I returned to a book by David Tacey this morning, Edge of the Sacred: Jung, Psyche, Earth, and opened up at a page on which he wrote about landscape as a mythopoetic field. Tacey (2009) writes:
‘Landscape is a mythopoetic field which acts on human beings from without, causing them to conform to ancient patterns and re-enact lives and movements of ancestral animals and other beings’ (p. 145).
This single sentence is so rich with meaning and immediately resonated with multiple threads of my research… country speaking to us and through us… each place has its own feeling (liyan) which makes it right for doing certain things (including avoidance)… Bugarregarra as a dreaming/process of co-creation imbues places with this liyan (perhaps it could even be described as a kind of affordance for doing certain things).
How do interpret or understand Tacey’s statement about landscape, or Country, as a mythopoetic field?
Beyond the materiality of Country or place, there is a larger field (not seen but sensed), from which stories emerge. These stories might just be there, lingering, waiting to be spoken; perhaps spontaneously, or maybe through a felt sense of a word whispered to us in a time of deep listening. The emergence of stories from a field that is inextricably interwoven with place, that is place, tells a bigger story about how storytelling binds people and place… we emerge together through stories. This is a vastly different conception of stories and storytelling as compared to egoic authorship.
I am reminded too of a post I wrote a few months ago about memory in nature/place and Rupert Sheldrake’s work on morphic resonance:
‘Perhaps the ‘memory’ in a place, which may have been created through repeated ritual practice in that place, acts like an intention of how beings should interact with place and each other in situ. Maybe morphic resonance is like an affordance of place…’
One response to “Mythopoetic fields”
I have just finished reading ‘The comfort of water: a river pilgrimage’ by Maya Ward and your last quote by Sheldrake reminds me of her story walking the Songlines of the Birrarung. Her last statement in the epilogue still lingers with me…”So follow the path. Journey to the source. For these are not just metaphors; they are instructions.”