“The Dead Can Dance, Part 2: The Mythic Ecology of Ancestry” by Mathieu Thiem

The second in a 4-part series, originally published at The Woven Song.

III. The Mythic Ecology of Ancestry (Water)

“There was a time, the myths tell us, when the link between animals, humans and the land was fluid, magical. The perception of community would extend out, both into the landscape and through the stories seeping up from the burial grounds of your ancestors.” – Dr. Martin Shaw

When a bird migrates, builds a nest, takes on a mate, they are performing a function of ecology that has been cycling for thousands of years. They fill in the ecological function of that niche, they are the embodiment of the desire of that niche, in communication with it, a series of utterings from the mouth of an ecological agency.

We see this bird as somehow different from the ancestors before it who have enacted the same story. From a manifested point of view it is most assuredly a different amalgamation of constituents. However, it still re-enacts the ancient stories brought about by their ancestors. The habitual and behavioral cycles of their mythic ecology still exist. They may be a new body, but they are founded upon the millions of bodies of an ancient recurring cycle. A story as old as time.

Mythic cycles of ecology continue as a function of the overarching paradigm of any typical ecology. An ecology is the culmination of many constituents undergoing a series of patterns that help secure and regulate their lives. Every relationship is unique, but not original. And it seems that many of the manifestations of ecological niches are recurring stories carried forth into the spiral of time, taking on the forms of real tangible behavior that manifest through the societies and ecologies of humans and nonhumans alike. They become the ancestors. They work towards becoming ancestors and thus fulfill the stories that make up the world. They keep those stories flowing in their ancestral direction.

We live in a world of stories, where no one thing can be truly understood outside of the context which creates it. Our interaction with the world is itself cocreating reality. Our acts, no matter their size, rearrange any parameter that may have existed before our inquiries, making our inquiries a game of cat and mouse. You must understand that truth is not a thing, it’s an act. You do not know truth, but rather you are truthing; or even perhaps, you are truth engaging in knowing, and knowing is merely the dance of co-creating. None of this is obtainable in a pre-packaged format. It is instead a courtship of meaning. A love affair with narrative. Which is simultaneously beautiful yet tragic.

So when you look out upon the world, what you see as essentials, identities, or facts, are actually just the stories formed by the tracking of ancestors. Memories that imprint to the very fabric of our reality, like strange symbols of a dreaming mind. You are very much the same, an environment filled with the tracks of ancestors, filled to the brim of stories that continue on and on, like an ever flowing river. Never quite the same, but never wholly different either.

To be continued …

About the Author

Mathieu Thiem is a bioregional animist who spends his time studying the art of mythic living and running a blog called The Woven Song. www.wovensong.co


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