Years ago, when I was about to go on a book tour for Someplace to Be Flying, my editor at the time Terri Windling and I sat down to figure out what to call what I was writing for the interviews that were to come. Terri came up with the term mythic fiction and I think that sums it up perfectly. There are almost invariably mythic elements in my fiction (as well as bits of folk and faerie lore) and the term doesn't lock me into writing only in an urban setting since many of my stories take place in rural areas. It never caught on, but when I don't describe what I do as simply fiction, I'll go with mythic fiction.
Charles de Lint
I prefer the gradual path My feeling is that mythic forms reveal themselves gradually in the course of your life if you know what they are and how to pay attention to their emergence. My own initiation into the mythic depths of the unconscious has been through the mind, through the books that surround me in this library. I have recognized in my quest all the stages of the hero's journey. I had my calls to adventure, my guides, demons, and illuminations.
In HEATHEN, R. Flowers Rivera remixes the classical and the Biblical, the usual and the typical until what we thought we knew of ourselves and others is new again. The mythic becomes particular; the particular becomes mythic in these fascinating poems of personalities and personas. Rivera's work is rich in empathy and invention. Heathen is a book of psalms for the present day.
If mythic violence is lawmaking, divine violence is law-"‹destroying; if the former sets boundaries, the latter boundlessly destroys them; if mythic violence brings at once guilt and retribution, divine power only expiates; if the former threatens, the latter strikes; if the former is bloody, the latter is lethal without spilling blood
Professor Smith has kindly submitted his book to me before publication. After reading it thoroughly and with intense interest I am glad to comply with his request to give him my impression. The work is a broadly conceived attempt to portray man's fear-induced animistic and mythic ideas with all their far-flung transformations and interrelations. It relates the impact of these phantasmagorias on human destiny and the causal relationships by which they have become crystallized into organized religion. This is a biologist speaking, whose scientific training has disciplined him in a grim objectivity rarely found in the pure historian. This objectivity has not, however, hindered him from emphasizing the boundless suffering which, in its end results, this mythic thought has brought upon man. Professor Smith envisages as a redeeming force, training in objective observation of all that is available for immediate perception and in the interpretation of facts without preconceived ideas. In his view, only if every individual strives for truth can humanity attain a happier future; the atavisms in each of us that stand in the way of a friendlier destiny can only thus be rendered ineffective. His historical picture closes with the end of the nineteenth century, and with good reason. By that time it seemed that the influence of these mythic, authoritatively anchored forces which can be denoted as religious, had been reduced to a tolerable level in spite of all the persisting inertia and hypocrisy. Even then, a new branch of mythic thought had already grown strong, one not religious in nature but no less perilous to mankind - exaggerated nationalism. Half a century has shown that this new adversary is so strong that it places in question man's very survival. It is too early for the present-day historian to write about this problem, but it is to be hoped that one will survive who can undertake the task at a later date.
As a child, what I was missing was so much bigger to me than what I had. My mother-mythic, imaginary-was a deity and a superhero and a comfort all at once. If only I'd had her, surely, she would have been the answer to every problem; if only I'd had her , she would have been the cure for everything that ever had gone wrong in my life.
I want a History of Looking. For the Photograph is the advent of myself as other: a cunning dissociation of consciousness from identity. Even odder: it was before Photography that men had the most to say about the vision of the double. Heautoscopy was compared with an hallucinosis; for centuries this was a great mythic theme.
In my own life, I think legends of supernatural, mythic things are really just a manifestation of the collective unconscious. So I don't really get freaked out. I mean certainly, you read about things people did to each other in the pursuit of some mystical or occult goal, and it's horrifying. But that's just human nature.
I do love science fiction, but it's not really a genre unto itself; it always seems to merge with another genre. With the few movies I've done, I've ended up playing with genre in some way or another, so any genre that's made to mix with others is like candy to me. It allows you to use big, mythic situations to talk about ordinary things.
If art could be absolutely verified as to importance in, say, the way gold can be judged for purity and weight, then it would of course be finished as mythic activity. Free of doubt, controversy, and the inexplicable fluctuation of reputation, art-making would bear the same relationship to creativity as cake mix does to baking.
We all know Reagan's legacy, from the Iran-Contra affair to the funding of the Nicaraguan military in which over 200,000 people died. The groundwork for the move steadily to the right happened with the Reagan administration. People want to elevate him to some mythic level; they have their own reason for doing that.
