The Great Cycles ~ Everlasting & Antediluvian
According to Sean Kane, author of Wisdom of the Mythtellers, the most generous focus for myth involves a sense of mystery. He tells us that myths are about “something mysterious, intelligent, invisible and whole.” And what is more mysterious than the essence of life itself? Showing up in ethnocultures and mystery traditions worldwide, perennial myths and origin stories draw close to the inexplicable, and pay tribute to the life spark in story-cycles redolent with beauty and renewal. Here in Anishnaabe territory, “something mysterious” is the best translation for the Ojibway term “Manitou.” It can mean a Spirit Being whose presence is felt, or it can mean a feeling of “something mysterious” as connected to landscape or place.
Before the earliest myths of a “golden age” or an “earthly paradise” that are found all over the world, there existed an original perfect world of nature, long before the gods, or humans arrived on the scene. Let’s call this primordial place the Green World - a place we can scarcely imagine - a version of Earth where the mountains, forests, oceans and sky were pristine, and the elements of earth, water, fire and air were interpenetrated with each other. Our planet was new, but sentience was there at the beginning. Arising from a mixture of water, saline and minerals - the building blocks of life on Earth - primal forms were beginning to emerge from the lowest levels of the ocean.
The lifegiving properties of their transmissions were held within the collective “prima materia” of the Divine Feminine, an eternal voice in the wisdom body that still reverberates today. Women continue to hold a deep connection to the sacred essence our biological bodies arose from, so many eons ago, and by embodying this truth in our lives, are returning to a interdependent relationship with Gaia. This form of ancestral wisdom can guide our choices and actions from an energetic place / deep cellular level, in our current era of collapse and environmental destruction.
It’s fascinating to see how origin stories from diverse cultures point to the essence of life arising from the elements of earth, fire and air – in addition to water – and important aspects of the life force such as seeds and eggs. In the Hopi origin story the collective lived beneath the surface of the earth, and when it was time to emerge into the world they met up with Maasaw, the Caretaker and Creator of the Earth. A promise was made during that emergence, that the Hopi would be stewards of the Earth for all time, and they have held that sacred covenant to the present day.
The element of fire also plays an important role in creation stories, such as the ancient myth of the Maya, that describes the emergence of human beings when the Maize Mountain was opened by the lightning deities. In the Anishnaabe and Haudenosaunee creation story, air is the force that creates life. Kitchi-Manitou, or The Great Mystery, has flooded the earth, and a Giant Turtle offers Sky Woman a place to land. Riding on the turtle’s back, She asks for a small amount of soil, but a tiny muskrat is the only creature capable of bringing a handful of earth up from the deep waters. Sky Women then blows the breath of life, growth, fertility and abundance into the soil, and infuses it with the eternal lifegiving attributes of the nurturing Mother. Only then, do the continents rise and human beings flourish.
Of course we all know about the abduction of Persephone by Hades in classic Greek mythology, and how in her grief Demeter withholds the “green fuse” that germinates the land. Demeter represents the primordial mother power, the ancient archetype of feminine regeneration, and with the eating of the pomegranate seed that allows her to co-exist in both life and death, Persephone affirms the importance of fertility and the cycles of the seasons.
Still, in today’s world, at any given moment, when we are inspired by the cycles of nature and embrace a cyclical view of time, we immediately return to our primeval origins, to the Gods and the Cosmos. According to the ancient Egyptians, the present is a series of recurring cycles, based on previous epochs of linear time, when the myths set the pattern. Current events repeat the mythic episodes, and in doing so renew Maat, the fundamental order of the universe established at creation (also personified as the Goddess of truth and justice). Said another way by Ramon Elani, the author of Wyrd Against the Modern World, “Through myth and ritual, we are constantly in a state of repeating and reenacting cosmogony.”
Paintings © Friedrich Hechelmann, Used With Permission
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"The Life Force: Restoring Sacred Myth" by Pegi Eyers is a transcript of my presentation at the 2021 Fates and Graces Mythologium >website<
Pegi Eyers is the author of Ancient Spirit Rising: Reclaiming Your Roots & Restoring Earth Community, an award-winning book that explores strategies for social justice, uncolonization, ethnocultural identity, building land-emergent community & resilience in times of massive change.
Available from Stone Circle Press or Amazon.