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  • Daniel Bernhard

THE MYTH BODY



In my ongoing sensual research into the Archetypal realms of ancient Gods and Heroes something keeps surfacing in myself and in participants that I decided to call the Myth Body. An organism made of imaginative intersections, neuronal wirings and epigenetic memories that tends to awaken in these spaces. This Myth Body is of no "use" in regular day-to-day life, but it starts sprouting, spreading, mycellating instantly, once we enter the climate, moisture level and symbiotic neighborhood this part of us has always known - a biotope of storytelling. Once we get to water the Myth Body in this way, our own (constantly shifting) archetypal shapes can be observed: the drunken centaur, the blood-thirsty bird dancer, the trickster tree spirit with the LED screen on its head, a fog bank, a heartbeat. Cellular memory of a greater aliveness, ultimately Soul pounding at the door of the embodied Self: "All this is you. Remember!“


The Myth Body delights in the dramatic enactment of the totality of Life, worlds being created and destroyed, Creation Myth and then Ragnarök, over and over again. The Myth Body celebrates the rage of the Amazons and the sorrow of a Weeping Willow as much as the dances of cute fairies at dusk. To the Myth Body, it’s all ecstasy. We get a sense of it when we immerse ourselves in Sci-Fi movies, devour fantasy novels or witness a classic tragedy in a theatre performance. In the work I am envisioning, this experience moves from the witnessing mind down into the sensual body. Like in collective storytelling in the center of a village somewhere on the planet or in the secret initiations that happened at the mystery schools of ancient Greece, where the initiates had to „dive through“ the myth to liberate themselves of some of their personal baggage. Life becomes more playful after an initiation like that.

The initiation I am looking to give and receive in this mystery-play-school-to-be is not an initiation into another individual "Hero's Journey" as proposed by J. Campbell and lovingly embraced by generations of fellow self-realization nerds. Instead of taking the lonesome and normative journey of the one, universal, monomythic hero that Campbell depicted, I long to be initiated into an ecosystem. An ecosystem of primal topsoil, ancient microbes and new companion species. The initiation I seek is a re-rooting as well as re-routing. My subterranean arch-tentacles are not excited to tap into a prefabricated monomythic nutrient solution. Instead they want to take a plunge into a messy, unpredictable, polymythic underworld, one that reminds me of my constant mutability, the ability to shape-shift according to the needs of time and place. The awareness for everything that surrounds me and that will, eventually, become me. The necessity of compost, care and companionship.

How delicious to venture on this journey together with others, not alone. Making u s e of the Myth. To look so closely at these ancient tales that their inherent queerness, their fissures and inner eruptions become visible. These cracks were always there, waiting to be discovered, so that endlessly unfinishable new stories can be birthed from them, just in time for this catastrophic era. We might become able to find enjoyment and inspiration in the process of death and rebirth we are currently undergoing as a species. Not sarcastically or by blurring out the suffering that’s real. To the contrary, we might become more fully, whole-heartedly immersed in the immensity of the Myth of these times and take our breaths of fresh air from there, acute poetic resilience.

What else can you do when there is no other way to deal with the level of destruction all around but to look for the hidden poetry, to mythify, to tell the old-new story, once again? To activate the Myth Body who has seen it all and still is curious for more…


Let’s prepare our Myth Bodies for this. And quickly.

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