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Living Myth

Mosaic presents Living Myth, a podcast with Michael Meade, renowned mythologist and storyteller. Meade presents mythic stories that offer uniquely insightful and wise ways of understanding the current dilemmas of the world we live in. Living Myth proposes that genuine solutions to the complex and intractable problems of our world require both transcendent imagination and cohering, transformative narratives.
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Now displaying: December, 2021
Dec 22, 2021

Michael Meade describes myth as being ancient and immediate at the same time.  Whereas most people imagine myth to be something old and of a past time, Meade explains how myth serves to break the trap of linear time and can return the human soul to a living sense of connection to both the cosmos and the deep self.  “We are in a mythic condition again and myth makes meaning,” states mythologist Meade as he shows how the shedding of forms in the world can bring us closer to the origins of life and the sources of renewal and recreation.

 

Thank you for listening to, and supporting, Living Myth.  You can further support this podcast by becoming a member of Living Myth Premium. Learn more and join this community of listeners at patreon.com/livingmyth.

 

On behalf of Michael Meade and the whole Mosaic staff, we send you peace and blessings for the New Year and we thank you for your support of our work.

Dec 16, 2021

On this replay of an episode on the winter solstice, Michael Meade states at the beginning: “This is not just the dark time of the year, but increasingly dark times for everyone, especially for those who care for the souls of other people and for the well-being of the earth we all live on.” He goes on to describe how ancient symbols and practices at the Winter Solstice served as a reminder of the cosmological connection between the human soul and the hidden unity of life.

 

Symbols have the power to bring the mind and the heart together and connect us to the deepest truths of life. A Christmas tree can stand for the Tree of Life, as it represents both the still point at the center and the power of life to change and renew itself. Simply lighting a single candle in the midst of darkness can be a reminder of the eternal process of renewal and restoration that is an essential, yet easily forgotten aspect of all of life.

 

This has been a dark year, yet, despite all the increasing divides in the world, we are all secretly connected, and we are each a part of the living substance of creation. Solstice coming at the darkest time of the year is a reminder of this cosmological connection between the human soul and the hidden unity of life.

 

Thank you for listening to, and supporting, Living Myth.  You can further support this podcast by becoming a member of Living Myth Premium. Learn more and join this community of listeners at patreon.com/livingmyth.

 

On behalf of Michael Meade and the whole Mosaic staff, we send you peace and blessings for the New Year and we thank you for your support of our work.

Dec 15, 2021

This episode is a tribute to the life and work of Malidoma Patrice Some, a spiritual teacher and healer who brought the wisdom traditions and ritual practices of West Africa to the Western world.

 

The name Malidoma can mean “to make friends with the stranger or enemy.” Following that sense, Malidoma served as an ambassador from the tribal realms of Africa to the world of modernity. He had access to traditional practices of wisdom and healing, and also had a rare intelligence that made him able to shape meaningful pathways between ancient ways of knowing and the needs and longings of contemporary cultures.

 

There were many elements of his natural genius; of course, his ability to use ancient ways of connecting to nature and spirit; but also the courage to bring healing rituals to the modern world. His radical intelligence could spark at any moment, quickly becoming a forceful fountain of ideas that could include insights into the human psyche as well as visions that could open the realms of nature and spirit.

 

You could say that the fire element of his genius involved his great intelligence as well as a way of seeing that connected to the ancestral realm. But, his genius was also connected to water as natural element of his soul. At times, he would seem to become water, as he could be fluid and gentle, like a forest stream. And from that stream of inner water would come a great generosity and a deep sense of care.

 

Once he said that "…the quest constantly imposing itself upon me has been more of a search for a home in the hearts of people." In that statement, you can sense of his presence as a gentle spirit, but also as a person on the eternal quest to find a genuine home. In that regard, Malidoma was uniquely attuned to the electricity that comes from the invisible wires strung between the common world and the otherworld of spirit, imagination and the ancestors.

 

I am eternally grateful for the friendship we had and the many ritual collaborations and times spent talking and singing and drumming together. Now, in his terms, as in the ancient understanding of things, I imagine Malidoma as having stepped onto the road that road leads back to the ancestors. On the path that will carry him back to the hidden unity of humanity and the place that is a true home for the spirit and soul of someone who remained connected to and inspired by the otherworld.

 

With prayers and songs I am imagining Malidoma finding the waters of peace and a deep sense of home in the otherworld that his soul and spirit had known all along.

 

You can hear Michael Meade live by joining his free online solstice ritual “In This Darkness Singing” on Sunday, December 19. Register and learn more at mosaicvoices.org/events. 

 

You can support this podcast by becoming a member of Living Myth Premium. Learn more and join this community of listeners at patreon.com/livingmyth.

 

We’d love to hear your feedback on the podcast.  You can leave a review wherever you listen or send a question or comment to info@mosaicvoices.org. On behalf of Michael Meade and the whole Mosaic staff, we wish you continued well-being and deep community connection during this period of great uncertainty and transformation.

Dec 8, 2021

This episode considers the increasing modern condition of feeling lost and disconnected in relation to ancient understandings and practices of myth and ritual.

 

"Part of being modern involves seeking the latest thing or the newest thing, while at the same time losing touch with the most enduring, most endearing things. The modern condition requires that we imagine ourselves as subjects with everything else separated into objects. Being continuously reduced to linear time, literal meanings, and material things can leave us feeling out of time and out of place; trying to find a sense of home and a sense of meaning, especially in ourselves.

 

One of the ancient ways of re-connection involved finding genuine stories. When people have a story, everyone can be in the story. Unfortunately, the story we are all in together is the story of the collapse of ecosystems, the demise of cultural institutions, and the falling into desperate polarities.

