It used to be that myths explained life to mankind. Anything from relationships with siblings, parents, spouses, and children to the movement of the heavens was explained in story and song. We’ve lost our connection with this ancient way of thinking, and that’s a deep loss. We need these stories. They teach us how to think about the world around us and remind us that we are a tiny grain of sand in a vast universe.
Tristine Rainer, author and autobiographical writing specialist, talks about myth in her books on personal journaling, The New Diary and Your Life As Story. She suggests that we recast myth in the present day, looking for themes and archetypes by which we can order our daily round. Recasting fairy tales in this way, too, can help us understand our autobiographical journey in new ways. Author and theologian Starhawk gave a talk a few years ago at Northwestern University, Goddesses For the End Times, in which she suggested that we look for the immanent deity in the people around us: Maria Gimbutas, Mother Teresa, and others. Midrashim, the Hebrew tradition of interpreting bible stories by adding to them and retelling them, is a way of interpreting reality against the backdrop of the sweep and grandeur of the bible.
What about you, Dear Reader? What are some of your favorite myths?