The following excerpt from Joseph Campbell's timeless 1988 interview with Bill Moyers shed some light on the lost connections to nature we once shared with our ancestors and the dreams and myths that guided and shaped them. To me, this only heightens the urgency for people to reconnect with their ancient birthrights and find in nature, a pathway to the very essence of their souls:
"The animal envoys of the Unseen Power no longer serve, as in primeval times, to teach and to guide mankind. Bears, lions, elephants and gazelles are in cages in our zoos. Man is no longer the newcomer in a world of unexplored plains and forests, and our immediate neighbors are not wild beasts, but other human beings contending for goods and space on a planet that is whirling without end around the fireball of a star. Neither in body nor mind do we inhabit the world of those hunting races of the Paleolithic millennia, to whose lives and lifeways we nevertheless owed the very forms of our bodies and structures of our minds.
Memories of their animal envoys still must sleep, somehow, within us, for they wake a little and stir when we venture into wilderness. They wake in terror to thunder. And again they wake with a sense of recognition when we enter any one of those great painted caves. Whatever the inward darkness may have been to which the shamans of those’ caves descended in their trances, the same must lie within ourselves nightly visited in sleep." - Joseph Campbell The Power of Myth
Bears and cougars have been a constant theme both in my waking and sleeping hours throughout the course of my life. What animals are reoccurring themes in your life and and how might you explain that significance in terms of your identity and path forward? I look forward to your thoughts.