Imagining Reality

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Myth: A Working Definition

Set design for the world premiere of the ballet "Daphnis et Chloë" (music by Maurice Ravel), Paris

By Leon Bakst. 1912 Set design for the world premiere of the ballet “Daphnis et Chloë” (music by Maurice Ravel), Paris

Myth is a story shared within a culture, as part of that culture’s larger body of mythology. Myth deals with spiritual matters and serves to establish a sense of order, reflecting an ideological worldview specific to that culture.

Myth cannot be reduced to a defined meaning, but speaks on many levels, offering a kaleidoscopic, paradoxical view of sacred truth, full of contradiction, not literally true yet symbolically meaningful. One can return to the same stories repeatedly, as to a well, always finding other dimensions of meaning. Through telling and retelling, the body of myth grows and evolves, revealing ever deeper symbolic truth about the culture out of which it arises, and also about the psyches of those who would interpret it.

Myth helps us to explore and understand our relationship to spirit. A more conscious relationship with symbolic thought and sacred meaning inspires us to self-actualization. We understand the world through myth. We find ourselves within myth. We create the world through myth. Our contemporary culture needs help understanding that myth is a source of illumination and transformation for us still.

In my personal mythos, it’s how we will save the world.


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