The Bard Mythologies purpose is clear: it is to explore the mythic and archetypal roots of culture. The best analogy to understand this comes from the world of computing. Myths are the operating systems of culture. But like most operating systems they are often not known, even invisible. This is partly because they are intrinsic to culture, though so much of what they contain is (just) taken for granted.
McLuhan, the Canadian media guru had a pithy aphorism for this matter, “the one thing about which fish know exactly nothing is water”. And so it is for culture. The mission of Bard Mythologies is thus to raise awareness, through oral storytelling, of the way myth and archetype shape every aspect of culture, whether people know it or not.
The outcome of any serious engagement with myth is that the individual, culture, community, or nation becomes conscious of the “myth it lives by”. Without this “the myths have you”. This means an internal feeling of being tossed hither and thither by forces more powerful than you, of being somehow dis-embedded, or off center.
The real gift of the Bard Mythologies journey or way is the same gift that was given to the High King Bran. It was given by the sea god Manannan mac Lir after a great otherworld adventure. It is silver branch perception. This is the gift of seeing deeply, of seeing the slow-moving currents that shape our world to avoid being distracted by all the noisy and turbulent waves on the surface.
What is certainly not on offer is a belief system, or indeed any great truths, certainly not of divine revelation. Rather what is to be found here is a relatively simple Mythic Method, built totally around Oral Myth-telling in a community context. It is, at its core, a timeless, ancient approach that is pragmatic and useful and that is a means of continual self-reflection. The conclusion or destination is not an utopia. Indeed there would be an inherent distrust of such an outcome. Utopia’s are static, and too often the cause of much terror and tyranny.
All that can be promised is a dynamic equilibrium, which contains our different aspirations and desires that can prevent us from wiping each other out. And an idea of a place, maybe an imagined place, the Fifth Province, where feasting and storytelling and restorative justice are to be enjoyed. And after the feasting, the people from elsewhere, which we all essentially are, can sort out what needs to be sorted…. And then enjoy a drink and a song!
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