I received a reply to my last blog in which I emphasized the importance of mythology in making sense of the nature of the universe and its ability for human beings to place their individual adversities in a larger, less personal context. The power of mythology is to allow us to accept our failings and move through them without 'falling' into existential despair. When Biblical heros, for example, sin, make errors in choice and action, fall and then rise again and are acknowledged as great spiritual beings, then hope is not lost for us as well. Carl Jung understood this notion when he wrote about our tendencies to internalize our angst and create physical and emotional symptoms [pathologize] when we lose our connection with mythology and spirituality.
A comment from one my readers questioned my use of the term 'mythology' and implied that it was somehow misguided.
I'm not quite clear about the objection but I assume that to the reader the term 'mythology' implied that the image or metaphor was 'false'. To some extent I do mean to imply that myths are not to be taken as historical truth. I do believe that all religious texts are 'man-made'. I do strongly disagree with any literal interpretation of any religious writing.
They are ALL man's interpretation of something–something Divine, mysterious and inherently beyond simple stories. Don't human beings do the actual 'transcribing' ? I do believe, however, that these stories/myths that we have created over the centuries reflect an underlying metaphysical spiritual truth. They should be honored, read, debated and meditated upon for this very reason.
The persistence of these myths over the centuries reflects how deeply they touch this higher truth. We risk losing the benefit they provide if we either–
1] deny their spiritual source and reject them thereby suffering physically and emotionally.
2] take them too literally, as historical truths and, in doing so, lessen they power to heal us.
I do advocate continuing the dialogue with those who care to do so. I understand that a fundamentalist approach to any religious text often precludes the ability to discuss their deeper, mythical and mystical meaning. I feel that this is unfortunate on many levels–not only does it curtail dialogue, it reduces the power of these myths to transform us.