Rambling on About Stories

From time to time, I look back on older posts to try and draw inspiration for newer posts. Today, four posts caught my eye, all with the thematic “Morphing the Myth”. These were all written back in 2016, shortly after I had returned from my first Pantheacon. The panel was titled “Morphing the Myth” (hence the thematic of my post), and was led by S.P. Hendrick, Diana Paxson and a gentleman whose name I never found out. The entire panel’s discussion was held on a very academic level, which I appreciated deeply. But within my notes (which I still have) was a perspective that Science Fiction and Fantasy works can become the gateway to Paganism, as well as pulling in a personal perspective of how myth fits into one’s modern-day life. Plus, I added a bit more on how music can play a part in all of this as well, using my love for the Grateful Dead as a backdrop. The four posts I am referencing here are:

Now let’s be clear about something. I am a better writer today than I was back then, so some of these posts meander into left field and the such. Not that I don’t do that these days here. However, try and excuse a lot of the mistakes that I make within these older posts, in much the same way I make mistakes these days.

Perhaps, instead of seeing myth or Science Fiction/Fantasy stories as the gateway to Paganism – we could talk a bit about the way that these stories live within our minds and imaginations, and fed aspects of our own personal Spirituality. And this plays a little deeper into another post that I wrote about this panel – Static or Dynamic Mythology. Yes, it can be said that this particular panel really opened my eyes to a lot of different avenues in relating to myths and story-telling. The panel also led me towards understanding how important story-telling is in our everyday society, as well as how it plays into my own Spirituality.

J. Michael Straczynski’s Bablyon 5 series was the first instance where I found storytelling reaching deeply into what I thought myself to be. The storylines, the characters, the settings all played into my own imagination of what the future could hold – a place where various alien races could gather and work out their differences without resorting to war – though that did happen several times in the show. The characters all had flaws, strengths, and were believable as individuals. Some of them even changed from one type of character towards being a different one – just as people tend to do in real life. From that construct, I started to look at the world of myths and story-telling differently. I started to place the pieces into the stories that helped the characters and their tales come alive in my mind. And from that, my understanding of how to work with the perspective of the Gods being alive started to take a more solid shape in my life.

In my instance, Science Fiction and Fantasy was the gateway towards seeing how the Gods were truly alive. Granted, I was still applying my construct of being alive onto Beings that I could never truly relate completely to, but it still allowed me to understand the Gods from a perspective that felt more alive. It also allowed me to see the Gods as something that could change, ever so slightly because Their reality of time is most assuredly different than my own….that They did not have to be a static, never-changing concept. The Gods are most assuredly alive.

Yes, I spend a lot of time reading – even when I go to the beach

Are the myths alive? Can we re-tell the myths, adding flourishes and embellishments along the way? Well, certainly we can do just that. We’ve done that through re-telling of the legend of the hero Hercules. In some ways, to make the story more palatable for an animated Disney feature. You can be quite certain that the myth was not followed completely. Does this re-telling of the myth change what Hercules is? Only if we let the animated re-telling stand in place of the actual myth. And the concept of just letting it stand really depends on the individual more than it does on society (in my not so humble opinion).

Stories are important, in my opinion. Sit around a campfire at any gathering, and eventually folks will begin to tell the tales that they know. Some may be about the heroic deeds of Hercules, or two hobbits taking on a task that was seemingly impossible for them to do. Perhaps it will be about the time that I got lost in the forest just outside my assigned apartment in base housing when I lived in Kaiserslautern, Germany. Or maybe the times that I would go to the Class VI store on Ramstein Air Base, purchase a bottle of whiskey, and ride the German rail system drinking until I was removed from the train at the German border. Everyone knows a story. And the story does not have to be mythic in nature. Nor does it need to just entertain. Regardless, stories are an important part of our culture.

Currently our stories are told to use in books, spoken word recordings, songs, television shows, and movies. In the past, families would gather around the radio in the living room to listen to the stories that were told over the airwaves. Prior to that, everyone gathered around the campfire and took turns regaling one another with tales. No matter how much we deny it…stories are the fabric of our society. Stories matter.

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