It is interesting, to me, that in the entire world of mythos and fairy tale, in all of the stories that make up human history and thought, that the common is thread is fear of the wild. Mythology always shows the roots of a culture. The earth is full of stories that warn about the dangers of disrespecting, not only our heritage, but our home.
Stories of the sea focus not on the stupidity of man but on the cruelty of the creatures that dwell beneath the waves. The mountains are home to giant beasts of rage and pain and death. In the jungle, wildcats and all manner of beasts linger behind the trees, just waiting to swipe their claws through your flesh and feast on your remains. The air is home to sprites that want only to trick and test you, to cause harm, and to create the mischief that is their lifeblood. In the desert, ghosts of sand and dust steal the life from your very bones.
Where are the sirens to save lost sailors? Where are the yetis to rescue mountaineers and share with them their heat? Why, in the jungle, are there not creatures to show explorers the best fruits, the best way to catch food, the best way to keep warm in the cool nights? Why do the creatures of the air not want to care for those who fall from great heights? Are there not ghosts to help provide shelter in the desert, to guide lost souls towards oasis?
Why is it, then, that humanity was so afraid of the world? At the time of the creation of these myths, we had not yet pulled the oil from beneath her skin, stripped her of her forests, dried up her lakes and oceans. As soon as we lost the fear inherent in these myths, as we began to forget her dangers, we became careless. When sirens, temptresses who called men to their deaths, changed to mermaids – when yetis changed to Bigfoot – when Fae turned to fairies – that is when we lost respect for the Earth.
Science helps us to explain what we cannot control and do not understand. When we turned from the magic of the earth to equations and laboratories, we lost the fear and respect of the Earth that keeps her turning. If not for the invention of the car, the combustion engine, why would we need to dig into the heart of our mother earth? She has done nothing to warrant this hurt; she has provided us with safe harbour, a haven in the midst of the death and destruction that is the universe. We take her for granted. With the loss of mystery comes loss of reverence.
Revere her, fear her – she who provides, who cares, but also is not afraid to get rid of dead weight. She is the fire that strips the forest of dead wood, the freezing death of winter that makes room for the new life of spring.
We must not forget the debt we owe her. We must return to the myths.