Looking at Transformation through Myth

This project, like so many others that I’ve got going, has been shamefully neglected over the past several months, as I traveled to the Mediterranean to lead a retreat, and started work on my PhD. However, I’m back home now, ready to really get started with this project. I had intended it to be the basis of my dissertation, but I’ve recently decided to withdraw from graduate school, so now the project is just for me.

It takes a certain amount of focus and dedication to make a major change in life. The whole premise of this project is that I believe I can use the lessons and tools that I’ve gained from studying myth to help me transform my body and health. I recently read a wonderful book that really shed some light on the transformation that occurs in myth and stories, and it has inspired me as I try to really get going with my own bodily transformation.

I read Marina Warner’s book Fantastic Metamorphoses, Other Worlds: Ways of Telling the Self, with the intention of using it as the inspiration for a paper I was assigned to write for one of my graduate school classes. It is a series of lectures on myth, folktale and art, all with the theme of transformation at their core. Reading these essays on “Mutating”, “Hatching”, “Splitting” and “Doubling” reminded me just how much myth is about transformation, and how many of humankind’s stories are along the theme of change in their characters. Myth is, really, an ideal tool for teaching us how to transform, as so many of its stories are lessons into how others have transformed throughout human history.

Ovid’s Metamorphoses is an excellent example, as Ovid cherry-picked his way through Greek myth to find stories that fit his theme of transformation. In the stories he tells Ovid celebrates the ways in which humans transform, either through their own choice or through the actions of the gods.

These texts, and many others scattered throughout the world’s myths, have much to teach me about how to go about making my own changes. I can look to the example of others who have gone before to learn both what do do and what not to do as I step forward into this unfamiliar space.

In more practical terms, I will share that I started a new workout program today called P90. I’m hoping that a regular workout routine will help me move into a new, transformative¬† space where the uncomfortable and strange becomes daily and necessary.


About mythicstories

Allison Stieger is a mythologist, writer, teacher and workshop leader who is passionately interested in the intersection between myth, creativity, innovation and culture. She is available for classes on many topics related to myth including writing and creativity, embodiment and myth, and general myth instruction.
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