Father Dyēus Weeps

Dyēus stood and broke the silence, looking at the brood and spoke,
“You cannot remember primordial days and the ways I formed mortals
Of sea and land, dirt and sand; cannot remember my hand digging
In watery earth to birth you into life, no cord to cut with knife;
You cannot remember how I led you across the coastline and fed you.
You had no sense of my presence, and made no pretense to be more
Than you were, slipping in and out of brackish water, moving about
Upon the earth so timidly, no home or hearth; but then you learned
And burned with passion, moved across the land, led by my own hand,
And made your bed in valleys and mountains and plains; it was then
You learned pain ~ your dawn of awareness ~ and the yawning grave;
You became more than knaves; you saw me then for the first time
As the bells of heaven chimed. We walked and talked with one another,
Yet I was everywhere; you sensed this, praising me with incense
Even when you could not see me in one form, you knew I could be
In another one, from grass and trees to sun and moon, in biting
Of frost and in the monsoon, in the sky overhead and in the bed
Of flowers fair, in the air and water and wind that bends trees
And scatters their leaves, as the ocean heaves. Everywhere could
You see me and feel me, so when I appeared you would kneel to me.
Now look what has happened; look in polluted brook, ravished hills,
In melting ice caps and thrice cracked earth to extract its worth;
Here now you are plundering and killing my magnificent creation,
Willing me, Dyēus, to die rather than try to save your very own home!
Ah! What an horrible tome to write, no longer knowing wrong from right;
My children, my progeny in the cosmic homogeny, who no longer know. . .

I AM

Advertisements

The Tree: Part of You, Part of Me

Α

I am part of everything I see;
Everything I see is part of me
~ the tree, honey bee, the deep blue sea ~
So hating myself is hating you;
Hating you is hating myself;
Striking you is striking myself;
Striking myself is striking you
~ cries in war-torn lands and villain bands ~
Reach for the sky, touch the earth;
Teach my soul from place of birth,
Eternal worth, and you’ve taught
Yourself your own invaluable value
~ up from shallow valleys to mountains grand ~
Sand of time an illusion, fusion
Of our souls in transformation
~ blind men bait with hate merely to satiate ~
You are part of everything you see;
Everything you see is part of you
~ old and new, many and few, the morning dew~
Being good to others is good for you;
Others good to you is good for them, too.

Touch the earth and reach for the sky!

Ω

Note: Inspired by Thich Nhat Hanh

Mythos: An Interview With Robert Lambert Jones III

RobertRobert Lambert Jones III is a college biology professor who earned his Ph. D. in Molecular Biology from Indiana University. He is married and has three grown daughters, a granddaughter, and a dog named Buckley. He enjoys hiking, cycling, reading, watching movies, playing his electric bass, and (of course) writing. Robert Jones blogs weekly at Pneumythology.

  • When and how did you first become interested in mythology? Tell us something about your early love for this grand subject

iliadodysseyIt might have started with a childhood love of monsters, especially dinosaurs. I also remember my parents owning an encyclopedia called The Book of Knowledge. That little tidbit of information might date me, but in that book I read an abridged account of Beowulf’s battle with Grendel. In high school English class, we read excerpts from The Iliad and The Odyssey which also fascinated me. These were intrinsic processes, and I can’t really explain them other than to say I have been drawn to spiritual concepts since I was a boy. Ironically, this did not translate into an interest in Christianity until later.

  • When did you embrace the Christian faith-religion?

I have heard that “the eleven-year-old atheist” is a term used by professional counselors. This is evidently the age at which children start figuring out that there are contradictions between what they experience and what they are told. Essentially, when many children were moving away from a belief in God, I was moving the other direction. I never really doubted Christianity before that since I was raised by Christian parents, but I just wasn’t interested. The idea that I should actually do something about it reached critical mass about a month before I turned twelve. I was always an introspective kid with a desire for intellectual honesty, and I made an actual decision to become a Christian at that time. At the age of seventeen, I re-evaluated what this actually meant in more mature terms with the result that I became more committed.

  • What cultural mythology (or mythologies) enamor you the most, and why?

First and foremost, I am interested in Christianity for the simple reason that I decided it was true. Biblical stories have the elements common to great myths: deity, monsters (spiritual and/or physical), and fallible human beings who must respond honorably and with courage. My earlier interests mentioned in my answer to your first question resulted in me reading The IliadThe Odyssey, and Beowulf in their entirety as an adult. I especially became engrossed in The Odyssey. Some have referred to it as the first modern novel though it is actually a narrative poem. I was also impressed by The Divine Comedy. As for more modern works, I must mention The Chronicles of Narnia and The Lord of the Rings. Collectively, these works (especially the last two) have influenced the stories I have written.

