La Pensée Sauvage
If you look at the myths of a culture collectively, you see that they are like a hall of mirrors. There is no one authentic, original myth. Instead the stories reflect and evolve in response to each other. It’s like a continuous debate. Each tale takes the previous one and transforms it.; then maybe reflects it back and the previous one is changed. There is a binary, oppositional quality to this way of thinking, but it is not exclusively so.
I have just listened to this précis of some of the anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss’ thinking on the Radio 4 show In Our Time, which you can listen to via the BBC website. The speaker was Adam Kuper.
Levi-Strauss spent a century – he lived to be a hundred – investigating universality in human thought. One of his chief inspirations was the thousands of Native American myths which he had learned by heart, much like his contemporary the mythologist Joseph Campbell.
His conclusion – very roughly – was that the untamed mind thinks in terms of myth and structure.
That is also how astrologers think. We are looking for patterns and stories. So in immersing ourselves in astrology, we are engaging with that deeper, pre-scientific way of thinking, trying to open our minds to the wild pansy.
Levi-Strauss by the way had Pallas Athena, the asteroid of pattern, weaving and structure, in Scorpio (depth) sextile his Moon in Capricorn (nurtured by the ancestors) and forming a Yod to his North Node on the MC in Gemini (stories and ideas as legacy and lifetime achievement).
If you want to read a mythological hall of mirrors, you could try The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony by Roberto Calasso, which is an evocation of Greek myth.