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Joseph Campbell reminded the late 20th Century about the stories that formed the archetypes our culture, and virtually all other cultures as well. We think our stories are unique, our history special — if not divinely inspired.
Campbell gently and with extensive detail explained that most of those archetypes are shared by virtually all cultures in their own form. Carl Jung articulated the concept as a shared unconscious.
We all understand the cosmos through similar archetypes and the stories that string them together. Unfortunately too many of us allow fear and hatred to well up when another person’s story arc does not match our own. Silly humans.
What can be refreshing if we step back to observe, is the way those slightly differing archetypes are basically all the same.
That — at the end of the day — we are all one people on this earth struggling to give meaning to Life with the same cerebral tools and histories as everybody else … just by way of our unique understandings of the world. And in fact — this difference is an incredible, unifying force –though it’s easier to look at variations than what’s actually at the heart of our stories.
A festival of light at the darkest time of the year, divine intervention in human form, prophets inspired by the transcendent … these are stories shared by virtually all cultures in all ages of human history. Only in culturally variant ways. That which is so easily lost in the details is the core message of all these stories — evolution of Being, shortcoming of human foibles, redemption from failure through self-sacrifice, and an aspiration for the transcendence of true peace and harmony.
In this light it’s a joy to welcome all the stories of human celebration — because they are at heart our same iconic tales.
It was a gift this Season to find a kid’s story project by members of St. Paul’s, the oldest church in Auckland, New Zealand. These are the best of several productions — charming efforts to retell the Christmas story; about Love incarnate in the form of a defenseless child … all through the purity and awkwardness of children.
Whatever your archetypal understandings these are stories of hope, lovingly told for all of us. They are unique and particularly dear. Have a look at the videos below:
In the confluence of five valleys, the town’s air and precipitation defy accurate forecast — except in the most general of terms.
So when peaks surrounding the valley are crowned in white, air is crisp, and holiday cheer abounds, you’d expect the feeling to be Christmas. But, not quite this year.
Snow tires tore into Missoula’s dry asphalt a week into December.
It took a short drive to the hills to kick through snow. Difficult to greet this Season in town without snowflakes dusting your wool cap, and a scarf’s tug bracing the chill.
And then it happened. As if on cue during the monthly Art Walk on December’s First Friday, amidst the revelers downtown.
Great blustery swirls of heavy, wet flakes filled the beacons of streetlight. Roadways transformed during the short visit to an art gallery — as if elves finally had their fill of seasonal dark brews and went back to work. Crunchy white sidewalks appeared by magic, and strollers became daubed in white by an unseen hand. Art direction to order, and in haste — though Jimmy Stewart did not run down Higgins Avenue (above) shouting “Merry Christmas!”
In an hour — a routine event on a brisk evening suddenly bloomed into celebration of Christmas and art and music.
Smiles widened, laughter deepened, and the pace hastened between venues. As snow stacked onto decorations, softening the illumination of festive color, it finally felt like Christmas in town. The last bow onto Missoula’s Holiday.
Next morning, naked branches sang with snowy delight that Jack Frost came to visit, and finally the valley floor could match the brilliance of surrounding hills in 2012′s return of Old Man Winter.