What is Myth?
Part 5: A Tentative Conclusion
Mythosophy can be defined as the “wisdom of myth” and yet Mythosophy cannot be so defined. Myth can be defined and yet we have seen the scholarly failure to fully define it in our May 16, 2014 post (“Let’s Forget the Scholars”). Wisdom may be defined, yet the living wisdom of higher consciousness may not be defined. Definition is limitation. That which transcends language cannot be directly described by language. Your creativity and clarity cannot be defined by language; it must be experienced in your life’s march. Our march is from our past, through our present, and toward our futures.
Collapsing the past and future into the present is the beginning of eternity.
The unspoken truths of higher consciousness cannot be encapsulated in language. They may, however, be hinted at through song, music, poetry, lyrical prose, and soaring rhetoric. These are skills whose purview belong to the nine Greek Muses; goddesses of creativity.
The transcendent cannot be a syllogism, but may be a poem, a song, a well turned phrase, a mood or action. The fragments of wisdom made manifest as the stories of myth and mythic speech are hints of greater truths and are as signs pointing the way in our march toward truth. The ideals they convey are grist for our spiritual mills.
From my 2001 book, Mythosophy: The Wisdom Of Myth; A Defense Of Perennial Thought In Post-Modern Times, p. 156: “Hidden within … myth are parables of wisdom which point the way to the transcendent realization of one’s being. As knowledge differs from wisdom, so does a state of mind stand in contrast to a transformation of being. Only under the smile of Sophia, wisdom, may we truly step into greater versions of ourselves and, then, give to the world our new found wealth.”
While myth denotes “speech” and “story” its connotations are endless; each expression is approximate to the One. As one cup holds water so does an inspired word and story hold truth. And, when we hear truth we often wish, if ready and thirsty, to drink deeply a draught from that chalice.
Myths are stories about spiritual realities. They often appear garbled precisely because the totality of what they describe is so vast and so far beyond the ken of human understanding and language, that they appear much as the separate pieces of a puzzle; a chaotic jumble that nonetheless may be crafted or processed into a greater picture.
Myths are the broken pieces of a mirror indiscriminately reflecting images, but reflecting nonetheless.
Many myths are of remote times because they are reports of consciousness when time was coming into being.
Let us become as artists and gather these scattered images to create a picture or mosaic that reflects the truths of our higher consciousness. Let the old truths serve as mid-wives for new insights. Let the artist, you, communicate them.
Mythic speech is truth spoken from the heart; true words from a true heart. Mythoi (plural) are often aphoristic in form. Have you ever spoken or heard words that led to a shift in consciousness in yourself or another? Let yourself, as artist, listen and hear these words. Let yourself, as artist, communicate your words; your truth.
Poesis is mythic speech and art.
Do you have a favorite saying that expresses some wisdom you have earned? Here’s one I heard recently: “Do less and be more.” May we find good answers to good questions and may we give to the world (each other) our highest truths.
In tentative conclusion, myths are compilations of sacred stories and words about facts and values that are crucially and vitally important for a culture. In mythology, the study of myth (the logoi of myth), they must be treated preeminently as an expression of a particular culture; a mythos is its ancient voice. They must be considered in the context of a particular time and place. In mythology, I do not believe in a Campbellian “monomyth” existing as a substrate to all myths. For me, the only pure commonality to different mythologies is that all humans have manifested a body of myths.
In mythosophy, however, the wisdom of myth (the sophia of myth), I suggest the possibility that all myths contain portions and segments that point to a transcendental beyond. Mythosophy is the accent on a certain part of each compilation, or “heap” if you will on that which is most important. As such, Mythosophy considers all stories rather than the select high tales of myth in that story facilitates inner transportation to different ideals and an expansion of consciousness and being.
“When the ego is crying, the Soul is laughing” so say some mystics.
Through contemplation, meditation, or prayer the ideals of myth and mythic speech can lead us to a greater clarity. With clarity comes purpose; with purpose comes the fulfillment of our beingness in this world and the transcendental realms. Mythosophy can heal and align the axis of our being so that we may commune and communicate with the Absolute, much as physicians heal our bodies.
Sometimes healing is painful. Birth is often painful, yet a new consciousness is the result.
And so I wonder, have you ever noticed a higher purpose that, sometimes, appears to operate in your life? What is your story? How would you narrate it?
Look and you will see; listen and you will hear. Place your attention on your highest ideal and follow your path. This is our tentative, or evolving, conclusion.