They thusly feel encouraged to take a long and arduous journey to find out what amazing bird this illumined feather belongs to. This narrative in poetic form was written in the eleventh century by the Persian Sufi mystic Farid ad-Din Attar. It tells about a remarkable saga with many long episodes that precisely describe the psyche's perilous journey to seek the Soul of souls.
When the illumined feather floats down from the sky, one of the wisest of the birds reveals that this feather is in fact a precognition —a visionary glimpse of the Simorgh, the Great One. Oh, how the birds are buoyed up then. The birds are of many different kinds: short-beaked, long-billed, fancy-plumed, plain-colored, enormous, and tiny. But, regardless of size, shape, or hue, the birds who have witnessed this sudden and evanescent sight of the lighted feather band together. They make thunder as they rise up into the sky, all in order to seek this radiant source.
They believe this sovereign creature to be so wondrous that it will be able to light their darkened world once again. And thus the creatures begin the grueling quest. There are many old European "fool tales" that begin with similar motif's. There is one version told in my old country family, which we called "The Hidden Treasure. Two of the brothers rush off with their maps and plans and schemes in hand. They are certain they will reach the goal first.
But the third brother is portrayed as a fool. He throws a feather up into the air, where it is taken up by the wind. He follows in the direction the feather leads him. His brothers jeer at xxvii.
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After all, he is only a fool, and fools inherit nothing but more foolishness until the end of their days. Yet, at the last, the fool does find the treasure, for the wafting feather has led him to more and more canny insights and opportunities. The feather has magical powers that guide the heretofore hapless hero to live more soulfully, and in full spirit and compassion. Thus he finds a way of being that is "of this earth and yet not of this earth. At the same time, however, the ability to live while being "of this earth and yet not of this earth" is "priceless," for such a stance brings contentment and strength of the finest kinds to the heart, spirit, and soul.
Thusly, having found this truer way of life to be "of high cost and yet priceless," the former fool lives free and claims his father's reward. Meanwhile, the other two brothers are still somewhere out in the flats, busily calculating where to go next to find the treasure.
But their requirements for finding something of value are unwise. They maintain that they will try anything and look anywhere for the treasure, as long as the ways and means to do so avoid all difficulty, yet also satisfy their every appetite. In seeking to avoid all peril, discomfort, and "all love that might ever cause us heartache,11 they thus find and bring to themselves only the empty assets of self-delusion and an aversion to real life.
In "The Conference of Birds," there are some birds who also wander off the path and those who flee it. The birds are, in essence, questing for the fiery phoenix, that which can rise from its own ashes back up into illumined wholeness again. In the beginning, the thousand birds set out to enter into and pass through seven valleys, each one presenting different barriers and difficult challenges. The thousand birds endure increasingly hostile conditions, terrible hardships, and torments —including horrifying visions, lacerating doubts, nagging regrets.
They long to turn back. They are filled with despair and exhaustion. Thus, more and more of the birds make excuses to give up. The attrition rate continues, until there are only thirty birds left to continue this harsh flight that they all had begun with such earnest hearts —all in quest for the essence of Truth and Wholeness in life —and, beyond that, for that which can light the dark again.
In the end, the thirty birds realize that their perseverance, sacrifice, and faithfulness to the path —is the lighted feather, that this same illumined feather lives in each one's determination, each one's fitful activity toward the divine. The one who will light the world again —is deep inside each creature. That fabled lighted feather's counterpart lies ever hidden in each bird's heart.
At the end of the story, a pun is revealed.
It is that Si-Morgh means thirty birds. The number thirty is considered that which makes up a full cycle, as in thirty days to the month, during which the moon moves from a darkened to a lit crescent, to full open, to ultimate maturity, and thence continues on. The point is that the cycle of seeing, seeking, falling, dying, being reborn into new sight, has now been completed. There is one last advice given to anyone else who might glimpse such a lighted feather during darkness and long to follow it to its source.
The counsel is presented by the writer of the story, and in absolute terms —as if to say, there will be no more shilly-shallying around regarding "Ought I to go where 1 am called? These words were written nine hundred years ago. They portray a timeless idea about how to journey to the curve around which one finds one's wholeness waiting. These w-ords of wisdom have continued to surface over the eons. They point to the same parallels on the map of spirit, marking the entry points with big red X's: "Here! Here is the exact place to start, the exact attitude to take.
One part of that poetic saga tells about the great journey four companions are about to undertake —a journey into a hard battle to recover a stolen treasure. They are frightened and say to the ethereal warrior-entity that leads them, "What if we die? W'hat if we are defeated? I am here. Do not be afraid. The greater force gives no coddling, but rather encouragement woven through with compassion, which says, in essence, "You can go forward, for you are not alone; I will not leave you.
She writes in the same crisp vein about commencing the momentous journey. Her poem, entitled "The Daemon," refers to the angel that each person on earth is believed to be born with, the one who guides the life and destiny of that child on earth. In the piece, she questions this greater soulful force about going forward in life. The daemon answers her quintessential question with the ancient answer:. The journey to the treasure is undertaken with as much valor and vision as each can muster. Even when one's will or one's understanding wavers, the creative gifts to follow and learn this larger life are fully present.
