Presentation on theme: "Understanding Mythological Systems Mythic Questions 1. 1. Where do I come from? 2. 2. Why am I here? 3. 3. Why do I do the things that I do? 4. 4. Is."— Presentation transcript:
Understanding Mythological Systems
Mythic Questions Where do I come from? Why am I here? Why do I do the things that I do? Is there anything more? Where am I going?
Mythic systems rarely call themselves “mythic.” Usually they go by such terms as Christian 2. Native American 3. Scientific 4. Realistic 5. The TRUTH!
The important Question to ask oneself is... “Which mythic system answers the important questions the best?”
Archetypes The Subconscious Whispers of the Divine
C.S. Lewis wrote... “There is, then, a particular kind of story which has a value in itself--a value independent of its embodiment in any literary work.” An Experiment in Criticism
Sigmund Freud "Myths are the Dreams of the Race Dreams are the Myths of the Individual" Sigmund Freud ( )
C.G. Jung ( )
Types of Archetypes 1. The Journey Archetype 2. The Archetype of Rebirth 3. The Female Archetype i. Positive--Mother () i. Positive--Mother (Nurturing) ii. Negative--Seductress () ii. Negative--Seductress (Devouring) 4. The Trickster Archetype 5. The Archetype of the Shadow 6. The Archetype of the Hero
While not official Jungian thought, but it makes sense to also include at least one other: Defined by the use of physical power Male Archetype: Negative the Conqueror--Oppressing Negative the Conqueror--Oppressing Positive Father--Protecting Positive Father--Protecting Males Striving for Balance
HOW TO RECOGNIZE ARCHETYPAL IMAGES: 1. they carry a high emotional charge (positive, negative, or both simultaneously); they have a powerful, compelling effect 2. for an individual, they frequently recur in situations when the rational, conscious mind is not in full control (e.g., recurring dreams and fantasies, obsessive behavior patterns which have no fully rational explanation) 3. this recurrence occurs also in many different eras and cultures (e.g., commonly used symbols in literature, art and life; recurring types of dreams; mythic patterns, etc.)
The Nature of Archetypes 1. It is impossible to fully express an archetype. 2. Human thought can at best only express a portion of meaning. 3. Archetypes are the foundation elements of most myths. 4. They could be the whispered thoughts of God.
The Journey Archetype Also the Archetype of Rebirth 1. The Traveler can go either physically or in spirit 2. An individual must travel to the edge of human comfort.
3. At the edge the seeker will encounter the fantastic (the divine or the infernal). 4. The seeker returns with a treasure 5. The traveler returns to his or her people altered, bringing something for them.
The Traveler can go either physically or in spirit Traveling physically Traveling physically By land: foot, donkey, camel, etc. By land: foot, donkey, camel, etc. By sea: swim, boat By sea: swim, boat By air: bird By air: bird Traveling spiritually Traveling spiritually By dream By dream By vision By vision By death By death
To make such a Journey the individual must travel to the edge of human comfort: To the top of a mountain To the top of a mountain Deep within a cave Deep within a cave Out into the ocean Out into the ocean Far into the wilderness Far into the wilderness Into the woods Into the woods Down into the Abyss Down into the Abyss Ravished up to Heaven Ravished up to Heaven
Beyond Physical Location, travelers sometimes encounter the fantastic during certain times, typified as border-times: Early Morning Midnight Dusk
At the edge, the seeker will encounter (the divine or the infernal) At the edge, the seeker will encounter the fantastic (the divine or the infernal) A Dragon--or some other terrible monster A Dragon--or some other terrible monster Fairie Fairie Alien beings Alien beings Hell (the infernal) Hell (the infernal) Heaven (blessed vision--God) Heaven (blessed vision--God)
The seeker returns with a treasure A Gold Cup and other physical treasure A Gold Cup and other physical treasure A new understanding of self (internal) A new understanding of self (internal) A word from God (external) A word from God (external)
The traveler returns to his or her people altered, bringing something for them. Wealth to help the people prosper Wealth to help the people prosper Knowledge to improve the quality of life (even if it is only in the individual him or herself) Knowledge to improve the quality of life (even if it is only in the individual him or herself) A Word, direction from The Almighty A Word, direction from The Almighty Life Life
How altered? o Physically changed o Moses’ glowing face o Saul’s blindness o Christ’s power o Mentally changed o Jonah view’s about Ninivah o Jacob’s views about Essau o Peter’s views about gentiles
The Female Archetype: The Great Mystery: She’s the bringer of life, but no one knows how. “I am not a fairy tale.” Mercury Thunder of the Grass Dancer
An Archetype with 2 sides : Positive--Mother Positive--Mother Nurturing Nurturing Life giving Life giving Self Sacrificing Self Sacrificing symbolized by bowls or horns of plenty symbolized by bowls or horns of plenty Negative--Seductress Negative--Seductress Devouring Devouring Consuming Consuming symbolized by the vortex symbolized by the vortex
Other important female symbols: Connected with the moon Connected with the moon Going in cycles Going in cycles Manifesting herself in three forms: full, half and new Manifesting herself in three forms: full, half and new Perceived as manifesting herself as three Perceived as manifesting herself as three the maid the maid the matron the matron the crone the crone
Some Other Important 3’s The Three Fates The Three Fates The Three Rhinemaidens The Three Rhinemaidens The Three Graces The Three Graces The Three Stygian Witches The Three Stygian Witches
The Trickster Archetype “Boo!” The Joker from Batman
The Trickster can never be pinned down : Shape shifter--not what he appears Lives by wits--Clever Strategy, guile, cheats Funny Usually can manifest itself for either good or evil--but this depends on the moral universe in which he functions. So even the following is limited!
