“Wherever the poetry of the myth is interpreted as biography, history, or science, it is killed. The living images become only remote facts of a distant time or sky. Furthermore, it is never difficult to demonstrate that as science and history mythology is absurd. When a civilization begins to reinterpret its mythology in this way, the life goes out of it, temples become museums, and the link between the two perspectives is dissolved. Such a blight has certainly descended on the Bible and on a great part of the Christian cult.” Joseph Campbell
I know several people who would be upset with me for saying this, or at least disagree; but, the same is true with much of Paganism. People are taking ancient Myths and attempting to interpret them as custom, even taking the characters and elevating them to the status of gods. I’ll tell you….I don’t see a lot of (though there is some) overlap between what is found in the archeological record here in Ireland and what is actually recorded in its Mythical manuscript tradition.
“To bring the images back to life, one has to seek, not interesting applications to modern affairs, but illuminating hints from the inspired past. When these are found, vast areas of half-dead iconography disclose against permanent human meaning.” Joseph Campbell
Myth speaks to us on a subconscious level. As tempting as it is – especially for me – to look for cues to folk and lifeways within the narrative tradition, I remind myself to let go, and allow the images to dance – revealing hints of ancestral whispers and wisdom.
“…according to this view it appears that the wonder tales – which pretend to describe the lives of legendary heroes, the power of divinities of nature, the spirits of the dead, and the totem ancestors of the group – symbolic expression is given to the unconscious desires, fears and tensions that underlie the conscious patterns of human behaviour. Mythology, in other words, is psychology misread as biography, history, and cosmology.” Joseph Campbell
Myth and folklore are therapeutic narrative. Let them seep in and share their wisdom, but let your Talker mind, with its search for puzzle and answer, sleep.