Memoir(s) As Un-forgetting There is, throughout all times, the recognition of a certain moment, a dangerous one, upon which one catches a glimpse of how one re-turns re-membering that participates in a vision of things to come. These very private moments are muse and such encounter with the pluralism of inner movements of soul teach us how to live a human life in the world of present times. It is here between the world of the times and the world of the depths the soul of memoir(s) and reveries moisten our tired language and refresh our dry spirit.
Mythopoetry Scholar 2012 offers a variety of memoir and reverie narratives
this time, one of which is by Robert D Romanyshyn titled, "Living with The Dead: Re-Collections of an Unfinished Life." Before I share an excerpt from Robert's memoir(s) I'd like to step back and step down and through an old biblical quote and old blog post written by someone else.
It seems a good deal of the spirit of the times shaping our national soul speak up founded upon biblical scripture passages. So let me begin with one you may recognize the bible teaches in John 3:8. Now there are many translations of this passage so to get a feel for the idea presented in this passage for how people get spiritually reborn go read some of these translations and then come back.
Now I want to give you the link to a remarkable blog titled, "The Way Of What Is To Come" by Heidekolb. Heide M. Kolb writes from a Jungian perspective and she has taken the title of this blog from the first section of Jung's Liber Primus. This blog reveals that Jung makes a distinction between the spirit of the times and the spirit of the depths. Most of us know Jung's Liber Primus as The Red Book. Kolb moves between reading Liber Primus for herself and also the translation provided in The Red Book to write her blog.
Heide Kolb writes that Jung suggests each era has its own unique spirit or zeitgeist and sees this as shaping the ego consciousness, one's identity and one's bonds to the national soul. But she also says that Jung indicates the spirit of depths is older and stronger and it is the vision from the depths that provides one a light of guidance to the way that is to come in a marvelous, mysterious manner whose spirit one cannot get from the language of the times in which one lives. You aren't going to find the image, "nation" marvel working from solely "soully-liberal" or "soully-conservative" thinking, in other words.
Heide likens 2012 to the spirit of the times before the close of WWI that produces the Dada movement's "pursuit of the marvelous" in aesthetic thought also giving rise to surrealism and cubism in art. There is a marvelous account here of the birth of abstract caricature by the artist de Zayas and I mention it for the image talking in the passage that serves to in-spire re-visioning things shaping things to come. The image the artist describes is that of a soul-catcher gathering the likenesses of the like which complete the image in the soul of a new thought; his own was for the catching of soul bringing new ideas to the world. (p32) Where the inner likeness is fullfilling itself, it catches the soul of the ego and this is where and how life takes on new life.
There is a bit of further explanation by de Zayas when the new method of abstract caricature debuts for the first time in 1913. He writes in the preface to the exhibit how he is inspired by primative art's attempt to materialize the supernatural elements believed to exist outside the individual psyche, however "elements science has proved to be natural and exist within the individual."
There is something about our dream life that constellates the spirit of the depths to go where it will gathering up enough likenesses of the like that will catch the conscious soul and bring it alive in lively and marvelously new ways. Robert's memoir(s) will tell such a tale beginning it with a dream figure and his 2011 Mythopoetry Scholar contribution, "Prelude To a Memoir." Robert shares the dream lingers for a decade and he re-collects it letting it dream itself forward again and again.
I am reminded of a kind of abstract caricature in-forming itself providing its own eidos--a spirit of depth archetypally active opening a way, re visioning a way going where it will. I think of de Zaya's image, a soul-catcher gathering the likenesses of the like which complete the image in the soul. For as Robert writes in his narrative's introduction, "In that dream, like so many others before and since it, there is a glimpse of the patterns that have woven and continue to weave together the threads of my waking life."
This is the last of my blogs for 2011. I hope you are in-spired by (de)lights of the season and look forward to the New Year and the new zine publishing January 2nd, 2012. Look for Robert's memoir(s) and enjoy the other fine contributions as you contemplate and muse on the way(s) of things to come.
One of the reasons for this three-year ezine project is to try and draw into a virtual space images of the unconscious life of the world, the soul of this world as it speaks to us today, mythlessly. What is the soul of our earth doing when we act the way we act toward each other globally and communally?
Some say the "new age", the "new millenium" began at ground zero. One can suppose the image today at work in a revolutionary manner. What manner of soul is this expression of the presence of the absence in which that moment now presences itself? The one event, depicted in the twin "shadows" lit by night, and the soul of this soul-loss carries an unknown value, a zero― a zero; soul-making "rounds"! And, may I add, still at work underneath our radar, such soul gets around!