In the mythic tradition, the Mountain is the bond between Earth and Sky. Its solitary summit reaches the sphere of eternity, and its base spreads out in manifold foothills into the world of mortals. It is the way by which man can raise himself to the divine and by which the divine can reveal itself to man.
The symbolism seemed so apt. The same technology that can propel apocalyptic weapons from continent to continent would enable the first human voyage to another planet. It was a choice of fitting mythic power: to embrace the planet named after, rather than the madness ascribed to, the god of war.
Instead of focusing on isolated objects and events, we can expand our fixed perspective and allow the deeper process (often taking the form of a mythic narrative of some sort) that is animating events to reveal itself. Instead of superimposing our limiting ideas and beliefs onto the waking dream, we can allow life to show its dreamlike nature to us.
I think that most of us, anyway, read these stories that we know are not "true" because we're hungry for another kind of truth: the mythic truth about human nature in general, the particular truth about those life-communities that define our own identity, and the most specific truth of all: our own self-story. Fiction, because it is not about someone who lived in the real world, always has the possibility of being about oneself. --From the Introduction
Orson Scott Card
At last, Mythic feeling and conscious perception no longer confront each other as antagonists but as allies. Passionate nationalism is no longer directed toward tribal, dynastic or theological loyalties, but toward that primal substance, the racially based nationhood itself. Here is the message which will one day melt away all dross, eliminate all that is base, and bring into being all that is noble.
Salt is the only rock directly consumed by man. It corrodes but preserves, desiccates but is wrested from the water. It has fascinated man for thousands of years not only as a substance he prized and was willing to labour to obtain, but also as a generator of poetic and of mythic meaning. The contradictions it embodies only intensify its power and its links with experience of the sacred.
In our modern society the image and mythic process has been taken over by corporations that directly control advertising and, indirectly, the entertainment industry. Powerful erotic images are used for the sole purpose of selling consumer products; the side effects of this commercialization have a profound impact on the sexual imagination and identity of vast numbers of people.
By embracing your subconscious, you gain a different way of seeing and experiencing-an expanded perception that opens a doorway, not only to lucid dreams, but also to the mythic dimension. As in lucid dreams, you see yourself or others with new eyes; your senses awaken and grasp an experience more fully than ever before; suddenly, you find your ears are open to hear with a deeper understanding.
Human beings are born and begin their evolution through the great spiral of consciousness, moving from archaic to magic to mythic to rational to perhaps integral, and from there perhaps into genuinely transpersonal domains. But for every person that moves into integral or higher, dozens are born into the archaic.
Going to Europe, someone had written, was about as final as going to heaven. A mystical passage to another life, from which no-one returned the same. Those returning in such ships were invincible, for they had managed it and could reflect ever after on Anne Hathaway's Cottage or the Tower of London with a confidence that did generate at Sydney. There was nothing mythic at Sydney; momentous objects, beings and events all occurred abroad or in the elsewhere of books.
The power of both myth and art is this magical ability to open doors, to make connections - not only between us and the natural world, but between us and the rest of humanity. Myths show us what we have in common with every other human being, no matter what culture we come from, no matter what century we live in... and at the same time, mythic stories and art celebrate our essential differences...
The power of both myth and art is this magical ability to open doors, to make connections "" not only between us and the natural world, but between us and the rest of humanity. Myths show us what we have in common with every other human being, no matter what culture we come from, no matter what century we live in. . .and at the same time, mythic stories and art celebrate our essential differences...
By the late twentieth century, our time, a mythic time, we are all chimeras, theorized and fabricated hybrids of machine and organism; in short, we are cyborgs.The cyborg is our onthology; it gives us our politics. the cyborg is a condensed image of both imagination and material reality, the two joined centers structuring any possibility of historical transformation.
Donna J. Haraway
The need for mythic statements is satisfied when we frame a view of the world which adequately explains the meaning of human existence in the cosmos, a view which springs from our psychic wholeness, from the co-operation between conscious and unconscious. Meaninglessness inhibits fullness of life and is therefore equivalent to illness. Meaning makes a great many things endurable - perhaps everything.
The unfolding through time of all things from one is the simple message, finally, of every one of the creation myths reproduced in the pages of these volumes-including that of our contemporary biological view, which becomes an effective mythic image the moment we recognize its own inner mystery. By the same magic, every god that is dead can be conjured again to life, as any fragment of rock from a hillside, set respectfully in a garden, will arrest the eye.
