“When we lose our myths we lose our place in the universe.”
The allure and raw, visceral essence of life is ever present in our natural world. We see the seasons change slowly and rapidly. We witness the sky darken and brighten daily, waking with the sun and sleeping with the moon. It’s a samba we’ve danced with nature since our birth. But the truth is, these elements are only a few of all that’s left of our natural connections.
We’ve all been ripped off simply by being born into this time period.
We’re all missing a mythology that for thousands of years humans were raised alongside. Now, without these myths, we are forming an ethos based on a jaded history, a confounded present and an even more confusing, seemingly impossible future.
For millennia, humans had their myths. These were handed down by tribes, clans and families by oral tradition and carved into stone, painted with crushed plants, rock and saliva. People separated by oceans, mountains, culture and time all had their myths, and they all had their stories that made sense of life.
But the myth wasn’t a simple bedtime story.
For ancient people, myths were as real as the stars they slept under and as tangible as the Earth they walked upon. They lived by mythology. Mythology was in every sense of the word, their own living truth.
They hunted in accord with myth and legend. They gathered, forecast the weather and made calendars, plotted the stars and traveled, all while interwoven in a story, in a myth that made sense to them and filled their world with wonder and purpose. It was the myth that guided them. Through fear at times, and through reverence at others.
For our ancestors, mythology was a sacred language. It was all the meaning of life they needed to grow, migrate, reproduce, form traditions and become elders.
Today, we know only fragments of the myths told by these people. Their stories sit high on dusty shelves in the backs of old libraries, in dust ridden books with dingy pages holding the petrichor of a forgotten world, one cast into near oblivion by our quick-minded, empirical thought-driven society.
We know little of the life these people lived. Yet, their story is survived still, though surrounded by surmounting questions that can only be answered by studying their myths.
We know nothing of the totems they revered. We know only a glimpse of the stars they once knew, and named. We dare drink from the waters they once traveled by when they were pure, unpolluted vessels of life. And we cannot fathom the unknowns they once suffered, the questions they had about their own life, existence and the space that bound it all together.
Yes, these people are our ancestors, but we are nothing like them. Only a few of us are even remotely aware of our surroundings, and particularly that of our natural environment.
I was visited twice recently. Both times by a crow. This jet black trickster marked the road away, and came again along the road home. An ordinary person may simply not pay this much attention. After all, it’s just a crow. But, for one who attunes to his environment, through the atonement of presence, the mythology of the crow is profound.
Embrace change. Embrace Death. Embrace Life. For the crow heralds a mystical wind that blows about, alerting the spirit to life, magic and mystery. Keeper of the sacred laws, pointing the way to destiny as a new phase of life emerges. It is the magic of personal transformation, which I truly feel within. This is the crow’s magic.
And the magic is in the myth.
Our world is void of this wondrous magic. We know little of the exhilarating dreams these myths which guided our ancestors can bring. These legends have now escaped our lexicon of thought for many generations. Our children now miss a critical part of their human existence, as the wonder of these myths have been abandoned, replaced by practical, empirical knowledge, cartoons , apps and plastic toys.
And we are left with a new mythology, one where we attempt to dispel or disprove any and everything we may come across. NO longer is our heart quickened by wonder, and no longer are our lives steeped within the joy of possibility. By the stroke of a finger we erase all doubt. By a tap or a click we mute the mystery of life, and we no longer rely on our intuition, or by tuning into the presence of nature to guide us.
The stars have become just a sparkle in the night sky as we wait for dawn, no longer brilliant, no longer mysterious, no longer named.
We walk around unconscious to consciousness, circling doubt with red ink and staring off into a digital void, hoping someone will like us.
Rinse and Repeat…
This is not existence. It is not living. It is a slow death, one without purpose.
We should all do well to become mindful of our surroundings. To open the dusty books that tell of yesterday and attempt to understand the mind of a man or woman who lived over 50,000 years ago. We should pay attention to our totems, and to the voice inside our heart, to the whisper that has guided us since birth.
But, one cannot travel the path until one becomes the path.
Form your own mythology. Brand your ethos without analysis and make it your own. Let this be how we are remembered, by the nuanced lives that we now must live. The guidance we seek can be found within and all around us, anytime we’re ready to truly open our eyes and see.
What yesterday can teach us now, tomorrow will bear its fruit.
Travel well, and may your myth never fall silent.