The Bard's Grove

"There are times when people need stories more than they need nourishment, because the stories feed something deeper than the needs of the body."
Charles DeLint, The Onion Girl

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Our Need for New Archetypal Stories

          Humans make sense of our lives through Story.  Many of our old collective stories are worn out; losing their vitality they become stereotypes (despite the obsessive insistence of the truth of those stories by some people).  Archetypes need renewing from age to age when the old story has lost its enchantment for us.  They no longer serve their true function of helping us cope with life.  Our modern world is too different and more complex from what came before.  The times are changing.   We need new stories!

            Especially in times of unrest and instability, we need stories to help us make sense of our lives. We are living in those times when ‘people need stories more than they need nourishment. . .’   Unfortunately, even though stories are available to us 24/7 – now available on your phone! - most of our communal stories don’t satisfy us on a deep level. We are stuffed with stories, but are we inspired by them?  Do we find the deep wisdom in them that can change our lives? And when we do find a story that inspires us, do we treat it as a pleasant fantasy or do we allow it to grow into something unique and splendidly different in our lives?  Do we make it our own?

                                                               Elana Gibeault
We can also come to know ourselves through our dream stories. We all are fascinated by our dreams.  I can vouch for that – when people hear I’m a dreamworker, they are eager to share their dreams.  But since we’ve been taught by our culture that dreams have no real meaning, most of those people don’t respect the story messages that their dreams bring them every night. We no longer remember the symbolic language of dreams and metaphors, humanity’s original language that we seem to have lost building the Tower of Babel.  When we lose our child-like ability to imagine and fully inhabit a symbolic understanding of life, we lose our capacity to digest our stories so that they ‘feed something deeper than the needs of the body’.    

We’ve also lost our separate cultural stories along the way, those ‘folk stories’ and folk wisdom that get passed down through families and cultures.  Too often, our modern ‘myths’ can’t help us create and deal with real change in our lives and our world like the old stories did for past generations.   Our educational system, as well as our modern media, so often severs this connection to our cultural stories and to the mythic imagination, leaving us in danger of losing our ancient wisdom traditions as well as our own ability to create new stories and discover new wisdom.  

But a strong connection to the Creative Imagination within us can change that.  This is our untapped gift, another lens on our world that can help us navigate the changes coming our way.  We still have our dreams, if we are willing to respect their messages.  We still have great storytellers, who study the ancient stories and birth the new ones.  The great cosmic laws of life are still at play in the world and within us, even when we don’t recognize them.  

While we all have the potential to tap into this Creative Imagination, not all of us can in equal measure. It is the true storytellers who have the gift to tap into these cosmic laws on an imaginal level and pass it on to us through songs and stories that open us to cosmic truth on a heart level.

So this month, I'm going to explore the 1977 movie The Last Wave by Peter Weir, who went on to make Gallipoli, The Year of Living Dangerously, Witness and Dead Poets Society to name just a few of his many movies. 

1 comment:

  1. Lovely site Cathy! I look forward to following it~! elizabeth spring