Join host cultural mythologist Leigh Melander, PhD to explore the evocative mythologies that inform who we are. The ancient Greeks said that myths were the things that were most and least true simultaneously. Far from just being a lie, myths pulse in the background of all of our lives -- our selves, our families, our communities -- we tell ourselves stories about all of them. What are the myths we're living in and how are they living in us? Myth America is a project of Spillian LLC, a creative center offering programming in imagination, story, myth, sustainability, and community.
On a Birthday!
Myth America | Episode Four | On a Birthday!
Today (March 26) is mythologist Joseph Campbell's birthday. It's also my birthday!
I thought I'd share a musing on the nature of birthdays - mythically, imaginally, metaphorically. On mid life, on how we invent and re-invent ourselves, and we see ourselves and are seen. With poems by the inimitable Mary Oliver, Minnesota Poet Laureate Joyce Sutphen, and former American Poet Laureate Stanley Kunitz.
I recorded this episode of Myth America before the COVID pandemic became a part of our lives - hence my mention of a large group gathering I'd attended. For me, remembering this gathering, and the gatherings of many birthdays, is bittersweet this year as I wait for the second dose of the COVID vaccine, and, like most of the world, for the moment that we can all gather again without concern.
Every year, my favorite ritual on my birthday is to listen to Ralph Vaughn Williams' The Lark Ascending. Here's the London Philharmic performing it. Or find a piece of music you adore to celebrate your innate 'you-ness.'
As always, you can catch this episode here on Myth America (just click the link at the top of this post), via the Joseph Campbell Foundation's MythMythMaker℠ Podcast Network, or on your favorite podcast network.
If you're looking for more episodes of Myth America, click here!
Death of an Era (An Episode from the Vault)
Join us for a really cool conversation with longtime music executive Chris Hensley, from our Myth America vault...this show was recorded live on WIOX Community Radio 91.3 FM on January 26, 2016.
Among hundreds of other artists, Chris spent years working with both the Eagles and David Bowie. Shortly after David Bowie and Glenn Frey's deaths in early 2016, Chris and I explored metaphors about the death of heroes - icons - archetypes - and how this music created identities for an entire generation, and wondered if this is still true in the music world.
Hint: take a listen to Desperado and Life in the Fast Lane by the Eagles and Lazarus by David Bowie. In our original broadcast, we shared each of these tunes, but copyright law for downloadable podcasts prevents us from keeping the music in this version.
Who and what are the musical archetypes that shape your tribe's identity?
Chickadees and Small Wonders in the Coming of Spring
Early March, and spring is maybe, just maybe, on the horizon. The light is changing, and there is a new song in the woods.
We think of robins and crocuses as the harbingers of spring, but in the arboreal forests of North America, the chickadee beats them to the punch.
Join host Leigh Melander for Episode 3 of the Myth America podcast, Chickadees and Small Wonders in the coming of Spring, as she explores how the tiny chickadee can open a sense of spring - and a sense of how we build story in our lives on this almost-spring episode of Myth America.
For the text of the Cherokee story, Spearfinger, click here!
And please let us know what you think!
Mythos & Logos
Mythos & Logos
We like to delineate, us humans. We want things to be different. And we want our way to be better.
That tends to takes us to defining the world in binary ways - pitching what we see as rational and empirical understandings against story and intangible understandings.
But what if they're not binary? What if they're actually actually just different lenses to put in your glasses as you look at the world, that have more in common with one another than differences?
On this week's Myth America, a dance into mythos & logos, and some quantum physics, just to keep things interesting.
Myth America is a live, lively riff on the big stories that sit in how we understand the world from cultural mythologist and trouble maker Leigh Melander, PhD.
Living in Mythic Times
Are we living in mythic times?
Myth sits in the paradox of being both/and. It is true and untrue. It is metaphor – meta – carrying, phor – across – making meaning by moving from the literal to the abstract, the concrete to the intuited. The ancient Greeks, and then Romans, said that myths were the things that were most and least true simultaneously. As Sallustius (a 4th-century writer, a friend of the Roman Emperor Julian. He wrote the treatise On the Gods and the Cosmos, a kind of catechism of 4th-century Hellenic paganism.) wrote “Now these things never happened, but always are.” Truth sits in the flashes of insight that can be deeper than what we see in the tangible world in front of us.
Far from just being a lie, myths pulse in the background of all of our lives -- our selves, our families, our communities -- we tell ourselves stories about all of them.
This is where Myth America begins. Together we’ll explore the stories that we tell that in turn, tell us. We are as made by the stories we choose to tell as we are the makers of them. As individuals and communities.
With all of that in mind, I’ll like to throw out an idea that’s been poking at me.
We are living in mythic times.
So many of the things – the systems, the safeguards, the normal – that we have lived within and have seemed unquestioningly stable, are breaking. Or they’re broken. Or now seem so fragile that it’s hard to imagine their surviving.
Suddenly, the world doesn’t seem quite so immediate or literal or mundane. Instead, it feels as though we are caught in a story of mythic scale, with our lives and the very planet at risk. It’s hard to fathom. It feels so huge, and so beyond what any one person can do, terrifying and overwhelming.
To me, this feels mythic. Does it to you? Join me to explore this idea together. And please share your thoughts in the comments!
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Content excellent, good voice tonality, opening music perfectly sets the mood. Eager for more.