of a New World Myth
by John Darling
In that week of Princess Diana's death and funeral, the world changed.
Before that week, the life of Diana was one of media celebrity, not unlike the lives of Madonna, Jackie Onassis or Marilyn Monroe - full of her affairs, heartbreaks, gowns, travels and tedious People Magazine covers. It was in her death that she, and we, drew in a new world myth and annointed ourselves in it.
Diana's death was more about us than her. She was the door, the vortex, the priestess whom fate had placed at the head of the procession. She became the mythical vessel into which was poured the energies that had been coming into being since about mid-century. She was not that remarkable a person, but then neither are we and there lies the magic.
In that week, she became vastly more than remarkable - she became a demigoddess. And in imbuing her with divine attributes, we knew without question that we are that, too. What greater quality, for goddess or human, than love? In elevating her life that week, we elevated our own and wove them all into the new world myth.
Diana is the everyperson who became in her own life a hero to her own self. She's like us, a nobody who tried to win the game by the rules, bought into an outmoded vision, got royally screwed over and crawled off, with her many wounds to become who she was put here to be.
She slogged through the lower world of depression, bulimia, heartbreak, affairs, single parenthood, being laughed at, on and on, so like us. And she strode the gauntlet of trolls, bogeymen, neuroses, fears, unworthiness, much like us, but with the whole world watching.
And then she made herself. She became free. In the furnace of her humiliation and outrage, she burned off the dross of isolation, blame and righteousness and instead forged compassion. She looked around for her tools and found them. She put her children where they belonged, which is first. She found the grit to become real and do what no one has ever done, which is to become this person Diana, her own self.
It's the hero's journey we're all taking.
Coincidentally or not, she enacted the mythical qualities of the Christ story, which is older than civilization: daring to become human for us, walking among the land mines (who would do this to people?!), holding the sufferers of AIDS and leprosy in her arms (it's about love!), walking the long, thorny procession though the taunting papparazzi mob.
And finally being sacrificed by us, a martyrdom which, like that of Christ, threw light on all the grievous human qualities -- greed, arrogance, hype, fame, ignorance, insensitivity.
It made us know again: life is fleeting, we have this moment and let us use it to love.
The dry-eyed royals seemed irresistably pulled into playing the cruel and arrogant Romans. Finally shamed out of their palaces and into the electronic light of day, they offered a single bow of their heads to her sacrificed body.
And when we saw Diana's once-lovely form rolling and the horses' hooves clopping and the lilies (Easter!) and the card saying "mummy," there it all was, the ancient story, innocence sacrificed.
Diana would have been astonished at what happened that week. Our response to Diana's death was the real story. We were watching and feeling us on tv. We opened. We shifted.
When hundreds of millions of people feel the same emotions and understandings with such power, the world soul is accessible for reshaping.
It's an ancient, infallible instinct, one completely beyond the control of the usual shapers of opinion and behavior. We knew what to do.
We all felt it and we stood the ranks of flowers and people deeper and deeper at the gates and we slept in the streets and we took the clay of that soul into our hands at last and changed it and fired it in great glow of television.
In everything we said and felt that day and week, we were talking about and feeling who we were becoming.
We are changing the world not with the blunt instruments of politics or wealth or war or even ideology, but with our personal lives.
We do it with all those great little heroic encounters - going on after the pain, working out at the gym, the long walks, giving up the failed soporifics of the past, like cigarettes, tuning out most of the news, finding and growing those networks of people we care about, and above all, by being there with love for the children.
In our dismay at the royals that week, we spoke our increasing distance from the world that brought us the countless wars, refugees, oppressed classes and colors and centuries of unspeakable personal pain.
As we moved through the Great Mystery of the week and as the carriage rolled through the streets, we came to pity the royals, sensing them as victims by birth of the old, unfeeling order, and we forgave them. What does it matter who is queen?
It's what's happening now, in the world heart. And what's happening is that hundreds of millions of people are doing something with a shy, compassionate young woman which has already done more to change the world than the War of the Roses, the Battle of Britain, Runnymede and all of that.
What happened that week could never have happened a generation ago, nor at any time in history until now. Myth must renew. It will not tolerate being frozen (the one true myth!) or being used to prop up earthly authority, as ours has been for so many centuries.
In Diana's death, the new, reversed polarities are revealed to us, again reflecting who we have become. Gone is the ancient story of the young king-consort being sacrificed and leaving behind the grieving queen (or the earth goddess watered by his blood).
Our new myth is acted out with the woman going forth to change the world and die, while her men, her innocent boys, graced with her beauty and instincts, grieve and absorb the love of the world. And the Man, the Old King, Charles, holds power, yet is impotent.
Unlike the male heroes and gods who preceded her, Diana reshaped the world with love, not force.
And this time, there's no scripture, no ranks of clergy, no true believers/nonbelievers, jihads and persecutions -it's just all of us in the immediate, intuitive, unspoken, simultaneous, irrefutable, worldnetted moment.
As Diana's gun wagon (!) rolls over the cobbles, our hearts are wrung and ripped open. Years of our visions and longings are precipitated and crystallized into the mythic body. And then, to underline it, as the carriage moves, Mother Teresa dies. Do you believe in signs?
The new myth had taken. It was a coronation - the Queen of Hearts - not a funeral.
The world heart had opened and made itself vulnerable to change. In the ancient and implacable tradition, it took innocent blood to seal it - Socrates, Christ, Joan of Arc, Lincoln, Gandhi, Kennedy, King - but we would never be as we were.
Myth runs things and we saw myth in the making. Myth is the disc operating system of humanity. It's the abstract which is more real than the specifics it controls. We choose it from our most deeply held feelings and we annoint ourselves with it.
In civilizations, until now, it has always been shaped by kings, priests and warriors and handed out to us in great rituals, coronations and battles. But this time we made it.
We stood there in parks and streets and inside the great tv world nervous system and, with ease and grace, took the power to ourselves.
We saw the new myth settling over the world in plain view and knew we had made it ourselves and to our liking and that it had a woman and her children at the center.
We knew that it was about us finally being grown up now and moving beyond the surrogate-parent kings and priests and joining intuitively together, using our own inner wisdom.
We knew that that wisdom is good and that that myth is about us and our lives and that myth is love.
John Darling, M.S., is a writer and counselor, rebirther,
hypnotherapist and Gaian priest in Oregon.
Photograph of the flowers for Diana in front of the palace
My Song for Diana by Kiki
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