Myth as a way of healing?

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by scent of cedar, Jun 8, 2013.

  1. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    I was reading something about Joseph Campbell, this morning. Joseph Campbell was a comparative mythologist. He explored the myths every civilization has evolved to explain the mystery that we are here, at all, and the mystery of the pain at the center of so many of our lives. He has written such things as "Hero With a Thousand Faces." Which is a study of our (the human race) interpretations of God over time, and through great distances.

    Well, anyway. So, I began to think about some of those myths. For instance, wasn't it Isis whose son was killed, cut into a million pieces and scattered throughout the world? And she (the grieving, inconsolable mother) found every one of those pieces, except one.

    For that one, she still searches.

    Raging, vengeful, inconsolable Isis.

    Because she knows that, if she could just find that missing piece....

    Or Persephone's mother. Taken into the underworld by whoever the god of the underworld is. The daughter eats one seed. A pomegranate seed, I think it was. And because the daughter has eaten of the fruit of the underworld, the mother can never truly recover her daughter, again. The daughter must return to the underworld for six months of every year. And so the mother, being a goddess...decreed Winter for those six months, refusing to allow anything to grow on the surface of the Earth until her daughter has been returned to her.

    And when Persephone's mother has her daughter with her again in the Upper World where everything is the way it's supposed to be...we have Summer.

    And you know, we hear those myths and we think it means "this is why we have Winter."

    But surely the Greeks, with their knowledge of the planets and the stars, understood Winter was caused by something else, all together.

  2. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    The missing pieces of Isis' son are the organs of regeneration. The genitalia. And the reason Isis can never stop searching, refuses to let it go and "get on with things", is because what's been salvaged only has meaning if her son can be brought back, can be made whole again, can truly possess and pass on, his own life.

    We are like Isis. Or like Persephone's mother. We will never truly give up, never truly reconcile ourselves to the fates of our lost or damaged children.

    There is validation in these myths, for us.

    We are grieving, alright. But that is right and normal, strong and good. Rather than labeling ourselves depressed, or stuck in the past, or defensive or even, shame-based (which might be true, but which is a separate issue altogether), we are superb specimans of what it means to be human. We are battling Fate for the lives of our children, for the completion and the wholeness of our families and our own lives.

    I mean, when you see it like that, we're not victims. We're not people who just can't belly up to what's happened to us, to our children and our families and our lives.

    We truly are warriors.

    Anointed, and well able.


    That's Joel Osteen coming through, there.

    Well, thank you, Joel, and pass me that sword.

  3. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful


    Often myths such as these have multiple meanings and are meant to explain many things other than the obvious meaning.

    There are some..........that I wonder if they really are what we think of myths or if they are just a means to convey a thought/history/explain human behavior. It might be stylized (depending on culture) so that one has to truly look with both an open mind/heart to get the truer meanings.

    So while the myth can explain Winter or also explains how a mother feels, about important it is to us that what we are/what we believe ect gets passed on to the next generation......that a bond between mother and child can weather just about anything even if there is distance that needs to be there for whatever reason. There are probably more layers of meaning. But I don't care for Greek mythology so I don't know.

    I don't think we ever truly give up on our kids. Oh, we may get mighty good at detachment........we might realize that things will not be able to change for whatever reason. But I think still deep within us there is always an ember of hope burning even when we believe the fire has gone out.

  4. Barbara - That is very interesting. I was never much of a mythology fan either but isn't it interesting that a mother's pain for/because of her children spans all of time. And a mother's passion and fight for her children does as well. Isis went to the ends of the earth for her son and even then did not give up searching for the solution. Persephone's mother suffered her own 'winter' every time her daughter left her for 6 months. Just like we suffer when our children are lost to us and rejoice when they are found.

    Hound - I agree with you. I don't think it will matter how detached I become. I don't think there will ever come a day when I don't have a tiny little flame of hope for difficult child.
  5. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    Barbara, What a fascinating, beautiful...yet sad, post. Seems this heartache we have/are going through has been around since the beginning of time. And by the way, I too have found Joel Osteen to be comforting.
    Lisa, This sentence is so powerful and true:
    "I don't think we ever truly give up on our kids. Oh, we may get mighty good at detachment........we might realize that things will not be able to change for whatever reason. But I think still deep within us there is always an ember of hope burning even when we believe the fire has gone out.
    Although I don't like to admit it/share it/talk about it...I have days that I have this hope. Sadly, it is always instantly squelched like a bug being smacked by a giant fly swatter. So, I rarely allow myself to have hope. It is almost insane to do so. BUT, then again, it is counterintuitive to not hold at least a little hope. I guess I'm watching for difficult child herself to show signs of change.