PDA

View Full Version : Mythic Time



RainInanna
June 17th, 2008, 04:21 PM
I have recently come across an article that discusses a concept I've been rolling around my thoughts lately. The concept is mythic time, or as some refer to it, transtemporal time.

The article, Zep Tepi, The First Time (http://www.templeofstarlight.nl/jackzeptepi.htm), as you might expect, refers in particular to Zep Tepi, which is a mythic event from Kemet (Ancient Egypt). Zep Tepi, "the first time", is a reference to the moment when existence began, when all things were ma'at - that is to say, in balance, perfect, new and whole. For many Kemetics, Zep Tepi is re-enacted in ritual each day to remind us each new day is a new beginning, that ma'at is renewed always.

That said, my focus here is not on the Kemetic myth itself, but on the idea of mythic time. That is, re-enacting a myth at any moment, recognizing that the "mystery, this secret of the faith, becomes a reality in the present". The author of this article, Jack van Eijk, describes how mythic time is also reflected in the Dreamtime of the aboriginals,


The creation for them, you see, is not a historical fact, but a current activity, the (re)creation is a continual process...
The Dreamtime, just as the First Time, is not only a past, but also a present and future matrix for the seen and unseen world. And this fact needs to be confirmed constantly. The Dreamtime is a living reality with current responsibilities. And so the Aboriginal Flynn tells Chatwin: 'To sing a verse out of order', Flynn said sombrely, 'was a crime. Usually meant the death penalty.' 'I can see that, 'I said. 'It'd be the musical equivalent of an earthquake.' 'Worse, 'he scowled. 'It would be to uncreate the Creation.'

And finally van Eijk describes mythic time per Catholic ritual


The so-called ‘transsubstantiation’, the transition of bread and wine into the flesh and blood of the Son of God, is again and again occurring factually. And the communicant who is the subject of this sacrament, has put him/herself in a state of mind, has assumed a level of consciousness, yes, has even attained a state of being, in which this mystery, this secret of the faith, becomes a reality in the present.

Closer to Pagan practice, we can see this too when we step inside the Wiccan circle, "beyond space and time", where all myths are seen to be occurring at the moment we re-enact them. In other Pagan paths we speak of all things existing at the same time, all possibilities being available now, the past and future being accessible when within Sacred space. On the other hand, we speak of the Now as well - transcending worries of the future of the past because this moment is the only one.


Because, you see, it is in fact simply a way of experiencing, a ‘state of mind’. Our own myths and fairytales, our own 'once upon a time', we do not experience as a real past, as history.

I feel often we lose the magic of mythic time in confusing it with literal, historical time. While the latter is not to be discarded, to be sure, I feel many have forgotten the former. Mythic time is important because it allows us to achieve harmony in the cosmos, to find meaning in magic and ritual, in every moment. While factual truth and historical accuracy have their places, so to do "the restoration of harmony in the cosmos, preferably on a higher, that is to say a more spiritual level". Accepting and using mythic time allows us to do so.

For example, in terms of Zep Tepi, one's temple may have walls painted to represent the waters. The Nile's rise and fall mirrorred (or inspired?) the idea that creation arose from the water. Accordingly, each day we can go to the temple of the waters, to arise once more from the water, to be the benben (source, spring) of life. This daily rite can allow us to create harmony within ourselves, and through finding it within, we can create it outside ourselves as well.

Similarly, in Wicca, we can re-enact myths as in Sabbat rituals. Each time we allow it, we can move into mythic time, and achieve the state of mind and experience called forward by the myths we re-enact. Instead of nailing ourselves down to historical fact and accuracy, we can accept the flexibility of events in mythic time. We can wear the guise of the gods, restoring harmony within and around, using myth to put ourselves in a state of mind, assume a level of consciousness, yes, even attain "a state of being, in which this mystery, this secret of the faith, becomes a reality in the present".

Having become advanced enough to ascertain for ourselves when history is accurate, I think we now too have become advanced enough to determine when historical accuracy is unnecessary. We can open ourselves to mythic time, as we so choose, and we can accept when it is inspirational and meaningful to do so. We are able to wield the balance between accepting facts and opening our mind to mythic time as it suits us.

Theres
June 17th, 2008, 04:28 PM
such timing!

i just posted this not too dissimilar article in G&G a few days ago...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dreamtime

monsnoleedra
June 18th, 2008, 12:22 PM
I can see where this is a valid point but I can also see where it is a killer to an eccletic pathway.

