It’s time for a new myth – one that we actually need. One to replace the latest usurper, which is only about two to three thousand years old, depending on which part you’re looking at. Far less in some sections thanks to modern revisions. That really is very new on the block when you look at the timeline of history.
Before presenting at the Texts & Traditions Colloquium this past weekend, I had to go back through all of my notes in order to best condense a two hour workshop into a 45 minute presentation. I re-read sections of my own book to confirm facts – and one of those was that the art-marking culture of the Aboriginal people goes back AT LEAST 50,000 years. It took my breath away. Somewhere along the way that number had erroneously lessened in my head to about half that. Imagine that long, long line of tradition – changing, growing, being passed on over time. Within it are stories that propel and preserve a people. You can go anywhere on this planet where humanity has resided long enough to craft civilization, and you will find myth.
Myth is a living entity. Within every myth, truths about its culture lay suspended like insects in amber. Those truths speak to a society’s morality and beliefs, sense of cause and effect, who are the heroes and the villains. Myths may seem “just” like stories, but the human brain loves and retains the story format. The format is friendly enough to build a foundation for children’s minds, while still fascinating adults.
There is a tendency to hold our own myths like precious jewels, while others (past or current) are viewed through the lens of costume jewelry – attractive, but not of real value. When we hold on too tightly, or become too comfortable with our own myths to allow more perspective, we overlook the potential flaws when myth gets corrupted or left un-examined. The truths can become flies in the ointment.
Myth is a powerful force. Myths can have an agenda – for better or for worse. In the latter, they can be corrupted. They can lose their relevance. They can be abandoned, but also rebuilt and recreated. Some people try to hold on to remnants of a broken myth because they forget there are others to look to, or that we can indeed make new ones.
The pervasive myth in Western society by way of corrupted scriptures is that the divine is separate from this world. That humans lack power and magic, unless given it by divine intervention – and those with it are but a chosen few. To suggest otherwise is evil or heresy. Rather than spreading a message of love, compassion, and understanding, the myth separates, antagonizes, and diminishes -benefiting the few instead of the many. We need only to look around us at the state of the planet and the amount of pain in the world to see the effects of a corrupted myth.
Witches don’t need to sift through the rubble of the Tower to find power or rebuild temples. We don’t need to rub ashes on our bodies for legitimacy or penance. We shall remember where our roots truly are, waiting for us to awaken in the earth. The breath of free skies upon our skin will recover our wings. The salt of the oceans speaks to our blood, purifying and cleansing away the debris of corrupt myths. We exist outside of the lines of social identity.
It is time for a New Myth. To do that, we need to dig deeper, and look higher. We need to remember the myths of our distant ancestors that remind us that we are directly linked to and are a part of Nature – not separate from the planet. Gods and spirits walk among us, with us, are us. We are our ancestors and we are our descendants. We are magic, we are power.
You have been born into this world, formed of star stuff that has existed since the dawn of time. That which makes up your being, also makes the world around you – everything seen and unseen. Your body is sacred, your spirit is divine. The animals, the trees, the mountains, the oceans – all members of your living family – just as much as those who gave birth to you and share your blood. Seek to honor yourself with every breath, word, gesture, and thought. In turn, honor the world around you for it is your family and yourself. The Witch knows the infinite threads that connect all of us and weaves them in the liminal spaces between mind, spirit, and body. This is the heart of magic, the root of true power that every spirit is capable of accessing. This power, this magic is already within your possession, at your fingertips – simply waiting for you to realize it and take hold of what has always been yours.
Embrace a new myth and the potential within.