So, too the various ways contributors present this year's theme: revolution...as in "the action for turning again" as one of our authors below suggests. David L Miller says it this way, "The world is archetypally activist." For more on the meaning of this metaphor see David's essay, A Myth Is As Good As A Smile. Meanwhile, here are four more authors and a bit about their contributions to Mythopoetry Scholar eZine vol. 3.
I received a beautiful painting done by cultural mythologer and essayist, Catherine Svehla called "Creation Story." Catherine will be contributing a reverie piece titled "Between the Worlds."
Coyote comes and kicks the empty skull of that world. Old Man Coyote constructs a place fit for us all by deconstructing principles. Like the black dog that tugs on the loose thread in the garment of the world and pulls it apart so that it can never be completed and the weaving must continue and so the world keeps spinning.
Cultural mythologer, Dave Alber wrote from China where he is teaching this term to say a little more about his contribution, "Myths and Moon Cakes: The Cosmological Symbolism of the Zhou Revolution."
The myth of Hou Yi the archer shooting down the nine suns is a polemical myth that describes the Zhou people working with the Hou tribe of barbarians ("yi") in the revolutionary overthrow of the Shang empire. The Shang, you see, had a solar calendar with a ten day week. Hou Yi shoots nine, leaving one left. Hou Yi is married to Chang-e who is associated with the moon. And so people with a lunar calendar defeat the people with the solar calendar. The Chang-e myth is known to every Chinese person as it is associated with Moon Festival celebrated every year. However, the cosmological origin of the myth has been lost. So, dare I say, I think that it would be revolutionary to publish something on the recovery of the cosmological and political threads of the myth.
Dave intends to send some great photos of Shang bronze vessels and city walls; wooden molds for moon cakes that depict scenes from the myth.
Meanwhile, the poetry section is set into the publisher and poetry submission to the 2012 zine is now officially closed. One sample of fine work is the experimental poetry of mythopoet, Richard (Ric) Lance Williams.
Ric's image-idea for "revolution" appears in the title, "Revolution: The Act of Turning Again." For me this brings to mind the image of the world soul at ground zero revealing itself in the photo as a "golden shadow" as if to say, " Now, we are two going on from two" "without value", meaning we are the door guardians of the gateless gate by which only the one who knows they don't know may pass into the realm of the unknown value to experience this shadow double's gold. You might likewise consider as do I this "golden shadow" might be a new metaphor for the soul of the soul of mythless times.
Stephanie Pope Which brings me to one of three contributions of my own efforts to support this year's zine, "Mythopoesis in the 21st Century or 'Poetry In The Extreme.'" The essay examines how a poetic revolution both affirms Ric's image idea of revolution as a turning action that "re" turns (aka, new and again) and reveals what gets around meaninglessness. My thesis is that "what" indeed gets around meaninglessnesses; it isn't a substance, it is a perspective achieved through a mythic and poetic literary method.
Mythopoetry Scholar vol. 3, whose 2012 theme is revolution, includes two short fiction pieces. One, "La Nuit Au Claire" by Chris Paris is set in the fictional, but not-too-distant campus unrest of the 1960's.
I was in a discussion with the author around the time I went to work setting the page in the publishing software that will include the story in the electronic zine publishing January, 2012.
"There are glimmers, moments when something breaks through culture at certain times and in certain ways and my goal," I told him, "in doing the work I do on line, is often times to interrogate the tacit presuppositions within which cultural values operate out of mythic dominants to the detriment of certain cultural kinds. The mythic dominants more often than not operate via religious, scientistic, historical and academic sanction...which is really an expression of an imbalance operating and mostly around a grab for power and goods...greed. During such moments," I told him, "the collective opine for the goods isn't the same thing necessarily as 'the good, the right, the just, the true,' by straw pole or otherwise." I think I had in the back of my mind something James Hillman noted in The Souless Society. He said America's myth is a myth of innocence and that's what gets us. Myth is tragedy and American tragedy lies in how it is remaining innocent. It does this for too long and until it's too late.
The truth be told the American majority opine misses, covers over, shuts away, shuts out and tries to shut up the subtle glimmer passing into being where openings are made culturally in which new meaning in a new cultural soul can come into expression and revivify how it all works."
One such opening of the '60's that ought be challenged is the notion of "the feminine." And this part is tricky. Like racism one ought lay the ism of "the feminine" down. No ism can get the cultural work done. See, I have a feeling the work of culture-making is somehow alot closer to the work of soul-making than anybody knew.
That means, personally speaking, I would have hoped by now feminism, which has for more than thirty years, decontructed gender i.e. shown it to be an artifice, would be moving cultural mythemes along from glimmer to thunderclap and we would not attempt in our fictions to use a fantasy motif reinstating any notion there is such a thing as feminine work when re imagining culture. I would have hoped the work would by now be human work in the name of citizen body.
