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Becoming Visionary

Like many of our ancestors before us, we live in a time of great uncertainty. We feel the fragility of life; there is much to fear. And while there is much that we can do, none of our actions will take root without a vision to hold them to the Earth. We must, as Tererai Trent would say, “plant our dreams” deeply.

Becoming visionary means using our vision, both inner and outer, to cast a creative template into the future and weave ourselves into its unfolding. We can create intentionally only what we first imagine. We create an image using our interior vision. In doing so, we create a thought template that becomes a guide. We “see” a possible future, a way forward, a place of thriving. We dream about it, talk about it, draw it, write it, feel our way into it, plant it, tend it. As we do so, we begin to lay the foundation for its arrival. Image-making (imagining) allows us to create a scaffold into which the future can be built. We gain foresight.

In myth, the gift of foresight - even for the gods - is bought at a high price, as it has great value. It is also mysteriously interwoven with wisdom of the past. The Norse all-father, Odin, seeking knowledge of the future, once requested a drink from the well of the ancient giant, Mimir (memory). Mimir offered to trade a sip from his well for one of Odin’s eyes - a steep price indeed. Odin complied, plucked out his right eye, and dropped it into the well. As soon as he finished his drink of the well’s power, Odin knew all that had ever been as well as all that would ever be. Ever afterward, he had one eye on what was in front of him, and one eye that saw deeply through the well of remembrance. Can you - metaphorically - keep one eye closely focused on what is in front of you, and let your “inner eye” see clearly through the waters of memory?

In Greek myth, memory is a root source of innovation, creativity, story, and art. The Titan goddess Mnemosyne (memory), gave birth to the nine Muses after nine afternoons of lovemaking with Zeus. The message is clear: those who sing us forward and inspire are born from the womb of the past. In your own life, can you marry the past with what is holy to bring forth something creative and beautiful, something that inspires?

Keen foresight and an awareness of the past are yoked together by the creative NOW, the moment of vision-casting and possibility. What was, what is, and what will be are woven of one cloth. To make the future beautiful, we must all become visionaries. Being visionary means accepting, learning from, grieving for, healing, and working with the past, as well as imagining what could be. Our past and our future meet NOW. It is up to us to meet this moment with courage and vision to create something new - born of the rich soil of the past, nourished by the holy.

“Myths are clues to the spiritual potentialities of the human life.” ~ Joseph Campbell

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