People may be unprepared, but they are never unprovisioned. Each person is born with the wherewithal fully intact. It said, "Why not? Thus, since the beginning of time, humanity has lurched, walked, crawled, dragged, and danced itself forward toward the fullest life with soul possible. What Does the Soul Truly Want? If the world of mythos is a universe, I come from a tiny archipelago of deeply ethnic families, composed of household after household of Old World refugees, immigrants, and storytellers who could not read or write, or did so with grave difficulty. But they had a rich oral tradition, of which I have been in a long life's study as a cantadora—that is, a carrier and shelterer of mythic tales, especially those coming from my own ancestral Mexicano and Magyar traditions.
My other lifework is that of a post-trauma specialist and diplomate psychoanalyst. With the aim of helping to repair torn spirits, I listen to many life dramas and dream narratives. From repeatedly seeing how the psyche yearns when it is inspired, confused, injured, or bereft, I find that, above all, the soul wants stories. If courage and bravery are the muscles of the spiritual drive that help a person to become whole, then stories are the bones.
Together, they move the episodes of the life myth forward. Why stories"? Because the soul's way of communicating is to teach. And its language is symbols and themes —all of which have been found, since the beginning of time, in stories. I would even go so far as to say, the soul needs stories. That radiant center we call soul is the enormous aspect of psyche which is invisible, but which can be palpably felt. When in relationship with the soul, we sense our highest aspirations, our most uncanny knowings,.
We speak of the soul infusing us with the humane and sacred qualities of life that gratify longings deep within. Thus, via dream-images, evocative moments, and story plots—the soul appears to stimulate the psyche's innate yearning to be taught its greater and lesser parts, to be comforted, lifted, and inspired toward the life that is "just a little bit lower than the angels. It loves to listen to all manner of nourishing, startling, and challenging dramatic patterns —the very ones found in tales. It matters little how the stories arrive—whether they take shape in day-time reveries, night-time dreams, or through the inspired arts, or are told simply by human beings in any number of ways.
They are meant to be conveyed in blood-red wholeness and authentic depth. In my work of listening to others telling about the many images and ideas that colonize them, stories, regardless of the forms they are given, are the only medium on earth that can clearly and easily mirror every aspect of the psyche—the cruel, the cold and deceptive, the redemptive, salvific, desirous, the tenacious aspects, and so much more.
If one did not know oneself, one could listen to a dozen profound stories that detail the pathos of the hero's or heroine's failures and victories. Thence, with some guidance, a person would soon be far better able to name, in oneself and others, those critical and resonant elements and facts that compose a human being. There was a serious piece of advice given by the very old people in our family. It was that every child ought to know twelve complete stories before that child was twelve years old. Those twelve tales were to be a group of heroic stories that covered a spectrum—of both the beautiful and the hellacious—from lifelong loves and loyalties, to descents, threats, and deaths, with rebirth ever affirmed.
No matter how much "much" a person might otherwise possess, they were seen as poor—and worse, as imperiled—if they did not know stories they could turn to for advice, throughout and till the very end of life. In the past two centuries there has been much erosion of the oral storytelling tradition. Many clans and groups, when too quickly forced into another culture's ideals, have been de-stabilized economically and therefore often de-tribalized as well.
This can cause entire groups to become abruptly and painfully un-storied. Sudden monetary need can cause the young and old to be separated from one another, as the younger ones travel far away seeking income. The same occurs when there is massive loss of hunting, fishing, or farming habitat. People must break family ties to seek farther and farther from home for their sustenance.
For thousands of years, a solid oral tradition has depended, in many cases, first of all, on having a close-knit and related group to tell stories to. There must also be a time and place to tell the stories, including special times to tell certain stories—such as, in my foster father's Hungarian farm-village, where love stories with a certain erotic flavor to them were told in latest winter. This was to encourage babies to be made then and, it was hoped, to be delivered before the hard work of first harvest came in the late summer.
Elena and Nicolae Ceaus. The two dictators said they were "modernizing" the peasants—but, in reality, they were killing them. Many dear souls I spoke to in Bucharest had been literally forced from their farmhouses by their own government. Bucharest was once called "the Paris of. The despots destroyed over seven thousand villas, homes, churches, monasteries, synagogues, and a hospital, in order to put up their dead garden of gray concrete.
I met wild artists, and gracious young and old people, who were still deeply scarred after the nightmare tyranny of the Ceaus. But the people were still filled with guarded hope. One group of old women told me that there in the city, the young girls no longer knew the love stories traditionally used to draw the interest of suitors. Though the lovely young girls' physical beauty surely would attract them, how would any suitor determine whether a girl knew anything about deep life if she did not know the stories about all the beauties and dead ends of life"?
If she were naive about the challenging themes revealed in stories, how would the girl therefore be able to withstand the ups and downs of marriage? How did the young girls lose their stories? They normally would have learned them at the river, where village women of all ages washed clothes together. Now that their lands had been confiscated and their villages plowed under and replaced by huge and largely inept "state-run" agricultural cooperatives, now that the villagers had been "removed" to the city, each tiny urban apartment had one small sink.
