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An Obscure Order: Reflections on Cultural Mythologies

by Dennis Patrick Slattery, Ph.D.
Core Faculty, Mythological Studies Program
Pacifica Graduate Institute.

A myth, I hope these essays reveal, is a manner and even a style of being present to the world’s matter as well as to interior ideas and images. Behaving like a fulcrum balancing two realities—the external one I meet daily and the inner psychic world that has its own objective nature to develop and then fade as its life energy diminishes—myths are organically alive.

My own personal myth is present in the chrysalis of each of these essays. Something in the subject matter of each of them sparked my curiosity and my attraction to them, rendering them complete only when I was able to give them sufficient form to breathe on their own. Each of the thirty chapters brought me to wonder about them, to turn them around and upside-down, to see them from several perspectives, perhaps revealing their paradoxes and their ultimate purposes. The presence of myth, the energy they carry, attract my wondering about them. Seeing anew is one of the main intentions of myth; a deepened consciousness is its richest end result.

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