One of the things that makes humans different from other animals is the ability to have abstract thought. Ideas are representations of our subjective experience that we hold in our mind. In our consciousness mind we can manipulate ideas share them with others and project them into the past and future. This gives us the ability to know experiences that we have not had directly, understand the cause and pattern of experiences and predict our future. God’s, myths and legends are man-made archetypal tools that can be used to reveal essential qualities of the natural world or evoke deep subconscious aspects of the Self. Archetypes are ancient primordial memories held deep within the subconscious mind. Gods, myths, ritual and art are used to access these memories and bring them into the conscious mind. There, we can gain a conscious understanding of our own behavior, and the behavior of others, allowing us to predict and manipulate future events.
The first cave paintings were representations of the first archetypal symbolism. The paintings of animals on the walls and ceiling were not just landscapes but represented the spirit, the essence of the animals. The animals in the paintings were often found with more than one head, having been painted over many years possibly generations. This represented the regeneration or resurrection of the herds. These paintings did not just represent on deer or ancient horse, they represented the Deer, or the Horse. Similarly, Gods, and myths do not literally represent the story of a single man or woman, but, represent aspects of Mankind.
Long ago man had the notion that, as proven by science today, all things in the universe are, on an essential level, the same, an expression spirit- light/energy. and space/time. The universe is a fractal, as above so below, as within so without. Because Man was aware of this universal essence, many Gods and myths are anthropomorphic, symbols of animals or nature endowed with human forms or attributes, evoking the experience of that common essence from deep inside our subconscious mind. By doing this we are able to bring latent primordial memories into consciousness, giving us the ability to predict and manipulate, not just our own behavior and that of other humans, but the behavior of al life and in fact all of existence.
The first paintings of animals, representing the great herds, resurrected year after year to feed Mankind, were inspired by the the idea of the sun, seemingly falling into the earth every night to rise again anew, giving life to all things. Many paintings and statues of woman were were among the first artifacts of made by Mankind. This is because woman represents the earth, the libidinal space between life and death, the progenerator of creation. Jesus Christ along with other gods such as the Egyptian god Osiris, and the Greek God Dionysus, are anthropomorphic symbols of the Sun, sacrificed for the life of Mankind and resurrected anew.
In the modern world Gods and myths are view with increasing scepticism and are slowly being abandoned. This is because our society has a history of presenting theology and mythology in a dogmatic way that is outdated and no longer relevant to the modern human experience. Used properly God and myths are fluid and flexible, open to interpretation and evolve with new experiences. Without the use of these archetypal tool, mankind runs the risk of being cut off from the vast intelligence or our subconscious mind. In the words of Joseph Campbell, “We need a new living mythology.”
Living mythology that is relevant, integrating science, psychology, theology and mythology, can play an important role in inspiring a new sustainable human paradigm and the evolution of Mankind.