Paris agrees but not quite and uses the word "feminine" differently than do I. Paris has made something qualitative into a noun, a thing, "the feminine" and then personifies it. What I am challenging is this very linguistic fantasy move since what it's doing reinstates the imaginal construct of a uniquely "feminine" role in culture via such language literally.
Work is work, yes, but I refuse to ignore the feminine and its profoundly and desperately needed value in the world--which proves revolutionary in itself, just as it did in the New Testament. Consider, for example, Mary's role at the wedding and the running out of food and drink. Many appeals to Jesus, who very intriguingly balks. SHE is the mentor--the feminine, and demonstrates to HIM that one cannot be compassionate just sometimes, but ALL the time... That's revolutionary...
Paris' own notion of what is revolutionary shapes the mytheme for "La Nuit."
LA NUIT is all about mythologizing ourselves into believing how courageous we are when, in actuality, we have no guts at all as a nation as a people, not even for each other. Hence, oppressive enslaving corporate plutocracy dictating what government should be. The rich get richer, the exclusivists more exclusive, hegemony through the roof and all reinforced through fear.Paris goes on
In fact, you'll see it in "LA NUIT AU CLAIRE," although ironically, tragically defeated. We need to paint THAT picture, too, in order to de-mythologize to resurrect for revolutionary change-making action.
Even though this is not my idea of a revolutionary, de-mythologizing change-making action but the reinstating of a mythic dominant of yesteryear via a specific gender role in culture, I think you will find the story complex and interesting and, when you finally get the chance to read it this January, you can decide matters for yourself.
Work on volume 3 of Mythopoetry Scholar Annual eZine begins. With an editor’s “I-eye” on publishing in a little over eight weeks from now, I thought it might be worthwhile to blog on the process giving fans of mythopoetry.com a peek at what they can expect from this year’s zine. Readers can tap into the table of content for volume 3 at any time knowing the page is live and updated whenever new submissions are accepted into the zine.
The theme this year for Mythopoetry Scholar is “revolution.” The title of the volume is a little more complex, “Chaos as Creation, Revolution as Renaissance, Apocalypse as Promise.” And, there is a lot of wiggle room for how the poetic image and mytheme can be approached and re visioned, too!
Clinical social worker and cultural mythologer, Gene Toews suggests soul’s revolutionary renaissance moves toward even greater meaning and purpose at the end of one’s life. Approaching this year’s mytheme through all three poetic images contained in the title from a poetics of dying Gene writes,
Perhaps the single most important revolution each experiences most exquisitely is that which occurs intrapsychically, as one engages their death.
And he continues,
To paraphrase Viktor Frankl, death "... does not mean something vague, but something very real and very concrete. ... (no one's death) can be compared with any other ...." Earlier I have written of the poesis of dying. James Hillman writes of the intimate relationship between soul and death. Jung discusses dying as the final stage of development towards wholeness. Daily, in my hospice work, I witness patients who suffer the despair of believing they no longer have worth or value; they feel they no longer have anything to give. This, Hillman might say, is the fiction they've come to believe. Healing, he writes, has to do with healing this fictional account (Healing Fiction). Frankl's logotherapy arose from the unimaginable suffering he experienced and witnessed during his years in Nazi concentration camps. The resulting intrapsychic chaos gave rise to his understanding "...that human life, under any circumstances, never ceases to have meaning…
Gene adds one more thought in his submission abstract regarding what is brought about inwardly by engaging in soul at its most profoundest levels…
Current research indicates that those who are dying, who face the final apocalyptic moments of their life in very real, palpable ways, find their quality of life enhanced as their suffering is reduced, through connecting with the meanings and purposes of their life's stories.
The walker came down from Tucson last night just after seven
striding the horizon in phainein form; the strider appeared
an occurrence extraordinaire as if a god from out a cloud
ten thousand feet tall had just arrived for dinner.
I was out grilling salmon when the feathered one swallowed the mountains on the horizon at the edge of town and not quite done, I snatched the foil pan from the fire and ran before the great one began shedding its skin all over my supper.
Some folks I know call the walker “old man”; some call him the storm serpent and some just say “Avanyu Sendo comes hither” and mean something biblical and primordial, a tall strider big as god moves like a serpent behind a wall of dust.
When Avanyu walks the sun fades; Avanyu is hungry and it is the dinner hour. The serpent is no invited guest and so I hide indoors and eat my fish watching as he swallows Phoenix on TV. I can just as easily watch it from the front window.
