This episode of Living Myth, drawn from a recent evening event in Santa Cruz, CA, begins with an ancient myth from a tribe along the Amazon River. The story tells how the inner soul of each person travels at night all the way the center of the cosmos. Once there, the soul receives a message that is brought back and shared with the tribe as a dream. Meade draws on this link between the individual soul and the cosmos to describe how ancient cultures imagined each person to be born with a speck of star hidden in their soul, buried in their heart, just waiting to become a person’s “guiding star.”
Each person is intended to contribute presence and meaning to the world and liberation happens each time we become conscious of the contents of our soul. We are here to awaken and learn how to express the uniqueness of our souls, and if we do that we add presence, being and creativity to the world and we become irreplaceable. If we don’t find the meanings hidden in our souls, the world loses presence and people who have no idea who they are come to dominate society.
Rumi wrote that: “The world inside is bigger than the world outside.” Meade argues that in this time of darkness and conflict, hatred and bigotry, we have to revive the sense of the inner magnanimity and enduring brilliance of the individual soul.
This episode of Living Myth focuses on initiation and the vital need for awakening the soul. Michael Meade suggests that one way to view the chaos in the world around us is to imagine we are in a collective initiation of the soul. The storms and tragedies of contemporary life can be seen as a spiritual crisis where we must find a greater sense of self or become more subject to increasing feelings of anxiety and helplessness. Initiation means to awaken to who we are at our core. Amidst chaos and confusion, the soul instinctively seeks to awaken and grow the original design that it carried to life. Meade shows how the exacting struggles encountered in life open pathways to the center of the self where purpose waits to be found, where vitality can ever be renewed, where spirit whispers its precise calling.
This episode considers practices of gift-giving from mythological and psychological perspectives. Starting with an old Mayan tale about a child born with gifts that only the midwife can see, we begin a journey that leads to the reclaiming of natural gifts in the holy hills of imagination. When the misuse of power throws the entire world into a period of massive storms, torrential rains and extensive dislocation, a re-imagination of human giftedness is required. Drawing on the ancient roots of the word gift, Meade reveals how the practice of gift-giving is related to inner giftedness.
Illuminating the deeper meanings of gift-giving naturally leads to seeing that what we commonly call holidays were originally an essential period of holy days and holy nights intended to reconnect us to the gifts of the human soul.
This episode of Living Myth begins begins with the fierce fires burning in the hills around Los Angeles and moves to the flames of trouble newly ignited in the divided city of Jerusalem. Then it descends into the more personal crises and wounds tearing at the heart of culture. Meade works into the deep ground of poetry in order to find ways of genuinely witnessing the widespread revelations of betrayal and corruption in the halls of power and the corridors and backrooms of institutions.
Meade asks: Are we not in that moment when the veil lifts and deep levels of wounding are uncovered. And the betrayal appears not simply in the denial that it happened at all, but also in the cultural sanctification of it? And are we not in a moment that calls for deep healing and a cultural shift that views each soul as noble and renews the sense that each person deserves dignity and respect.
This episode of Living Myth begins with a Native American story of the origin of healing rituals. In telling the tale Michael Meade emphasizes a remarkable point in the story when knowledge, healing and songs all enter the world at the same time. The songs become central elements in the original healing ritual which brings those that are sick or wounded to the center of the community. Having established the importance of healing songs, Meade introduces an excerpt from Mosaic’s new recording “A Song is a Road”. The podcast concludes with a chorus singing a song of praise and gratitude to the healing energy of the Earth.
This episode of Living Myth draws upon the Mayan origin story which describes human beings as the missing ingredient in creation. Specifically, humans were fashioned to be the conscious witnesses to the wonder of the world and to express gratitude for the gift of life. The big problem in the story, which is reflected in the increasing dilemmas of the modern world, is that humans tend to be too soft-headed or too hard-hearted to be vessels for genuine imagination. The old tale tries to help us find new ways to recover the gift of life and live with genuine vision.
