Masters of the Universe

“Nights through dreams tell the myths forgotten by the day.” 

 C.G. Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections

Olympia

Mythology is a story of the sacred that has come down through the ages of humankind.  The breadth and depth of this discussion is immeasurable for it encompasses all cultures throughout time.  Even definitions and categorizations are complex and the subject of ongoing debate. But there is one certainty:  myths seek to answer those questions that give substance and meaning to our existence.  How did life begin? What happens in death? Why is there good and evil?  Why am I here?  What is my purpose?  We want to be masters of our universe, which can only be realized when we understand our place within that universe.

Joseph Campbell, a mythologist who wrote and lectured on comparative mythology and comparative religion, suggested that “Mythology is composed by poets out of their insights and realizations. Mythologies are not invented; they are found. You can no more tell us what your dream is going to be tonight than we can invent a myth. Myths come from the mystical region of essential experience.”   This is indeed a topic for deep discussion.  Even so, there is a genuine simplicity imbedded in these spell-binding mythological tales, each of which offers a wealth of imagery to amuse and stir our senses.  They reveal the power of love, courage, loyalty; and address the darker emotions of jealousy, cruelty and violence. They help us understand loss and the finality of death in our reality.

Olympia

As a ten-year-old, these thoughts were far from my mind when I searched the library shelves for books that would take me back to ancient Greece and the heroics of Hercules, the beauty of Aphrodite and wisdom of Athena.  I felt a connection with their stories that continue to this very day.  Perhaps being the master of our universe is merely being a voice within a universal conversation.

Civilizations pass; myths endure.

 

24 thoughts on “Masters of the Universe

  1. “…being the master of our universe is merely being a voice within a universal conversation.”

    The Myth then distills from the Conversation… the strongest Spirits within the Mash of Experience become the draught we imbibe in.
    We can each only be the masters of our individual perceptions, ie our own individual universe. Joining in the conversation, participation in the process, and a willingness to be thrown out to feed the chickens after our part of the myth has been condensed… what more could one hope for? :)

  2. So many memories, dreams and reflections that make up our lives, and yes through many dreams the myths, some of which do lead to turning one’s world into the unexpected reinventions of ourselves. Some of these may even inspire us to write of the experiences, in one form or another, and in as many unending directions as these three elements impassion and or induce. Thank you Rebecca for introducing this most interesting and of course inspiring topic. Excellent!

    • Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I believe that poetry brings clarity to this discussion for it allows us to recognize imagery that goes to the heart of what matters most. Those words resonate with my experience: “unexpected reinventions of ourselves” I am looking forward to this series of posts – not certain where it will all lead. Maybe that is the best part because it allows for the unexpected.

  3. I’m a huge fan of Jung. Campbell is amazing, too. Two masters of the mysteries of the psyche. When my niece was 10, she also developed a fascination with ancient Greece. At that age, my husband was into ancient Egypt. I was obsessed with Easter Island. Many of my friends went through similar phases. It’s funny how some children gravitate towards particular ancient cultures. I wonder what Jung would have to say about that. :D

    • I remember the first time I started to read, “Memories, Dreams, Reflections” I had to set it aside for a couple of weeks. I had to adjust to the intensity. It would be interesting indeed to hear Jung’s thoughts on why we gravitate to a specific culture. For me, it was Greece.

      The point I find the most interesting is that we look back to the myths, even at a young age.

      And now…we have added technology!!!

    • New Zealand is a fertile ground for mythology – i.e. the LOTR and The Hobbit. I had never heard about “The Almighty Johnsons” so checked out YouTube. The power of mythology is alive and well, given that this series links back to the Norse gods. I smiled when I read the fan response to its cancellation. This is from Wikipedia:

      “Fan protests were launched immediately both in New Zealand and internationally, taking the form of an online petition, written complaints to TV3, and a ‘send a twig to TV3′ campaign (representing Yggdrasil, the mythical ‘tree of life’ from the show).”

    • Thank you for stopping by. I was thinking about how science fiction fits into our mythology. I watched Star Trek from the very beginning and now recall, that much of their stories were about mythology. And what was so interesting was that much of what we considered science fiction in the 1970’s has become a reality today.

      “Science fiction is the most important literature in the history of the world, because it’s the history of ideas, the history of our civilization birthing itself. …Science fiction is central to everything we’ve ever done, and people who make fun of science fiction writers don’t know what they’re talking about.” Ray Bradbury

  4. Fascinating post Rebecca and wonderful pics… One of the most moving passages in Joseph Campbell for me was his description of Kennedy’s death and funeral and the mythical qualities of it all… Fascinating too how myths are part of our collective consciousness … I remember an agonising conversation with my stepmother with her asking angrily if we told our friends she was like the wicked stepmother in Snow-white – what an accurate myth and archetype that was, and what a Freudian question !!!

    • Valerie!! I’m delighted that you stopped by…and added so much to this discussion. I have wanted to delve into this topic for quite a while and never seemed to find the time simply because I thought it may too much time. I didn’t want to just skim the surface. And then I realized that we are all skimming the surface – no matter how much we know, there is always so much more to know. Is is indeed fascinating how myths are part of our collective consciousness. Coming from a western perspective, the individual is admired, yet we thrive within community. I think that you would appreciate those quote by Karen Armstrong.

      “If professional religious leaders cannot instruct us in mythological lore, our artists and creative writers can perhaps step into this priestly role and bring fresh insight to our lost and damaged role.”
      ― Karen Armstrong, A Short History of Myth

  5. as usually a wonderful and interesting post, Becky… I’ve been fascinated by Greek and Egyptian myhtology since my childhood… I had the chance to visit Egypt years ago and we plan to visit Greece after we retire, as it’s here, in “old Europe”-less than 3h-flight… :) in some of my posts, I did use and mention Penelope, Ulysse, Nefertiti, etc… like here: :)
    http://myvirtualplayground.wordpress.com/2013/10/11/missing-egypt-nefertiti-she-seems-to-have-an-invisible-touch/

    • I agree the mythology of Egypt and Greece draws us by its rich symbolism and sacred meanings. I am looking forward to the “mythology” discussion. First read is: Gilgamesh. Thank you for joining the dialogue – very much appreciated.

    • I agree wholeheartedly. Mythology holds so many narratives, characters, gods, reflections and themes! And yet they link us to the past and future in ways that we do not even understand. Even now, we are revisiting the flood myth. This YouTube clip has 10 Million views.

Comments are closed.