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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: November, 2023
Nov 29, 2023

This episode of Living Myth begins with the ancient idea that nothing exists until it passes through imagination. Imagination is not simply a subjective inner capacity; rather, it is a genuine force of life. In this old way of seeing, the increase of conflicts and intensification of hate in the world can be seen as a loss of soul and a lack of genuine imagination.

 

At a time when modern cultures can be seen to be unraveling and the sense of the shared suffering of humanity so quickly turns into hatred for whoever can be deemed as the “other,” genuine imagination is not just increasingly important, but can be seen as the redeeming factor for both the individual human soul and for human culture as a totality.

 

Although viewing life in literal terms has become a habit for many, it ultimately gives us a false sense of security and keeps us blind to the knowledge we most need when the world around us keeps changing. In the ancient world, myth could mean emergent truth and mythic imagination was understood to be the primary way in which the human mind and the human heart could connect or reconnect to the universal truths that underlie all of reality.

 

Lacking a renewed sense of genuine imagination, the modern world will continue to divide and fall apart. For what is missing in most cases is not simply a lack of the resources needed to change things, but a tragic lack of the imagination required to awaken to a greater, more inclusive visions of reality. For, it is the intermediating function of imagination that makes it possible to unite otherwise opposing states, such as the objective and the subjective, religion and science or any pair of antithetical ideologies.

 

Imagination has always been the unifying force in the human psyche, the inherent function that precedes thought, but also follows the body's inner ways of knowing and being. Imagination is the key that opens us to all that is immeasurable, creative, and healing in life. For that reason, imagination has been called the deepest power of the human psyche.

 

The power of imagination, which is part of the natural inheritance of each soul, has surprising and indelible capacities for creativity and renewal. By the virtue of imagination, we see with penetrating insights and creative vision, not the delusions of fantasy, but the surprise of revelation. The point is to allow the immediate powers of myth and imagination to give us a poetic grasp of our own lives and the events of the world. Without such a mythic sense, the world becomes increasingly divided and we can become overwhelmed by conflicts both inner and outer. As the collective sense of unity collapses, the uniqueness within each person's soul becomes the essential source of the unifying imagination needed to sustain and renew life.

 

Thank you for listening to and supporting Living Myth. You can hear Michael Meade live by joining his new online workshop “Ritual, Healing and Transformation” that on Saturday, December 9. 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. Members receive bonus episodes each month, access to the full archives of over 560 episodes and a 30% discount on all events, courses and book and audio titles. Learn more and join this community of listeners at patreon.com/livingmyth.

 

If you enjoy this podcast, we appreciate you leaving a review wherever you listen and sharing it with your friends. On behalf of Michael Meade and the whole Mosaic staff, we wish you well during this challenging and uncertain times and thank you for your support of our work.

Nov 21, 2023

This episode begins with an ancient Mayan myth about the first human ancestors being shaped from corn. Far from being random creatures, humans were created to bring missing ingredients to the world. The missing ingredients included: a conscious awareness of the wonder of creation, a sense of gratitude and thankfulness, and a potential for imagination and genuine vision.

 

Central to the role of humans was the capacity to be thankful for the gift of life. Thus, people all over the earth have created ceremonies and practices of gratitude and thanksgiving. The idea of giving thanks and the word thankfulness comes from the old root word grazia, which gives us gratitude as well as grace. In that sense, what we seek in giving thanks are moments of gratitude that can bring a sense of grace back into the world. And this can happen in small ways that do not require large gatherings, an abundance of food, or any pretension that everyone might agree on life's great issues.

 

More than ever, we need occasions of grace and gratitude, however small they may be. We need moments of wholeness to rekindle our spirits and to ease our souls. We need to feel that life, despite all the existing divisions and heated conflicts, remains a holy place, a place where healing remains possible.

 

When the world keeps turning upside down, it can be time to look and feel deeper inside in order to find the people and aspects of life that we are most grateful for. Sometimes that's all we need to do in order to reconnect to and contribute to the holiness of life. In doing that, we can ease the burden of our own hearts; we can also connect to the original sense of humanity and enable more grace to enter the world.

 

Thank you for listening to and supporting Living Myth. You can hear Michael Meade live by joining his new online workshop “Ritual, Healing and Transformation” that on Saturday, December 9. 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. Members receive bonus episodes each month, access to the full archives of over 560 episodes and a 30% discount on all events, courses and book and audio titles. Learn more and join this community of listeners at patreon.com/livingmyth.

 

If you enjoy this podcast, we appreciate you leaving a review wherever you listen and sharing it with your friends. On behalf of Michael Meade and the whole Mosaic staff, we wish you well during this challenging and uncertain times and thank you for your support of our work.

Nov 15, 2023

This episode of Living Myth looks at both the need to transform and our resistance to change through the lens of the metamorphosis of butterflies. The fact that the Greek word psyche means butterfly implies how we are secretly connected to the essential dynamic of transformation in life. As if compelled by the primordial poetics of transformation, scientists named the cells that carry the potential for a true transformation of the caterpillar “imaginal cells.”

 

The capacity of the imaginal cells to develop into a butterfly and transform life completely is related to the inner capacity of the human soul to also transform repeatedly in the course of life. In the same sense that the imaginal cells hold all the information and energy for the butterfly to be, there is core imagination and deeper self trying to awaken in the soul of each person.