  • What is the favorite story you’ve written? Why? And can you share with us a synopsis of this story?

I’m not sure I can adequately answer that question. It’s like asking a parent to choose their favorite child. So far, I have self-published a trilogy of stories titled The Dogwood Legacy (available on Amazon for those interested). The stories are (in order): Jacob Leviathan, Nathan Turner, and Obadiah Holt. Collectively, they represent a progression from a folk tale set in the Ozark Mountains, an invented urban legend set in an unspecified Midwestern city, and a re-imagined North American myth. These are all allegorical monster stories in which the monsters serve as foils for the main characters, and the story arc of the series takes place over multiple generations. My adult daughters have told me that they consider Jacob Leviathan to be the best-crafted of the three, so I guess I’d pick that if you held a gun to my head. I don’t know if I agree with their assessment, however. I like all three stories for different reasons. In addition I have written two fairly lengthy story poems (also allegorical) which won’t be published until I figure out how to get them illustrated.

  • If, say, a junior or senior in high school, or someone early in their college career, came to you with an desire to learn more about mythology in general, what book(s) and/or videos (or audio tapes, I suppose) would you recommend for them to “get their feet wet,” so to speak?

BeowulfI think my answers to your previous question would be most applicable. I must add, however, that reading the classical works takes patience and discipline for a modern reader, but the payoff is definitely worth it.

  • I’ve personally been intrigued in how you have, from time to time, integrated your Christian faith with your analysis of certain mythological studies. Do you often see Christian themes in mythology? Tell us something about that?

Maybe the best way to answer this is to say that I see parallels between Christianity and pre-Christian mythology. There are some major differences, of course, but there are also similarities. A Native American who is also a fourth generation Christian pastor from one of the Civilized Tribes of Oklahoma visited our church not long ago. He said some very interesting things about the parallels between the culture of his pre-Christian ancestry and that of Christianity. To be honest, it gave me an idea for a story I might want to develop in the future. Without going into tedious details, I might best conclude this answer with some questions. Do spiritual beings exist? If so, what are their natures? Do they communicate or otherwise interact with human beings? If they have done so in the distant past, might generations of distortion, unfamiliarity, or removal from these experiences have resulted in our current smorgasbord of religious beliefs? Might this also account for certain similarities between systems of faith? Answers to these questions can lead us into the area of comparative religion, most particularly in thinking critically about which religion is actually true or closest to the truth.

  • Just out of curiosity, what ‘brand’ of Christian of Christian are you? In other words, what is the denomination and/or tradition to which you belong?

I could probably best be described as a nondenominational Christian, but I was raised a Methodist. My maternal grandfather and three of his brothers were all Methodist ministers. And I don’t know if I could properly call them theologians, but G. K. Chesterton and C. S. Lewis stand out in my mind. I love their practical yet imaginative reasoning, and they are a delight to read.

  • As a Christian, do you perceive mythos as being part and parcel of the Hebraic/Christian stories contained in the sacred Scriptures? If so, which stories in particular?

Icon-Last-Judgment-1In my second post after starting my blog about a year ago, I included a quote by C. S. Lewis. If I may paraphrase, it said something about Christianity being a myth with the characteristics of all great myths but with the exception that it really happened. All of the prophetic visions written in the Old and New Testaments are mythic. The books of Isaiah and Ezekiel contain some interesting descriptions of how God appeared to men of limited sensory perception. The books of Daniel and Revelation describe visions with symbolic and monstrous images which are incorporated into predictions of future events. All of the stories which describe encounters between God, Satan, angels, demons, and humans fulfill the definition of a great myth. The Christian faith is founded on the cosmic struggle carried out through the fall of humanity, the virgin birth, the crucifixion, the resurrection, the ascension, and the ultimate return of Jesus Christ. Our culture has become so familiar with these accounts on a surface level that it has lost an appreciation of their drama and their grandeur.

Thank you so very much for your time and very insightful, provocative answers. I’m sure many of my readers will be quite interested in visiting your wonderfully intriguing blog and learning more about you. All the best to you with blessings!

Sweet Selene Passing By. . .

maxresdefaultSo silently, surreptitiously, and smoothly do you slide in with ocean tide to abide in abode of my soul, making hearth of my heart your home, again and once again, yet never to stay, to be held at bay, whatever I might say; so sing your song sung blue and true, old and ever-new. Have only some few become your lovers, who hover around your every word, hoping for your tender, titillating touch, not much but just enough.

