Mythopoeia through blogging


Pronunciation /ˌmɪθə(ʊ)ˈpiːə

mass noun

  • The making of a myth or myths.‘For, as noted above, Tasso’s is the first vernacular poem to mold Musaeus in the Ovidian heroic manner: apostrophe, ethopoeia and digressive mythopoeia abound.’

Intention statement, mythopeoia, and Personal Myth

As may be the case for many who start out blogging, I’m looking at this as a big experiment, a hobby, and a way to reach an audience with my ideas and art – to share my perspective with the world.

Coming from a relatively short-lived career as a high school art instructor (slightly under 10 years), I decided to pursue a MA/PhD in Mythological Studies with Emphasis in Depth Psychology. I’m almost 3 quarters in, and I intend for this blog to document parts of my educational experience, showcase my visual art, share random thoughts and ideas and network.

The study of Myth is great and vast, and I am but a grain of sand. In crafting and curating this blog, I intend to engage in the act of personal meaning-making, or as I see it, becoming a more active participant in my Personal Myth.

*I am curious to know if and how people will respond to my reflections and posts. Please like, comment, and share feedback as you see fit! I love to engage in conversation and would love for this blog to serve as en extension of that. Share your thoughts! I can be reached via email at as well. Much love. 

my rosy-fingered dawn.

*Happy Pride, fam.

They said the bells would ring one day;

Crisp, thy morning spring.

Frost and bees with honey cream,

Such did the new year bring.

Don’t forget your Bonny coat,

For life won’t stop and wait.

The Sunrise brings such freshly tides,

For those who mind her gait.

Catch your breath and glimpse the Moon

Her shattered gaze in snakes.

Or is it but a Rabbit’s stew

Goat cheese, fine herbs, and Yeats?

A glass of wine, don’t look away

Tho desperate thirst abates.

For in thy deepest shallows loud,

All bleating lambs, we wake.

Forever shrewd, but feeling-full,

We stumble, then we fall,

But never doubt, just look about,

We’re here, It’s us, Stand tall!

For though they may have teased you so,

the better part is out.

And when you find that voice within,

Just fumble it about!

But never fear in being Queer,

And lying is no fun,

At least not when the rest of them,

They drop the ball and run!

So find your strength, your inner saint,

and teach that nun ’bout love,

For when we meet again each day,

Our song will rise above!

(They said the bells would ring one day.

You hear them now; don’t wait!

You’ve got a life to live ahead,

a free one, too, Be Great!)

Remember still, that in the end,

life's principles abide.

Have some fun, and come undone,

Then snuggle back inside.

Remember still, your Rite of Spring,

Forever free inside.

Share it, let your insight ring,

And fill the Streets with Pride!

Are rewarded here with Pride!

This is a coming out poem I wrote this morning in reflection all these years later of coming out when I was 19. I hope it rings true!


A response to Christian Mihai

image credit:

screenshot from

Before I dive into my response, check out this excerpt from the full piece:

-Christian Mihai

The full piece can be viewed here:

My response

I wasn’t sure what I was getting into when I started reading this blog post. It’s only 1500 words, and you will probably question whether it’s worth reading once or twice while reading it, but you will hardly be aware that you’re questioning it until afterwards because there is a certain rhythm to the author’s writing. The writer, himself, directly references his belief that good writing has rhythm, and I would argue that he demonstrates this in his own piece. I would add that the author does a great job of self-editing, something he also addresses in the piece, given the resulting directness of his approach.

This blog-post is a bit long as far as blog-posts go, yet strong in impact and design. This directness is a breath of fresh air in a sea of peoples, including myself, trying to find their voices. I think this is part of the reason I started blogging. Thank you, Christian Mihai, whoever the f$#k you are, for finding power in your writing.

I am going to go out on a limb and argue right here, right now, without providing any evidence (which pretty much goes against everything I’m being taught as a PhD student), that finding authenticity in the expression of one’s own voice -and in this case the writer’s cadence- has the power to stir action in the reader.

