Building a new folk culture

Last week I was the guest speaker at a joint meeting of the Trinity College Dublin Literary and Environmental Societies. I was speaking at their request about the intersection of myth, feminism and ecology in my writing, and as I always do, I was stressing the value of our native mythology and folk traditions, and the way that they emphasise the need to live in balance and harmony with the land. Afterwards, a couple of students asked questions which stayed with me for a good while afterwards, because they’re right at the heart of my work in the world. Read More

The mythology of women working together

One of my favourite stories in Irish mythology is called ‘The Only Jealousy of Emer’ – the Emer in question being the wife of the great warrior (but not so great husband) Cú Chulainn. I love it because it wonderfully subverts the usual ‘betrayed wife’ narrative, and the other cultural narratives which (even to this day) suggest that women can never really trust each other, but can only ever be competitors. Read More

On calling, and the lost fairy-tale art of apprenticeship

All of my retreats and online courses, and much of my writing, in some way involve an exploration of the theme of ‘calling’. Calling is neither ‘fate’ nor ‘destiny’ and, to me, has little to do with the job you do — though it can have, of course, if you happen to fulfill whatever purpose you believe you have in life primarily through your occupation (this is arguably ‘vocation’, a subset of ‘calling’). But for many people, their sense of purpose is expressed in ways of being in the world rather than ways of doing.

Read More

MythLines 3: This world, the Otherworld, and the anima mundi

Continuing on with republishing my series of ‘MythLines’ columns from EarthLines Magazine … here is my offering (slightly expanded for this blog) from Issue 16, in November 2016.

(Featured image by Martin Stranka)


 

I’ve spent a lot of years studying the psychology of myth. My personal perspectives can be reduced to this, in a slightly oversimplified nutshell: Sigmund Freud’s theories on anything – inevitably, interminably, explaining everything in sexual terms – rarely interest me much at all; Carl Jung is marvelous (an inexhaustible, treasure-filled, deep well) but often a little too human-centred for my tastes; archetypal psychologist James Hillman takes psychology and mythology out of our heads and back into the world again, and so is always to be revered. Read More