• Personal Mythology Proj

Guide-Post: Expressing the Gods Within You

Updated: Feb 12, 2019


a personal account found in Your Mythic Journey: Finding Meaning in Your Life Through Writing and Storytelling by Sam Keen and Anne Valley-Fox (Penguin, 1989)


A TIME AND A PLACE FOR EVERYTHING

My world is full of gods and goddesses, but they aren’t the kind that sit on Mount Olympus. They stir among human beings like egg beaters, making waves, They are multitudinous and bodiless, made of color and sound. There is no hierarchy among them, not even a presiding Zeus. All of the gods have influence, but none has the power to rule absolutely. This is the list of the gods I know best:


  • God of Greed and Selfishness (always provoking, never listening)

  • God of Pain (inflicts sorrow, mechanically, like Sisyphus pushing on his rock, without joy or regret)

  • Goddess of Healing (shadows Pain to nurse the wounded; dresses in pale green, the color of new shoots)

  • Goddess of Motherhood (two-faced: one warm, nurturing, caring; the other pinched and possessive)

  • God of Laughter (young and golden; Pan-like but found in apartments and delicatessens as well as sylvan glades; the genuine pealing laughter of children)

  • Gods of Light, Beauty, the Arts (deep colors and clear, high voices)

  • God of Wisdom (an old, bearded, beautifully lined face; sees and evaluates to reflect truth without judgment)

  • Goddess of Mediation and Communication (neutral; tries to keep all doors open; probably pearl gray)


I’d like there to be a princely young Apollo or a powerful feminist Diana in my world, but I just don’t see it that way. My gods are on an even keel, pushing and pulling to maneuver human beings into their particular power spheres. The lack of hierarchy means a lot of commotion. I guess I experience this way because I find life choices so difficult to make. Since I’ve always had a wide range of talent and potential, any new force that came along threatened to change my focus. When I was a little girl bandaging my dolls and dreaming of Florence Nightingale, the God of Healing had my allegiance. After that the God of Dance took hold, and later the God of Wisdom, but when my children were born I switched to the Great Maternal Goddess, trying to match her warm, open face. That’s pretty much where I am now, raising a family and acting as general mediator between people.


Sometimes I imagine how different my life would be if I allowed a more passionate, less balanced pantheon of gods to exist. But right now, given my priorities, that isn’t possible. Maybe in a dozen years when my kids are running on their own steam I’ll be free to change the hierarchy and live more radically. For instance, I’d really like to elevate the God of Art above the God of Pain and settle down to the writing I’ve always wanted to do. It’s not that I expect art to make milk and honey suddenly flow from trees, but I do believe that if people developed a greater capacity for experiencing each other there might be more music and light and laughter in the world. But I don’t want you to think that I’m beating my wings against the bars of my cage. For now I’m content to let the deities go on stirring evenly around me.


— Jane is a wife and mother and an ardent journal keeper


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