This is where the women were to wash their family's ctothes evermore. There was no river in the projects. No river: no gathering place. No gathering place: no stories. Yet, since time out of mind, for those souls no longer able or allowed to live the integral village life, it has been amazing how faithfully these people have found other ways to "dig" psychic rivers wherever they are, so that the stories can still flow on. The need for stories —to engender relationships, and creativity, and to grow the souls of all—does not ever cease.
This mysterious drive to have the succor of stories remains, even in the midst of crises. The former farm-women now living in the big Romanian city no longer had the village river, so they made a story circle in the. Her living room became the river. The old women put out the word that all the other women should all bring their daughters; that they would make them clothesmodern ones, like those displayed in the store windows.
The excellent old seamstresses thus sewed and talked and told the old stories of love and life and death; and the girls, taking delight in their new clothes and in gratitude for the hands that made them, were taught, at last, the needed stories. It was a different river than before, that is true. But the women still knew where in the heart the headwaters lay—the river that ran through their hearts, uniting them, was still as deep and clear as it had ever been.
One of the most remarkable developments that criss-cross the world, no matter how urbanized a people may become, no matter how far they are living from family, or how many generations away they are born from a tight-knit heritage group—people everywhere nonetheless will form and re-form "talking story" groups. There appears to be a strong drive in the psyche to be nourished and taught, but also to nourish and teach the psyches of as many others as possible, with the best and deepest stories that can be found.
For those who are able to read, perhaps the hunger for stories may be partially met through the daily reading of a newspaper, especially those rare kind of heroic stories to be found in longer feature articles. These allow the reader to "be with" the story, to follow the leitmotifs patiently, to give consideration to each part, to allow thoughts and feeling to arise, and so to speak, to flood the fertile psychic delta.
When I teach journalists, writers, and filmmakers about authentic story, its archetypal parts and powers, and how a story may become compelling, or may fail to be —I encourage them to be brave by taking time to tell the whole story, not just story. A longer piece, with archetypal themes intact, invites the psyche to enter the story, to immerse in the undergirdings and nuances of another human being's wild fate.
When stories are shortened to "bytes," all the most profound symbolic language and themes —and thereby the deeper meanings and nourishments—are left out. The too-short or superficial story colludes in supporting a mad culture that insists that human beings remaining frazzled, ever on the run —rather than inviting them, by the telling of a compelling story at some length, to slow down, to know that it is alright to sit down now, that it is good to take rest, and to listen with one's inner hearing to something that is energizing, engaging, instructive, and nourishing in one way or another.
To supplement the written word, or as an alternative to it, many people who are "un-villaged" recreate villages wherever they go. Thus they gather with others at a crossroads, or at a certain cafe, the gyros shop, the bakery, the breakfast-place, at the curb, or on the street corners—all to "jape and jaw," that is, to talk long-windedly and jokingly with peers about each one's latest exploits. And in between the exploits, they tell all the old personal and mythic stories each can remember.
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These are all reassertions of tribal story gatherings. Sometimes, too, people gather with others around the "central hearth" of a book, and thereby draw strength and guidance from it and from each other. Parks across the world are filled every day with adults and teenagers who share the mundane stories of their days with one another. The themes of great love, and no love, and new love that they have lived firsthand, form the center of many of the stories they tell each other. Even when people no longer remember the old stories, they can pick up the great heroic themes again, as they study their own and other people's lives.
Many of the true stories of human love-life are but echoes of the themes found in the heroic legends of Abelard and Heloise lovers who were driven apart by others , or Eros and Psyche the big misstep in love , or Medea and Jason the jealousy, envy, and revenge of insanely possessive love. In restaurants, there are many chairs reserved in perpetuity for "The Ladies Club," or "The Outrageous Older Women's Club," and many other coteries, covens, and circles —the whole point of which is to tell, trade, make stories.
Around the world, at any given time, there are legions of old men walking to gather together at their designated story place. It is a pub, a bench outside or inside a store or arcade, a table—often outdoors, under trees. My elderly and vital father-in-law, a former estimator and installer of burglar-alarms for American District Telegraph, meets his cronies religiously. Several times a week they gather at Mickey-D's, which is what MacDonatd's chain of restaurant is called by "da guys" in Chicago.
They are a group that includes many grizzled and handsome old union truck- and tanker-drivers. Their clan ritual is to bring up every serious, foolish, and noble story they have heard on the news or read in the newspaper. They discuss the world's terrible woes in detail then, and suggest theoretical—but always heroic—solutions. They agree that "If only everyone would just take our good advice, the world would be a much better place by tomorrow morning.
There are pods of drinking "regulars," civic meetings, church fellowships, celebrations, sanctifications, homecomings, reunions, birthday parties, holiday gatherings, high holy days, porch-stoop sittin's, readers' groups, therapy groups, news meetings, planning sessions, and other occasions are used to call people to be together. The point of it all certainly includes the stated reason the gathering was called, but, underlying it, it is about stories—the ones that will be traded, hooted out, acted out, suppressed, reveled in, approached, interpreted, and laughed over—wherever likeminded people come together.
And after such meetings, though gifts might have been exchanged or door prizes given out, though arguments might have taken place, alliances begun, ended, or strengthened, learnings achieved or delayed, what is remembered most—and told over xxxvii. Thus one more link of story-associations is forged so that the group can be bound together. As the matriarch of my family, it is my job to lead in many ways.