I will continue to explore the ideas expressed in this piece, and if you can forgive me, I will take a moment here to address the author, himself, one more time:

Thank you, Christian Mihai. Without knowing much about you, I feel comfortable making an observation while offering you some compliments along the way. Your commitment to being authentic in your writing is palpable. I admire that. For what its worth, your writing had a strong enough impact on me to urge me to write and publish this response piece in the wee hours of the morning.

Christian Mihai: your commitment to being authentically you is… meaningful.

Check out Christian’s website: Being that I am writing this piece in response to his stirring blog post, I highly suggest reading it.

Gerry Sheahan, @gTronnArts

Loreena McKennit imagines a deeper vision of Homer’s Penelope

Reviving Penelope’s Agency

Loreena McKennit provides a character study of Homer’s Penelope from the Odyssey in her Penelope’s Song. Her interpretation breathes life into a familiar female character from Greek Myth who is too often shrouded in darkness cast by Odysseus’s shadow. Through the authenticity of her performance and songwriting, McKennit invites her audience to give Penelope agency as an emotional being who feels deep love for her partner. Penelope chooses to stand by Odysseus in the face of a vast passage of time and at all costs. In McKennit’s song, Penelope says, “And in the night when are dreams are still/Or when the wind calls free/I’ll keep your heart with/Until You come to me.”

Gorgeous YouTube Video of Loreena McKennit performing Penelope’s Song live.

In the epic itself, Penelope remains faithful to Odysseus for 20 years as 108 potential new suitors attempt to lay claim to her hand in marriage after the Trojan War. She evades them by weaving and then unweaving a funeral shroud for Odysseus’ funeral (which never comes to pass), a task which Odysseus does not match up to.

Penelope’s SongMoth: “I gave you my life.”

Flame: “I allowed you to kiss me.” ~ Hazrat Inayat Khan
There is always going to be suffering. It’s how you look at your suffering, how you deal with it, that will define you.

~ Mark Twain

Now that the time has come

Soon gone is the day

There upon some distant shore

You’ll hear me say

Long as the day in the summer time

Deep as the wine dark sea

I’ll keep your heart with mine

Till you come to me

There like a bird I’d fly

High through the air

Reaching for the sun’s full rays

Only to find you there

And in the night when our dreams are still

Or when the wind calls free

I’ll keep your heart with mine

Till you come to me

Now that the time has come

Soon gone is the day

There upon some distant shore

You’ll hear me say

Long as the day in the summer time

Deep as the wine dark sea

I’ll keep your heart with mine

Till you come to me

#Loreena McKennit

Cruel Sunsets by Gabriela Marie Milton #poem #poetry #short prose

Anna Ismagilova; Shutterstock Cruel Sunsets by Gabriela Marie Milton Summer sunsets with their cruel debaucheries of orange and purple. Concentrated …

Cruel Sunsets by Gabriela Marie Milton #poem #poetry #short prose

I found this poem to be SO fascinating that I just had to repost it on my blog. Please go check her blog out for yourselves, and if you are as compelled by her work as I am, like the post and leave a comment: let’s talk about it! 🔥💜🔥✨🙌🏻✨

Why Mythological Studies; and what does that have to do with Depth Psychology?

Hi Friends,

This is the part where I formally introduce myself and write a little bit about why I’ve decided to start a blog. My name is Gerry. I’m 41 years old and am currently enrolled in a MA/PhD program in Mythological Studies with Emphasis in Depth Psychology. Before I go into my personal history, let me take a moment to explain what my degree program is about and what it means.

Right now, I am in the third quarter of my first year of study in the program. That means that technically, I am not yet an active PhD student. In other words, being that the program itself provides a highly specialized degree, all candidates must complete three years of work in preparation to complete their work. The first two years culminate in the completion of a “Comp” exam. After receiving a passing mark on my comps, I will be awarded a Master of Arts (or “MA” in my field of study. After that, each candidate completes a third year of post-graduate study which includes instructor-guided preparation towards the develop of his, her, or their dissertation research.

After the third year of study, I will have 1-2 years to complete my dissertation work. Upon completion of my research and approval of my defense, I will be awarded a PhD in Mythological Studies with Emphasis in Depth Psychology.

