Monday, December 10, 2007


Does it make me....

I have, since I was a child, loved to read mythology. It transported me to another time and place. A place of high adventure and questing for some lost treasure or secret. I always felt you could discern some truth or special knowledge by studying the myths of the past. Regardless of the myths cultural connection, it was as if I was looking at the moon and finding within it the brilliance of the sun disguised. Does it make me crazy? Crazy to muse about the importance of mythology today. How does it scare or inspire us in this day of faith and reason? Is it even important at all?

I think it is. The old myths are still with us today. I would say, stirring something in us, even if we are not aware of it. Calling us to go on a quest for truth and meaning. I think, however, to understand the power of myth, one needs to have knowledge of the power of symbols. Symbols are more powerful than most of us realize. They can have a variety of meanings and many different levels of interpretation.

I have noticed over the past few years a great many movies utilizing the power of myth. Fantasy and Scifi are great venues to bring myth out into the open. Many have a "end of the world" theme to them that is unmistakable. Stories telling of great battles that will change the world. Some inviting you to imagine that you are the last person or apart of a few groups left to survive on earth.

What draws us to these movies? It is more than just entertainment. The urge to symbolise the world around us is a very human thing to do. Ancient shamans used ritual and myths to describe their trance states. I know I felt entranced when I went to see Lord of The Rings and Star Wars: Episode I-The Phantom Menace. It was like a rite of passage. However, I just don't view the themes and symbols in movies and TV shows as being there strictly for fun. The beauty of mythology, ancient or modern, is that it encodes its lessons within our minds. It uses trance to disguise seemingly mundane images, while leading us on the sublime journey of the hero.

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