Thus, I often say to my fissioning, active family, "We have to go somewhere together soon now. We have to make new memories together now. For everyone, from war veterans to families, from co-workers to classmates, from survivors to activists, religious and artists, and more, the stories they share together bind them more faithfully, through the heart and soul, to each other and to the spirit, than almost any other bond. These often resemble ex-votos that describe an episode in life or death, and these are often smuggled from cell to cell.
People learn how to tell brief stories of success and failure by merely letting their eyes do the telling as they pass by each other. The story-making and story-receiving functions persevere, no matter what. There are many egregious events recorded in history wherein a person or a people have been massacred. In their last room, on the walls, in the dirt, they drew a picture or wrote the story of what was happening to them, using anything they had, including their own blood. People who have fallen and been fatally injured in the wilderness have been known to manage to use their own cameras to photograph themselves, or to write in a journal, or gasp into a tape recorder the story of their last days.
The drive to tell the story is profound. Secret-keeping is a risky affair for the same reason. There is something in the psyche that recognizes a wrongful act and wants to tell the story of how it came about and what action ought be undertaken to correct it. The tale of "The King with the Ears of an Ass" is a case in point. It is an interesting story about personal politics. In the story, the king has committed a wrong. As a result, the long tender ears of a donkey suddenly erupt on his head. He anxiously begins to let his hair grow to disguise these bodacious ears.
He allows his barber to trim his hair, but only a tiny bit, and only if the barber will keep his horrible secret. The barber agrees. Yet, though he is a good man, it is soon killing him to keep the secret. So, with full desire to remain loyal to his promise, the barber goes out each night and digs a shallow little hole in the ground by the river.
He leans down to the opening in the earth and whispers the secret: "Psssst, the king has the ears of an ass. However, over a short time, reeds grow up from the openings he has made in the earth. Shepherds pass by and see these lovely strong reeds growing there. They cut them for flutes. But the moment the shepherds put their lips to the newly made flutes, the flutes must cry out, "The king has the ears of an ass! In Extremis: The Story Finds a Way To be in extremis means to be in severe circumstances, to be near the point of death.
I have had a ministry to the imprisoned for many years. People in penitentiaries can communicate a story in a quick pantomime passing in the corridors. They will write short stories in letters that are flushed down one toilet, and retrieved from another toilet that has been linked with the first. People imprisoned learn to tell stories in sign language, sticking their arms out through the cell bars so other people imprisoned in cells further down the line can see their hands.
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They then literally spell out letters to the words in the air and make inventive gestures as well. Myth and Dream W H E T H E R we listen with aloof amusement to the dreamlike mumbo jumbo of some red-eyed witch doctor of the Congo, or read with cultivated rapture thin translations from the sonnets of the mystic Lao-tse; now and again crack the hard nutshell of an argument of Aquinas, or catch suddenly the shining meaning of a bizarre Eskimo fain' tale: it will be always the one, shape-shifting yet marvelously constant story that we find, together with a challengingly persistent suggestion of more remaining to be experienced than will ever be known or told.
Throughout the inhabited world, in all times and under every circumstance, the myths of man have flourished; and they have been the living inspiration of whatever else may have appeared out of the activities of the human body and mind. It would not be too much to say that myth is the secret opening through which the inexhaustible energies of the cosmos pour into human cultural manifestation. Religions, philosophies, arts, the social forms of primitive and historic man, prime discoveries in science and technology, the very dreams that blister sleep, boil up from the basic, magic ring of myth.
For the symbols of mythology are not manufactured; they cannot be ordered, invented, or permanently suppressed. They are spontaneous productions of the psyche, and each bears within it, undamaged, the germ power of its source. What is the secret of the timeless vision? From what profundity of the mind does it derive? Why is mythology everywhere the same, beneath its varieties of costume? And what does it teach? Today many sciences are contributing to the analysis of the riddle.
Archaeologists are probing the ruins of Iraq, Honan,. Thus it goes with the psyche. Story erupts, no matter how deeply repressed or buried.
Whether in night-dreams, or through one's creative products, or the tics and tocks of neurosis, the story will find its way up and out again. Sometimes an entire culture colludes in the gradual destruction of its own panoramic spirit and breadth of its teaching stories.
Purposefully, or without awareness, this is done by focusing almost exclusively only on one or two story themes, inhibiting or forbidding all others, or only excessively touting a favorite one or two. The story tradition becomes so narrowed that, like an artery that is clogged, the heart begins to starve. In physiology, as in culture, this is a lifethreatening symptom. Then the psyches of individuals may resort to scraps and tatters of stories offered them via various channels. And they will take them, often without question, the same way people who are starving will eat food that is spoiled or that has no nutritional value, if none other is available.
In a barren culture, one or two fragmentary story-themes play, like a broken record, broadcasting the same notes over and over again. At first it may be slightly interesting. Then it becomes irritating. Next it becomes boring and hardly registers at all. Finally it becomes deadening. The spirit and mind and body are made narrower, rather than radiant and greater, by its presence, as they are meant to be. Such flattened-out stories, with only one or two themes, are far different from heroic stories, which have hundreds of themes and twists and turns.