This episode of Living Myth begins with the flood of revelations of sexual harassment and abuse being revealed in all areas of contemporary culture. Michael Meade uses the metaphor of lifting a veil that reveals the structural and pervasive imbalance between men in positions of power and women who are wounded by their actions. He asks the question: how long is the road from the place where men have often stood to the areas of deep wounding where the hearts of so many women reside? Things take a mythic turn and lead to one of the great myths from India in which the loss of the feminine and spread of poison brings the entire world to the brink of disaster.
This episode of Living Myth begins in the sorrowful aftermath of the latest mass shooting in America. The dark atmosphere becomes compounded by the realization that the United States is now the only country in the world that has not signed the Paris Climate Accord. After considering the grief and fear caused by the procession of tragedies and the practices of denial, Meade turns to the old idea of the Friends of the Soul as a way for people to find meaningful levels of support and encouragement in the midst of these troubling times. He draws upon ancient traditions from around the world to bring back to life the sense that we need soul friends, whether it be in the form of a confidant or companion, a mentor, teacher or lover.
If we are to survive the flood of tragedies and growing climate threats it becomes more important than ever that we find genuine Friends of the Soul. If we are to create a collective transformation of culture we need genuine friends who can help nourish our inner spirit and sustain the true aim of each other’s lives.
This episode of Living Myth begins in the midst of all the chaos in the world that includes terrorism, misogyny, bigotry and social injustice. It tracks the origins of human resentment and misdeeds to a shared alienation that derives from the loss of a meaningful cosmology and a shared mythology. A consideration of the universal dynamic of chaos and cosmos leads to the edge of the world where the human soul waits for a new vision of the interconnectedness of all life.
This episode of Living Myth looks at the darkest time of the year and considers the ancient ideas of facing the darkness to find the hidden light of inspiration and renewal. Michael Meade looks at the origins of Halloween and the Day of the Dead and follows threads of mythology and cosmology all the way back to the beginning of the world. In the course of this journey, Meade weaves a personal story of facing darkness with an ancient Celtic story, leading to “the drop of eternity that is the threshold and hinge between darkness and light, between time and eternity.”
This episode of Living Myth focuses upon abuses of power and the shadow that forms when power is given to those who remain unconscious of their own wounds and neediness. Michael Meade follows an ancient story into the village under the world where a person in power undergoes a ceremony of cleansing and healing.
Those who rise to great heights and handle power have need for repeated healing if they are to develop some inner nobility. For whoever rises closest to the light must also cast the greatest shadow. Whoever would become elected would best submit to continual cleansing and healing or else suffer a great fall when the shadow erupts and the inner decay becomes revealed.
Beginning with a consideration of all the conflicts in the world and how the underlying oppositions of life become increasingly revealed before us, Michael Meade uses the sense of increasing polarization as an indication that something deeper and more unifying is also trying to appear. Amidst the growing uncertainty, he suggests it is important to find meaningful paths to follow and soulful ways to live. Using old stories about spiritual conflicts of belief, he works his way towards the ancient Tree of Life and the old idea of the Great Way and how the many ways of art and practice are intended to lead us to the unifying tree at the center of life.
This episode begins with a distinction between signs and symbols, specifically the sense that a sign points to something evident whereas a symbol can connect to the mysteries of life and death. In the aftermath of the most recent mass shooting in Las Vegas, and amidst the ongoing tragic conditions in Puerto Rico, Michael Meade talks about the necessity of having a meaningful practice for finding psychic grounding and places of stability. He also laments that the battle between life and death has become the story of modern culture and argues for the necessity of “living symbols” that connect us to the enduring presence of the other world and the deep imagination that is the genuine legacy of the human soul.
Michael Meade begins with a poem that suggests that the big dream of the world may be increasingly obscured by the nightmare of endless war and the growing number of conflicts throughout the world. In a heartfelt response to many who write in about being discouraged about life, he argues that freedom is found in the active, imaginative mind and in the hidden poetic union of the soul. Weaving ideas about the roots of human creativity and the articulation of beauty and meaning in the world, the path leads to ideas of the deep self as being the center of life and source of the ongoing dream of the world. In the midst of annihilating storms and threatening culture wars, the individual self and soul become the necessary place to turn to and the essential place to stand when the future of the world is at risk.