Breaking the Spell of Time
by Michael Meade
In the strange way that life can reverse itself over time, myth has come to mean something false or illusionary. Meanwhile history, which is always being rewritten and proven to be wrong, has come to be considered the true story. Myths are timeless tales that remain separate from history, which changes based upon who is telling the tale. Myths narrate the sacred dramas that take place before time begins, in the beginning that is also secretly present throughout time. They are intended to reveal the sacred and essential stories that are not altered by the passing of time. Myths are not something of the past. Rather, they keep the present open to the possibilities of another world nearby, a transcendent realm of archetypal forms—paradigms for all human actions and the sacred realities that underlie the limits of the common world.
The history of the past as well as news of the current day concerns the exoteric or external elements of the world of facts and figures. Under the rule of literalism the outer aspects of the world can seem to be the only meaningful elements of life. The esoteric or inner levels that shape the outer world and define the individual life can be underestimated and even dismissed when viewed from the limited perspective of the march of history. Myths are not intended to simply explain things that happened at the origins of time, but to evoke the presence of original things atthis time. Mythic tales are vehicles of imagination that can reconnect the passing moment with the eternal ground from which all of time arises.
The great narratives of the eternal dramas of life are intended to dispel the blindness created by the rapid passing of things at the surface of the world. Myth speaks to the esoteric parts within us that are also the extraordinary things about us. The archetypal dramas that constitute mythic narrations are living vehicles of creation intended to reconnect us to that which is most noble and imaginative within our souls.
Hearing or reading a mythic story awakens the myth already living inside each one of us. As the story enters us, we enter the timeless territory of myth. Being in such a mythic condition allows us to reconnect to the core imagination at the center of our soul. We become mythic again, a knowing participant in our own story and a seeker of the greater knowledge found near the source of all stories, at the ever-present origins of life.
The modern world requires that most things be sacrificed in service of linear time; yet in order to touch timeless things and become renewed, time is exactly what must be sacrificed. Only when time becomes broken can the “once upon a time” realm of renewable potentials appear again. Then, creation becomes not a thing of the past, not even a sacred history of religion, but something capable of erupting into each passing moment. The creative aspect of our soul would have us touch the esoteric ground where creation remains ongoing and life renews itself from within. Creation wishes to continue, yet can only work through the souls of those who are alive and awake at a given time.
– Michael Meade, “Why the World Doesn’t End”