Awakening the Creative Spirit Through Initiation with Michael Meade

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In the fall of 2021 we began to emerge from a collective initiation and rite of passage. The world-wide Covid pandemic has given us the first two parts of a rite of passage. That is, we experienced separation from our normal lives and we have gone through an ordeal of collective death and illness. It can be likened to a caterpillar emerging from its cocoon where it totally dissolved and emerges as a butterfly. We are now emerging into a new world and can bring with us the wisdom we’ve learned from this ordeal. We have the opportunity to widen the circles of our lives and see it with new eyes. This ordeal can serve both to awaken the creative spirit of individuals and to re-create meaningful forms of community. For example, there is a need for an acknowledgement of the over 650,000 deaths in the pandemic without family around them and who even were buried without a funeral. Meade has a recommendation of how to make a prayer remembering the sorrows of the world as we live life more fully. This deep dialogue explores this critical moment of renewing, not only of ourselves but of the culture in which we are embedded. (hosted by Justine Willis Toms) 


Michael Meade is a renowned storyteller, author, scholar of mythology, and student of ritual in traditional cultures. He has scoured the world to bring to us meaningful folk tales that tap into ancestral sources of wisdom and acts as a guide to connect them to the stories we are living today. Meade is the founder of Mosaic Multicultural Foundation. He also offers regular Living Myths Podcasts. 

Michael Meade is the author of many books including: 

  • Why the World Doesn't End: Tales of Renewal in Times of Loss (GreenfirePress 2012)
  • Fate and Destiny: The Two Agreements of the Soul (GreenFire Press 2012)
  • The Genius Myth (GreenfirePress 2016)
  • Awakening the Soul: A Deep Response to a Troubled World (GreenFire Press 2018)
  • The Water of Life: Initiation and the Tempering of the Soul (GreenFire Press 2019) 

To learn more about the work of Michael Meade go to 

Topics Explored in This Dialogue 

  • How our worldwide crisis can lead to a global cultural renewal
  • What are the three stages of initiation or rite of passage: separation, ordeal, renewal
  • Why the renewal or return stage is often minimalized
  • Why the ordeal stage in initiation is referred to as a threshold or liminal stage
  • How an ordeal contains a not knowing regarding outcome
  • How does the tale of the Injured King in the Wasteland relate to these times
  • Why we must abandon strategic plans and take up listening to nature and the youngest parts of ourselves for the water of life
  • How might we finish this collective initiation in beauty and make a meaningful return to a better world
  • What the ego wants is to win and conquer and the deep self is better able to cope with change
  • What is the belly rock practice of grounding ourselves
  • What is Meade’s experience of moving from the ordeal of failure and not knowing a way forward to a new invitation in his life
  • What does Meade mean by pursuing the inner plotline of our lives
  • What is the significance of the William Stafford poem The Way It Is
  • Why there is no returning to “normal”
  • How storytelling is done with an audience, not to an audience
  • Why the middle of an initiation involves liminality and communitas
  • How we can collectively honor those who died with Covid who did not get proper funerals
  • What were Meade’s comments on Sir Laurens Van der Post’s thoughts about meaning being more important than the pursuit of happiness
  • What are the roots of peace
  • Why we don’t need to be heroic to live out the “plotline” of our individual creative genius
  • How truth is not created from data. Data creates more data but not truth
  • How people go down the rabbit hole of conspiracy theories because they are not in touch with their deep self
  • Why we are suffering now because there is no center and people are not following their thread of the deep self 

Host: Justine Willis Toms   Interview Date: 6/17/2021   Program Number: 3735

Music Playlist

From Album:  Journey Between
Artist: Baka Beyond
1998 Rykodisc #HNCD 1415

Opening Essay: Track 01 - Mbé
Music Break 1: Track 05 - Cotu
Music Break 2: Track 04 - Konti
Music Break 3: Samba Saravah – Album: From Paris to Rio -Artist Karrin Allyson