Oh sweet Selene of Yaşam Ruh’u, what do you do in your smoothly silken, silver brush through the air, so fair and wild, what we cannot bear yet in which we share but for fleeting moments, enough to lift our care. Ought we beware of you, so true but wrapped in mystery, your history largely unknown because that you have not shown. We have but some small share in the treasure you bring, as you sing in the breeze with eloquent ease.

So do we seize the passing by and ne’er try to grasp your essence to keep in the fluorescence of our  minds, which only dim in your presence. Yet we are more, not less, since your visitation; our incense rises to meet and greet your coming-movement in and through the veins of our very being to make new what was the aged pages of our lives. Ah! But do say when you will not stray but stay, we pray.

Oh, when will you stay, we pray?

Maftet and Lessons of Petty Divisions

summerly-noon-temple“People dear worshipped here, once upon a time; drinking the fine wine of fellowship,” Maftet spoke softly in the haunted old courtyard of once-vaunted temple. “Women, men and children; fathers, mothers, and sisters, brothers all; simple poor and those who stood tall in unity of community.” She ran fingers over one lingering wall, browned dark and dank, yet not cast down, but no longer part of crown achievement of city dead, now raising pity rather than praise.

“What happened here to make this place so drear,” I wondered allowed as an hundred questions flew thru my mind in like kind as I drew near my patroness-protector.

“The young and new wanted to cast out the old, but so soon as they’d begun the old grew bold; and the last song sung here was broken by tears,” Maftet answered. “The malefactors continued the fight against the old dogs’ bite, but most grew weary and it was then this magnificent place grew dreary. . . Death hung heavy in the air ~ the levy of schism ~ and evil laid bare the ill-intentions of darkened hearts. . . Unity fled and the community bled; then was no more.”

“Then do these stones not face the world now as a monument of disgrace?”

Maftet turned; fire burned in her eyes. “More than monument of disgrace, but an edifice of learning for any but fools; here are tools for teaching how reaching too far, too deeply, too soon can bring destruction at the noontime of any community.” She began to walk as she continued to talk. “Thy young say to the old, ‘Get out of the way,’ and the elders strive to hold them at bay, but then all devolves into dismay!”

“Tell me, please, who was right in your sight?”

“Ah!” She slipped her hand round my waist band. “Both were right, and both were wrong; both lacked sight, and both were weak, not strong. Enmity grew and lead to calamity that will ne’er be forgot in all eternity. . . And all over such trifling matters; all the clatter of fools with their endless prattle. Then came the clatter of sword and shield, for neither side would yield, and in yonder plain half were slain.”

And so it was that we were standing, hand in hand, not only in ancient ruins . . . but in the graveyard of what once was community ~ the hard reality pressing in on me that many such cemeteries exist as the living still persist in trifles and petty disputes. I was mute.

 

Dream Dreams from the Crème of Dreams

Guerin_Pierre_Narcisse_-_Morpheus_and_Iris_1811“Dream the dreams of Morpheus, my dear so near to cheer, with fine wine in hand as you listen to star-filled band as sand quickens thru the hourglass, let time pass as Father Time will, and warm yourself against winter chill,” Selená spoke as she drew my head near, exiting fear, deafening me to shrill dæmonic cries, what flies from depths of hell with bell tolling death. “Dream now as I sooth fevered brow; drink of my cream and dream the dreams of my brother, Morpheus.”

Note: Painting by Pierre-Narcisse Guérin

 

What Dyēus Gives, Dyēus Shall Prosper

Ma’at Sings Song of Comforting Truth

Do you think Dyēus gives only to waste?
To have you taste in haste your gift,
Where you’ve been placed, only to sift
And shake you down with frown, then rake
You aside ne’er to abide to flourish?

Do you think Dyēus has left you destitute,
To impute to you sin, dilute your life,
And thus refute all good plans for you,
Both small and grand; to have you stand
For judgement on pungent summit of hell?

So you owe a dime to Caesar, and have not
Any time to climb out of debt nor escape
Frightening threat, yet you have now met
Your deadliest foe, and found tis you
From head to toe in the jester’s show.

And do you think that Dyēus does not know,
And even now plot to untie your ugly knot?
Will not your mother God be also brother
And sister, and friend to bend the future
To bless you with success, not distress?

You have fine tomorrows waiting for you
With fine wine of heaven and the bread
Of angels upon which to feast, though you
Be the least of his children, not beast;
Dyēus will care for you, and no one dare
Try to tear you from his arms wrapped
Round you to keep you from every harm.

Amen.