Considering it’s a storm god, I hospitably relent and agree to share repast by the window. Avanyu’s tongue is made of barbed lightening and dining with the serpent god can be more than a spectacle should there be dinner conversation.
Avanyu is no good in his youth the story goes; folk gossip in dread P’o anyu is a monster who threatens to flood because he, nearly one hundred miles wide, is a big boy is all; he means well folk say into the swollen street swallowed earlier in a wall of dust.
Tonight he’s more polite in watching what comes out of his mouth although, a diminished flood of sorts pours out when he opens it and this is true because dining with any god is one wild party; the cleaning up afterward takes all next day and requires a hose.
I can’t help thinking TallStrider a kind of benevolent serpent, too while the hose, what comes out of its mouth, descends like a river onto the patio floor to rid the way my dinner guest could chew and how, the way Avanyu left last night in a hurry, made his clothes fall off.
laced or not, her shoes
words flow like swords making
new cuttings from old sounds
shoshannahs stream in soft
meadows releasing an ah-part
from a fresh source
& from Lily’s winter residence
sapling sounds flow again honey-sweet
as if voices of older men in the fen of
sixies repeat the sun pouring down
like honey the lily-worn
yet the traveler who fed them
did so in under sense and with
her own sense of matter
living the ah-part apart from
the material world; she
fed them and their old voices carried
& Lily’s men bring something hospitable here
but whether laced or not, their fen-sensing
is made lacey with age; sit down
listen to it thickening in greenery
the scenery around you a fen for U-R
gathered around you, the soul-making you are
Professor Romanyshyn is a gifted teacher and masterful storyteller. The workshop is laced with story and spiced with poetry, visuals and music. Its alchemical opus circumnavigates the image, homecoming.
The essence of individuation, a term and image carefully amplified through the arts by Dr. Romanyshyn, is original to the writings of C.G. Jung. Individuation is a journey home thinks Robert, and what it is not is shadow work or integration, a term associated with ego soul. The journey which is taken is not to do something external in the world. It unites one to something intimately carried central to the core of self, imaginal life, creativity and the emerging reflections of the soul showing each of us how we make sense and carry meaning fullnesses in an individual manner of inner making. One’s journey is a movement down and in to recover or uncover or discover who waits for us by the side of the road. Jung calls this way of seeing the world in conspectu mortis. One must look to the past so that life is not frozen in the past. Life is to be lived forward. My own sense for the workshop experience is one of reverie and this journey of reverie is the manner by which one will “dis” and “un” to “re” cover the meaning sense one carries in one’s own heart.
There are five guided meditations and should this workshop be offered again and you have the chance to participate, take it. In this brief essay I won’t share with you my entire experience of this weekend workshop, I will simply share with you one of my favorite reverie moments.
I am a procrastinator when it comes to New Years Resolutions. Last year I suddenly realized what my biggest one ought to be in March. That is when I set up mythopoetry.com's facebook page. I promised myself last March when I set up this facebook page I would pay attention to my fan base. I didn't quite know how I could convey this to facebook fans but here it is, almost a year later and the mytho-poetizing method appeared all on its own.
It happens I've been following to print a great new poetry book, "The Beauty Between Words," by Dennis Patrick Slattery and Chris Paris, Waterforest Press, publisher. The authors asked me more than a year ago if I would write the introduction to the book. I said yes. I saw the book when it was a manuscript. And, I saw it again this past November, 2010 as it went to press. WoW! It's stunning! So, I found a reviewer for the book and this January I published a book review to Mythopoetry.com Book Reviews.
But, just before this I mentioned the book on facebook. I noticed a certain fan seemed to really go after the page links that mentioned poetry books in particular. So I wrote to this fan to ask if she would like an autographed copy of this book. She would, she wrote back. And she wrote again recently to say how much she needed to lose herself to good poetry and that she'd set aside a half hour every day to enjoy the book of poetry. She doesn't know about my secret vow to pay attention to my facebook fanbase. (Of course, she does now...) And here am I, a procrastinator true to form, just getting around to telling you about it. Just in time, too. Procrastinators' New Years is January 15th. By these standards I'm actually a little ahead of things. So here's to Sandi, and all fans of mythopoetry.com on facebook; from the depth perspectives of my heart, thank you, thank you, thank you!
Mythopoetics In Culture is a written collection of poems, essays and excerpts from essays by mythopoet, Stephanie Pope published to mythopoetry.com beginning in 2001 to the present. In 2017 mythopoetry.com brings guest blogging to its cultural mythology blog expanding its format to include poems and essays by the cultural mythologists of today.
DEAR MOM: A WWII MEMOIR by R J Van Dress
LIKE A WOMAN FALLING: SELECTED POEMS (out of print)