Mythology


“Dream is the personalized myth, myth the depersonalized dream; both myth and dream are symbolic in the same general way of the dynamic of the psyche. But in the dream the forms are quirked by the peculiar troubles of the dreamer, whereas in myth the problems and solutions sown are directly valid for all mankind”

“Myths are public dreams, dreams are private myths.”

“Mythology is not a lie, mythology is poetry, it is metaphorical. It has been well said that mythology is the penultimate truth--penultimate because the ultimate cannot be put into words. It is beyond words. Beyond images, beyond that bounding rim of the Buddhist Wheel of Becoming. Mythology pitches the mind beyond that rim, to what can be known but not told.”

“Myth is much more important and true than history. History is just journalism and you know how reliable that is.”

“Myth must be kept alive. The people who can keep it alive are the artists of one kind or another.”

“Wherever the poetry of myth is interpreted as biography, history, or science, it is killed.”

“A myth is something that has never happened, but is happening all the time.”

“The experience of mystery comes not from expecting it but through yielding all your programs, because your programs are based on fear and desire. Drop them and the radiance comes.

“We need myths that will identify the individual not with his local group but with the planet.”

“Myth basically serves four functions. The first is the mystical function,... realizing what a wonder the universe is, and what a wonder you are, and experiencing awe before this mystery....The second is a cosmological dimension, the dimension with which science is concerned – showing you what shape the universe is, but showing it in such a way that the mystery again comes through.... The third function is the sociological one – supporting and validating a certain social order.... It is the sociological function of myth that has taken over in our world – and it is out of date.... But there is a fourth function of myth, and this is the one that I think everyone must try today to relate to – and that is the pedagogical function, of how to live a human lifetime under any circumstances.”

“Heaven and hell are within us, and all the gods are within us. This is the great realization of the Upanishads of India in the ninth Century B.C. All the gods, all the heavens, all the world, are within us. They are magnified dreams, and dreams are manifestations in image form of the energies of the body in conflict with each other. That is what myth is. Myth is a manifestation in symbolic images, in metaphorical images, of the energies of the organs of the body in conflict with each other. This organ wants this, that organ wants that. The brain is one of the organs.”

“One finds the same basic mythological themes in all the religions of the world, from the most primitive to the most sophisticated, from the North American plains to European forests to Polynesian atolls. The imagery of myth is a language, a lingua franca that expresses something basic about our deepest humanity. It is variously inflected in its various provinces.”

“If myth is translated into literal fact, then myth is a lie. But if you read it as a reflection of the world inside you, then it’s true. Myth is the penultimate truth.”