each other. This knowledge has been spearheaded and modeled by those of us who have broken through to the new consciousness. We are now aware that only through responsible action can we bring about meaningful change.
Mythical images prepare us for these times. They teach us about many things including love, empathy, courage, perseverance, truth and honesty. They teach us to be open and to seize new ideas and opportunities. They teach us to recognize the truth. Right now the truth wants to be known. Not the truth for all times, but truth for this moment. This is our task. Some would say that we signed up for it prior to incarnating this time, others would say that our collective unconscious is beginning to surface. We can only this in our hearts where our truth lies. No authority figures or institutions can help us here. That is why we rely on mythology as our guide. It has an unmistakable air of truth about it, and because it resonates as being honest, it offers emotional satisfaction at the same time. Mythical imagery is never deceptive. It holds the truth at its core. We need to connect to that core which is the center of our being; this is our heart center and our soul.
We are not deceived when acting from this core. All heroes and heroines learn this; to trust themselves, their felt version of truth, love, justice and freedom. All mythical images have these qualities and have been relied upon throughout the centuries as a valuable resource.
The Creator, through us, wrote all these myths as guideposts to our journey here on Earth. We to play them out and learn through the directions they provide. We are not without hope when we have these images at our disposal. They are the unvarnished truth. They are ever present and come into our awareness when we are ready to receive them. Like children screaming with delight, without reserve or judgment, they comprise unbridled joy, fear, hope, loss and adventure. They are the great emotions and spiritual awakenings of the world. They comprise the core of human experience.
Myths never fail to appease or inspire. They provide comfort and guidance in times of disarray, chaos and uncertainty. That time is here. As we face this new millennium, we look for hope, direction and comfort. We want to feel safe and myths can provide that with its indelible referents. We are here to learn more about ourselves and each other, and myth can help us map a sound way Home.
This is why we need myth. To drive us to our goals, to show us what can be done and to teach us how to do it. We are here for a purpose and that purpose is to learn. We learn about our lives through myth. We learn that the Creator is with us and we can call Him into our life movie at any moment. He is the inspiration behind Myth. Therefore myths lead back to the Creator, the point of their origin and our final destination. Full circle, we return to the beginning, the Source, which is the Creator within each and every one of us.