Looking Deeper into Who You Are

“Behind each and every interpretation of the tale is the tale. The tale provides the invisible backdrop against which all analyses parade their brilliance. Myth lies behind every account we give of it, and it gives no account of itself. Myths fall back on invisibility.” –James Hillman, “The Soul’s Code.”

sunandmoonIn “The Soul’s Code,” James Hillman writes that each of us has a calling, a mission or objective we are here to accomplish. This calling cannot be documented or measured by mainstream science. Instead, it calls back on “invisibles” as Hillman calls them–the “something more” behind the empirical facts and hard science the mainstream world knows and loves.

In Lawrence Durrell’s novel “Balthazar,” one of the characters states that we live our lives based on selected fictions.

One might suggest that these fictions–the invisible things we deeply sense and believe about ourselves but cannot necessarily prove in the harsh light of day–when looked at all at once may provide clues about our calling. Behind everything we do, there is not only a series of stories, but a profound, personal myth.

If we are accustomed to reading mythology as pseudo-history, an approximation or fanciful version of historical events, or in any other literal way, we are missing the tale behind the tale. In looking deeper into the each tale, one finds–whether through the commentaries of experts, one’s own study of symbols and cosmology, or our personal intuition–a grander story that imparts a cosmic lesson.

Unless you are a teacher and/or student of mythology, the discovery of the lessons that are important in your life and that impact your calling–the secret and invisible knowledge–will happen in part by pondering the myths that keep drawing you back into the books in which you find them.

That is to say, your calling is always calling you to the things you need. If you need to know what’s important about Pandora or Theseus or the Argonauts, you will be drawn to these myths. When you acknowledge that you are constantly intrigued by one myth or another, you have an opportunity for looking deeper and discovering clues about where your path lead.

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5 thoughts on “Looking Deeper into Who You Are

  1. Pingback: | Outdated: Rethinking America’s Exceptionalism! | | truthaholics

  2. In my freshman year at Fort Hood High School many, many years ago, we actually had a class on classical mythology. I find myself back there, every so often, as I ponder life’s great mysteries. What a shame it is that schools no longer teach the “fine arts,” or any arts at all. Think of all the wisdom lost. And for writers, these myths are invaluable as cornerstones for our writing, whether conscious or not. Thanks for another great blog.

  3. Thank you for this post. Very valuable.

    “Myths fall back on invisibility.” So it is. Further on you say:

    “The invisible things we deeply sense and believe about ourselves but cannot necessarily prove in the harsh light of day–when looked at all at once may provide clues about our calling. Behind everything we do, there is not only a series of stories, but a profound, personal myth.”

    The ongoing invisible “drama” is responsible for every event “outside” ourselves. Sometimes these
    invisible realms make themselves known in most “outlandish” ways, beyond any rhyme or reason.

    Similarly weird becomes life in this “palpable” world: I can discern quite a clear and relentless pattern going on, yet the chain of these baffling and mad occurrences, totally surpass my ability to grasp them…I have mostly no clue as to how to decipher them and “translate” them in this reality, let alone trying to give a reasonable account as to your pursuit to anyone. Most people would consider me totally nuts. So you keep your mouth shut.

    And yet…these whispers are “true”…in fact truer than anything else. But then you wonder:
    Why on earth are you talking to me in this uncanny language that I have no inkling to…?

    WHY DO YOU MAKE IT SO INCREDIBLY DIFFICULT, I am tempted to ask the invisible powers?

    Really…you feel totally on your own. The loneliness and misunderstanding you are consigned to being a vessel for these realities…
    It sounds far-fetched, but sometimes I even suspect that it can be something “wrong” with the myth. That there is some kind of “mythical” sickness. AND UNLESS YOU MANAGE TO HEAL THE MYTH, life in this dimension will keep being “the story told by a fool”.

    The problem that it is not me having these stories, it is the story which has me.

    “Your calling is always calling you to the things you need”, you say. My so-called calling, feels like a weird and impossible conundrum though. Magically substantial, but totally unsubstantial as to what to do practically in order to implement it.
    I look forward to receiving a reply from you.

    I round off asking you:

    Can the actual myth or myths be diseased? Can we consequently “heal” them

    Best regards,

    Julien Matei

    1. Thank you for stopping by and leaving such a thoughtful comment. I am one of these who says the world has no meaning other than what we bring to it. Some suggest the same is true of myths and fairy tales. My favorite moment in the Star Wars films came when Luke asked Yoda what was in the swamp. Yoda’s response was “Only what you take with you.”

      Almost anything in excess might be considered a disease, i.e. dis-ease. The cynics say humankind is Earth’s cancer. Perhaps staring too strongly at myths and inner whispers can also become dis-ease. On the other hand, the “outer world” with all its fads and lures influences us so strongly, perhaps we will not soon get to the point where we are looking within “too often.”

      When we don’t look within–I think Jung suggested this somewhere–we are often surprised by what we see in the “outer world.” I suppose we can become prisoners of our myths as much as anything else, but that may be safer (even though it looks crazy) than being held prisoner by the daily effects we see manifested in our lives. Since we are creating those effects, I prefer to find out how and why I’m doing it. In the process, perhaps I heal in myself what it’s necessary for me to heal.

      There are times, though, when I wish the myths, gurus, and masters would be less oblique.


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