Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The New Story

"The Universe is made of stories, not atoms."

Muriel Rukeyser

"Stories are not abstractions from life, but how we engage with it.  We make stories and those stories make us human.  We awaken into stories as we awaken into language, which is there before and after us.  The question is not so much "What do I learn from stories?" as "What stories do I want to live?" ........ that question might be just as much, "What stories want to come to life through me?"

David R. Loy, "The World Is Made Of Stories"

I truly do believe that story is the name of the country where the archetypes enact their dramas, the Gods and Goddesses weave their relationships and teach their values, and we, consciously or not, live out the myths. Within the Mythic Realms we find the templates of societies, and as individuals, each of us is "in-formed" by story, by mythos.  So what are the stories we're being told, infused with, fed by, what are the stories we've internalized?

I've so often spoken of artists, and myself, as people who often elect for the uneasy job of re-mything culture.  Sometimes they get elected, whether they think they are or not.  The myths rise up from the collective Self, perhaps from the Necessity of the time:  but it's individuals who give it voice, symbol, a language, and they often have to plow through the old mythos with a fair amount of resistance before they find resonant ears.  Pollinators of story........that's what I think I've been, along with many colleagues.  Pollinators, re-discoverers and re-mythers of stories about interdependance instead of competition, stories about a living Earth we live within, instead of a "reward" somewhere else, stories about the return of the Great Goddess and the feminine powers and values, stories that heal instead of making war.  Sometimes I worry that I come close to being propaganda, as I repeat myself and my themes over and over..........but these symbols and sounds lie at the root, the base, and are taproots that I can sink over and over to renew myself, to sustain.

So I felt like sharing again the video at the bottom of this post by Brian Swimme, and revisiting again the New Stories Foundation.

And here also is Someone I've been re-visiting, the ancient, and  ubiquitous,  Native American archetype of Spider Woman that has been so fascinating to me over the years.  Grandmother Spider Woman is more than an "archetype" to me...........She's also a wise mentor.  Since I seem to be going through a rather profound personal re-weaving at the moment, I've been renewing my aquaintance with Spider Woman as I ask for aid, a few of Her strong threads, through  friends, story, dream and synchronicity, to show me the way to go now.

Also called "Thought Woman" in Southwestern Pueblo cultures, Spider Woman is a primal creatrix who imagines things that come to be; she weaves the world continually into being and dissolution with the stories she tells. At the center of the great Web (symbolized by the ubiquitous cross representing the union of the 4 directions) that is always associated with her Spider Woman/Thought Woman sees the ever evolving pattern, the resonance, the harmonies and the disharmonies, the tears and new links. The gift of weaving, and the gift of story, are the gifts Spider Woman endowed her grandchildren with.  And as we are all, as it were, connected in the Great Web of life, the work is ultimately collaborative. 
Ts' its' tsi' nako, Thought-Woman the Spider named things and as she named them they appeared. She is sitting in her room thinking of a good story now:
I'm telling you the story she is thinking.

Keresan Pueblo proverb

In some Pueblo myths,  when the world fell so out of balance that it was destroyed,  it was Spider Woman who "midwifed" the New World by leading the people through the Kiva.  The "Third World" ended by flood, and She led the people into the  "Fourth World", which is our time.
As the Hopi (and Mayan) calendar or cycle recently ended, surely Grandmother Spider Woman is very present again, ready to lead us into the new 5th  world,  helping us to spin "new stories".  And if we look at what element "5", the "Fifth World" might represent, it is Center, and its color is white, the union of all colors.  Surely now is the time to tell the story of interdependence, connection, the story that ends with:

And We Are All One......



Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

Great post. Without stories, who are we? Joseph Campbell and Jung were certainly aware of the importance of stories. Isn't the 5th element a kind of alchemy?

lauren raine said...

Thanks! Alchemy........hmm, I never thought of that. Alchemy is turning lead into gold, refinement....?

Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

Alchemy is ultimately transformation at the most fundamental level. Isn't it what spiderwoman weaves?

Wes Hansen said...

Yeah, alchemy is turning the caterpillar into the butterfly and that, ideally, is what myths do! Or so I believe . . . And I agree with you that true art IS the propagation of myth; as Joseph Campbell pointed out, the STRUCTURE remains the same, only the context changes! And I believe James Joyce had poignant insight with his placing of art into static and kinetic categories: static art is myth brought to life and, as such, those who interact with it recognize something deep within themselves and, hence, are HELD IN ARREST; kinetic art, what Joyce called "didactic pornography", simply moves those who interact with it emotionally, i.e. inspires lust, anger, greed, or generally, the primordial opposites, fear or desire. So much of today's world is filled with "didactic pornography" or the titillating dissemination of information but I, too, sense a change afoot . . .

In Buddhism this is understood as the play of karma. Buddhist philosophers start by negating the four ways that intrinsic existence can come into being. This leads to their Law of Interdependant Co-origination which basically states that everything in existence depends on everything else in existence for its existence. In other words, nothing exists unto itself, everything lacks "intrinsic existence", hence, is empty.

So then, etymologically, karma means "intentional action" and intentional actions have consequences. These consequences can either be positive, negative, or neutral and the goal of all philosophies which acknowledge karmic efficacy is to produce only good or neutral consequences. But, due to the interdependent nature of reality, this is impossible from a limited perspective (caterpillar perspective); this can only be accomplished from the perspective of omniscient mind (butterfly perspective)! So the Buddhist realization of emptiness is the universal realization of Thou art That where That refers to omniscient mind! And this is at the heart of the Bodhisattva ideal which many artists do or should embody: the desire to cultivate one's own omniscient mind in order to properly assist all other sentient beings in the cultivation of their omniscient mind . . .

This IS the structure of all myths. As His Holiness the Dalai Lama often states, one can cultivate omniscient mind using any religion or no religion at all. Why is this? Because all one really needs is already there within them, all they need do is awaken to it and any myth, take your pick, when properly interpreted, points the way . . .

lauren raine said...

Thank you, Wes. Elequently said, deeply considered.