Myths and the Modern World
A Six-Part Symposium at the *Stayer Center, Marian University
Presented by Marian University and the Hanwakan Center
Sunday Afternoons 1:00 – 3.30pm, Feb. 15th – Mar. 22nd 2015
Myths orient people to the metaphysical dimension, explain the origins and nature of the cosmos, validate social issues, and, on the psychological plane, address themselves to the innermost depths of the psyche. - Joseph Campbell
Week 1: Sunday, February 15, 2015
The Mythic Realm Within and Without
Humans have always understood themselves and their relationship to nature by stories with the Big Stories being the myths and the mythic base of all religions. Myths emerge from the mytho-poetic dimension of human experience, what Carl Jung called the realm of the archetypes and the collective unconscious. Myths set the baseline for the values, ethics and patterns of relationships in a culture and the perceptions and responses to nature. Individuals and cultures get cut off from this foundation by an overly rational and overly scientific worldview, but the connection to nature and the mythic, symbolic realm survives in our dreams.
Sacred Landscapes and Indigenous Sites in Wisconsin
The Lakota and Cheyenne traditions perceive the Black Hills as both a spiritual and real world reflection of the powers in the sky. An area in southeastern Wisconsin may be an even more ancient embodiment of these traditions. Herman Bender has made perhaps the most important archeological discoveries in America over the past two or three decades that includes extensive petroforms (sacred arrangements of stones) in the Fond du Lac area going back 4500-5000 years. His first discovery was a medicine wheel aligned to the sun. Sometimes called ‘calendar sites’, the medicine wheel (a sun circle) is anything but that if one understands the difference between science and religion, the profane and the profound. The stone alignments discovered are even more significant. There are two, each configured as a giant human being; one as the constellation we call Taurus, the other Scorpius. They reflect the night sky and are aligned to stars rising over particular points on the horizon. They symbolically present the union of heaven and earth, the sacred union of the archetypal masculine and the feminine, as ceremonially experienced and celebrated by indigenous peoples in Wisconsin’s past.