Myth & Mycelium: Rerooting the Gospels. Rewilding the Rabbi.
A transformational course taught online by Sophie Strand, 19 July to 23 August. What if hidden beneath contemporary narratives of progress and domination there was a mythic root system of earth-based wisdom? How does Jesus, a Galilean healer, with a penchant for nature-based storytelling get mistranslated by empire and coopted by patriarchy?
What if hidden beneath contemporary narratives of progress and domination there was a mythic root system of earth-based wisdom?
How does Jesus, a Galilean healer, with a penchant for nature-based storytelling get mistranslated by empire and coopted by patriarchy?
In this course we will root Jesus back in the mythic and ecological context of the Ancient World, resurrecting him as the continuation of a tradition of lunar kings, rhizomatic harpists, and vegetal magicians with a shared passion for oral storytelling, communal meals, and animist wisdom.
The Course Content#
Examining the tradition of dying-resurrecting gods, we will use fungi to think through the idea of gods and heroes as individuals. Just as fungi teach plants how to root into the soil, so do myths teach us how to root into relation with our biological and social ecosystems. Myths seek to express ecological truths with personified elementals, narrativizing a deep understanding of our connection to more-than-human time scales. While disconnected by time and place, Osiris and Dionysus and Orpheus are mushrooms of a shared, below-ground, mythic mycelial system.
Jesus, then, planted back in the mycorrhizal system of Mediterranean mythology and the nature-based traditions of first century Judaism, takes on an environmentally radical role. The wild rabbi teaches us how to use ecological storytelling and sacred food rituals to offer both a critique and a cure for empire. As we reroot these foundational myths in their original ecological and cultural context, we also rewild and retell these narratives with modern science, poetry, philosophy, and ecology, freshly adapting them for our contemporary struggle with climate inaction and ecocide.
The Course Format#
Lectures: The course consists of live sessions held via Zoom with Sophie Strand teaching and exploring the module topics in depth. Recordings are made of each session and shared with participants to watch again or catch up in their own time.
Live Q&As and Discussion: After each Lecture is an interactive Q&A and Discussion session with Sophie and course participants. A chance to probe ideas, see things from different perspectives, and ask questions about the history, philosophy, characters and texts explored, and what they mean in the world today.
Forums: Each session has an associated Forum hosted on our communication platform, where you can share comments and questions, and discuss themes and ideas of the course.
- SESSION 1: Myth, Mycelium, and Messiahs: Vegetal Gods of the Mediterranean (Tuesday 19 July, 6PM BST)
- SESSION 2: From Breath to Text: Oral Scripture and the Transition into Alphabetic Abstraction (Tuesday 26 July, 6PM BST)
- SESSION 3: Rabbi, Magician, Storyteller: Rerooting Jesus in His Galilean Ecosystem (Tuesday 2 August, 6PM BST)
- SESSION 4: The Kingdom is a Weed: Parables, Biblical Animism, and Ecological Storytelling (Tuesday 9 August, 6PM BST)
- SESSION 5: Rewilding the Beloved: Jesus the Bridegroom, Mary Magdalene, and Gnosticism (Tuesday 16 August, 6PM BST)
- SESSION 6: Tying our Roots Together (Tuesday 23 August, 6PM BST)
Myth & Mycelium: An Online Course
Sophie Strand #
Sophie is a writer based in the Hudson Valley who focuses on the intersection of spirituality, storytelling, & ecology. But it would probably be more authentic to call her a neo-troubadour animist with a propensity to spin yarns that inevitably turn into love stories. Her first book of essays The Flowering Wand: Lunar Kings, Lichenized Lovers, Transpecies Magicians, and Rhizomatic Harpists Heal the Masculine is forthcoming in 2022. She is currently researching a mythopoetic exploration of ecology and queerness in the medieval legend of Tristan and Isolde.