A Secret Self

I am going to tell you something that has been a secret – not really an intentional secret, but the sort of secret that you don’t tell because people look at you strangely. It hasn’t been completely secret because I’ve told a few people about it – those I trust and folk whom I knew think a little the way I do.

Way back when I was younger, and struggling along as breadwinner of the family in times that were tough, I looked for ways I could feel more confident in myself. I found myself thinking of the kind of person I was most attracted to in the fantasy stories I love, and realised there was a consistent character type I was drawn to. That character was not necessarily the main character, but was often a supporter of the main character. The character was usually solitary and wild – a priest or priestess, wise woman, druid, mage, witch or wizard. If I imagined myself as that sort of character, I found myself instantaneously free of self-doubt – not because the characters in the stories were free of self-doubt – but because they found ways to learn from their mistakes and overcome their failings or their circumstances. They were strong.

At first it was just a game – a sort of minor meditation practice: think of myself as a strong wise-woman, feel better, carry on. I couldn’t really let myself do much more with the idea then, because to have done so would have been at odds with Christianity. Each time I visited the wise-woman image I found myself identifying with the journey theme that is present in so many stories, where the young would-be apprentice, with untrained skills that might go awry, sets off to the great college or temple to be trained according to her calling. I seemed to be on that journey. I couldn’t see my destination clearly then, as it would not have done for a Christian to declare that she was off on a journey to learn magic, alchemy and divination. It didn’t fit in my paradigm – cognitive dissonance, they call it in psychological circles.

Once I stepped out of the Christian paradigm I seemed to have arrived  at my place of learning only to find that I have been receiving lessons anyway, all along the convoluted trail of adventure. This college, or temple in my mind (or in an alternative realm that overlays and interacts with what we call reality – whatever that may mean) is where I am organising and understanding the knowledge I’ve gained, transcribing it from one paradigm to another. The imagery has grown more concrete and I have found myself  needing to make this imagined self my real self.

And that’s just it: druidry drags the mythological into daily life and permeates the the Everyday with the challenges, trials, tasks and petty squabbles of the gods. There are times when I look at the folk around me and wish they could see themselves for a moment, as I do in moments when the veil between worlds is thin. The mother struggling to make a home for her children with an absent or antagonistic father – she’s a warrior-queen, fighting battle after battle to keep the kingdom safe for her subjects. The father unjustly denied access to his children and vilified – he may be a prince in disguise who’s moment will yet come when he can save those whom he must. The drunkard may just be a drunkard – but he may, too, be the jester who brings insight and the unexpected. I may be a nurse, but I am also a druid and a warrior. I seek to bring that to mind more and more so that I am not swept up into trying to be what others think I should be. Nor do I want to find myself unwittingly drawn into someone else’s script.

So that is my secret: I never gave up on make-believe and it is the best and most empowering thing I could ever have held onto. What I have now, as an adult, is a richer, deeper and broader way of living life because I discovered it was true and not just make-believe.

I invite you to take a moment and consider who your mythological self is.  What character are you in the epic adventure of life? Every myth has  it’s beginning in the stories of old that were told about real people. But, the bards in their wisdom, drew out and highlighted that which mattered most and could translate into the lives of everyone. Are you a leader – a prince or princess, king or queen of your kingdom or domain – be it home, work, your own mind, your wider family? Are you a best friend and ally – a “Samwise Gamgee” – who helps someone who carries a terrible load and responsibility? Or are you the inn-keeper, who aids the travellers who come and go? There are so many roles and each is intricately essential in the magnificent tapestry or our stories. Welcome in to the tale and draw strength from knowing you, too, have your place and it is mysterious and wonderful.

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~ by Dragonwyst on July 29, 2012.

5 Responses to “A Secret Self”

  1. “I invite you to take a moment and consider who your mythological self is”

    I’ve confessed this to you before. It’s Dame Edna dressed as the Green Lantern.

    “it would not have done for a Christian to declare that she was off on a journey to learn magic, alchemy and divination”

    If only you’d let me know sooner. The way I’ve always got around that dilemma is by summoning Christians to my cellar and then nonchalantly changing water into wine before them. Leaves them speechless, until the hysteria sets in after the third glass. They’re much better behaved after the Second Summoning.

    Raising the dead would be still more effective, but I don’t have the concentration to pull that off with anything larger than a squirrel.

    (I’m not making light of your post, Wistful. I enjoyed it fully. It’s just that Wyverne has not been approving comments on her blog in answer to your comments. Had to get your attention. This space is my only hope of salvation. Will you help me get through to her?)

  2. I will get through to her. At present she is gambolling over the hills under the full influence of the Imbolc Full Moon. Once her goats get her back under control and retrieve her from the fey I’m sure she’ll approve anything we ask her to approve. Imbolc is like that, after all – full of the promise of abundance and warmheartedness….

  3. OK. Daarom neem ons, deur ons vryverkose verteenwoordigers, hierdie Grondwet aan as die hoogste reg ten einde die grondslag te lê vir ’n demokratiese en oop samelewing waarin regering gegrondves is op die wil van die bevolking en elke burger gelyk deur die reg beskerm word.
    Ek dra ‘n denim broek. Waar is die toilet?

    • Am I supposed to take that as a peace offering ? 😀 I’m happy to know you aren’t skyclad and I hope you found the loo timeously….

      • Sort of. It was more of a piece offering, actually. A piece of (as near as I kin tail) mellifluous prose, possibly poetry, in an old country tongue.
        Poetry of this caliber brings peace.
        So you see, the circle is now complete!
        Please remain standing and turn to page 4,923 in your hymnal as I prepare for my first afternoon nap….
        Z/x

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