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Record Type: Review   ID: 82

A Mythic Life: Learning to Live Our Greater Story

Houston, Jean

 In this autobiography, Jean Houston describes her life as being in a constant dialogue with myth. (I gather this means not so much that others see her life as mythic, after the fact, as it were, but that it means she is consciously aware of living in a mythic life as it unfolds. Hence, she uses the apt title, A Mythic Life. This intrigues me, because it contrasts strongly with my life. I can see mythic themes in my life, but it is easier to think about it in archetypal, rather than mythic, terms coupled with the need not to lose the individual thread weaving its way through the archetypal tapestry. Houston draws not only on the Western mythic heritage but that of many indigenous peoples with whom she has worked to recover and rebuild their own mythic heritages. Throughout the book she uses her own life as a storehouse of examples to illustrate how we can discover the mythic in our lives and relate it to the global consciousness that is emerging. She shows how to sort mythic patterns in our lives and relate them to the ongoing pattern of human life on earth. She points up the pattern of convergence that she has become related to throughout her life, suggesting that it is the pattern that underscores many individual lives in this time of transition. Because of sophisticated communications technologies, all the cultures of earth are becoming available to everyone everywhere. Her key message I take to be that as the world becomes one without, each one must find and become aware of and live from the convergences in our individual lives. Thanks to this book, we have her own life as a model.
Publisher Information:San Francisco, CA: HarperSanFrancisco, 1996. Pp. xi + 340p. Ind: 333-340
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