I would think for one to have a Mythic time one would first need to have a mythos they fall back upon to give a creation mythos and provided the concept setting of a point where time was before time began. Seeing as how most mythic creation stories deal with a race, and later development of a religion if you do not partake of the totalilty of the the story how does one relate or recall the mysteries of it?

If you have no mythos or social belief then where can you draw forth a mythic time? If you have no social or ethnic structured belief system but use multiple extracts then again how can one have a mythic time for the mythic time is when your ethnic and social placement begins?

Please do not take this as against your entry for it is a concept I often think about and ponder greatly.

For myself I see it thus.

My mythos is drawn intialy against the scope of my genealogy. In research I connect with them and try to see their world views and religious beliefs. It is the point I can use formal connection to to understand the things which have created my family traits, beliefs and opinions of historical position.

To go beyond this to an earlier time I must take stories of ancestors and blood lines to understand where I come from and the mythos that has been handed down to me. Part is drawn against racial lines (I have German Ancestry, British / Irish Ancestry and possibly Native American Ancestry.)

Yet that ancestry does not support the religious beliefs and gods / goddess that I recognize. I look to Hecate, Artemis and Bast and to Herne and Sekor as gods to a great extent. Clearly, I have at least three different racial / social groupings with creations stories and mythos of thier own.

When I study or read of thier individual creation mythos and stories I try to see and feel the story and understand the deeper connection to the creation. Yet to fully understand the mythical time I must also try to feel and see it as the racial groupings that developed the gods / goddess saw and understood them to understand thier importance to the mythic time.

There-in lies the problem I think, and the point which has been of problamatic influence for me in that understanding. But I think that is why that to me I refer to that point as the period of time before time.

I hope this makes sense...

RainInanna
June 19th, 2008, 12:39 PM
You have raised some very interesting points. I definitely get where you are coming from.


I would think for one to have a Mythic time one would first need to have a mythos they fall back upon to give a creation mythos and provided the concept setting of a point where time was before time began. Seeing as how most mythic creation stories deal with a race, and later development of a religion if you do not partake of the totalilty of the the story how does one relate or recall the mysteries of it?

Personally I choose the culture, do a lot of research, do training through a temple or priest of that culture, and immerse myself in that culture. There will be some who question the validity of doing this, but it works well for me. I would suggest a lot of Pagans do this to some degree, and it's worthwhile to consider the practice of immersing oneself deep enough to really get value through using mythic time.

However I do see your point, absolutely. I find it interesting that I can't seem to stay away from Kemetic myth and culture for example, despite that I have no "blood" or ancestral energy there. No idea why it sticks with me, but it does, so I use it. Meanwhile I actually do have ancestry in Native American culture and myth and yet don't feel very connected to it, partially because I can't immerse myself in it the way I'd like (I don't trust a lot of what is available and touted as Native American myth/culture).

monsnoleedra
June 19th, 2008, 01:08 PM
I think sometimes we are called yet the calling is a major test in and of itself.

I remember that I was aboard ship and we were off the coast of Africa on the MED side. Had been there a number of days and would be there for a number more when I awoke one night and saw the image of a cat headed woman staring at me. She didn't say anything just stood there until I drifted back to sleep.

After that it seemed once or twice a night I would have dreams about Bast. At first I though of Sekmet and an older Cat headed goddess (ancient lady with a head like a leopard) but they were not the ones I was seeing.

For the remainder of that voyage, about 4 months, I though of her and saw her during the day. Reflections in the waves, cloud images that sparked her image in my minds eye, etc, Ironically, she never appeared again at night. Of course that was also the trip where Artemis made it real clear that the status I saw in Rhodes and Corfu where not her but Diana.

So in that regard I do look to Egyptain mythos for the day facet (Bast - Solar goddess) and Greek for the Night (Artemis - Lunar goddess) or underworld or torch bearer (Hekate). The fact that Artemis has been associated with Bast has helped some but caused some real issues as well.

~Elise~
June 19th, 2008, 01:30 PM
I think sometimes we are called yet the calling is a major test in and of itself.


Truer words have never been spoken, IMO.

I've been very deep into geneology...and feeling that call from those roots.

to be honest, one of those calls--I've been trying to ignore. (Heathen--Odin's been knocking on the door) One I explored, and decided the group I was in wasn't for me. So, working that angle on a solo basis. (powwow--had germanic immigrants into PA--two branches of that even)

*sigh*