“We have not even to risk the adventure alone
for the heroes of all time have gone before us.
The labyrinth is thoroughly known …
we have only to follow the thread of the hero path.
And where we had thought to find an abomination
we shall find a God.
And where we had thought to slay another
we shall slay ourselves.
Where we had thought to travel outwards
we shall come to the center of our own existence.
And where we had thought to be alone
we shall be with all the world.”
Greetings Dear Ones,
The New Year is underway. Although it begins with the stunning chaos of executive orders that threaten to undermine the gains of the civil rights movements of the past 60 years, I am inspired and lifted up by the passion and willingness of so many to take to the streets, to the phones, to the airports, and everywhere they can to stand for what they know is right.
This is a waking up time. And though there are days I am filled with dread, mornings I wake weeping, there is also a calm and keen awareness of the work ahead. I believe in our determination and courage to step out into our lives and our communities to be the change we yearn to see.
As many of you know, I teach mythology and comparative religion at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. Each semester in my mythology classes, I invite my students – illustrators, animators, video game designers, architects, painters, and so many more – to go with me on a journey into the mystery of human consciousness. By immersing ourselves in the many dimensions of symbolic meaning, using shamanic, Jungian, and alchemical analytical approaches, we begin to discover the deep transformative power of myth and fairytale to resolve our own individual and collective psychic conflicts.
Every semester my students and I are amazed at the aliveness of these stories. They are not simply quaint stories from the past, they are luminous holograms that show us the shape and depth of our ancestors’ psyches. They tell us about our human condition, in a way that no history book or political science text can. And, they enter us, speak to unconscious forces within us, illuminate parallel psychological dimensions, allowing new insights to permeate our conscious minds, and shift our ways of being in the world.
This was never so clear to me as it was last semester during a highly charged and polarized campaign and election. My students could see the old stories playing out again before us – new faces, new costumes, new technologies – but the psychological dramas unfolding were familiar; they could use the tools we had been wielding to attempt to understand the chaos they were witnessing and experiencing inside themselves. The mythic was at hand and it held us all at a crucial time.
As I search now in the early days of a fast changing reality for how I can be of service to my communities, I feel the urge to offer two things: myth and the shamanic practice of the inward journey. After all, it is the inward journey, the sacred hero’s journey, that makes to us the gift of the myth, the story that illumines ailments of our times as well as their cure. And if myths are the dreams of a culture, and the journey to procure the myth our birthright, then together we are called to dream the myths that will transform us.
“Stories Are Rebels Too” is my offering. It is what I call a “Sacred Writing Workshop” which means that we will gather in sacred community to hear and read stories, to speak what ails us, to journey into our own imaginal realms, and come back to write down the myths we have encountered. This monthly gathering is ritual, is sacred storymaking, is personal transformation, is spiritual activism. We’ll recognize story as living thing, story as enchantment, as magic, as transformative act; not simply metaphor, but active medicine for the body, mind, and heart.
In each session, we’ll explore the myths of our ancestors; the fairytales, folktales, and stories of our communities; the wisdom of our bodies; our yearnings for a more compassionate, just, and sacred world; and our deep and wide imaginations to create the stories we need to live by.
Join me in this sacred rebellion.
Stories are Rebels Too:
A Sacred Writing Workshop for These Times
“I will tell you something about stories . . .
They aren’t just entertainment. Don’t be fooled. They are all we have …to fight off illness and death.”
–Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony
“A true myth teaches us the cure for the dilemma which it portrays.”
– Robert A. Johnson
Once upon a time, our ancestors used myths to communicate the wisdom of their individual and collective psyches as well as their connections to the universe and Spirit. From their collective dreaming they fashioned myths that reflected the ailments of their day and how to cure them. Today their ancient stories illumine pathways through inner and outer conflicts and crises, revealing solutions to those conflicts, as well as transformation of crises into unity and wholeness.
There is a great need for stories that will transform us, and these times.
In this series of 5 monthly workshops, we will consider specific issues we are wrestling with in the world and within ourselves. We will gather to identify the ‘story’ of that issue within our lives, its effects on us, and society, and we will journey to find the necessary medicine – a new story – to heal and transform the old one.
Through the reading of diverse myths and fairytales, the sharing of life stories, movement, shamanic journeying, writing, and co-creative ritual, we will breathe life into rebellious stories and send them out into the world.
All are welcome.
- Workshop One – Seeding the Future: Creation Myths for These Times
- When: Saturday, 1pm-6pm, March 4th, 2017
- Where: Rudramandir, 830 Bancroft Way, Berkeley, CA 94710; Ghazal Room #103
- Cost: Sliding Scale Donation $40-$80; no one turned away for lack of funds
- Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; visit www.soulhealingarts.org