Hero of myth

The Hero of Myth and the Soul

The Hero of Myth

To have no heroes is to have no aspiration, to live on the momentum of the past, to be thrown back upon routine, sensuality, and the narrow self.” ~Charles Horton Cooley

I like the TV show Henry Danger. I know it’s supposed to be a show for teens, but I also know many adults watch it. If you have never watched it, I suggest you view a few episodes. It may have weak plots with huge holes, but it’s usually very funny. It’s also good as an illustration of The Hero at an early age.

Henry Hart, AKA Kid Danger, has the ability to move very fast. He can jump out of the way of bullets or grab a knife thrown at him out of the air. A recent three-part episode ends with Henry permanently losing his super power. I know the show is fiction. Yet, when Henry sat dejected after losing his power, I felt very sad. This shouldn’t happen with a character I know is fictional. It does for a good reason. Henry is a personification of The Hero of Myth as a youth. This hero represents a very important part of each of us. As such, it isn’t fiction at all. So we are affected at a deep level when we see The Hero hurt in any way.

About The Hero

Luke Skywalker in Star Wars was another personification of this Hero of Myth. George Lucas was a student of Joseph Campbell who wrote about myth and its importance to us. Hercules, Jason, and David (as in David & Goliath) are other examples of this hero.

The general rule is that the hero has to face a powerful enemy and defeat them. It may be an individual, an army, or a government. The hero may get injured, but still has to come out the winner. In the Henry Danger episode, Henry is Dejected after losing his power, but decides to continue fighting bad guys as a superhero’s sidekick. He doesn’t give up. A true personification of The hero.

“A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.” ~Joseph Campbell

The Meaning

Our culture has filled our heads but emptied our hearts, stuffed our wallets but starved our wonder. It has fed our thirst for facts but not for meaning or mystery. It produces “nice” people, not heroes.” ~Peter Kreeft

Now if you think this is all just a lot of hero-worship, you are wrong. The hero of myth is a symbol. It is a representation of the human soul and spirit. Like The Hero, our soul finds itself trapped in a situation is doesn’t like. The world of matter and materialism is not a pleasant place for the spirit and soul. It isn’t always pleasant for the body and mind either, but it’s worse for the spirit and soul.

Like The Hero, the soul faces powerful opposition. The forces of darkness and materialism are strong. Not only the material ones such as governments and businesses, but also the spiritual ones. The fallen angels and demons don’t want the soul to awaken. They also don’t want awakened souls saving the world. So the soul/Hero faces an uphill battle. That is why any good spiritual school teaches students to work hard and deal with adversity. They are training heroes, not couch potatoes.

myth magic

Myth Magic and Mystery of All Ages

“It is true that, at least apparently, the modern world is not rich in myths. … We are thinking of the myth as a type of human behavior and, at the same time, as an element of civilization—that is, of the myth as one finds it in traditional societies. For at the level of individual experience it has never completely disappeared: it makes itself felt in the dreams, the fantasies and the longings of the modern man. …

“But what now interests us above all is to find out what it is, in the modern world, that fills the central position occupied by the myth in traditional societies. In other words,while recognizing that the great mythical themes continue to repeat themselves in the obscure depths of the psyche, we still wonder whether the myth, as an exemplary pattern of human behavior, may not also survive among our contemporaries in more or less degraded forms. It seems that a myth itself, as well as the symbols it brings into play, never quite disappears.” ~Mircea Eliade

Myth Magic

There was a time when the telling of myths was an important job in any society. Whether it was a bard, a priest, or a philosopher, they taught the people using myth.

We all know that when a teacher tries to fill the students head with dry facts, he generally fails. The student probably retains no more that ten or twenty percent of those facts. But when the same facts are embedded in an interesting story, the student will remember the tale and the facts hiding in it.

There is also the case of the students who are not yet ready to learn certain things and will reject them if they are given to her as simple facts. Such truths can also be hidden in myths and the students will remember the myths, even when they don’t believe. Later, when they start to awaken, they may remember some of those mythical tales and recognize the facts they held.

Myth Magic of Today

While there has been a great effort by materialistic powers to kill the myth, even going so far as to change the meaning of the word to fantasies and tall tales, they have failed. Myth magic is all around us in books, movies, songs, and other forms of entertainment. I’m sure it can even be found in many popular video games. Let’s look at a few examples.

The Star Wars movies of George Lucas are pure myth. It is no secret that he was a student of myth-master Joseph Campbell. He based the stories on the standard myth of the hero versus the great evil found in many ancient traditional myths. Both Luke Skywalker and Hans solo represent the hero side, though it is primarily Luke who is the traditional hero of mythology. The emperor and Darth Vader represent the great evil. It is David and Goliath as space opera.