It has been said that the myth is a public dream, dreams are private myths. Unfortunately we give our mythic side scant attention these days. As a result, a great deal escapes us and we no longer understand our own actions. So it remains important and salutary to speak not only of the rational and easily understood, but also of enigmatic things: the irrational and the ambiguous. To speak both privately and publicly.
It was her grandfather who'd told her the tale of this particular violin, over and over, as if the telling could stave off loss, as if the weight and scope of human history were not found in books or in those mythic universities in Rome and Naples that no one in their village had ever seen but, rather, were encoded in objects like this one, a violin touched by hundreds of hands, loved, used, stroked, pressed, made to outlive its owners, storing their secrets and lies
Carolina De Robertis
I believe in art that is connected to real human feeling, that extends itself beyond the limits of the art world to embrace all people who are striving for alternatives in an increasingly dehumanized world. I am trying to make art that relates to the deepest and most mythic concerns of human kind and I believe that, at this moment of history, feminism is humanism.
Of course, if we do find the Great Glom, we will see other gloms as well, " said Dottia. "I mean, he will not exist alone, will he? Mythic creatures like him are often spoken of as if they did exist alone, and they were born unique, hatched from a singular egg, out of nowhere, with no parents, mate or offspring. He will have a female glom as his wife, his own glom children, and an entire race of gloms as his subjects." "Certainly, he will, I agree, " said Klubbe.
But the fundamentalists, the "creationists," seize upon these vacancies in the scientific hotel to pack the conferences with their delegates. They see the opening-creativity is an absolute-and they equate that absolute with their mythic god, and they stuff this god with all the characteristics that promote their own egoic inclinations, starting with the fact that if you don't believe in this particular god, you fry in hell forever, which is not exactly a generous view of Spirit.
The mythic voice rising from literature and art allows us to be humane. We are not humane because of political power, or education, or even religion. We are humane because we recognize the humanity of others. The writer and the artist appeal to that humanity. For that reason, literature and art are the bones of civilization.
Polak, a psychiatrist, has applied a behavioral and anthropological approach to alleviating poverty, developed by studying people in their natural surroundings. He argues that there are three mythic solutions to poverty eradication: donations, national economic growth, and big businesses. Instead, he advocates helping the poor earn money through their own efforts of developing low-cost tools that are effective and profitable.
Arthuriana has become a genre in itself, more like TV soap opera where people think they know the characters. All that's fair enough, but it does remove the mythic power of the feminine and masculine principles. So I prefer it in its original form, even if you have to wade through Mallory's 'Le Morte d'Arthur' - people smashing people for pages and pages! It still has the resonances of myth about it, which makes it work for me. I don't want to know if Mordred led an unhappy childhood or not.
Romantic love, in pornography as in life, is the mythic celebration of female negation. For a woman, love is defined as her willingness to submit to her own annihilation. The proof of love is that she is willing to be destroyed by the one whom she loves, for his sake. For the woman, love is always self-sacrifice, the sacrifice of identity, will, and bodily integrity, in order to fulfill and redeem the masculinity of her lover.
The Stetson passage is an allusion to Frazer theory in The Golden Bough that religion originated as agricultural engineering. Through a grotesque process of literalization, all of the dying gods and heroes in The Golden Bough, along with Christ and the Fisher King, are transferred from mythic to modern consciousness ( Frazer himself was an unabashed positivist) to be made explicable in scientific terms as fertilizer.
Jewel Spears Brooker
Running, close companion to death, summons us to the most vivid acts of life. Our ancestors (we have forgotten) ran for food and for love, love and lust. For us, a prime symbol of sexuality is the automobile. For the ancients it was the chase, the foot race. Satyr and nymph, maiden and god, hot pursuit. The mythic hunters, Diana and Atalanta, available only to the males, men or gods, who could outrun them; death to all others.
I liked myths. They weren't adult stories and they weren't children stories. They were better than than that. They just were. Adult stories never made sense, and they were slow to start. They made me feel like there were secrets, Masonic, mythic secrets, to adulthood. Why didn't adults want to read about Narnia, about secret islands and smugglers and dangerous fairies?