Though heroic stories may also contain sexual themes and other motifs of death, evil, and extinction, they are also only one part of a larger universal rondo of stories, which includes themes of spirit overriding matter, of entropy, of glory in rebirth, and more. Sex, death, and extinction stories are. But to be taught the full spectrum of stories, there must be a plethora of mythic components and episodes that progress and resolve in many different ways.
It is from innocent children that I learned what happens when a young soul is held away from the breadth and meaningful nuances of stories for too long. Little ones come to earth with a panoramic ability to hold in mind and heart literally thousands of ideas and images. The family and culture around them is supposed to place in those open channels the most beautiful, useful, deep and truthful, creative and spiritual ideas we know. But very many young ones nowadays are exposed almost exclusively to endless "crash and bash" cartoons and "smack 'em down" computer games devoid of any other thematic components.
These fragmentary subjects offer the child no extensive depth of storyline. When I have taught children as an artist-in-residence in the schools, I have found that many children were already starved for deep story before they had reached second grade. They tended to know only those from sit-com television, and they often reduced their writings to these drastically narrowed themes: "A man killed another man. The end. One fine way parents, teachers, and others who cherish the minds of the young can rebalance and educate modern children's psyches is to tell them, show them, and involve them in deeper stories, on a regular basis.
They can also begin to interpret daily life in mythic story terms, pointing out motifs, characters, motives, perils, and the methods of finding one's way. By these means and more, the helpers override the immense repetition of one-point-only stories that so much contemporary media and culture so harp on ad infinitum. The mythic is as needed as air and water. The mythic themes not only teach, but also nourish and, especially, energize the psyche. The vast world of story is where the child's spirit will find these most consistently.
The radical knowledge and amazements found in stories ought to be every child's daily inheritance. From outside the culture or at its edges, inventive and inspired souls will not allow the stories to be subverted. They will resurrect the "lost stories" in new ways that restore their depth and surprise—that are capable of uplifting, testing, and altering the psyche.
Currently, it is on the internet that gifted "frontier" writers and artists gather to create stories together. It is in web-zines, through cyber-art, the fabulae of game design, and in other wildly inventive never-before-seen forms, that any impoverishment to deep story the over-culture has caused is being overthrown. What an amazement it has been to us mere mortals to find that the reality now exists for "a voice greater" to be broadcast via the binary-code blips of ones and zeroes —a process, I am toid, which mirrors the binary code used by the synapses in the human brain.
The computer transport system has become the circuitry for la voz mitologico, the mythic voice, to potentially address the entire planet within seconds. How mythic is that? The "underground" artists understand how to use this window to psyche, and unleash their stories with an intense understanding of the motives, successes, failures, and possibilities in mythic life. They will not be crushed under the boots of the latest societal obsession that endarkens. They see that the soul does not scrimp on images, and they, as creators, must therefore avoid, whenever possible, casting any images in too tight a way so that there is no room left for the wind of the holy spirit to pass through and rearrange everything—sometimes blow it all away—all in order to bring wonder and meaning.
The ones who can both allow and withstand this rapid-fire process are the new myth-makers and reformers of the cultures of our times. It is not too much to say that lack of compelling and unpredictable heroic stories can deaden an individual's and a culture's overall creative life—can pulverize it right down to powder. It is. From the ancient storytellers to the present, the idea has always been: As go the souls that lead, so goes the culture. Certainly, we have hardly ever faced a world in worse shape or in greater need of the lyrical, mystical, and common-sensical. There seem to be large and perpetual pockets where fair and sustaining values are more pale than they should be.
But when we consider Plato, Strabbo, and the apostles Paul and John, and many others over the centuries, we see that they also wrote about their times as being likewise devoid of proper "management and meaning. But there are always those too, who have created and written about last-minute and long-term redemptions. They are the ones who give out stories that stir—that give succor and bread enough for the crossing.
I think of story-givers like Abraham Joshua Heschel. The title of one of his books is a story in itself that says it all: I Asked for Wonder. He wrote that the culmination of life carries a more and more clear disposition to achieve moral virtue. His stories, exegeses, philosophy, and mystical views revolve around the idea that life ought to have poignant incomparables in it. He urged persons to "the ecstasy of deeds"—that is, "to go beyond oneself, to outdo oneself—and thence to "go beyond one's own needs, and illumine the world.
Then test your work in the same way. If there is no music in it, then set it aside, and go find what has music in it again. In this way the old teaching stories helped others to remember the most loved sources of life. Stories told by the Buddha often contain the message "Harm no life.
All these convey soulful encouragement through story. In his lyric hymns, Homer writes that the mother, Demeter, while seeking her lost child, "tears down her hair like dark wings" and flies over the surface of the earth in search of her beloved. She will not rest until she finds her heart again. These all serve as examples of the kind of guidance for rediscovering the radiant center that is often found in heroic story. There is a living concept of repair that has called to many in our lifetime—even seized some of us when we were only children just walking along one day.
This concept embodies the idea that the world has a soul, and, thereby, if it is the soul that wants stories, then the world needs stories too—stories of repair, strength, and insight. If the world has a soul, then story informs and heals and spiritually grows the cultures, and the peoples within those cultures, through its universal cache of idioms and images.