Now again, what on Earth does that mean?

This is going to be tough, and I will probably need to edit it over time, but here is my initial attempt to describe our coursework. It goes something like this: through reading ancient texts and comparing World Mythology, philosophical studies, examining the history of Mythology, learning approaches and methodologies to the study of Myth, a learning the history and practices of Depth Psychology (from Freud to Jung to Hillman to von Franz to now), and finally, always with an emphasis on the analysis of Myth through a Depth Psychological lens, we look deeply into Self and world in an attempt to understand the subconscious and understand our own Personal Myths and the way Mythology impacts the current world.

My amazing and incredibly gifted writing tutor (who is a fiction writer herself), @Anne Larson, told me to think of grad school as a way to provide a vast amount of information and sources to be indexed and resourced later throughout the course of my career.

SO, here I am! I am three quarters of the way into my first year of studies, and I want to share my experiences, my setbacks, my vulnerabilities, my creative works, and ultimately, my process as the work develops over time.

I also plan to share past and future creative workings, personal writing and anecdotes, short stories, insights, thoughts, poetry, visual and performance art, and anything else that comes up along the way!

I ask only that you respect me as an individual, and I promise to do the same. I’ve been told before my more than a few wise people in my life that I am here to be a bridge… to help bridge divides between peoples, groups, and worlds. I vow to do my best to build as many bridges as I can while I’m here.

With love and respect,


A decision years in the making.

My earliest memories of my Dad involve silliness, laughter and sheer joy for him to finally come home from work each day. Each night, he climbed into bed and read to me. Most of the stories were FULL of adventure, heroism, sacrafice, self-discovery or even complete transformation. In this nightly ritual, my Father stoked in me the fires of my own imagination. He blessed me with an insatiable sense of curiosity that, to this day, has pushed me along in my personal quest for knowledge and understand, a fascination with life’s mysteries, the joys of making art and teaching it with Chicago Public Schools. 

As a young artist, both during the development of my thesis work as a BFA student and afterwards, I quickly learned that my best work happened through taking creating risks and stepping fully into The Unknown. I have since come to see this process as being almost mystical in nature. This understanding coupled with my initial exposure to Joseph Campbell’s theories on the Monomyth and “The Hero’s Journey” which he laid out in his book The Hero with a Thousand Faces and Carl Jung’s theories about the collective unconscious, the archetypes and the role they play in the artistic process helped build the foundation for my future career in the arts and as a Storyteller.

 I was born in 1980, and my intense awakening to the works and insight of Joseph Campbell became notable to my memory sometime during my studies as an undergraduate student in the Baccalaureate of Fine Arts program at The University of Notre Dame in South Bend, IN. My Father was100% Irish Catholic. He was the youngest of seven and was born just after his parents lost all of their newly earned wealth during the Stock Market Crash of 1929 and The Great Depression that followed. It’s almost surreal to be recounting this tragic tale of my Father’s poor childhood (told always by Mother) as we are currently experiencing the closest thing to The Great Depression that we never thought we’d come to behold ourselves; a thing that, in of itself, seemed more Myth or Fairy Tale then cautionary – something  shocking but too tragic, too bad and too far away to be repeated: it was a story told of a different time – something that happened to a much younger nation which had learned its lesson and moved on. 

My introduction to Campbell’s theories on mythology remains a most significant event during my eventful time spent as a student in the BFA program at the University of Notre Dame from 1998-2003. I was fortunate enough to be afforded the opportunity to study at a liberal arts school such as the one at Notre Dame where I had a wide range of experiences aside from my area of concentration in Studio Art.

Aside from my initial courtship with the ideas of Joseph Cambell (which seem to have been most impressive contemporaneously – and impressively-so currently), Before that time, I had found Mythology to be seductive, yet persistently allusive to my youthful point-of-view. I understood how clearly significant these ancient stories were, but I didn’t understand why or how. I didn’t get the metaphors and mirrors – those mirrors into the Self and the labyrinthine maze of the psyche with its terrifying beasts lurking in the shadows and its puzzles, angels, and its gods and goddesses.

