Dancing with the Gods
Manifesting Your Own Myth
A Seven-day Residential Workshop
There can’t be many Irish people who are not familiar with at least a few stories from Celtic mythology – the sad fate of the Children of Lir, maybe, or the heroic exploits of Fionn and his companions of the Fianna. Classical Greek myths have also found a place in our collective consciousness as shown, for instance, by ouruse of the term ‘Herculean’ for a particularly demanding task, a reference to the twelve near-impossible Labours of Hercules. Some myths from even less-familiar cultures have now become quite well-known in the West – among them the Sumerian saga of Inanna (Goddess of Love, Fertility and …. War) journeying to the Land of the Dead to visit its Queen, her vengeful twin sister Ereshkigal. Or the story of how the Egyptian Goddess Isis found, reunited and reanimated the scattered remains of her murdered husband Osiris so that she and he could still conceive a child together. In pre-literate societies such stories would have been preserved in the oral tradition by ritual telling and retelling over, perhaps, thousands of years. That these ancient stories have so tenaciously survived into our own time suggests that they express deep truths about the human condition.
Within the depths of each of us are many stories. These stories tell themselves over and over again in the lives of individuals as well as in the myths and rituals of every age and culture. If our stories remain at the unconscious level we risk being lived by them, mistaking the Gods for mere coincidences and reducing archetypal dramas to personal neuroses. Again and again, we will find ourselves tangled in the same old situations, struggling over and over with the same old issues.
A myth or legend that attracts us, haunts us and draws us in does so because our unconscious recognises that there is something within that particular story that we need to learn. Myths, as the eminent psychologist James Hillman put it, “show our depth psychology in ancient dress” Once we bring our story into consciousness, however, we can begin to draw on the energies of these archetypal patterns, cooperate with them, and by working with them creatively, live our myth forward to new awakenings.
Participants in ‘Dancing with the Gods’ are asked to bring to the workshop a myth from any culture. Legends or folk-tales may also be suitable but only if they have a prominent supernatural element. It is not necessary to have explored the psychological significance of the myth, legend or folk-tale – it is sufficient just to be familiar with the story and to be strongly drawn to it. That attraction indicates that your psyche sees something in the mythic story that it needs in order to become whole.
Using a combination of dramatization, movement, art, fantasy, ritual and Gestalt process, participants will experience their chosen myth in depth, the better to understand how it connects with their deepest self. We will explore our personal world of mythology, not from the point of view of academic or aesthetic interest, but because it can serve as a reservoir of healing energy for ourselves and for the world that we live in.