A paradox: the same century invented History and PHotography. But History is a memory fabricated according to positive formulas, a pure intellectual discourse which abolishes mythic Time; and the Photograph is a certain but fugitive testimony; so that everything, today, prepares our race for this impotence: to be no longer able to conceive duration, affectively or symbolically: the age of the Photograph is also the age of revolutions, contestations, assassinations, explosions, in short, of impatiences, of everything which denies ripening.
The agony of martyrdom is almost too much to bear. In the early hours, when the loss is fresh, there is no comfort in knowing Glory will live on. We speak of the martyrs in History but we cannot know the actual pain they suffered in their final living hours. They enter the realm of the mythic, but we must never forget these were men like ourselves. When their flesh is torn, they cry out. They suffer as you or I would suffer, although more bravely. Remember Christ. Although I am now an enemy to Joseph's legacy, I shudder when recalling his pain.
When I left the theater... I was thinking that I'd seen a classic of American dance. It confers a mythic dimension on ordinary aspects of our daily lives "" it's unfaked folk art. The dancers, crashing wave upon wave into those falls, have a happy insane spirit that recalls a unique moment in American life "" the time we did the school play or we were ready to drown at a swimming meet. The last time most of us were happy in that way.
The Bobbit case, which brought to life the ancient mythic archetype of woman as castrator, demonstrated that women are as aggressive as men and that sex is a dark, dangerous force of nature. But of course the feminist establishment, stuck in its battered-woman blinders, learned nothing as usual from this lurid refutation of its normal views. Classic art works like Bizet's Carmen tell us more about the irrationality of love, jealousy and revenge than do all the pat formulas of the counseling industry.
There were two forests for every one you entered. There was the one you walked in, the physical echo, and then there was the one that was connected to all the other forests, with no consideration of distance, or time. The forest primeval, remembered through the collective memory of every tree in the same way that people remembered myth- through the collective subconscious that Jung mapped, the shared mythic resonance that lay buried in every human mind. Legend and myth, all tangled in an alphabet of trees remembered, not always with understanding, but with wonder. With awe.
Charles de Lint
A man can be a hero if he is a scientist, or a soldier, or a drug addict, or a disc jockey, or a crummy mediocre politician. A man can be a hero because he suffers and despairs; or because he thinks logically and analytically; or because he is sensitive; or because he is cruel. Wealth establishes a man as a hero, and so does poverty. Virtually any circumstance in a man's life will make him a hero to some group of people and has a mythic rendering in the culture -- in literature, art, theater, or the daily newspapers.
On the other hand, heroism is basic to the character of the Nordic peoples. This heroism of the ancient mythic period and this is what is decisive has never been lost, despite times of decline, so long as the Nordic blood was still alive. Heroism, in fact, took many forms, from the warrior nobility of Siegfried or Hercules to the intellectual nobility of Copernicus and Leonardo , the religious nobility of Eckehart and Lagarde, or the political nobility of Frederick the Great and Bismarck , and its substance has remained the same.
In broad outline and in detail, the life of Jesus as portrayed in the gospels corresponds to the worldwide Mythic Hero Archetype in which a divine hero's birth is supernaturally predicted and conceived, the infant hero escapes attempts to kill him, demonstrates his precocious wisdom already as a child, receives a divine commission, defeats demons, wins acclaim, is hailed as king, then betrayed, losing popular favor, executed, often on a hilltop, and is vindicated and taken up to heaven.
Robert M. Price
Note, to-day, an instructive, curious spectacle and conflict. Science, (twin, in its fields, of Democracy in its)""Science, testing absolutely all thoughts, all works, has already burst well upon the world""a sun, mounting, most illuminating, most glorious""surely never again to set. But against it, deeply entrench'd, holding possession, yet remains, (not only through the churches and schools, but by imaginative literature, and unregenerate poetry,) the fossil theology of the mythic-materialistic, superstitious, untaught and credulous, fable-loving, primitive ages of humanity.
Note, to-day, an instructive, curious spectacle and conflict. Science, (twin, in its fields, of Democracy in its)-Science, testing absolutely all thoughts, all works, has already burst well upon the world-a sun, mounting, most illuminating, most glorious-surely never again to set. But against it, deeply entrench'd, holding possession, yet remains, (not only through the churches and schools, but by imaginative literature, and unregenerate poetry,) the fossil theology of the mythic-materialistic, superstitious, untaught and credulous, fable-loving, primitive ages of humanity.