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.