The other day I had an energetic conversation with an fellow radical. Sitting together on a bench in the tepid April sunshine, our discussion centered around education. My comrade educates young adults to awaken to the waters they swim in; that is, she helps them become aware of the unacknowledged belief systems they are socialized to accept. As the old saying goes, fish have no idea they swim through water. While I cannot speak for fish as a whole, we humans certainly repeat that pattern.
Humanity seems to have an easier time reflecting upon the past than the present. When learning about the European medieval era, we moderns can speak lucidly about the Christian worldview and how that religion shaped European society. We can talk cogently about religious beliefs, comparing and contrasting them with the beliefs of other religions that also existed at that time. But if we were speaking about the medieval era from the medieval perspective, we would not be using the word belief. Few of us would have understood that we were believing anything. We would have simply lived what we knew to be true. For most medieval Europeans, there was no alternative reality to the Christian one; thinking outside of it, seeing it from a critical reference point, was nearly impossible. It was the invisible water they swam in. Only later, when mercantilism increased international trade, did Europeans awaken to the fact that there were other realities besides the Christian one.
There is an irony in this detached reflection on the past, I think, for in contemporary times we are just as unaware of the water we swim in. Though the waters have changed a little, perhaps becoming slightly clearer, many of us fail to name or reflect upon this fluid. So I will name it now: modernism.
This project of mine I open to you now in the light of this Libran moon, as the flower unfurls, unwinds its timid tendrils. On this day, this sacred day when Spring propels us from the hallowed loam of winter, stillness, death, and into the bright, vivid, sanguine air. Birdsong rings from willow bough and wakens honeybees; sprouts break through the soil.
Mythos & Mater is my new adventure in weaving all my soul’s parts, all my archetypal urges, into one coherent cloth—a layered, holistic, comprehensive offering. It is an offering to you—my friends, my readers, my clients, and students—and to the gods themselves who have blessed me with this incarnation’s particular struggles, gifts, and instructions.
By way of introduction I should state my intentions for this venture. I wish to engage in healing on every level—of psyche, soma, spirit, family, community, society, ecology, biosphere, and cosmos. What is healed at levels above reflects a healing at levels below; what is healed at levels below may cumulatively heal at levels above. Thus the great Hermetic axiom, As Above, So Below, is a guiding principle of my life’s work.
Yet, what is to be healed? We have once again reached a point in history, a stage in a recurring cycle from extreme to balance to extreme, where the destructive beliefs of a patriarchal, imperialist, extractive paradigm have seeded society's demise, which has at last come to face its only logical conclusion: violation and negation of the Sacred; near-total annihilation of all beauty and life on Earth.
As a youngster seeking to embody the solar hero, I dedicated my life to stopping this prospective atrocity, to fighting this evil that threatens to consume us all. But the fight was too great for someone so small. Eventually the grief and despair I felt as I watched the world’s wisest peoples and most sacred places maimed and murdered in the name of progress, in the name of profit, bulldozed by the tyrannical, technocratic capitalist machine, caused too much pain for my soul to bear. I dropped my sword, limped from the battlefield, and cried myself to sleep.
That is when my inner journey began. Having been broken in the unending battle to protect the Sacred and not knowing how to muster the resources to return to the fray, my health slowly failed until one night, under a bright Beltaine moon, I was forced to make a choice: heal, or die. I chose to heal.
Doors open to us when we cease denying reality and step onto the healing path. So it was for me. Warriorship has its place, especially in the earlier phases of life when one’s bodily vigor needs venting towards a just cause. However, in this modern world abound with delusions, it can be hard to discern what, in fact, is just. In the modern West we have no elders to guide us towards this truth. The West devalues wisdom, bleeds it from the body politic, shunts it through the vein to The State, and archives our wise ones in medicalized cubby holes locked away from Nature, from community, having been fully extracted of their use, their vigor, and their labor in the those years of service to the Machine. We are taught that age is weakness, that youth is strength, and so we cling forever to puppyhood so that we need never face the truths that wait for us in the dark of hidden depths. Our grandmothers have permission to bake us cookies or braid our hair—but woe should they share their sagacity! Woe should they shock us with that cooling, Cailleach power called constriction, maturity, responsibility, sobriety, endings, depth, death—the old woman’s wit which cuts like a saber through the solar hero’s ego-shield, exposing the soft, golden yolk beneath.
Oh, what healing there could be if the West gained back its elderhood—gained back its Crone, its Cailleach! It is common for Indigenous peoples the world over to call the Western person “Little Brother”, for we have lost our way and have regressed to the selfish state of the toddler—a toddler armed with guns and bombs and insidious ideals. Mars rules that state of juvenility, when mine is the highest word in the Western lexicon.
I wish to know how we came here to this time. How came we by this illness? How came we by this too-long period of psychic regression? And how might we heal this illness and come back into balance, into maturity?
These are the questions that structure my work here at Mythos & Mater. I wish to share what wisdom I have collected so far on my voyage and will ever, ever gather more. I will accomplish this in three main parts: through writing, through teaching, and through client work in Traditional Western Herbalism and Traditional Astrology. As this platform grows, I hope to write regularly of my explorations and reflections upon the Healer’s Path. I will teach classes on the different aspects of healing Western psychosis: herbal medicine and traditional healing; mythology and folk wisdom; radical and revolutionary politics; archetypal cosmology; polytheistic psychology; ecology and ecophilosophy; re-enchantment; the magical sciences; the animisms, paganisms, and Indigenous pre-colonial lifeways of Old Europe; spiritual social justice; and the importance of queerness in the coming revolution.
You may join my newsletter to get updates on my projects as they unfold and/or follow me on Instagram and Facebook (forthcoming). You may also listen and subscribe to my podcast with Kenzie Khaliq and Rue McDonald called Airmid’s Almanac, a podcast hosted by queer settlers navigating decolonial healing through herbal medicine and myth, queerness and magic, astrology and ancestral connection. Check out my books at my author’s website here.
Thank you for meeting me here on the Healer’s Path. To you, peace and wealth; to you luck and health.