The Art of Myth II


One of the greatest modern mythologists, the Hungarian scholar C. Kerényi, likened mythology to music.

Music and mythology have this in common: in both we find art and material fused in the same phenomenon. The art of the composer and his material, which is the world of sound, are one.

The making of the myth and the material of the myth (in this case, the world of images) are also most intimate and intimately related.

Myth is, in fact, not as much made as it is experienced. And the experience then gives rise to a torrent of mythological images expressing aspects of the meaning of the experience.

Moreover, a true mythic expression or mythologem is not something that could be expressed just as well and just as authentically in a non-mythological way. One cannot substitute for mythology a mode of expression of a different nature. Certain experiences can be adequately expressed only in the form of myth, and in no other way.

Seen in this way, myth acquires a new significance. It becomes the expression in the world of relatively of spiritual principles that are of crucial importance to all human beings, inasmuch as they express within the same world the experience of the Absolute. The experience of the Absolute, as found in the knowing of the inward self by the gnostic, is then expressed in the realm of mind by the myth that acts at once as the veil over Truth, and as the way whereby Truth may be unveiled.

“The apparent leads to the real“ is a Sufi saying, indicating that behind symbolism, there is a reality linked with the symbol itself, and that behind mythology also there is an experiential essence that possesses a direct connection with the original experience (called by Jung Urerfahrung ~ “archaic experience”) that gave rise to the myth in the first instance.

~ Stephan A. Hoeller, Jung and The Lost Gospels

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