 

Yet, the loss of so many meaningful things is not simply intended to leave us in some existential, eternal darkness. In mythic terms, being lost is secretly aimed at being found; in that sense, only those who accept feeling lost, can be found.

 

Another ancient way, that has been mostly lost, involves finding ourselves again through the process of ritual. One of the functions of creative ritual is to break time open so that we become open to the timeless, to the eternal, which is always trying to enter the world, strangely enough, through us. We may be lost here in the modern world, but in ancient terms, we are here to find ourselves awakening to a greater sense of ourselves.

 

One purpose of creative ritual was to experience the connection to “the other” as well as a deeper connection to oneself. That's why ancient people would say: that ritual made me, made me more aware of how I'm connected to life, to the earth, to the spirits, to the song of creation, and made me more aware of who I am inside, at the level of my own being. What we've lost is partly the sense that we are each connected to the whole thing, that each human soul is secretly connected to the living soul of the world.

 

One of the aims of many of old rituals was to restore the connections that were damaged, and thereby renew the possibilities of life. And we are here, in a sense, to be redeemed; not in religious terms where the redemption comes after you die. But in the ancient sense of story and ritual that suggests that we can redeem ourselves a little at a time while we are here on Earth. And at this troubled time, redemption is needed not just for ourselves, but for the Earth itself.

 

And so, in the midst of being lost in the darkest time of the year, in one of the darkest times of human culture, the way we avoid feeling and being lost is by connecting to the deeper sense of our own soul, which is secretly connected to the earth, which is itself a star and from there to the heavens above and to the cosmos. For, it is about interrelatedness and being present, and being part of things that are momentous, that are transcendent and yet somehow include us. And it was the dark times that ancient people understood to be the right times for finding our true selves and making more soul and redeeming life not just for ourselves, but for the Earth itself.”

 

You can hear Michael Meade talk more about ritual by joining his free online solstice ritual “In This Darkness Singing” on Sunday, December 19 and an evening event on Friday, December 10 on the return of ritual. Register and learn more at mosaicvoices.org/events. 

 

You can save 30% on this series and further support this podcast by becoming a member of Living Myth Premium. Learn more and join this community of listeners at patreon.com/livingmyth.

 

We’d love to hear your feedback on the podcast.  You can leave a review wherever you listen or send a question or comment to info@mosaicvoices.org. On behalf of Michael Meade and the whole Mosaic staff, we wish you continued well-being and deep community connection during this period of great uncertainty and transformation.

Dec 1, 2021

This episode of Living Myth honors the spirit and soul and great imagination of the poet Robert Bly, who passed on to the otherworld on November 21st of this year. Michael Meade begins this honoring with a quote from the Spanish philosopher and poet Miguel de Unamuno: “Our greatest endeavor in this life must be to make ourselves irreplaceable, so that no one else can fill the gap that will be left when we die. Each of us is unique and irreplaceable; our soul that is, not simply our life.”

 

“I first read those lines by Unamuno shortly after meeting Robert Bly and it was immediately evident to me that he was one of those living so fully, so uniquely, that he was on the path of being irreplaceable. Robert had a sense of the immediacy of the soul, that rare sense that the next moment can break open. And that we must, not simply allow that, but we have to marry it, step into it and become ourselves in that moment of opening and awakening. If we fail to do that, then we have not fully participated in the world. Then, the awakening that is needed, the blossoming that was possible, fails to occur and there is a loss of soul.

 

I want to celebrate the soul of Robert Bly and acknowledge his capacity to open the old roads of spirit and lead the way to awakening and wonder, as he did with his poems and his translations of the poems of others, and his willingness to be vulnerable and open and allow the soul to speak.

 

In the Rag and Bone Shop of the Heart, Robert wrote that: “… a therapy of the psychic roots of culture involves an opening of the doors of the soul that allow the angels to come back into the world.” He wrote of the cultivated heart as “an extension of the garden of the soul, where deep things are cultivated, and the depths of love and care are grown. The heart is a place of tenderness… that can be imagined as a house with many rooms or as a walled garden with rare flowers and solitude, a place of deep intimacy with another. It represents an extreme effort to move towards achieving a cultivated heart before we die."

 

Robert spoke often of the necessity of grief and wrote that "personal grief can lead a person to the sorrow of the world. The growth of a person can be imagined as a power that expands downward into the hurt feelings, then further downward into compassion and further downward into the vast rooms of melancholy under the Earth where we are more alive the older we get, more in tune with the Earth and the great roots."

 

That's close to what Unamuno meant about how a person becomes irreplaceable. And now that he's gone to that other world, I want to imagine him having caught up with Kabir and Rumi, Rilke and Neruda  and all the great poets that he translated and companioned with, I want to imagine him in the company of them now and having what Kabir called “the face of satisfied desire.”

 

Robert lived uniquely and gave more and more of himself; going beyond himself and becoming irreplaceable. And I want to remember him that way, working his way into the realms of the blessed and being there long enough to become able to bless. I know that he blessed me and was able to bless many other people. And in the strange ways of poetry and beauty and passionate affection, those blessings remain alive in the hearts and souls of all who knew Robert Bly.

 

You can hear Michael Meade live by joining his new online series “Soul’s Hidden Wholeness” that begins on Friday, December 3. Register and learn more at mosaicvoices.org/events. 

 

You can save 30% on this series and further support this podcast by becoming a member of Living Myth Premium. Learn more and join this community of listeners at patreon.com/livingmyth.

 

We’d love to hear your feedback on the podcast.  You can leave a review wherever you listen or send a question or comment to info@mosaicvoices.org. On behalf of Michael Meade and the whole Mosaic staff, we wish you continued well-being and deep community connection during this period of great uncertainty and transformation.

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