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

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The psychology of mythology: or, why the Otherworld is just as real as this one

I’ve spent a lot of years studying the psychology of myth. For me, in a slightly oversimplified nutshell, it all come down to this: Freud’s theories on anything – inevitably, interminably, explaining everything in sexual terms – rarely interest me much at all; Jung is marvelous but often a little too human-centred for my tastes; James Hillman takes psychology and mythology back out of our heads and into the world again, and so is always to be revered.

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Marrying the land: how we broke the ancient bargain

The native pre-Christian mythology of the Celtic nations which stretch along the Western Atlantic seaboard of Europe is highly woman-centred. In our oldest stories, the creative, generative essence of the universe was female, not male; women represented the spiritual and moral axis of the world, and the power of men was predominantly social. But the Celtic divine female was a long way from the remote, transcendent sky-deities we’ve grown used to in recent centuries here in the West: she had one foot in the Otherworld for sure, but she was firmly grounded and deeply rooted in place, indivisible from her distinctive, haunting landscapes. Read More