You know that there is an invisible world beneath/beside/within the visible one. Call it god or atoms; religious belief or science, there is more to this world than meets the eye. So I am struck by the difficult time people can have “accepting” the supernatural aspects of a story. Maybe it’s a matter of context. I tell you a story that includes a goddess and that seems totally implausible. You don’t “believe” in her after all. It’s fiction. And the tale may have been handed down from people we imagine as unsophisticated because they didn't have cell phones.
But if we are at a dinner party you might tell me about the time that you definitely saw a ghost or received a message from an ancestor. Or had a strange dream that presaged later events. Or had an animal talk to you. Or found an open gateway in your consciousness, under the influence of psychedelics, meditation, music, or chance that revealed a breathing, energetic cosmos connected by faintly glowing strings, pulsing with desire. Or looked under a microscope. Contemplated or boosted your immune system. Studied physics. Had a fateful encounter with a stranger.
Who knows what is true about the invisible world? We have lived experience and dreams, reason and imagination, shared facts and fictions, and the compulsion to interpret them. Out of this hodgepodge comes our favorite stories, theories, beliefs (the words are interchangeable in this context)—the ones that create a world that we want to live in. A world that is inherently dependent on metaphor.
I recently reread The Soul's Code by James Hillman, an exegesis on character, calling, and the notion that our lives are guided by a caring, personal daimon. Our dull and unimaginative approaches to life, Hillman says, rob us of mystery and meaning. You don’t have to “believe” like an evangelical to adopt (imagine) a creative perspective about the ongoing role of the invisible in your life. Why not relate to a personal genie that guides your life toward a personal destiny? (Genie, from the Latin genius, meaning "guardian spirit").
With this in mind I’ll turn to the Greek myth of Artemis and Actaeon in the coming posts. It's the story of a young hunter who is turned into a stag by a goddess and subsequently dismembered by his own hunting dogs. Weird, right? Now it’s time for my daimon to take me out to lunch.