How Myth Helped Us Find Our Way Home.
Imagination is often referred to as a place you can get lost in. I prefer to think of it as a place that helps me find my way home.
During this quarantine, my kids, ages 5 and 7, (already very creative) have be diving even deeper into their imaginations. And I too have jumped down the rabbit hole right alongside them.
We started this whole unexpected stay-at-home adventure with two straight weeks of mythical creature studies. This was before the online schooling had been introduced and right after our worlds had been turned upside down. For some reason, instead of trying to pull out math worksheets and handwriting pages and pretending things were "normal", I threw down the mythical beasts at their feet and we had at it. (Don't ask me why my first reaction to all of this craziness was to battle it with more craziness, but it was...)
Every day we researched a new mythical creature. We began with the Phoenix - rising up from the ashes - we got this. Next we moved onto the Griffin, protector from evil. Then there was the Loch Ness Monster, gotta believe. Can't forget Pegasus, the well known winged horse, both a constellation in the heavens above, and responsible for the creative inspiration to the muses down below. Pegasus was at once both awe and inspiration. And the list goes on and on. Ending with Ouroboros, the serpent eating its tail, a symbol for infinite cycles, creation out of destruction and life out of death.
We found comfort in the daily rhythm, the kids excited to wake up and find out which creature was coming up next. We looked up images and short videos. Drew them on giant pieces of paper, made tiny handmade creature books, wrote about them, watched movies on them, played games around their narrative, mythical lego builds, you name it we probably did it.
How amazing it was to get out of our world and dive into another. It helped us cope while secretly guiding us with their stories. The teacher and artist in me slowly and subconsciously applying all that we learned to each anxiety and question that would rise to the surface about our current situation. I was using myth to lift us up rather than let reality plummet us down.
Eventually "school" started, although I strongly believe we were learning so much all along. And the days of myth took a backseat to the chrome books and zoom chats. Don't get me wrong, I think our teachers and schools both did an amazing job and I can't thank them enough for rising to the occasion. But I have to admit that part of me was sad to see the days of mythical creatures fade.
They still show up now and again. The kids will have them forever etched into their hearts and brains. They have become part of their make-up now. They may or may not remember the time that mom dealt with a world wide crisis by having them draw a Kraken or a jack elope of all things. But in the back of their minds I hope they always know that it's okay to not always face reality head on. When the real world is too much to handle, you can jump into another one. There are plenty to choose from. And you won't get lost, I promise. You will find your way home (the better for it I might add) just fine.