“We are Mythic Warriors”- On the Work of Co-Creating Consciousness. Interview with Willi Paul, Planetshifter.com by Bonnie Bright for Depth Insights™
In this written interview, Depth Insights™ host Bonnie Bright interviews Willi Paul, who is active in sustainability, permaculture, transition, sacred Nature, new alchemy, and mythology. Mr. Paul has recently released his new iBook:
“MythicWarriors: Reader and Myth Engine, Permaculture, Nature, Transition and the New Mythology. Interviews, Articles, New Myths and Messages from a Mythic Journey.”
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BB: In 2009, you created PlanetShifter.com, which has a mandate to co-create a spiritual shift and evolved consciousness for Earth. What does PlanetShifter.com offer, and how is it impacting people who have discovered it over the years?
WP: To date I have supported and informed this global mandate with a variety of content formats, including over 325 thought leader interviews, 2370 articles, 83 New Myths, 13 workshops, 30 eBooks and 157 videos. My charge is to integrate the values and lessons in Permaculture, Transition Movement, and Nature as we create a New Mythology. Most folks in my network like the investigations and predictions on the future; a fresh approach to global problems in support of solution making. To be fair, my work is a hybrid tool kit, mixing often competing alchemic forces; complex, as am I.
BB: Complex times and situations are part of larger complex systems, and require that we meet them with tremendous creativity, just as you do. Your “New Myth” series is made up of info widgets, which are typically short in length. How do you come up with these unique offerings along on the road to what you call a “post-chaos world,” and who is your target audience?
WP: New Myths are projections and usually gurgle up through my sub-consciousness in a spark. Could be a theme or a setting that appears unannounced—then the story is written in an iterative process. Each one gets only one illustration which I take very seriously as supportive symbols and narrative triggers help lure readers in for the main course!
My target audience? Good question. I hope that teens and start-uppers take the top spots, but I confess to not cranking out analytics and surveys to find out. Each one usually gets 300 or so reads in the first three days from publication, and then hits trickle in from there.
BB: Talk about archetypes. I see the influence of Jung’s work in what you do. Can you describe how you define and engage with archetypes in your work?
WP: : Early in my work, I was attracted to Jung’s definition of archetype, much as it is summarized here:
“According to the Jungian approach of psychology, some highly developed elements of the collective unconscious are called ‘archetypes’. Carl Jung developed an understanding of archetypes as universal, archaic patterns and images that derive from the collective unconscious and are the psychic counterpart of instinct. They are autonomous and hidden forms which are transformed once they enter consciousness and are given particular expression by individuals and their cultures. Being unconscious, the existence of archetypes can only be deduced indirectly by examining behavior, images, art, myths, religions, or dreams. They are inherited potentials which are actualized when they enter consciousness as images or manifest in behavior on interaction with the outside world.”
My “instinct” was to investigate current archetypes and build the New Mythologies through Permaculture, Transition Movement, and Nature symbols. This union of symbols and archetypes play a key role in life support by connecting the sub-conscious to the conscious; to the births, deaths, celebrations and the unknowns that we struggle with as human beings.
Here are five proposed Permaculture & Nature Archetypes and their Symbols published on PlanetShifter.com in 2014:
A. Permaculture & Nature Archetype: A love to preserve unique landscapes for future generations. Mistrust of greedy, short-term land and energy developers
Symbols: Tree of Life, Permaculture logo, Yosemite, Seeds, Amazon Rain Forest, US Gulf Coast
B. Permaculture & Nature Archetype: Our hope is to build sustainable systems in our local neighborhoods and towns. Fear of food and fuel shortages; fights for resources between neighbors and governments
Symbols: Crude oil on rails, GMO; Convergence and sharing expo events; neighborhood plans and new rituals
C. Permaculture & Nature Archetype: A deep love for freedom to own fire arms; fear of guns and killing.
Symbols: AK-47, US Flag, Scenes from mass shootings, vigils, pawn shops
D. Permaculture & Nature Archetype: Fear that global warming will destroy all life on Earth. Mistrust of business and goal of short-term profits
Symbols: Rising coastal tides, melting polar ice, coal fired power plants.
