It is not us in our remote, individuated state that engenders true health, but soberly labouring towards a purpose and stance in the world that is far more than our own ambitions, even our fervent desire to ‘feel better’. When we see something we have stayed pretty firmly in devouring mode, when we behold it, we are in a lively conversation.But these stories I speak of are not being brought slowly into our bodies, wrought deep by oral repetition.The whole thing had begun in earnest when, way back, I had taken myself up to the hills of Snowdonia and simply sat in a small oak gully without watch, food, tent or fire for four days.
To this day, wilderness fasting disables our capacity to devour in the way the West seems so fond of: in the most wonderful way I can describe, we get devoured.
The big, unpalatable issue is the fact that these kind of initiations have always involved submission. We see them for sure – our eyes swiftly scan the glow of computer screen for the bones of the tale, we audition them for whatever contemporary polemic is forefront in our minds, and then we impatiently move on.
They charge vividly through our betrayals, illicit passions, triumphs and generosities.
Psyche is not neatly contained in our chest as we scuttle between appointments, but we dwell within psyche: gregarious, up-close, chaotic, astonishing, sometimes tragic, often magical. It is time to rescue the stories, re-hydrate the language, scatter dialectical inflection amongst the blunt lines of anthropological scribbles, muck up the typewriter with the indigo surge of whale ink. For the past twenty years, I’ve been a wilderness rites-of-passage guide.
For a while you are not the sole master of your destiny, but in the unruly presence of something vaster. This is not in any way to claim redundancy to modern literature, but simply to hold up the notion of living myth. It is not hard then to suggest that we are fundamentally askew in our approach: we are simply not up to the intelligence of what the story is offering.
North Carolina State University Mfa Creative Writing - Essay On Speak For The Earth
You may have to get used to spending a little time on one knee. Without a degree of submission, healing, ironically, cannot enter. Our so-called sophistication has our sensual intelligence in a head-lock and is literally squeezing the life out of it.
Mythology and fairy tales regained a legitimacy amongst adults as a viable medium to understand the workings of their own psychological lives.
By the development of metaphor, tales of sealskins and witches’ huts became the most astonishing language with which to apprehend much of what seemed to lurk underneath their everyday encounters and decision making.
These are details that may seem unimportant when only seeking to poke around your childhood memories in a therapist’s office, but they start to fall woefully short when this older awareness of story as hinge between village and forest is reignited – the absence becomes acute, the tale flat and anthropocentric.
I don’t think we have the stories, these stories have us.