In ancient Hebraic, this concept is known as tikkun olam; meaning repair of the world soul. This is a living concept, for it requires endeavor —a daily one, and sometimes even an hourly one. It is a commitment to a way of right conduct, a form of living meditation, a kind of contemplative pragmatic. I understand it this way: Tikkun olam is giving one's attention and resources to repair that part of the world that is right before you, precisely within your spiritual, psychological, and physical reach—according to soul's sight, not ego's alone.
I understand the artful methods of tikkun olam, handed down generation to generation, to be of the most simple and humble kind: the spiritual sight that has enough of a glowing heart behind. All these ways of tikkun olam are recorded in different ways in stories —in heroic stories about bad roads, poor judgments, dark nights, dreadful starts, mysterious ghosts, terrible ambushes, great strengths, mercies, and compassions. All these actions for repair of the world soul also constitute the growing of one's own soul: By their acts ye shall know them.
By reaching out to the world, as a more and more individuated soul, one also repairs the ravel of oneself—for whatever of the world has gone awry and can be aided, is sometimes in similar needful condition in the personal psyche as well. In many ways, we can see the evidences that the inner life strengthens the outer life, and vice versa. And it is stories that can unite these two precious worlds —one mundane, the other mythic. It would appear, were we to follow the long genealogy of heroes and heroines in mythos, that it is via the soul being stolen, mismanaged, disguised, disrupted, pre-empted or trodden upon, that some of the purest features of the psyche may rise up and begin to long for—call for—the return of that radiant companion and counsel.
In stories, the force of soul is conveyed in so many ways. Sometimes it is represented by such symbols as the darling princess, the handsome prince, the tiny or wounded creature, the holy chalice, the cloak of invisibility, the golden fleece, the answer to the riddle, the seven-league boots, the creature who xlv. Since first daylight, the revelatory actions and lessons found in the oldest tales are ignited by and revolve around the loss of the precious thing.
And then come the efforts, detours, and inspirations that suddenly appear whilst in pursuit of the recovery of the greatest treasure. How may one do this? The people, the tribes, the groups and the clans of the world keep heroic mythos alive—keep stories important to the soul alive—by telling them, and then by trying to live them out in some way that brings one into more wisdom and experience than one had before. The same is given to us to do on our life's journeys also—to seek and follow the personal life myth, to see our worst and best attributes mirrored back to us in stories.
Once embarked, there will be times, as occurred in the life of the hero Odysseus, when one will have to search one's ways through crushing life circumstances, and, often enough, have to start all over again —while at the same time having to resist seductions that invite one to stray off the path. On the mythic journey, like Demeter, most human beings will be called at least once, and perhaps many times in a lifetime, to set aside passive longing, and instead to fly up to the highest light, or even into the face of convention —"taking the heat" in order to find the truth of things, in order to bring one's Beloved back home.
And counter to Oedipus and the sad motifs found in the story-play Oedipus Rex, perhaps we will also have reason in life to resist throwing away the spiritual child self, and instead to unburden and uncurse what has been misunderstood, and particularly what is innocent. We may also find good reason to refuse to blind ourselves, as Oedipus did, to the evils of the world or our own foibles, and instead to try to live in full disclosure and integrity. In tribal groups, whether stories of the journeys of the heroic soul end humorously, tragically, or grandly, each kind of terminus is still considered an object lesson, a window through which one can see the broad continuum of how the soul can not only be.
The soul is not known or realized less when a tale comes to no good end—only differently. In tales, as in life, increase can come as much as from travail and failure as much as when the episode ends with a comfortable or lovely result. Most persons who have been through hell of various kindswar, massacre, assault, torture, profound sorrows, will tell that, even though they still fee!
Though there is something to be said for those rare heroes and heroines who sit on the undisturbed shore enjoying the intense beauty of the soulrise, I am more on the side of those who must swim the torrents while crying out for help.
In all, they are striving hard not to drown before they can reach the safety of the souPs arms. Nessus , a Centaur who, for attempting to carry off Dejanira, Hercules' wife, was shot by Hercules with an arrow dipped in the blood of the Hydra q. See Hercules. Nessus' Shirt , the poisoned robe which Nessus gave Dejanira, and which in a moment of distrust she gave to Hercules. See Nessus. Netherlands , a term formerly applied to the whole NW. Nettlerash or Urticaria , an irritating eruption in the skin causing a sensation like the stinging of nettles.
It may be acute or chronic, frequently caused by errors of diet. Neustria , western portion of the kingdom of the Franks in the time of the Merovingian and Carlovingian dynasties, and in constant rivalry with Austrasia q. Neuville, Alphonse de , French painter of battle-scenes, born at St. Neva , a river of Russia issuing from the SW. Petersburg, and discharges its great volume of water into the Bay of Cronstadt, in the Gulf of Finland, after a winding course of 40 miles.
Neville's Cross, Battle of , battle fought near Durham between the Scots and English in , in which the former were defeated and King David taken prisoner. Nevis, Ben. See Ben Nevis. New Brunswick , a SE. Lawrence on the NE. John, Restigouche, and Miramichi; timber is the chief export, but only less valuable are its fisheries, while shipbuilding is also an important and growing industry; coal is mined in good quantities, and the chief towns, St.
