The Mythic Imagination

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stephen larsen“I believe that the mythic revival that is now under way is no mere fad. In modern times myths have been thought of as illusions, but if so, they are the kind that still retain the power, as Joseph Campbell put it, ‘to carry the human spirit forward.’ Psychologist Jean Houston identified myth as the cognitive and emotional DNA of the psyche – somehow ever new, always generative, yet as old as the hills that hide the ancient secrets of our race.

“The fresh and open mind of the child creates and understands myth intuitively, whereas the psychotherapist, the creative writer, and the scholar labor long to mine myth’s rich veins of wisdom and creative inspiration. Yet even now, myth emerges as the legacy of the whole planet. To understand other people and other cultures and the images we share – and fail to share – with our fellows, we must learn an aboriginal language: the universal tongue of the human imagination. With its inexhaustible vocabulary of symbol and story, it is at once our ancestral birthright and the ever-brimming well of dreams into which we look to find our future. I call this innate resource of ours ‘the mythic imagination.’”

– Stephen Larsen. Ph.D