The Magic Beanstalk:
Reimagining Mythic Imagination
by Honora Foah and Michael Karlin
Mythic Imagination Institute
[Image: "Honora and Michael, MJ '06" © 2006 Beth Gwinn, used by permission]
When we stood on the stage at the end of Mythic Journeys last June and said that we might not be able to do it anymore, the huge gasp that came up toward us was a wonderment, a satisfaction and a sorrow. Mythic Journeys is meticulously designed, cared for, and enacted so that something spontaneous and living — something in the living moment— can happen. It is a plowed and fertilized field where the magic beanstalk that shoots out of the ground with such power can be planted. It is dear in every way, an extravagance of human energy, care, concern, and money.
Sometimes people say, "Can't we do it more simply/cheaply?" and the simple answer is, "no". We have looked into it extensively and while, yes, here and there we can continue to cut costs — which we did by a third from the first to the second Mythic Journeys, it isn't enough to make a difference.
Every person who attends Mythic Journeys at $350 is subsidized for another $650. The teachers, who attend for $150, are then subsidized for almost $1000. We haven't raised enough money for those subsidies, and we cannot risk putting Mythic Imagination Institute totally out of existence by incurring the debt and hoping for the best as we did the last two times.
So we aren't going to do Mythic Journeys in 2008. We just cannot afford it. We will wait until 2009. And in the meantime...
What we're going to do is dig in and dig down and strengthen our foundation, reach our little roots into the ground before our tree topples over.
Brenda Sutton, our longtime holder-down-of-the-office-fort, is leaving Atlanta. She will continue to work on our website and to create with Mary Davis Mythic Passages, our magazine, but she won't be here with us in the office. That is an enormous change, and, let's face it, loss. We and some of the core group are bent over, hands on our knees, sweat dripping down our faces, gasping for breath. We need a shower, a meal, a rest.
We're going to spend this year getting close to the mythical, archetypal, soul nourishing content, which is the common language of Mythic Journeys that brought us into service with Mythic Imagination in the first place. We will tell stories and work through the various curricula we're putting together, such as the Certificate Program in Applied Mythology that we're doing in partnership with the Open Center of New York.
We are also piloting a series of workbooks for local study groups that allow small groups to work through a story over time, to find its deeper meaning for each individual and as a small community. We hope to improve, expand, and launch this series on a wider basis in the coming years.
We will raise money. We will think about how to have paid support staff to make the work of the volunteers more effective and sustainable. Altogether we will work on finding the forms that will help our wonderful magic beanstalk of an enterprize (sic), that grew from the beans we changed for the cash cow of our usual jobs, to become a path to the sky, monkey bars into the land where the stories live, a place where if you walk around you may find yourself in the big life that has sustained every culture, a place that connects to the gold and the thing that will eat you and the music and the love of your life.
So, for 2007 and 2008, we have the ongoing magazine that so many of you have written in to praise and thank us for. It is a service we provide for free. We have the Certificate in Applied Mythology, some special events which are in the works, podcasts, and other media projects including the documentary of Mythic Journeys being made by Steve and Whitney Boe. As we create this content in conjunction with many of the beloved presenters at Mythic Journeys, we hope that the meaning of the gathering will become ever more clear to people, those who might like to attend, and those who can help fund it. We'll do another year of plowing and fertilizing. We've got the beans.
Here's to Mythic Journeys in 2009.
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