E. Permaculture & Nature Archetype: Mistrust of energy privatization and corrupt safety practices. Love of the system and blind faith in corporate responsibility
Symbols: BP, PG&E, Duke Energy
What I identify as "Sound archetypes" in the work of guitarist Steve Tibbetts, for example, are dynamic, circular in expression (like a drum roll) and mysterious, whereas Nature archetypes are more visual, appear in segments, and often have a more romantic or political flavor as we experience them in real-time.
BB: You have new iBook out, MythicWarriors: Reader and Myth Engine, Permaculture, Nature, Transition and the New Mythology. Interviews, Articles, New Myths and Messages from a Mythic Journey. What’s it about, and what was the inspiration for it?
WP: The book revolves around my core focus, the integration of the values and lessons in Permaculture, Transition Movement, and Nature as we create a New Mythology. It brings a sample of the interviews and articles from the Planetshifter.com database along with “Messages from a Mythic Journey” that are highlights from my collaborations with thought leaders, social media, friends and colleges. I am currently leveraging the Apple Books version to contract with a traditional paper book publisher.
BB: How are you integrating nature and technology in the lessons you offer in the book (and elsewhere)?
WP: First of all, technology won’t solve our problems nor save us from ourselves! I experience a spiritual void in the roll-out of gadgets and clouds and incubators. I perceive technology as a shell game for profit. My “New Myths” often highlight the fake value in tech, especially the inflated costs to buy and run the wires.
I am also fond of re-engineering technical systems and sub-culture for the hard realities coming to humans and nature now. Examples include:
BB: And yet, you continue to use technology very successfully to inspire consciousness; it has become such a powerful vehicle in our current culture. How would you describe the socio-political mythological landscape as you continue to press on with your new myth vision? Are you building allies in the more traditionally oriented academic community?
WP: Most days, my bliss carries me to the right spaces. I understand that most mythologists are very conservative and not eager to walk outside of the line that Campbell and other classicists still maintain for them. Classic mythology doesn’t seem to be innovating much in its dusty silo. I know that not everyone agrees with my particular take on things, but I am doing the job that I was put here to do.
For more insight on "mythic immersion," please look out for my latest interview with Stephen Gerringer who is responsible for Community Relations at the Joseph Campbell Foundation, due out shortly on Planetshifter.com.
BB: Are you enjoying any new or transitional rituals these days?
WP: This is a central research area for me, but for the most part, I’m finding there is little new ritual to speak of! Most of the time, I find myself sheltering in place to avoid what I perceive as the draconian-to-the-absurd religious and profit-time parties in our current society. There is a real need to evolve and create new values, rituals and global traditions with each other.
My work with Transition Palo Alto is a start at new ritual making.
Here is a sample:
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Willi Paul has been active in the sustainability, permaculture, transition, sacred Nature, new alchemy and mythology space since the launch of PlanetShifter.com Magazine on EarthDay 2009. In 1996 Mr. Paul was instrumental in the design of the emerging online community space in his Master’s Thesis: “The Electronic Charrette.” He was active in many small town design visits with the Minnesota Design Team. Willi earned his permaculture design certification in August 2011 at the Urban Permaculture Institute, San Francisco.
Mr. Paul has been interviewed over 30 times in blogs and journals. See his early cutting-edge article at the Joseph Campbell Foundation and his pioneering videos on YouTube. Willi’s network now includes multiple partner web sites, a 3 Twitter accounts, a G+ site, multiple blog sites, and multiple list serves and e-Community Groups including his New Mythology, Permaculture and Transition Group on LinkedIn, and his popular New Global Mythology group on Depth Psychology Alliance.
Bonnie Bright, Ph.D., holds M.A. degrees in Psychology from Sonoma State University and in Depth Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara, CA, where she also earned her Ph.D. She is the founder of http://www.depthpsychologyalliance.com/ target="blank">Depth Psychology Alliance, a free online community and affiliated organization dedicated to making Jungian and depth psychologies more accessible in the world, and is the editor and host for Depth Insights™, providing depth psychology content in the form of a semi-annual scholarly journal, audio and video interviews with experts in the field, and educational webinars. Bonnie also created , a free-to-search online directory connecting depth-oriented therapists and practitioners with those who are seeking their services.