Myth as Historical Reference

   If is one of the prime mistakes of many interpreters of mythological symbols to read them as references, not to mysteries of the human spirit, but to earthly or unearthly scenes and to actual or imagined historical events – he Promised Land of Canaan, for example, and heaven as a district of the sky – or to see the Israelites’ passage of the Red Sea as an event such as a newspaper reporter might have witnessed.  It is one of the glories, on the other hand, of the Celtic tradition that in its handling even of religious themes it retranslates them from the languages of imagined fact into a mythological idiom, so that they may be experienced not as time-conditioned but as timeless, telling not of miracles long past but of miracles potential within ourselves, here, now, and forever.  This aim is basic to the Grail tradition, basic to Arthurian romance, as it was basic, also, to the earlier Celtic way of storytelling, whether of pagan heroes or of Christian knights and saints.  RG 14

The two relationships working simultaneously has one linking you to the social duty and world of history, and the other linking you to that which is beyond duty, beyond the pairs of opposites, beyond good and evil.  It links you through that door of the clashing rocks, which those two leopards represented, into the realm that is both of the sun lion and the moon serpent; and there the Goddess, the mother of us all, shows Herself in both aspects.  That’s the important point of this whole subject.  Once you get it, the whole thing begins to talk and when you haven’t got it, it links you into historical exercises that sometimes drive you crazy.   G 54