More Trickster Qualities Displays self-interest. Displays self-interest. This often takes precedence over community allegiance, thus maximizing his “short-term (economic)” gain at the expense of long term social cohesion. This often takes precedence over community allegiance, thus maximizing his “short-term (economic)” gain at the expense of long term social cohesion. Chooses a dupe who is “hard-working and honest.” Chooses a dupe who is “hard-working and honest.” Is a being who formants disorder and discord. Is a being who formants disorder and discord. He/She will “steal, cheat, coerce, mock, deceive, and serve as instrument of torture and death. He/She will “steal, cheat, coerce, mock, deceive, and serve as instrument of torture and death. Moves swiftly and impulsively back and forth across all borders with virtual impunity. Moves swiftly and impulsively back and forth across all borders with virtual impunity.
Some examples of the trickster in Mythic systems. Hermes from Greek Belief Prometheus from Greek Belief Loki from Norse Belief Coyote in Native American Belief Spider in African Belief Satan from Judeo-Christian Belief Christ from Christian Belief
Some literary examples of the Trickster Satan in Paradise Lost Satan in Paradise Lost Gandalf from The Hobbit Gandalf from The Hobbit Odysseus from The Odyssey Odysseus from The Odyssey Ghost Horse from The Grass Dancer Ghost Horse from The Grass Dancer Dionysus in The Bacchae Dionysus in The Bacchae
The Shadow “What is Light without Dark?” Darkness from the film Legend
We tend to see it in "others." That is to say, we project our dark side onto others and thus interpret them as "enemies" or as "exotic" presences that fascinate. The Shadow is the personification of that part of human, psychic possibility that we deny in ourselves and project onto others. The Shadow is the personification of that part of human, psychic possibility that we deny in ourselves and project onto others. The goal of personality integration is to integrate the rejected, inferior side of our life into our total experience and to take responsibility for it. The goal of personality integration is to integrate the rejected, inferior side of our life into our total experience and to take responsibility for it.
We see the Shadow (the other) everywhere in popular culture The Shadow The Shadow Batman. Batman. Dracula Dracula Raven Raven Ninga Turtles. Ninga Turtles. We see it in popular prejudice as well. Some Whites people think the Black Man is the enemy; Some Whites people think the Black Man is the enemy; Americans think that Communists or followers of Islam are devils. Americans think that Communists or followers of Islam are devils. Of course, Satan is the great Shadow image of popular religion (Consider: the word only occurs 54 times in the entire Bible.) Of course, Satan is the great Shadow image of popular religion (Consider: the word only occurs 54 times in the entire Bible.)
The More it is Denied the More Terrible the Shadow Is:...there can be no doubt that man is, on the whole, less good than he imagines himself or wants to be. Everyone carries a shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual's conscious life, the blacker and denser it is. If an inferiority is conscious, one always has a chance to correct it. Furthermore, it is constantly in contact with other interests, so that it is continually subjected to modifications. But if it is repressed and isolated from consciousness, it never gets corrected. Taken From:
The Hero “Sometimes a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do” Marshal Will Kane from High Noon
Who is the Hero? Slays the dragon or monster—often with a special weapon. Hercules's club, Hercules's club, Arthur’s Excalibur Arthur’s Excalibur Suffers punishment for others. Rescues the vanquished and the downtrodden. Is often not a part of the society he helps. Does not appear to come from anywhere important. (“Can anything good come from Nazareth?” “Who is this Guy?!” Does not appear to come from anywhere important. (“Can anything good come from Nazareth?” “Who is this Guy?!” Does not remain after the task is finished. (Rides into the sunset “The Shire is saved, but no for me”) Does not remain after the task is finished. (Rides into the sunset “The Shire is saved, but no for me”)
Can a Woman Be a Hero? Not common in our western history, but with changing gender roles of the last two centuries this has become far more acceptable. Not common in our western history, but with changing gender roles of the last two centuries this has become far more acceptable. Joan of Ark Wonder Woman Mulan Riply (from Aliens)
Jung’s Mandalas Pictures on the Archetypal Wall
What is a Mandala? n Mandala is Sanskrit for whole world or healing circle. It is a representation of the universe and everything in it. Khyil-khor is the Tibetan word for mandala and means "center of the Universe in which a fully awakened being abides." Circles suggest wholeness, unity, the womb, completion and eternity (Goodwin).
Jung’s Comments n “The `squaring of the circle’ is one of the many archetypal motifs which form the basic patterns of our dreams and fantasies. But it is distinguished by the fact that it is one of the most important of them from the functional point of view. Indeed, it could even be called the archetype of wholeness.” - from Mandalas. [C. G. Jung. trans. from Du (Zurich, 1955] (Qtd. in Benard Emphasis Mine)
Jung discovered Manalas while studying Eastern Religions n “For Jung, mandalas are "vessels" into which we project our psyche. It is then returned to us as a way of restoration. He recognized that archetypes from many cultures were seen in this spontaneous expression of the unconscious. Circles are universally associated with meditation, healing and prayer” (Goodwin).
More from Jung n “I had to abandon the idea of the superordinate position of the ego.... I saw that everything, all paths I had been following, all steps I had taken, were leading back to a single point -- namely, to the mid-point. It became increasingly plain to me that the mandala is the centre. It is the exponent of all paths. It is the path to the centre, to individuation.” “... I knew that in finding the mandala as an expression of the self I had attained what was for me the ultimate. - C. G. Jung. Memories, Dreams, Reflections” (Qtd. in Benard Emphasis Mine).