Myth Lab #6 – In the Garden

Myth Lab #6 – In the Garden

July 20, 2013

Sponsored by: Willi Paul, Principal,


The Artifact

Just before his death Joseph Campbell was interviewed by Bill Moyers and that interview was later turned into the documentary, “The Power Of Myth.” In this interview he postulated the idea that humanity was in need of new mythologies. Ones that were not rooted in the ancient world as all our current ones are. But myth’s that would help us navigate this new and strange world we are creating.”

* * * * * * *

process model follows that illustrates mythic imprinting (or re-contextualization) in more depth.  The goal is to integrate permaculture, transition, Nature and sustainability with the emerging values and struggles in the Chaos Age. The Myth Lab is designed as an interactive, open source and iterative experience. One goal is clear: we need to build our own messages and new myths to support our new food and governance systems.

process base image sm

Process Model for Myth Lab #6

Key Terms:

Artifact – The New Myth Artifact is a Nature-Human combination; examples include graffiti, a bill board, historic sculpture, and a permaculture garden, with special powers and messages to the neighborhood.

Mythos – The pattern of basic values and attitudes of a people characteristically transmitted through myths and the arts.

New Mythology – Is a call for new Nature-based, globally integrated stories without allegiance to any classic mythologies. New Mythology incorporates new symbols, new alchemy and climate change era rituals and is built for the future.

The Transition Movement includes new business exchange schemes where waste is used by another business; Transition is garden sharing that allows gardeners to re-use barren lands; the movement encourages people to choose local food and offer support for smart bicycle and mass transit systems.

Mythic Imprinting – Imprinting is defined as a two-way interaction with a selected Artifact that has generates synergistic meaning for both participants and the Artifact. This iterative and transmutative process is grounded in the initiation, journey and hero work from Joseph Campbell and is one way that neighborhood artifacts can help participants generate new songs, poems and myths.

Use your reactions, ideas, plots and visions to create a new myth that supports nature and the culture celebrated in the painting. All submissions for New Myth #46 will be considered and published at Magazine & Network.

 Please enjoy all 45 New Myths.

* * * * * * *

Five Stage Process

Stage One. Discover the Artifact

Each Myth Lab gathering starts with an actual neighborhood place or artifact. On Saturday we will explore Please Touch Garden, using a five step process to explore and write a New Myth together. Magazine Publisher and New Mythologist Willi Paul will facilitate the discussion. Please contact us to let us know you are coming, but no RSVP is required.

Possible questions for our collaboration include:

What are some of the past, present and future scientific and sacred interpretations of the Garden?

What classic and new myths and rituals use the garden as the focus for community celebrations?

How does science and spirit work together at the Garden?

What symbols are found here and in your backyard garden?

How does the permaculture garden at 18th & Rhode Island in SF compare to Please Touch Garden?

Examples and details on the five stage process can be found at the Myth Lab site

Stage Two. Describe the Artifact

Stage Three. Mythic Imprinting

Stage Four. Plane the New Myth Vision

Stage Five. Share the New Myth

Myth Lab in the Garden Experience Guide

myth  scene

Questions and Answers & New Myth Design from Myth Lab in the Garden

Rob Joyce & Willi Paul


1. What is a Garden?







Human Stewardship



2. What is a Food Forest?










3. List a few Human & Nature symbols in the Garden?

Picnic table

Fire pit


Pathways compost pile

Totem pole

Compost pile



Manure (unnatural color)


4. Tell us a few garden myths & rituals?

Adam & Eve – Apple

Harvest Times (Community Work / Benefit)

Turtle – land surrounded by water AND garden surrounded by Urban

5. How do science, spirit & the sacred work in the Garden?

Permaculture brings together all three

Nature love is Garden Care

Sacred is working toward the future together

Strategy, patience, emergence

Peace within chaos



Mediation – Yoga


Seasonal iteration

5. Elements of the Please Touch Garden?





Bee Hive

Tool Shed

Climbing Hops

Sun, Wind & Rain

Green House


Visual Transitions

Purple Recycle Bin


Smells & Touch

Bird House






Totem Pole




Rocking Chair

Food Plants

Flag Pole

6. New Myth Outline

Local – Universal meaning(s)

Alt-reality or mystery piece


Use of Artifact

Setting – urban > constructed > chaotic > human dominated > hard / sterile > unhealthy > spiritually sick

Characters – Natural Spirit > Stewards > Visionaries

Themes – mutation, invitation, access

Challenges – resources > patience > perception(s)

Channels / Tasks – soil > community building > alchemy

Values – access > freedom > health > gifts (gifting) > modesty > emergence > horizontal work structure > sustainability

7. Mythic Elements

Campbell’s Imitation, Hero & Journey’



“Mythic Strategy” as new Design Principles

8. Outline for New Myth #47

Rob – In a City > an artist imagines > a designer begins to build soil > a hummingbird arrives > …

Willi – At a residential neighborhood roundabout now for walkers and bikes after the petroleum ran out > kids organize to tear-out the concrete street with a vision to plant a food forest > the center circle stands an old Apple tree > the groups want to put up hummingbird houses to pollinate their crops > is that a small opening in the roots there? >

New Myth #47


“The Roundabout Food Forest Gang” : New Myth #47, by Rob Joyce, Please Touch Garden & Willi Paul,

About [ open myth source ]

The [open myth source] project gathers conversations, symbols, songs, visual art and stories. Building a house for Myth in the Sustainability Age.
This entry was posted in Alchemy, Class, localization, Myth Lab, Myths, New Myth, permaculture, PR, Stories, symbols, Tools, Transition, vision, workshop and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s