Tenet 5:   Myth is Medicine, the Storyteller is the Courier

by Pam England

5.     Every storied life expresses universal patterns found in ancient myths. Because myths mirror our personal stories, including birth stories, they are Medicine with the power to transform meaning. Therefore, a trained story-listener should also be a storyteller.

Myth is Medicine, the Storyteller, the courier. A Storyteller doesn’t know which image or word in a story will touch a listener or how it will transform their story or life.  Forty-some years ago the Sumerian myth of “Inanna’s Descent” transformed the meaning I was giving my birth experience and became my inner map through postpartum. Moved by the power of myth in my life, I began telling Inanna’s journey of initiation to parents in my childbirth classes. A week after the first storytelling, a father from the class phoned me soon after his baby was born with a mythic birth announcement!  It was the first time I’d ever heard a birth story told in mythic terms instead of medical jargon. He began by saying, “My wife gave up her crown at the third Gate.” He continued to share highlights interwoven from their medical and mythic journey. It was in that moment I fully realized the power of storytelling and myth as a mentor. From that class on, myths, fairytales, and ancient teachings have enhanced my sessions.

Upon hearing a myth or folktale, every human recognizes universal patterns, symbols, and archetypal characters within themselves. When a myth speaks to you, it may become a kind of scripture full of ancient meanings. For this reason, myths and fairy tales initially, and still do inspire us; they are a way of learning who we are, what we are doing, where we are going. The meaning derived is personal because a myth touches every person in a particular way during every telling. No matter how many times we hear a familiar myth, each time, we are drawn to a specific part that speaks to what is happening in our lives at that time.

Storyteller and author Michael Moore described the medicinal power of myth like this: A hundred people in this audience heard the same story. But stories send out acupuncture needles. The one that found you pierced you in the place that needs healing.

“Your personal myth is a loom on which you weave the raw materials of daily experience into a coherent story. You live your life from within this mythology, drawing to yourself the characters and creating the scenes that correspond with its guiding theme.” –David Feinstein and Stanley Krippner, The Mythic Path1

MYTH HAS STAYING POWER. Once a great story takes hold of the heart or imagination, it continues to work on the psyche, revealing endless insights and wisdom as it guides the pilgrim through their life journey.

Note: Scientific research also tells a story, but its meaning is not timeless or ambiguous.

  1. David Feinstein and Stanley Krippner (2006). The Mythic Path: Discovering the Guiding Stories of Your Past and Creating a Vision for your Future.  Energy Psychology Publisher

copyright©2023 Pam England. All rights reserved.

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