MITM Launch featured in the JCF MythBlast June 2013

June 8, 2013

Myth Blooms in the High Desert

Joshua Tree Old Woman Rock

Joshua Tree, deep in California’s Mojave Desert, is a vibrant community of resilient individuals who, in the words of Dr. Catherine Svehla, share an “appreciation for the desert as a unique spot on Mother Earth that speaks to the imagination in a particular way worth preserving. This area is home to so many more creative people and artists than anyplace I’ve ever been.”

Catherine Svelha

Dr. Svehla—writer, artist, and storyteller with a Ph.D. in Mythological Studies from Pacifica Graduate Institute—finds fertile soil in this creative cultural nexus for the mythological seeds she plants. With the monthly High Desert Mythological RoundTable® group she founded in its fifth year, Dr. Svehla is now reaching out to a wider audience with Myth in the Mojave, a half-hour internet radio program that airs over Radio Free Joshua Tree every Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m., Pacific time.

Her goal is more than entertainment: “I’m interested in change and transformation, for myself and others. I share myths and stories to educate people about their continuing relevance as personal and cultural tools and treasures, to support and nurture the emergence of mythologies that create a more beautiful, just, and sustainable society, and to champion imagination as a crucial and fundamentally human facility.”

The High Desert Mythological RoundTable® meeting, held the last Tuesday of every month at the Red Arrow Gallery in Joshua Tree (soon to be the new home of Radio Free Joshua Tree), usually draws about 25 participants (though attendance balloons for special occasions). Every Mythological RoundTable® group has its own unique character; in Joshua Tree, meetings focus on a specific story. Before telling her tale, Catherine first shares material she’s collected about what’s in the story—the mythological context, including the age and culture it’s from, how it relates to other stories, and why she finds it interesting. Then all are invited to share what strikes them about the myth or legend, which often takes the discussion in unexpected directions.

Joshua Tree is a popular tourist destination; if you’re in the area the last Tuesday of the month, visitors are always welcome. (The RoundTable is trying something different in 2013, spending the year working with Homer’s Odyssey, hearing a portion of the myth every month; however, don’t let that stop you from dropping in, as each section is a tale that can stand on its own).

Myth in the Mojave follows a similar format, beginning with the mythological context, then the story itself. It’s no longer necessary to actually be in Joshua Tree to benefit from Dr. Svehla’s mythological reflections; tune in to Radio Free Joshua Tree Saturdays, at 3 p.m. Pacific, for a different story every week. (Soon all shows will be archived, in case you miss a week).

For more details about either the High Desert Mythological RoundTable® meetings or Myth in the Mojave, visit Dr. Catherine’s Svehla’s Cultural Mythology blog.

To locate a Mythological RoundTable® group near you, or learn how to start one, visit JCF’s Mythological RoundTable® page.

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