March 31, 2012: Of course, you studied "history" in school. But there's one huge piece of information I bet not one of your teachers told you, the whole however-many-years-it-was that you had to take that class. That piece of vital information is simply the meaning of the word that named the subject you were studying. It was called "history", not "theirstory". Significant here is the idea that the word is SINGULAR--it was "his"tory...as in, the ideas of one person who wrote things down, about what HE thought was happening, and sometimes about what HE thought it meant. And the other piece of that word is "story", as in, a tale we tell. Unless you were actually there and watching, all you ever know about something that happened is what someone told you--a story. And it is important to remember that there is no such thing as an unbiased story, no matter how much people talk about journalistic objectivity. History, the old saying goes, is written by the victors.
And so, dear people, each of us, when it comes to our own lives, is, must be, and can be, a "yourstorian", not only telling, but creating, our own "history". As people of Craft, we all have access to myriads of mythos in the form of stories of Gods and heroes, folk tales, created lore like the "Charge of the Goddess", and books, books, books. Why would anyone need or want to go to the trouble of making up some kind of fairy story to explain their own life? Isn't that a little bit too right-brain? And what good would it do, anyway? The things that happen to us are normally just that, right? Things that happen. They're random and out of our control. I'm sure getting fired or having to move or flunking a class or getting a girlfriend or finding a new friend are really the kind of stuff myths are made of, right? (note presence here of heavy sarcasm) So why bother?
It is my belief that the reason anyone becomes Craft at all is to answer the age-old human questions which deal with the purpose and meaning of life. Why am I here? Where am I going? Does my life matter to anyone but me? Does it even matter to me? In organized religions, there are answers to these questions. The Baltimore Catechism, which I grew up with, says "Why did God make me?" and answers, "God made me to love him, serve him, and be happy with him forever in heaven." But Witches have no God like that, no heaven, no game plan imposed on them by Sacred Scripture, and no easy answers. The question "Does my life matter?" can only be answered, "Yes, if you make it matter." And a personal mythos is one way of doing that.
Don't misunderstand. You already HAVE personal mythos, whether or not you are aware of it. Myth is not "some not-true story people make up to explain things." Myth means a story that transcends the events in it, that means something beyond itself. By definition, all myth is true, because it is someone's description of reality. Myth is the way your world works. If you are living your life you have already made assumptions about your own reality, about the way your world works. You are acting in accordance with these assumptions every time you do anything at all. My purpose in being here is to show you how to deliberately construct the myth that defines your life, to use that construct to assimilate and understand the events in your life which now appear random, and in so doing, change your life in accordance with your own Will and desires, or, in other words, to be aware of, and if you choose to do so, alter, your "mythconceptions" about yourself and your life.
So, you say, what is this myth I am living my life by? Well, here is a worksheet to help you figure out what some of your present assumptions are. No one will see this but you, so be as accurate as you can.
WORKSHEET #1...Myths I Live By
I. Answer as completely as you can:
1. What is the quality I admire most in other people? How do I think a person achieves that quality?
2. What is the thing I wish most I could change in my life? How do I believe it could change?
3. What quality in myself do I most value? Where do I believe it came from?
4. Name something I feel I can never achieve. Why can't I?
5. What is the worst thing that ever happened to me? Why do I believe it happened?
6. What is the best thing that ever happened to me? Why do I believe it happened?
7. What do I like the most in my life? How do I believe it came about?
8. What do I dislike the most about my life? What do I intend to do about it?
Now you should be holding a paper full of your own (tentative) answers to a lot of mythic questions. We might call them your "myth-conceptions". The answers you have given are a rough construct of some ways in which you perceive your world works. In looking at your own answers, you will discover that there are several similarities between you and any mythic hero/heroine you could name: I haven't seen anyone's paper but I will wager most of the following is true:
1. You believe that you were basically handed some challenges in your life which have nothing to do with what you thought you wanted. So you believe those challenges are obstacles on your journey to where you want to go.
2. Some of the circumstances of your life at present came about without your wishing them to occur.
3. There are qualities you admire in others which you believe you do not possess.
4. You feel more responsible for the difficulties of your own life than you do for your achievements.
5. Some of the happenings in your life seem meaningless or random.
6. There are things you wish to achieve which you think are impossible.
What you have here is the raw material of a mythic hero or heroine, one who overcomes obstacles and succeeds through weakness where others fail in their strength. We have all met such hero figures... Cinderella, Tom Thumb, Robin Hood, Snow White. Only this time the hero can be you. And you can use the raw materials of classic myth in several symbol systems to create mythos which will make real, tangible, repeatable changes in your life, here and now.
Check in again tomorrow for some ideas on how to go about that...