John, Portland, and Fredericton capital are busy centres of iron, textile, and other factories; the climate is subject to extremes of heat and cold, but is healthy; many of the inhabitants are of French origin, for New Brunswick formed part of the old French colony of Acadia. New Caledonia 63 , an island of the South Pacific belonging to France, the most southerly of the Melanesian group, lying about m.
New England , a name given in by Captain John Smith to the eastern and most densely populated portion of the United States, which now comprises Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut; was first colonised under the name of North Virginia by the Plymouth Company in ; the inhabitants, known distinctively as Yankees, are mostly of Puritan and Scotch descent, and are noted for their shrewdness and industry.
New Forest , a district in the SW. New Guinea , the largest island in the world excluding the island continents of Australia and Greenland , lies N. Much of the interior is still to explore, and is inhabited by Papuans, Negritoes, and other Melanesian tribes, many of which are still in the cannibal stage, although others are peaceful and industrious. A hot moist climate gives rise to much endemic fever, but encourages a wonderful profusion of tropical growth, giving place in the highlands to the hardier oak and pine, and still higher to a purely alpine flora; as in Australia, the animals are chiefly marsupials; the mountain ranges, which stretch in a more or less continuous line throughout the island, have peaks that touch an altitude of 20, ft.
Port Moresby is the capital of the British portion. New Hampshire , the second most northerly of the New England States q. Missionary enterprise has had some effect in the southern islands; Espiritu Santo 70 m. New Holland. See Australia. New Jersey is thickly populated, well provided with railway and water transit, and busily engaged in manufactures— e. Newark capital and Jersey City are by far the largest cities; was sold to Penn in , and settled chiefly by immigrant Quakers. New Jerusalem Church , a church consisting of the disciples of Emanuel Swedenborg, formed into a separate organisation for worship about See Swedenborgianism.
New Mexico , an extensive territory embracing the SW. In the broad river valleys excellent crops are raised, and stock-raising is an important industry. New Orleans , the capital and largest city of Louisiana, is beautifully situated on both sides of the Mississippi, m. Sydney q. Government is vested in a Crown appointed Governor and two Houses of Parliament triennial and paid. Education is free and compulsory. Established in , the colony was, up to , used as a settlement for transported criminals.
In the great gold discoveries started the colony on its prosperous career. New York 5, , the foremost State in the American Union in population, wealth, commerce, and manufactures, the twenty-fifth in area, and is about the size of England; is triangular in shape, with a north-western base on Lakes Erie and Ontario, and an eastern apex reaching the Atlantic between Connecticut N. Manhattan, Staten, and Long Island are the most important of many islands belonging to the State.
The land slopes from the mountainous E. The Hudson, Oswego, Genesee, and Niagara with its famous waterfall are the principal rivers, while the St. Lawrence forms part of the northern boundary. One-half of the area is under cultivation; the vine flourishes, hops and tobacco are grown, and market-gardening prospers near the large cities; but manufacturing is the chief industry, and the transit of goods is greatly facilitated by the many waterways and network of railways.
Was finally occupied by the English in , after the expulsion of the Dutch. The old town is a busy hive of industry, with its great centres of banking and mercantile enterprise—Wall, New, and Broad Streets. The modern part of the city is a model of regularity, is traversed by great avenues 8 m. The City Hall and the Court House are of white marble; the hotels are the largest in the world; Astor library , vols.
New Zealand , of which 42 are Maories , a British island colony in the South Pacific, lying wholly within the temperate zone, m. The two main islands, separated by Cook Strait, are in no part broader than m. Newark , city of U. It has extensive tanneries, and manufactories of hats, thread, and celluloid. Newcastle-under-Lyme 18 , a borough and old market-town of Staffordshire, 40 m.
Newcastle-upon-Tyne , a city and county of itself, and chief town of Northumberland; situated on the N. The old town extends some two miles along the river bank, and with its crowded quays, narrow winding streets, and dingy warehouses, presents a striking contrast to the handsome modern portion, which stretches back on gently rising ground. The cathedral is an imposing and interesting architectural structure, while the public buildings are more than usually ornate.
There are several fine libraries, theatres, hospitals, and charitable institutions, and the city is especially well off in the matter of public parks and pleasure grounds. It is the chief centre of the English coal trade, and is a busy hive of all kinds of metallic, chemical, machinery, and kindred works, which give rise to an immense and ever-increasing shipping trade. As a centre of shipbuilding the Tyne is second only to the Clyde. Newcomen, Thomas , blacksmith, born at Dartmouth; invented a steam-engine in which the piston was raised by steam and driven down by the atmosphere after the injection into the cylinder of a squirt of cold water, which cooled it, so that the steam when injected did not raise the piston at once up.
By James Watt's invention of a separate condenser it was superseded, and employed afterwards principally for pumping water. The interruption in the movement between the descent and ascent of the piston made it worthless for such purposes as Watt's invention is applied to; d. Newdigate, Sir Roger , born in Warwickshire; represented Oxford in Parliament, and founded the Newdigate Prize for the best English poem by an undergraduate; the winners of it have since distinguished themselves, chiefly in letters Newfoundland , the oldest island colony of Britain, situated at the mouth of the Gulf of St.
