The Multi-Myth with Michael Meade

In our October session of Speak the Spark we had the incredible pleasure of listening to Michael Meade, author of the recently released book, Awakening the Soul (among many others). What an amazingly warm, authentic, deeply rooted human being!!! I was completely enthralled for the full two hours of his sharing and felt deeply held in the space created by his presence.

What struck me most about him were his courage and his curiosity.

This courageous curiosity allows him to be vibrantly alive and paying close attention…to everything. From the painful to the sublime. From the personal to the collective. From the ancient to the temporal. Even here and now, in the midst of this society of willful ignorance and desperate numbness, he is paying exquisitely close attention to the ever-unfolding story of the Soul…our individual souls and their relationship to the Soul of the World.

As a scholar and keeper of myths, he is able to see the world we live in through a timeless, mythological lens.

He spoke about the state of affairs in our world and the falling apart of institutions. He referenced the dissolution of the structures of our society. He intentionally did not refer to “the end of the world,” because, as he says, the world will most certainly go on. He also let us know that ‘end’ doesn’t even mean what we take it to mean. In storytelling terms, he said that it means that loose thread that is left when one story finishes so that another might begin.

As an example of this unraveling he spoke about the confirmation hearings being held for Brett Kavanaugh’s US Supreme Court position that were being held at the time. He unpacked the current events of our week in a mythical context, speaking of archetypes and timeless wisdom. He brought our attention to how this spectacle has the whole country mesmerized as we wrestle again and continually with the conflict between truth and falsehoods.

The deconstruction and falling apart in our world at this time creates a loosening…an opening…that creates room for the new.

But here he reiterated a teaching I have heard many times before. He was clear that it is not possible for us to create new myths. Myths, he affirmed, are ancient. And ancient has nothing to do with time. It is beyond time. The ancient is both immediate and very, very old.

However, in this time of transformation, ancient archetypes and stories are emerging in new ways.

He described the experience we are living within as a multi-myth. Many myths are being expressed together at the same time, calling for the unique genius of each person to meet all the needs of our changing world. In one of his books, entitled The Genius Myth, he shares his understanding that each and every one of us is born with unique, genius qualities that are urgently needed to address the seemingly impossible problems our world faces.  

The source of these problems, he says, is a loss of soul.

We’ve lost our connection to our own souls and to the Soul of the World. He says that we are cosmologically dislocated. We are disconnected from the whole singing Universe and our place within it.

During the class he used the term “ensouled” a few times to describe what we need to be. Toward the end of the session a fellow classmate asked him to explain that term a bit more for us. This is a paraphrased version of what he said:

Where we are ensouled is where and what and who we love. We start out with some soul but we’re also supposed to be growing soul along the way. Soul is connected to the body. What we love is the cure. Through following what we love we discover the shape and the nature of our soul. On that journey we inevitably encounter some pain. Soul loves depth. We’re supposed to get deeper as we get older. More and more present. More and more connected. Soul makes art and music out of pain. Soul is the ground of healing. We need to awaken a deeper level of the soul…soul is connected to water and earth and it descends into multiplicity…we need diversity with respect, love and appreciation for each other. The more soul we can find the more we can work together.

Personal Caveat: This is my hugely oversimplified summary of the very rich concepts that Michael lays out in his books and in our class. If you’re intrigued or want to dig in deeper I highly recommend reading the books mentioned in this article: Awakening the Soul  and The Genius Myth, as well as subscribing to his podcast Living Myth and exploring the other resources available on his website,

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