On this episode, Michael Meade uses an ancient version of the Grateful Dead theme to show how when faced with impossible tasks we must draw vitality and wisdom from the deep ground of being where life can renew itself. Rather than a typical hero’s journey, the story involves a compassionate youth who gives all that he has to properly bury a corpse that was left unburied. Eventually, the corpse comes back to life and becomes a wise guide and soulful companion as the youth faces great challenges.
In working through the story, Meade raises the idea that the corpse that revives and returns to help guide us could be myth itself. He shows how myth can be a direct source of lost knowledge and how mythic imagination may be essential for understanding the current world crises and gathering a sense of how life on Earth continually renews itself.
“Myth may have come back from the dead and into some awareness in modern culture; but the result has been more of an over-identification with the myth of the hero, than a revelation of the redeeming and transforming powers of myth overall. The mythic approach is a perspective, a way of seeing the world, not a program. We can be caught in heroic visions and suffer heroic blindness that can keep us from perceiving ways to see the world with greater imagination and deeper compassion.
In this time of dramatic challenge and radical change, we need a therapy, not of the hero, which often relates to the ego of a person, but a therapy of the soul, which can become a therapy of the earth as well. The bad news may be that myth, the great source of imagination and vitality has often been buried deep in the earth. The good news is that, like the grateful dead, it is nearby and waiting for us to redeem it, and then learn how to be redeemed by it.”
Thank you for listening to and supporting this podcast. You can hear Michael Meade live by joining his free online event “Mythic Imagination and Climate Change” next Thursday, August 26. Register at mosaicvoices.org/events.
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