Lawrence, North America; is about one-eighth larger than Ireland, and triangular in shape, the northern apex running close in to the coast of Labrador; inland the country is bleak, sparsely populated, and ill cultivated; lakes and rivers abound; the deeply indented coast provides excellent harbourage for the large fishing fleets that frequent it; minerals are found, including coal, iron, lead, and copper; agriculture and timber-felling are on the increase, but the fisheries—cod, salmon, herring, and seal—form the staple industry; the climate is more temperate than in Canada, although, subject to fogs; St.
Johns q. Newgate , a dark, gloomy prison in London, the original of which dates as far back as ; was two centuries afterwards rebuilt, and destroyed in the great fire of ; rebuilt in ; is now used only for prisoners awaiting trial during Sessions, and as a place of execution. Newman, John Henry , cardinal, born in London, son of a banker; educated at Ealing, studied at Trinity College, Oxford, and obtained a Fellowship in Oriel College in ; trained in evangelical beliefs, he gradually drifted into High-Church notions, and becoming vicar of St.
Newport , 1, capital of the Isle of Wight 10 , and near its centre; in its vicinity is Carisbrooke Castle, where Charles I. Newton, Sir Isaac , illustrious natural philosopher, born in Woolsthorpe, near Grantham, in Lincolnshire; entered Trinity College, Cambridge, in , where he applied himself specially to the study of mathematics, invented the method of fluxions q. Ngami, Lake , a shallow sheet of water 50 m. Africa, on the borders of the Kalahari Desert, which is always changing its margin, is at one time, from the rains, sweet and drinkable, and at another time, from drought, saline; it is infested with crocodiles, and swarms with fish.
Niagara , a section of the St. Lawrence River, in N. America, extending between Lakes Erie and Ontario, having a descent throughout its course of 36 m. Niam-niam , a people of the E. Soudan, SE. Nibelungen Lied i. Lay of the Nibelungen , an old German epic, of date, it is presumed, earlier than the 12th century; it consists of two parts, the first ending with the murder of Siegfried by Hagen, his wresting of the hoard see supra from his widow, Kriemhild, and burying it at the bottom of the Rhine, and the second relating the vengeance of Kriemhild and the annihilation of the whole Burgundian race, Kriemhild included, to whom the treasure had originally belonged; to the latter part the name of the Nibelungen Not or Distress has been given.
Nicaragua , mostly mulattoes and negroes , the largest and richest of five republics occupying Central America, stretches across the isthmus from the Pacific to the Caribbean Sea, between Honduras N. Nice 74 , capital of the department Alpes-Maritimes, France, charmingly situated on the Mediterranean coast near the Italian border, terraced hills shelter it on the N. Nicene Creed , a creed established as orthodox at Nice q.
Nicholas , the name of five Popes: N. Nicholas, St. Nicholas, on learning that a father who had three daughters was tempted by extreme poverty to expose them to a life of dishonour, went by night and threw into the window of the house three bags of money which served as a marriage portion for each, and thus rescued them from a life of shame. Nicholas I. Petersburg, third son of Paul I.
Nicholas II. Petersburg, son of Alexander III. May 18, Nicholson, John , an Indian officer, born in Dublin, son of a physician; served in the Sikh Wars, and at the outbreak of the Mutiny in in the Punjab crushed it in the bud; led the attack at the siege of Delhi, Sept. Nicobar Islands 7 , a group of picturesque islands in the Indian Ocean, S. Nicolaitans , a sect of heretics that arose in the Apostolic Church, presumed to have been a party of professing Christians of Gentile descent, who, after their profession, continued to take part in the heathen festivals, and to have contributed to break down the distinction between the Church and the world, so essential to the very existence of the faith they professed, founded, as it is, no less absolutely on No to the world than on Yea to God.
See Everlasting No and Everlasting Yea. Nicotine , a poisonous alkaloid extracted from the leaves of the tobacco plant, is a colourless, oily liquid, readily soluble in water, and has a pungent odour. Niebuhr, Karsten , a celebrated traveller, born in Hanover; joined a Danish expedition in exploration of Arabia, and alone of the members of it returned home, which he did by way of Persia, Palestine, and Cyprus, and wrote an account of the results of his researches Niel, Adolphe , French marshal, born at Muret; entered the Engineers , served in the Algerine War in , before Rome in , at Bomarsund in , at Sebastopol in , as well as at Magenta and Solferino, and finally became Minister of War Niflheim or Misthome , in the Norse mythology the primeval northern region of cold and darkness, in contrast with Muspelheim, or Brighthome, the primeval southern region of warmth and light, the two poles, as it were, of the Norse world.
Nightingale, Florence , a famous philanthropic nurse, born at Florence, of wealthy English parentage; at the age of 22 entered the institution of Protestant Deaconesses at Kaiserswerth to be trained as a nurse, and afterwards studied the methods of nursing and hospital management with the Sisters of St. The stakes can't be higher as Hunter Logan struggles to find his daughter and stop his deadly creation that threatens the world.
Science fiction Earth has been rendered uninhabitable by an asteroid impact. A woman wakes up on a pod ship orbiting a mysterious planet with golden rings. Half of her companions have died. She is surrounded by strangers and haunted by her dreams. When they land, Jamie and the other colonists find themselves on the shore of an alien sea and surrounded by a strange jungle. Mysterious lights appear and their settlement is threatened by forces beyond their control.
Jamie begins to remember the past and discovers an alien presence.