|Navajo sand painting of the Pollen Path|
Myths are public dreams, dreams are private myths.
We have chosen this Navajo sand painting of the pollen path and quote from comparative mythologist Joseph Campbell as a fitting visual-verbal segue from the A Year With Rilke (AYWR) blog that just ended with the pollen endlessly released by Rilke's flower of farewell and this new venture, sparks and mirrors.
We, Ruth and Lorenzo, view this new blog as part of a continuum with its ‘spiritual’ predecessor blogs, A Year With Rilke and Rumi Days. To tell the truth, we are not sure exactly where this new blog will take us, but are eager to find out, in the company of all of you who care to come along and, hopefully, participate, much as you did over the course of last year on AYWR. We do view it, to intone today’s opening quote, as a space to share our personal and collective mythologies, our public and personal dreams, maybe even to create some new ones. Who knows?
As many of you are aware, Joseph Campbell wrote extensively, knowledgeably and passionately on myth, religion, poetry and metaphor and, most compellingly of all, on the interplay between them. A fine introduction and portal to his thinking can be found at the Joseph Campbell Foundation website. We’ll close this opening foray into sparks and mirrors with a longer quote from Joseph Campbell for your consideration, contemplation and comment. It is taken from his book length interview with Bill Moyers, later published as The Power of Myth:
Schopenhauer, in his splendid essay called "On an Apparent Intention in the Fate of the Individual," points out that when you reach an advanced age and look back over your lifetime, it can seem to have had a consistent order and plan, as though composed by some novelist. Events that when they occurred had seemed accidental and of little moment turn out to have been indispensable factors in the composition of a consistent plot. So who composed that plot? Schopenhauer suggests that just as your dreams are composed by an aspect of yourself of which your consciousness is unaware, so, too, your whole life is composed by the will within you. And just as people whom you will have met apparently by mere chance became leading agents in the structuring of your life, so, too, will you have served unknowingly as an agent, giving meaning to the lives of others. The whole thing gears together like one big symphony, with everything unconsciously structuring everything else. And Schopenhauer concludes that it is as though our lives were the features of the one great dream of a single dreamer in which all the dream characters dream, too; so that everything links to everything else, moved by the one will to life which is the universal will in nature.
It’s a magnificent idea – an idea that appears in India in the mythic image of the Net of Indra, which is a net of gems, where at every crossing of one thread over another there is a gem reflecting all the other reflective gems. Everything arises in mutual relation to everything else, so you can’t blame anybody for anything. It is even as though there were a single intention behind it all, which always makes some kind of sense, though none of us knows what the sense might be, or has lived the life that he quite intended.
In our individual and team blogging experience, we both feel that we have ‘apparently by mere chance’ met people who then became ‘leading agents in the structuring’ of our blog personas and lives, friends and fellow bloggers with whom we truly feel meshed together in ‘one big symphony’.
And it is in that spirit that we, Ruth and Lorenzo, want to wish all of you, on this first day of this new year, a warm welcome to sparks and mirrors.