What is a Personal Mythology? There are several definitions out there, as well as many different books that have been written on the subject. Here, you will find my definition based in my own personal experience.
About thirty years ago, I spontaneously began creating a personal mythology based in quiet meditation and imagination. I had no idea that was what I was doing at the time. Just thought I had discovered a wonderful little way of finding the peace I was seeking in the midst of a hectic life as wife and the mother of four active children. You can read more about the details of all of that in an article I wrote on Dec.13th, of 2008, titled A Tiger Named Pain, and posted on my other site:
Just use the search box on the sidebar, type in Tiger named Pain and click on it.
While attempting to create a quiet place to withdraw for a few moments each day, I stumbled into what I came to call “My Secret Garden.” Going there was my means of relaxing, at least for a while. Once comfortable, however, I began to have visitors. Imaginary wild creatures, who would come and softly (sometimes not so softly) tell me their stories.
After several of these unexpected visits, I realized that these wild creatures were ones I had always found fascinating and interesting. I began to read about each of the species represented in my imagination. What I found was even more intriguing. Each creature had myths and legends attached to it. They were actually symbols of certain character qualities found in the human psyche.
It took some time, but I finally began to realize that I was interacting, on this imaginary level, with the pieces and parts of my own personality. Whew! As I listened to their stories, heard their particular needs, I learned a great deal about my own person and how I operate and actually came to be who and what I am.
Some of my visitors came in human form: myself in images from photographs, others that I recognized and knew from real life, sometimes acting in very contrary ways to what I knew about their persons. I will write about some of those experiences in later blogs. Suffice it to say, my inner world went from empty to heavily populated over the course of the next few years.
Not only that, but my “Secret Garden,” didn’t remain a quiet place I retired to of an afternoon. Spontaneous imagery began to occur at odd moments and in all the places I went. It was rapid fire, occurring in less than a second or two, and then gone, but hardly forgotten. It might relate to what was actually going on in the moment, or to some random thought that had occurred to me within that present moment.
Sometimes it was no more than a flashing glimpse of one of my inner creatures or people. But, the connections to that glimpse could alter my direction, as well as my knowing and understanding. When I would meet new people, I would wait til I was alone and then visualize them inside my inner world. Depending on how my imaginary creatures and people reacted to that individual, I could often decide on how to proceed, or if I should at all.
I started college the same day my youngest child started kindergarten. In the course of taking a few basic psychology classes, I finally found a definition for what I had been experiencing and doing. My “Secret Garden” was a Personal Mythology that filled my inner world, and fueled my imagination, as well as my intuition.
Being a talker, I spoke quite freely about my experiences. There were those who simply nodded and stared at me with cocked-eye expressions. There were also a few, not many, who suggested that I might be suffering from Multiple Personality Disorder. I lacked the background history necessary for that one. However, there were far more who were interested and wanted to know if they could do the same. They saw it as a practical and possibly easily accessible tool for living life on a deeper level. I would agree.
Eventually, I got a divorce, graduated from college, and started work as the General Manager of a bookstore. That access to the written word helped me to explore far more deeply all the areas of interest I was drawn toward. Then the opportunity to teach came along, and I used my knowledge of imagery in my writing classes.
I had spent some time reading the Anne McCaffrey series on dragons. I loved her imaginative take on these wonderful creatures of legend and mythology. So, it wasn’t a big surprise when dragons began to appear within my inner world. One, a Tinker-Bell sized creature, who couldn’t seem to sit still but danced through the air where her emerald green and yellow scales glinted and flashed in time to her delightful laughter. She told me with a giggle that her name was Tui, short for Intuition. She always makes me smile.
I will write more about the dragons and the purpose they fulfill in another blog. Personal Mythology, like all other Mythology, is the story within the story. The difference is that the symbolism involved is personally oriented. Mythology is an analogy. A story told in order to underline certain morals, issues, qualities, skills and abilities, meant to give knowledge and possible direction. Perhaps we humans can accept those messages more readily because they come from a bit of distance and unfold with time and new understanding.