60 episodes

Hi everyone. I'm Josh. I'm a writer. A teacher. A lifelong student of world mythologies and cosmologies. This podcast is called The Emerald: Currents and Trends Through a Mythic Lens. Offering perspectives on everything from current global events to cultural movements in art, science, music, literature, yoga practice, and politics, all through the framework of myth, story and imagination. The Emerald. All that's happening on this green jewel in space.

The Emerald Joshua Schrei

    • Arts
    • 5.0 • 16 Ratings

Hi everyone. I'm Josh. I'm a writer. A teacher. A lifelong student of world mythologies and cosmologies. This podcast is called The Emerald: Currents and Trends Through a Mythic Lens. Offering perspectives on everything from current global events to cultural movements in art, science, music, literature, yoga practice, and politics, all through the framework of myth, story and imagination. The Emerald. All that's happening on this green jewel in space.

    On Resonance: Caves, Hooves, Hearts, Harps... and the Birth of Culture

    On Resonance: Caves, Hooves, Hearts, Harps... and the Birth of Culture

    The word ‘resonance’ is commonly used these days to convey agreement with a point of view or perspective. But resonance is much more than this. ‘Resonance’ implies a universe that is sonorous and reverberatory and that operates according to the principles of harmony. Within this, many cultures have seen the role of the human being to become an instrument — to cultivate, through ritual repetition, a resonance with our fellow beings, with land, and with cosmos. This vision is not metaphorical. Science is increasingly finding that nature operates through resonance, that music predates language, and that when human beings decide to do things — to embark on adventures, to vote for politicians, to join groups — the primary driving force to do so is not ‘fact’ but resonance. Culture itself almost certainly arose through resonance, as we entrained to one another, in sync, through musical somatic ritual in resonant spaces. From the deep sounding board of the Paleolithic cave to the resonant spaces that birthed Greek prophecy to mythic visions of humans-as-instruments, this episode explores how resonance is utterly central to human experience, how modernity has become what one sociologist referred to as a ‘catastrophe of resonance,’ and what we can do to reclaim our deep resonance with one another and the natural world.
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    • 1 hr 22 min
    Becoming a Ruin: Decomposing and Regrowing the Mythic with Sophie Strand

    Becoming a Ruin: Decomposing and Regrowing the Mythic with Sophie Strand

    Sophie Strand describes herself as a writer, an animist troubadour, and a giant pile of composting leaves. Her lyrical, eco-centric vision of the mythic has gained her a wide following, as she blasts monomyths wide open into swarms of glittering spores. With essays entitled 'My Saint is a Weed,' 'Confessions of a Compost Heap,' and 'Becoming a Ruin,' Sophie's work brings the mythic into the tangible, helps myths regain their body, and places stories deep in the middle of a living ecosystem of time, place, and specificity. In this episode, Josh and Sophie discuss her model of looking at stories through the triple lens of Myco Eco Mytho, and then go on a rhizomatic conversational journey into kingdoms of astonishment, Orphic root systems, flowering wands, and visions of how to give the Gods back their bodies. 
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    • 1 hr 13 min
    Mapping The Mystic: Geographies of Ecstasy in Consciousness and Culture

    Mapping The Mystic: Geographies of Ecstasy in Consciousness and Culture

    Modern studies of mystic states focus on the 'ineffability' of the ecstatic experience — the impossibility of explaining what the experience was like. Yet mystic experience might be indescribable in modern culture simply because we’ve failed to culturally describe it. For those cultures historically who tread the mystic space with great regularity, there’s nothing indescribable about it. Mystic unity has been mapped. The people who have tread its spaces for thousands of years describe in scintillating detail landscapes, architectures, points, vortexes, luminosities, mandala-like configurations, all alive with animate entities. And these geographies are not simply described as personal visions, but as tangible externally existing landscapes that others can visit too. So where do such mystic scapes live? Are they a function of brain chemistry? An externally existing reality? An overlap of individual consciousness and the external world? All of the above? This episode unpacks the articulated geographies of mystic states and looks at the mystic experience beyond 'just brain chemistry' but rather as a state of alignment to greater patterns and forces that already exist within nature, forces that shaped our biology to begin with. Within this ongoing relationality, art, ritual, story, and song, work together to create a fully formed mythic structure through which human beings contextualize the world, and in an age of decontextualization and fragmentation, this mythic structure is as vitally important to the human bodymind as it has ever been. 
    Support the show (http://www.patreon.com/theemeraldpodcast)

