‘Mythologizing’ (1) according to Toby Johnson is the process of developing a belief system about the world and one’s place in it. It may include numinous experiences of the ‘Nature of the Universe’, whether we want to call it God, Great Spirit, The Mystery, Primal Energy, Sacred Emptiness or ‘The Great Secret’.
We are a world in desperate search of a new myth. It seems that the very fabric of our existence is unravelling - the impact of the deadly Covid19 pandemic, the racial and ecological crises, political and economic upheaval. While threatening the survival of many, it is also pushing humanity to think differently about how we live together on Earth.
The current times may feel like a kind of Ragnarok - the end of the world (as we know it). In Norse mythology, Ragnarok refers to the destruction of everything - including the gods - in a final battle with evil powers. This may be interpreted as the ordered universe (Creation) vanishing and Chaos (which has been held at bay) reigning. Some myths say this is the final end, but others hold that it heralds a rebirth! What can we hope for in our current circumstances?
Daniel McCoy writes “Yggdrasil, the great tree that holds the cosmos together, will tremble, and all the trees and even the mountains will fall to the ground. The chain that has been holding back the monstrous wolf Fenrir will snap, and the beast will run free. Jormungand, the mighty serpent who dwells at the bottom of the ocean and encircles the land, will rise from the depths, spilling the seas over all the earth as he makes landfall.” (3)
(1) Toby Johnson, The Myth of the Great Secret, 1964
(2) Joseph Campbell, Power of Myth, 1988, p. 5
(3) Daniel McCoy, https://norse-mythology.org/tales/ragnarok/
Image credit: https://www.deviantart.com/rpgranty/art/Yggdrasil-at-Ragnarok-326816120
A post I wrote for @jungsouthernafrica
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