 

At the same time, something within us resists changing, even when the time for transforming our lives has come. In the mysterious way of the world, the metamorphosis of the butterfly also offers ways to understand why we resist the exact changes we most need in order to transform ourselves and help change the world. In simple biological terms, an exchange of one kind of cell for a different kind of cell changes a crawling caterpillar to a winged butterfly. In terms of understanding the essential dynamic of change in the world and at the core of the human soul, a great mystery is revealed that can be called the wisdom of the butterfly.

 

Thank you for listening to and supporting Living Myth. You can hear Michael Meade live by joining his new online workshop “Ritual, Healing and Transformation” that on Saturday, December 9. 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. Members receive bonus episodes each month, access to the full archives of over 580 episodes and a 30% discount on all events, courses and book and audio titles. Learn more and join this community of listeners at patreon.com/livingmyth.

 

If you enjoy this podcast, we appreciate you leaving a review wherever you listen and sharing it with your friends. On behalf of Michael Meade and the whole Mosaic staff, we wish you well during this challenging and uncertain times and thank you for your support of our work.

Nov 8, 2023

On this episode Michael Meade turns to Greek myths about the Furies in order to imagine ways that deeper understanding and healing might be found amidst the tragic events engulfing Gaza and Israel and the “unbearable losses and blood-dimmed blindness that currently plague humanity as a whole.”

 

The Furies appear as primordial spirits of vengeance and retribution that can rise from the underworld when people violate the rules of nature, when innocent blood is wrongfully spilled on the earth and when age-old feuds are provoked.

 

Once stirred to a frenzy, the Furies enter the daily world in many shapes and forms, causing people to act out vengeance in ways that are deeply personal, but are also the expression of unhealed wounds and grievances that go back to ancestral roots. In Homer's Iliad the Furies frequently cloud people's judgment and cause them to act irrationally. However, the prolonged presence of the Furies can shift fierce passions to violent rages and beyond that to untold madness; for the Furies were known to punish people by driving them mad.

 

The Furies are stirred by acts of violence that violate nature and shed innocent blood and there is a kind of primal, albeit blind justice in that. Yet, there is also a greater sense of the sacredness of life and a level of justice that exists deep in the soul of humanity, that can reveal ways to greater understanding and make true healing and forgiveness possible. 

 

When the Furies threatened to torment all inhabitants of the Earth and make the land toxic and unlivable, the goddess Athena persuaded them to relent and break the cycles of blood vengeance. The wisdom of Athena includes a deep knowledge of the difference between protecting life and being caught in tragic battles that can only continue the violence and vengeance that drives people apart, that can drive them mad and destroys the Earth in the process.

 

As goddess of wisdom and protector of civil society, Athena gave the Furies a place of respect in her own temple. Instead of simply being the hard hand of retribution, they could also contribute to finding mercy for the suffering of people. Vengeance and retribution could not simply be removed from the world; however, a balancing capacity for mercy and forgiveness was revealed to be a necessary part of finding justice and preserving life.

 

Thank you for listening to and supporting Living Myth. You can hear Michael Meade live by joining his new free online event “Living in a Time of Overwhelm” that on Thursday, November 16. Register and learn more at mosaicvoices.org/events.  

 

You can further support this podcast by becoming a member of Living Myth Premium. Members receive bonus episodes each month, access to the full archives of over 580 episodes and a 30% discount on all events, courses and book and audio titles. Learn more and join this community of listeners at patreon.com/livingmyth.

 

If you enjoy this podcast, we appreciate you leaving a review wherever you listen and sharing it with your friends. On behalf of Michael Meade and the whole Mosaic staff, we wish you well during this challenging and uncertain times and thank you for your support of our work.

Nov 1, 2023

This episode of Living Myth begins with recent scientific research showing how having purpose can lower levels of stress and contribute to longevity for older people. Michael Meade suggests that in troubled times finding a genuine purpose is also necessary for young people who can easily become discouraged and despairing about life. The ancient Greek term telos refers to the kind of purpose that gives us, not simply a sense of aim, but the potential for fulfillment. Connecting to that kind of inherent purpose gives us a deeper sense of self and also a capacity to respond spontaneously to critical turning points in life.

 

A true life purpose is not an optional choice or an outline of goals we might accomplish, but rather something inherent and expectant seeded within each heart and soul. In that sense, being purposeful does not simply mean being goal oriented, but being connected to the inner meaning and core pattern of our self and soul.

 

Finding a genuine purpose gives us a sense of being centered and dwelling deeply within our true self, while also being more able to respond spontaneously to a rapidly changing world. Whether the awakening to genuine purpose happens as part of a longevity process for older people or appears as the beginning of a meaningful life for young people, facing great uncertainty, finding and living our soul's purpose is the way that each of us, in our own way, can contribute to the making and shaping of the next version of the world.

 

Thank you for listening to and supporting Living Myth. You can hear Michael Meade live by joining his new free online event “Living in a Time of Overwhelm” that on Thursday, November 16. Register and learn more at mosaicvoices.org/events.  

 

You can further support this podcast by becoming a member of Living Myth Premium. Members receive bonus episodes each month, access to the full archives of over 580 episodes and a 30% discount on all events, courses and book and audio titles. Learn more and join this community of listeners at patreon.com/livingmyth.

 

If you enjoy this podcast, we appreciate you leaving a review wherever you listen and sharing it with your friends. On behalf of Michael Meade and the whole Mosaic staff, we wish you well during this challenging and uncertain times and thank you for your support of our work.

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