Living Mythically

"You can take away a man's gods, but only to give him others in return." ~ C. G. Jung

The collective unconscious is the deepest place within the psyche of all people. It is from this deep place in the psyche that that dreams emerge and that archetypes live, filling the form and character of our dreams. The archetypes are more deeply rooted in our psychic depths than the human ego and thus more powerful than our conscious mind. Their power over us is profound and fills not only our dream life but our waking responses to the world around us (mostly unconsciously). Our affinity for, or identify with, certain archetypes is innate within us. We do not choose which archetypes will have the greatest role in our lives–our archetypal fascinations, motivations and drives are chosen for us by nature. The only way in which we can exercise authority over this quality in us is through our choice to honestly and consciously relate to those archetypes.

Many people live their entire lives without any conscious awareness of the archetypes that are living through them. They never come to see the larger power in them but instead are overtaken by those powers, for better or worse, throughout their lives. Especially in the modern era, we can live a life with no awareness of our connection to the larger forces moving through us. Where ancient cultures gave the Gods names and thus could recognize the movement of these forces inside of them, today we have no language for such forces and little ability to recognize them. Our inability to name them gives them free reign over us and we often act the out the shadow side of these forces unconsciously, compulsively, immaturely and regressively.

Conscious awareness allows the possibility of living mythically. Through the effort of listening to and recognizing these forces moving through us, a capacity that is rooted in our ability for authentic and accurate self-awareness, we become open to the possibility of working with rather than for these deepest complexes inside of us. In looking honestly at what motivates us, what invigorates us, what fascinates us, we begin the process of transforming their expression in us from a compulsive, negative form to a creative, positive form. In coming to understanding our own archetypal nature, we may also gain sight of the timeless inside of ourselves, the eternal 'breathing through us'–dynamic and alive; We may come to understand our life to be–heroically rather than tragically–an expression of living myth.

Gary S. Bobroff