College changed my life. I did not enter into it with any practical ability to draw and in fact saw drawing at the time as an unattainable ability that some people had, but I clearly lacked and would never possess. I was fortunate enough to answer a scary, yet persistent itch to take a drawing class which I conceded to scratch by taking an Intro to Drawing for Product Design class during which time I gained unexpected personal satisfaction having previously been strikingly unconscious of my own desire to pursue drawing nor any ability nor talent in it. While only receiving a “C” in that class despite obvious personal improvement during one semester of study, I was so fascinated with the process of drawing and surprised by own ability to learn how to do it that I went on to choose it as my focus of study – one of the great, collective nightmares of the majority of contemporary parents. Though once my enthusiasm began to show, to their credit, they did start to come around. I completed my degree at Notre Dame with the unanticipated, yet life-altering experience of having my thesis work in studio art designated as “Best-inShow” for the graduating class of 2003. The drawing professor who taught the drawing class that tempted me through the terrifying, yet exhilarating threshold into an entirely unknown realm in my life with a “C” also had the good nature to approach me after I was presented with the award by a line of art professors become personal heroes, most of whom possessed a hitherto, unfamiliar look to gaze which I can affirm now was admiration and respect. My initial drawing professor had the decency to congratulate by telling me how “shocked” he was, my mentor and advisor cried and embraced me after a rich and emotional ride to success largely made possible via her guidance and instruction, and a professor under whom I did not personally study stood up during my thesis defense process and stated that there was no negative criticism for me to defend due to the unprecedented quality and affect the work provided, and, and notable to me, I sounded “like a real artist” while after answering some previous questions about the process of creating it and my history with it. 

This experience set the stage for my further calling into Myth and storytelling. This laid the framework for my work as studio artist, performer and workshop instructor for Von Orthal Puppets in Chicago creating and performing original designs under the direction of Cynthia von Orthal. Cynthia, who garnered significant attention during her initial career as a Hollywood TV and film actor, pursued post-graduate studies in Prague of the ancient art of puppetry after having a life-changing experience in the forests of Peru where she was received cosmological guidance to create the Von Orthal Puppet Studio under the mission to “travel the world telling the story of our hearts”. Cynthia decided to follow this mystical guidance and upon our meeting, I found myself immediately enamored with her passion and the multi-cultural nature of her work having been largely inspired by the traditional “Bunraku” (hand and rod) puppets of the traditionally Japanese style. We soon recognized our similar passion for art and storytelling, and she took me under her wing as one of her apprentices and colleagues.

By the time I met Cynthia, her studio practice was well-established and she quickly became equally a mentor and personal creative hero. When she asked me to come work on the production of a show that she had agreed to coordinate on with a fledgling non-for-profit in Guatemala called “La Casa Kame”, I agreed with much enthusiasm. The show itself would be performed just outside the ruins of Tikal, Guatemala at a gathering of Maya elders they organized in an effort to help them learn to communicate with each other anew after many years of tribal isolation placed on them by the Spanish Empire after colonizing the area centuries prior. We spent a year creating and workshopping the show in Chicago which we called “The Galactic Mayan Project” and performed and “La Unificacion Maya” Gathering in Guatemala at the beginning of 2010. We then traveled to another location in Guatemala where we performed the show in a local community auditorium as part of a cultural outreach program. After completing this first show, we began work on another yearlong production of an entirely original VOP production and full-length stage theatre show called Berwyn Ave. which told the autobiographically-inspired story of a summer during CVO’s childhood growing up in the Northside-Chicago neighborhood of Ravenswood. Having the opportunity to help create, produce, perform in and assist in the direction of these two shows with VOP were two of the most satisfying years of my life, the memory of which I can recount to any audience with rich and vivid detail due to the extensive nature of our collaboration. After completing 6-week, 5-day per week run of Berwyn Ave. at one of the largest theatre spaces in Chicago, The Ravel Theatre ( I would go on continuing to work with VOP until I left Chicago in 2010.

Selena Madden

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