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Earth EEs/EHEs; Planetary Consciousness
Record Type: Review   ID: 60

The Well of Remembrance: Rediscovering the Earth Wisdom Myths of Northern Europe

Metzner, Ralph

 There is a worldwide upsurge (and "insurge") of interest in delving into the myths of one’s culture in order to discover one’s roots with the earth and then with the universe. Jean Houston, for example, logs millions of miles each year traveling to other countries to help people discover their native myths and relate them to their current problems—personal, interpersonal, social, and cultural. The impetus for this movement is largely a reaction to European and Euro-American culture, which in most cases has been forced on the rest of the globe. Because of the spread of the media, many people in other cultures are more aware of and attuned to Western ways of thinking and being than their own. Because of the peril to Earth, its peoples, other animals, trees and other vegetation wrought by technology now used not only by Americans and Europeans but by almost everyone, everyone needs to go beneath the veneer of Western culture to the originating myths in order to find renewal. What more appropriate mythology to look to for saving grace than that of the culture that spawned technology and an atomized worldview? Thus, the task psychotherapist Ralph Metzner undertook was to discover whether anything in the originating culture of European and EuroAmericans could provide wisdom "relevant to surviving the ecological crisis" (p. 2). In this book he presents what he discovered. He stresses the mythology of the pre-Christian Germanic tribes of northern Europe "because this strand of our collective consciousness is relatively neglected and unknown" (p. 2) due to emphasis on classical Rome and Greece and medieval Christianity. Also, Germanic myths are associated historically with Nazism and shunned for that reason. He begins with his own growing awareness of the importance of discovering ancestral wisdom for oneself. Initially he knew nothing of his Germanic forebears. (Nor do I.) Jung, whom I have followed down many a road, emphasized the importance of knowing the myths of one’s own ancestral people, but I could not get into it—except for the myth of Odin, of which I was but dimly aware, but a Spooky Tooth lyric that I took as a reference to it carried me through many years of dark night, striking a resonant chord within. Metzner, who has long been a consciousness researcher, takes us back in ways people will be able to follow easily. This book in word and deed is an in-depth overview/innerview of Germanic shamanistic mythology. He begins with the Indo-European and Nordic-Germanic peoples in 5 chapters comprising Part I. The 8 chapters of Part II present "Nordic-Germanic Myths and Their Meaning for Our Time." Two of the chapters are by others: "The New Berserkers" by Norbert Mayer and "Visions of the Fourfold Goddess" by Bärbel Kreidt. I do believe many EuroAmericans and Europeans—but peoples rooted in other cultures as well—will find a way to their ancestors through this book. Familiarity with its contents in fact can serve as a well from which to draw sustenance at times of angst and crisis as well as intellectual excitement and zest. An appendix is "The Mead of Inspiration and Magical Plants of the Ancient Germans" by Christian Rätsch.
Publisher Information:Boston: Shambhala, 1994. 334p. Chap. notes: 297-323; Ind: 325-334
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