Welcome to Tea Toast & Trivia Thank you for listening in.
I’m your host, Rebecca Budd, and I am looking forward to sharing this moment with you.
As I wait for my tea to steep, I think back to marvelous stories and ancient legends.
Hercules, Perseus, Theseus – these were the myths for which I searched the libraries as a 10-year-old. Magnificent heroes, blessed with superhuman strength and unfaltering courage, forged their destinies through journeys fraught with danger and treachery. As time passed, I chose new stories to take their place. Ones that were more in line with what I considered credible and more suitable for my reality. While I still enjoyed the hero myths, I lost that singular childhood enthusiasm. When I grew older, I became less sure of their relevance in my life. Indeed, the word “mythology” has the implication that what has been written is so fantastic that it simply cannot be true. That being the case, what significance can be given to these narratives? The real question is, do we still need heroes?
The heroic story is not only limited to Greek mythology; rather there are common elements through all mythologies that speak to the need for a hero, a model, someone who can be emulated, someone who makes us proud to be human. Their journeys are more about overcoming an internal conflict than achieving an external victory. The quest pattern begins with a journey over land or sea into the unknown. The hero confronts danger to bring back a person, object or knowledge. Gilgamesh overcame despair and grief in his pursuit of the meaning of life. Jason led the Argonauts on an expedition in search of the Golden Fleece to secure his kingship. Hercules performed twelve labours and achieved immortality.
Our modern world still holds these same qualities is high regard. We pursue a “Golden Fleece”, the symbol of authority, to establish our position within society. We identify with Gilgamesh in our search for the meaning of life. We live in a finite existence, yet we recognize the possibility of the infinite, of immortality. We need hero myths to remind us we are on a personal quest that celebrates the life that has been granted.
A Hero’s journey ends with enlightenment, with a new-found understanding. It is seeing that our decisions and responses within a difficult situation give voice to the greater narrative There is meaning and consequences in everything we do.