Mythological consciousness is a state of mind wherein humans are capable of having experiences similar to the ones described in ancient mythology.
I have been reflecting on the sorts of experiences that people have which tend to facilitate mythological consciousness, or a direct experience of the divine.
What I’m going to do in this post is to describe the phenomena I have observed, and then I’m going to use the cosmology of Hekate as a framework for making the philosophical ideas usable in ritual.
When you are creeped out.
You’ve been there, I assure you. Whether it was waking from a horrible dream, or walking through a dimly lit basement, we’ve all had experiences where we could not help but believe in the things that go bump in the night. Perhaps it is hard wired, a result of evolutionary instincts which make us wary in the dark, where once there were predators ready to eat us. Perhaps where we can’t see is where the things we try so hard to disbelieve retreat to.
Regardless of the cause, allowing this gateway of the mind to fully open can facilitate uncanny experiences of the metaphysical. If we want to be poetic, we could call this the Gate of Nightmare, or the Gate of Terror.
When you feel hopeful.
Ever break a wishbone, blow out your birthday candles or blow the seeds off of a white dandelion to make a wish?
Chances are, you fully believed, if only for half a second, that it was going to work. Why else bother to formulate the wish?
A similar frame of mind occurs when we dream big. When we think of our dream job, imagine success in a project, or think about a house we’d like to live in, we often find disbelief being pushed aside.
More than that, by daydreaming about that success, studies show, we make that particular kind of success more likely.
This, too, is a gateway to mythological consciousness, and one that frequently leads to manifestation. I might call it, poetically, the Gate of Hope.
When things get very hard.
To relate a very embarrassing story: I thought I didn’t believe in Hellenic gods until I drank too much, made myself sick, and found myself praying to Dionysos. Whether that was the right solution, theologically speaking, is a different question. The fact of the matter is that my faith — my belief in a deity’s ability to directly intervene in human affairs — was uncovered because of my suffering.
A saying about this is, “atheist until the plane starts falling.” In other words, in times of great need, when every other way out is closed, this gate opens for us, and we often find a reason to believe.
If you’ve ever been in this sort of a situation, you might remember feeling like the prayer was answered.
This gateway to mythological consciousness is invoked several times in the Mithras Liturgy, too.
“…give me over to immortal birth and, following that, to my underlying naturc, so that, after the present need which is pressing me exceedingly, I may gaze upon thc immortal I beginning with thc immortal spirit […] I, sanctified through holy consecrations-while there subsists within me, holy, for a short time, my human soul-might, which I will again receive after the present bitter and relentless necessity which is pressing down upon me-I, NN, whose mother is NN, according to the immutable decree of god…”
PGM IV, 501-530
Note the “need” which the petitioner references here.
Whether the sense of urgency motivates the powers, or the petitioner, this is yet another way to open a path to mythological consciousness. I’ll call it, “the Gate of Tribulation.”
When you are inspired.
When you are directly touched by the divine, you know it. You might call this, “The Gate of Inspiration,” but it isn’t something that is easy to bring up without ecstatic trance states. So, you might also call it, “The Gate of Ecstasy.”
Tribulation is turbulent like the sea, the dauntless challenges beset us like barking dogs. This gate is in the domain of the Sea, or Pontus.
There is no better embodiment of terror than the grave. This gate belongs to the Underworld, or to Gaia.
Hope is related to winged prayer, and airy dreams. This gate belongs to the Sky, or Ouranos.
Inspiration is fiery. This is the mysterious center point, a Gate which is not a Gate, corresponding to the heart of the Crossroasds themselves, and the mystery of Three-formed Hekate.
For now, I’ll probably just use this for meditation, probably in conjunction with the crossroads ritual. Later, I may write up specific invocations, or Gate Opening ritual widgets.