The Harry potter books similarly represent modern myth telling. Harry and his friends represent the good, the hero. Lord Valdemort and his Death Eaters are clearly the evil. Like Star Wars, the heroes are young while the bad guys are generally somewhat older. This isn’t age prejudice, but a way of saying that new thinking is needed to overcome the evil around us. Old ways and old thinking leads to death. Continue reading “Myth Magic and Mystery of All Ages”

spiritual purity, personal redemption, spiritual quest, spiritual nature, spiritual character

Personal Redemption, Myths and Allegory

“Long periods of probation were imposed, so that he knowledge of how to become as the gods might remain the sole possession of the worthy. Lest that knowledge be lost, however, it was concealed in allegories and myths which were meaningless to the profane but self-evident to those acquainted with that theory of personal redemption. … Christianity itself may be cited as an example. The entire New Testament is in fact an ingeniously concealed exposition of the secret processes of human regeneration. The characters … are really the personification of certain processes which take place n the human body when an begins the task of consciously liberating himself. …

“The garments and ornamentation supposedly worn by the gods are also keys, for in the Mysteries clothing was considered as synonymous with form. The degree of spirituality or materialism of the organism was signified by the quality, beauty,and value of the garments worn.” ~Manly P. Hall

Myths and Allegory

Some Christians don’t like the idea that many of the stories found in the Bible, especially the New Testament are allegorical. They think that they cannot be true, historical events, and also allegorical. That is not the case.

Jesus carefully chose his twelve Apostles so that they would have an allegorical meaning. They were still real people. Jesus may have actually turned water to wine at a wedding. But He chose to do that because it has great spiritual significance if one understands the allegory of the tale. And the disciples of Jesus didn’t write down everything He did. For the most part, what was written was that which had an important spiritual lesson hid within the allegory of the story.

Personal Redemption

Mr. Hall says the allegory found in Christian scripture (as well as Hindu, Egyptian, etc.) was primarily about personal redemption. That is true. They are not intended to be fun stories to read. Nor are they intended to be allegorical puzzles to be solved just for the fun of solving them. They are intended to help seekers learn and awaken.

When Hall says personal redemption, he means what most of us today call spiritual awakening. It is a redemption because we are redeeming ourselves from the lost world of matter and moving back toward the eternal world of spirit. Continue reading “Personal Redemption, Myths and Allegory”

dragon, st. George

Dragon Slayers and Holy Men

“I will declare the manly deeds of Indra, the first that he achieved, the Thunder-wielder. He slew the dragon, then disclosed the waters, and cleft the channels of the mountain torrents. He slew the dragon lying on the mountain: his heavenly bolt of thunder Tvastar fashioned. … Maghavan grasped the thunder for his weapons, and smote to death the firstborn of the dragons. When, Indra, thou hadst slain the dragon’s firstborn, and overcome the charms of the enchanters, then giving life to Sun and Dawn and heaven, thou foundest not one foe to stand against thee.” ~The Rig Veda, Hymn XXXII

The Dragon Slayers

The slaying of Dragons by holy men is a common myth in religious and spiritual writings. The illustration used with this post is of a Christian variation: St. George slaying a dragon. I think the tale of St. Patrick chasing the snakes out of Ireland is probably a variation on this as well. Tales of the Eqyptian sun god Ra and the Greek sun god Apollo include tales of them slaying dragons. Norse legends also include tales of dragon slayers, who are usually gods, holy men, or great heroes.

The Dragon

These stories seem like foolish fairy tales to those who don’t understand allegory, myth, and metaphor. They say there was never such a thing as a dragon, but they are wrong. Dragons were—and are—very real, but they are not physical animals. The dragon is symbolic, and the fact that it is gods and holy men who often kill them or chase them away should tell you something about their nature. They are symbols of devils, or fallen angels, or their direct offspring. I liked this version I found in the Rig Veda, one of the oldest, because it contains additional symbology and allegory that tells a wonderful tale.

The Symbols

In addition to the dragon itself, we see the symbol of thunder. It is clear, however, that what is really meant in lightning, since there are no bolts of thunder. So if we thing of the attributes of lightning, we get some idea of what it means here. A lightning bolt is a thing or great power, great energy, and very bright light. The dragon is killed on a mountain. A mountain is often a symbol of power, especially higher powers.

Not only is the dragon killed, but so is its firstborn. The firstborn of Lucifer is Satan. But Lucifer and Satan were not truly slain, so what is really meant is that they were overcome, defeated.

Then we get the final sentence with the most important symbols of all. Here, we are told that once the dragon is killed (overcome), we can experience the living light of the sun and the Dawn from Heaven.

Now lets put it all together.

The Tale Retold

So what this is all saying is that the holy men, or sometimes gods, gain their status by overcoming the dark demons that plague them (dragons). As always, darkness is overcome with the Light (lightning), but not just any light. The light of a campfire or candle just won’t do. Even the light of physical sun is no match for the Powers of Darkness, and in fact supports and sustains them. It is the power and Light of the Spiritual Sun that the holy person takes in to chase away the darkness and the demons that dwell there. When Jesus defeated Satan in a debate of logic, that too was a form of defeating the dragon, or specifically, defeating the firstborn of the dragon. And the promise of all these tales is that when we take in the spiritual Light of the spiritual sun in sufficient number, and turn away from the darkness of materialism, we will bring about the New Age of Enlightenment, the New Golden Age, where we will live in peace and harmony, no dragons allowed.