Another very important group of categories I would like to mention this evening is what I will call The Mythic or The Spiritual.
I have written several books about the esoteric meaning of myths, legends and fairy tails, and so when I label this category MYTHIC I do not mean it to be filed in your minds under ‘fiction’ or ‘fantasy’ or ‘just imagination’! To me the imagination is one of the most important faculties of the human mind. I hate the phrase ‘just imagination’. Imagination is the bridge between the Known and the Unknown. It flashes with images, metaphors and symbols that illuminate the deepest and darkest secrets of Being.
[‘Mysticism lives by symbols, the only mental representation by which the Absolute can enter our relative experience’ (E. Récéjac, Essays on the Bases of Mystic Knowledge, trans. By Sara Carr Upton, London: Kegan Paul, p. 3). Symbols ‘have the same effect as direct perceptions; as soon as they have been “seen” within, their psychic action takes hold of the feeling and fills the consciousness with a crowd of images and emotions which are attracted by the force of Analogy’ (ibid.).]
‘In the symbol proper…there is ever, more or less distinctly and directly, some embodiment and revelation of the Infinite, the Infinite is made to blend itself with the Finite, to stand visible, and as it were, attainable there’ (Thomas Carlyle, Sartor Resantus, p.152).
From Myths of the Sacred Tree by Moyra Caldecott, p.11:
Everything we do, everything we think, everything we are is influenced subliminally by the background mythical traditions of our culture and, beyond that, by the universal mythical traditions of the human race.
From Crystal Legends by Moyra Caldecott, p. 14:
Myths and legends are produced by the imagination when it is functioning at its most serious and profound level. The body is a finely tuned, immensely complex and efficient instrument capable of experiencing much more than we commonly give it credit for – and one of its functions is at once to house the ‘growing point’ for the soul, and to protect it from the damage it might suffer if it were exposed to too much transcendent experience too soon. The imagination tests out the ground beyond ourselves and allows us to explore the way ahead in imaginal symbolic form before we have to encounter it in reality. The imagination gives us myths and legends – those marvellous, subtle, complex vehicles of esoteric teaching – to prepare us for our future. In seeking their meaning we are meant to find the meaning of ourselves.
Life is, as you well know, inexplicable. All the religions in the world, all the myths and legends in the world, all the scientific theories and mathematical formulae, laid end to end, cannot give us a glimpse, a fleeting flash, of something that makes us feel we understand so that we can live out our lives with direction and purpose instead of floundering blindly in the dust and wasting our potential.
From Myths of the Sacred Tree by Moyra Caldecott, p.3:
When we talk about the spirit, our ordinary language is inadequate, because we don’t know exactly what the spirit is.
When we see leaves moving on a tree we assume the possible existence of a breeze, and even so do we assume the existence of spirit because of certain otherwise inexplicable experiences in our lives. The language we use when we attempt to talk about spirit is of necessity highly symbolic.
A myth clothes those deep and mysterious insights into the meaning of life that we all have but sometimes refuse to recognise. Mythic truth is the language of the inner journey, and it cannot be judged by the same criteria we use in a court of law or in a laboratory. It has to sound true against our hearts. It has to fall into place like a ball rolling into the hole that was designed for it.
From Crystal Legends by Moyra Caldecott, p.11:
Myths are among the greatest treasures of the world.
Through the ages certain stories have evolved that are so universal in their appeal and so exactly fit human experience at the deepest level that they help us to cope with what would otherwise be the chaotic and terrifying impact of the outside world.
When scientific and rational knowledge broke away from intuitive and instinctive knowledge these stories – these myths and legends – were dismissed as nonsense and relegated to children. In the households of very rational people, even children were denied their aid. Lately, having discovered that the route these scientists and rationalists insisted we take has led us into an horrifying impasse, and following such great thinkers as Jung and Joseph Campbell, we are trying to reinstate the ancient myths, the healing stories, to their rightful place complementing and illuminating the other types of knowledge available to us.
Story is a natural need, and if we deny ourselves its benefits we may well suffer all kinds of maladies.
In this section I would place the significant Inner Journey, the Dream Time of the Aborigines, and the Vision Quests of the Native Americans, the Grail Quest, and myths of abduction into other worlds.
Multi-Dimensional Time: Part 1
Multi-Dimensional Time: Part 2
Multi-Dimensional Time: Part 3
Multi-Dimensional Time: Part 4
Multi-Dimensional Time: Part 5