process model

Myth Lab Live @ NW Permaculture Convergence 2013,
Forest Grove, OR” : Report from Willi Paul

 Just before his death Joseph Campbell was interviewed by Bill Moyers and that interview was later turned into the documentary, “The Power Of Myth.” In this interview he postulated the idea that humanity was in need of new mythologies. Ones that were not rooted in the ancient world as all our current ones are. But myth’s that would help us navigate this new and strange world we are creating.”


Myth Lab is a collaborative workshop that transforms an Artifact (i.e. – nature walk, street graffiti or a short story for example) with a five stage deductive process using Permaculture and Transition principles, Nature and alchemy. Each Myth Lab critiques the present state of our ecosystem and offers a positive way to vision the future. The product of this process is a New Myth.

8 Key Elements in the New Mythology includes:

1. Localization – back to sustainability and community; self-sufficiency

2. Nature- Centric

3. Spiritual

4. Future-based

5. Universal themes(s) and message

6. Para-Normal in conflict or characters

7. Initiation, Journey and Hero

8. Permaculture & Transition: values and principles

Integral to the Myth Lab experience is Mythic Imprintation, a creative stage that helps participants recognize and incorporate symbology, sounds, alchemy and visioning to re-purpose the Artifact into a mythic landscape.

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At the NW Permaculture Convergence Myth Lab, the Artifact combined a photo of a Detroit rail yard watch tower with and a soundtrack. Please see the YouTube Video. In the introduction, the group offered their insights in “What is Myth? and do you have anyPersonal experiences with Myth?” Some of our responses included:

  • Story with a moral
  • Mystery
  • Wonder & Adventure
  • Fairy Worlds
  • Ancient Mythos – rites of passage
  • Archetypes (2)
  • Hero, Journey, Community
  • Community Accepted / Handed Down
  • Animals that Represent Humans
  • Gathering of Tribes
  • Vital Information
  • Origin Stories – Underground
  • Explore the Shadow
  • Is Permaculture the New Pantheon?
  • Translating classic myths with new names and struggles

The Myth Lab Hand-out guided the participants thru the five stage process of discovery, including describing the Artifact two components. We found the following:

Watch Tower (jpg)

  • Lonely
  • Stark
  • Foreboding
  • See Dr. Seuss “Borax”
  • Exile
  • Leftover
  • Bare Tree
  • Community Power Box
  • Telephone Pole
  • Signal poles
  • Railroad Tracks
  • Prison

 “Moonglow & Brokenglass” (mp3)

  • Powering Up
  • Magic moment
  • Hope
  • 60 MHz hum (persuasive, bad)
  • Car going by
  • Sawing
  • Happy ending
  • Exploring
  • Interrupted
  • Tension
  • Fake Happiness
  • Disturbing

In Stage 4, Myth Lab crew began the task of building New Myth # 48 with their Intro Data, Artifact Descriptions, and Mythic Imprinting:

  • Watch Tower as a look-out / guard tower, tool shed, alchemy lab meditation and Sun Dial
  • Surrounded by Food Forest
  • Rails are maintained as a material crop transport system
  • A Tribe lives here
  • Using pigeons for communication
  • Tower holds a new power source
  • Horse power
  • Compost production
  • Retreat center for region


plan new myth #48

In New Myth #48, what does the Tower, rail way and Food Forest symbolize? How are they integrated? How is the Tribe creating and implementing new mythology?

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Willi Paul
New Mythologist & Transition Entrepreneur | Magazine |
@planetshifter @openmythsource @newmythologist
415-407-4688 | pscompub at

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    • Mystery
    • Ancient Mythos – rites of passage
    • Explore the Shadow

    The Mars Volta have a song Copernicus. They for some reason have a lot of lyrics full of symbols (especially Empty Vessels Make the Loudest Sound) and Copernicus has the line "Left dangling in the wind". You can perhaps motivate people to do something with sentences like "Are you ready to rumble?" (asking for an immediate action), but it would be quite challenging to motivate someone with "Are you ready to dangle?"

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