    • 1 hr 14 min
    The Shape of Stories: How Myths Move Through Bodies and Worlds

    The Shape of Stories: How Myths Move Through Bodies and Worlds

    Author Kurt Vonnegut once proposed that stories have shapes — that there are a few common wave-trajectories that underlie all of our stories. This episode builds on Vonnegut's thesis and explores the energetic shapes and trajectories of myths — trajectories that serve, within oral myth telling cultures, to take the listener on an experiential journey of scattering and rejoining, of rupture and cascade, of coiling and release, and of journey and return. These wave dynamics exist throughout nature and are inherent to our somatic structure, which is also why certain story structures, like the Hero's Journey, are difficult to get away from. Stories of journey and return mirror energetic cycles that exist in the breath, in the brain, in seasonal cycles, and in the phases of the moon. So while the socio-political externals of Hero's Journey stories can — and in some cases probably should — change, the underlying circular energetic of departure and return is as fundamental to human experience as the breath is. From the tale of Sisyphus, a breath-journey of rise and fall, to the vibrant spiral dynamics of the Indian goddess tales, this episode explores myths in terms of their directional energetic dynamics and cracks open a way of understanding and feeling story that is somatic rather than analytical.


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    • 1 hr 14 min
    TRA is for Trance: On the Linguistics of Crossing Over

    TRA is for Trance: On the Linguistics of Crossing Over

    Trance, traverse, transformation, tradition, transcendence, transgression — all come from a single Indo-European linguistic root TRA, which signifies some type of crossing over. Crossing over is something human beings have always been inclined to do — populations migrate across great expanses as explorers seek new horizons. Too much emphasis on crossing over, however, can lead to worldviews of transcendence, in which the purpose of existence is to 'get past' rather than exist in harmony with what is. Transcendence worldviews are alive and well in modern apocalyptic religion and in modern science, which seems determined to transcend nature, blast us to mars, and extend human lifespans. Yet traditionally, this human need for traverse was addressed through ritualized trance, which carried practitioners across a great inner divide. The great inner traverse offered by trance practice brought the practitioner into a state of focused presence, a flow state that is the heart of mystical tradition, and that requires the greatest of traverses to reach — the traverse across the torrent of agitated discursive thought to a state of seamless integration. These days, this traverse is harder and harder to make, as we are inundated with technologies that 'carry us across', and we spend most of our waking lives in an unwitting trance, perpetually crossing over without even realizing it. TRA is for trance — choose your trances wisely. 
    Support the show (http://www.patreon.com/theemeraldpodcast)

    • 1 hr 15 min
    On Trauma and Vegetation Gods

    On Trauma and Vegetation Gods

    Modern discussions on healing individual minds, cultural wounds, and painful societal histories now revolve around the word ‘trauma.’ Yet addressing trauma is nothing new — traditional cultures across the globe have historically had their own forms of trauma work, without ever labeling it trauma work. For many cultures for many years, cathartic ritual practice that bypasses the conditioned mind has served multiple purposes as it regrows and re-patterns brains and bodies and communities. These ritual enactments, communal ecstasies, and group catharses — these weepings over the bodies of lost gods — are traditionally tied to something very specific… vegetation. There is a profound link between the myths and rituals of the old vegetation gods and what we might now term trauma work — because the cycle of vegetative birth, growth, decay, and death mirrors our own cycle. This episode explores the deep link between the repatterning of the nervous system — which itself is described in a language of trees — and vegetation, from the numerous studies that show the healing power of the presence of plants, to the plant medicines that are literally regrowing nerve tissues, to the old vegetation deities whose theatrical ritual enactments, repetitive singing and dancing, and relationship to altered states of consciousness are deeply tied to trauma repatterning. The stories and rituals of the vegetation gods reveal a language around trauma which does not vilify or sanctify trauma, or isolate it, or see it solely as something to be extracted or released, but rather addresses it as part of a larger network of patterning and repatterning, regrowth and assimilation, a greater cycle of nature. If we start looking through this ritual lens, we see ritualized trauma work everywhere in cultures around the world. And it doesn’t always look like we think it would. Sometimes it even looks fairly… traumatic.
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    • 1 hr 11 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
16 Ratings

16 Ratings

sssxaaf ,

Mesmerising

This is one of the best podcasts I’ve heard. Excellently delivered and researched and so accessible. If only all educators were as witty and engaging!

mikejmritz ,

Wonderful

The Emerald ... have listed to most of the back issues and I am inspired and delighted by this wonderful series of insights.

Helinski V ,

Thank you

This is a beautiful, thoughtful, wise and profound podcast. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and understanding of the world in such a creative and humble way. Highly recommend.

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