I started on my way to being a pagan in third grade. Sitting on the floor in the library of Lockwood Elementary School I found a book. Not a completely unreasonable thing to find in a library. That book was on mythology. I was in love. I checked that book out over and over and over. I poured over it and had it memorized by the end of the year.
D’Aulaire’s Book of Greek Myths started a love of stories about gods, goddess, and their shenanigans. As a child I remember feeling that the world was imbued with spirit, that the tree held a spirit, a soul just like you and me. You took care of that soul in the tree it was something to honor. I picked up rocks, bones, insisted that the goat’s head come home with us. As that head still had some bits attached to it I must have been very insistent as my mom wanted to leave it behind. Still have that skull.
I didn’t have the words to say effectively what I was doing but really I was collecting bits of the earths spirit to take home with me. Rocks, bones, sherds of china form homesteaders, these were my first form of altar. Bones, rocks and sherds still call to me and I still take them home with me. They still hold meaning in my life.
Mythology are stories that help us connect with other things outside our lives. They are stories that often follow a pattern that you see across cultures. A person starts out on a quest, there are dangers and lessons to be learned, friends are made, enemies are found, battles fought to save the world, the galaxy, the ’verse.
Through these stories we live different lives, try out new concepts of morality and ethics. We find the new in what is old. Myths are meant to teach you something, to make you feel something. Remember back to when you first saw The Empire Strikes back, Luke see’s his face behind Darth Vader’s mask only late do we learn that it was a foreshadowing. Mythology never dies, the story pattern varies only slightly but we keep it. Because it speaks to us deep inside, let’s us learn how to be more, shows us the dark, the light, and the gray that resides inside all of us.