Discovering the Mythic Mind

“Myths are lies that tell the truth.” -Phil Cousineau

We are the inheritors of numerous stories that come to us in two general yet distinct forms. We call them “myths” and “fairy Tales.” While these two threads of the elder story have valuable differences that deserve rapt attention, as an introduction to the following ideas, I believe their commonalities will orient us best.

These are stories from Deep Time. They come to us from antiquity and before. They have only speculative origins shrouded in the passing of ages by the fog of fallen civilizations. Each story has many versions, taking on the context, biases, agendas and inspirations of the storytellers who have passed them on. As such, they have many meanings and angles of interpretation. They are like a root system for our psyches that bring not only the objective content of the stories but also the subtle communications about the journeys they have been on to reach us. They are like living petroglyphs in our psyches—multidimensional collective images or hyper-dreams connecting us all through root saturation via proximity.

There are no right or wrong ways to work with these stories. I find, however, some ways that are more beneficial to creating healing and connection in ourselves and our world than others. What we make of these stories and what we do with them says more about us than it does about them.

The language of Deep Time stories is the language of the Mythic Mind, a language of nuanced and shapeshifting symbols. This language is not set in stone. It has clear portals of meaning that we can use to enter into the process, but if we insist on one set of meanings, it is no different than demanding the front door to a vast palace of views is the only perspective from which you can genuinely see it.

As we learn to work with a changing set of meanings within a story’s context, we begin to unfold layer after layer of hidden messages each contains. This skill is akin to how our perspective can change in our dreams. One moment we see a dream from a first-person perspective. Then we switch who’s eyes through which we are viewing. We then take in the whole scene from a disembodied perspective. We may even zoom out beyond an ordinary sense of time and space to see the entire dream simultaneously.

It takes a kind of maturity, which within this context I will define as a focused playfulness born of psychic endurance, to move past our attempts to identify with or reject the different characters in a Mythic Mind story. Symbolic elements of gender, age, social status and transgression abound in these stories. While we can apply these symbols to our everyday world and see some interesting things, if we also learn to see them within their own contexts, within the frame of the dreaming of the Mythic Mind, they begin to speak of far more powerful ideas. Oracular ideas. Like all things Soul, this storytelling approach is a craft that takes patience and sincere interest to develop.

To clarify, I am not saying that this mode of understanding is the only way to read these stories. Neither is it the only way we should read these stories. We need to stay fluid in our approaches to everything. We need to be able to shift between the strata of life and meaning with skill and use our ability to change perspective to find the orientations in a given moment that serves best. Such variety is the spice of life and a wholeness-imbuing tonic that bridges worlds and helps nurture healing and harmony.

These stories come from a place deep within time, and we are incredibly fortunate to have them. They are endless wells of collective-dream-meaning into which our roots can sink to find a kind of nourishment not found on the surface of life nor in the lofty skies of spirituality above us. As our roots dig deeper into these places “under the world,” they find not only their own soul fuel but also that each soul is rooted into the same world soul. From this subterranean communal space, we can bring a truer sense of interconnection and belonging to the surface. These stories can show us how to find such depth.

To be the strong tree of wisdom that can benefit from the ordeals of the storm as much as the warmth of a clear day, we must find deeper roots than we have ever conceived were possible. And they must delve ever deeper and deeper.