Myth is an attempt to narrate a whole human experience, of which the purpose is too deep, going too deep in the blood and soul, for mental explanation or description.
D. H. Lawrence (1885-1930) novelist, poet, essayist
Someone in the southeastern United States recently bought one of my paintings and yesterday I mailed it to him. In order to save shipping costs, I packed the box myself. The end result weighed just over seven pounds and measured an unwieldy 33" by 41" by 3". In other words, though light in weight, the box was still long enough and wide enough to be extremely difficult to carry. Unwieldy-ness notwithstanding, since the Fed Ex satellite store was only a few blocks away, I decided to carry it there myself.
While making my way up Broadway, the box slipped and shifted constantly. I tried several ways of carrying it but none worked for very long. Finally I had an inspiration and lifted the box up to my head and in that way I successfully made it to the Fed Ex store. What a comical sight I must have made, like some Dr. Seuss imagining -- a quite tall, so freckled, white lady with a box growing out of her head.
Which brings me to what happened yesterday on the way to the Fed ex store: I experienced the workings of my mythic eye. My lens on the world is my "mythic eye." That means I tend to use symbols and metaphors when interpreting the world around me. And yesterday my mythic eye contemplated the spectacle of walking down Broadway with a box growing out of my head and saw something larger.
It's kind of hard to explain but in that particular moment I felt connected to other women, possibly all other women, women and how they work through their day, whether raising children or governing countries or walking around with boxes on their head. And I saw my part in that bigger picture as both unique and yet also universal. For a few moments I experienced the beautiful groove of my life and how amazing that felt to be in it. And interestingly, I understood in that moment that joy is not only found at my easel -- but it is also found in the simplest experiences of everyday life.
According to the myth, at dawn on the third day after the crucifixion, the Magdalene went to the tomb to anoint the body. As she neared the entrance, she discovered that the guards were gone and the tomb was open. An angel sitting on the discarded entrance stone greeted her. Trembling and bewildered, some accounts say, she fled.
Whether or not she fled or simply stayed and wept, the Gospels of John and Mark agree that Jesus, in resurrected form, first appeared to Mary Magdalene alone. During this encounter he asked her to spread the news of resurrection.
The Magdalene is the key to this myth of stones and tombs, of death and rebirth, because "she" is the messenger of new hope and new life.