Going Back the Ancient World: Part 2
The big message in the ancient literature is this: you are not alone. The road you are walking may seem overgrown and alien but people have there before and if you can stop for a minute and listen, they are whispering to you, asking you to having a conversation with them. Whatever journey you are on, you are not alone. In some ways you are living an archetypal struggle and furthering our ancient stories into a hazy future. Learn from the stories, and let them guide you so that you can write a new, unique chapter. The road maps are there to help you forward.
The Odyssey, my personal favorite, is an incredibly important story; a cultural touchstone with the gravitas and symbolism to help us from the shallowest daily B.S. to the depths of trauma. However, there are lots of other stories out there to help you.
Do you find yourself mourning? The Underworld is a scary place to be, and you may be called back periodically if you’ve lost someone (or something) that was a part of your Self. Ask Demeter. She loses her daughter every year, and every year the earth stops producing as she mourns. If you happen to be Persephone, the one going to the underworld every year, you might want to remember that she is the queen of that realm and she is not one to be trifled with, or ignored. She holds secrets and treasures. Are you willing look for them, or ask about them?
Another one who holds secrets, but has a much better time, is Dionysus. He is the master of the party, the organizer of drinking games, and the leader of a mad bunch. He can reveal mysteries to you or leave your wishing for death. Do not think you can outsmart him. Don’t let his smile and laughter fool you. If you let the wine (or whatever drug you choose) control you, it will defeat you. If you can use it with measure, though, it will reveal great truths–though you might not like all of them.
Are you fighting a battle? Talk to Athena; she is smart and a planner. She also doesn’t take any crap from anyone. She’s not the reactive warrior that Ares is, though. She is slower, thinking through the strategy. She is the friend of heroes. But, know in advance that she does not openly show herself. She is most often in disguise, and she only helps the people who make an effort to fight a clever and bold battle to begin with. She’s not going to jump in and save you if your not trying, and thinking about your own strategy. Her help is subtle. You have to be on the look out.
There is much more help out there. The ancient literature is medicine for the modern soul. It is filled with voices of wise people who plumbed the depths of the human experience. Our modern insights only deepen the work—we are taking part in the conversation, after all. That’s what art does, it engages us and wants a conversation. The ancient stories will be as revealing and honest as you are willing to be with yourself. The paths are here, with picnic tables along the way to take a rest and have a conversation. Let’s talk.