1. Through The Narrow Pass

This is the first of nine articles that lay out guiding, foundational principles for this project:

In the Greek myth of Jason and the Argonauts, the heroes must attempt to pilot their ship through a perilous pass known as the Symplegades. These were large rocks jutting out into the sea, nearly pressing up against one another.

From the stories of King Arthur’s knights and their quests, we find Sir Gawain quickly slipping through a moving gate in order to enter a castle and retrieve a stolen bridle.

Norse myth tells of the Hnitbjǫrg, a mountain dwelling where the god Odin must break a hole through the rocks. By doing so he gains the mead of poetry, a sacred drink that bequeaths inspiration and wisdom. “Hnitbjǫrg” can be translated in old Norse as “colliding rocks.” (1)

In the New Testament Jesus is quoted as saying, “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.” (Matthew 7: 13-14)

The symbol of the narrow path/pass appears as a staple in varying traditions (2).

The act of successfully navigating between two extremes serves as a guiding symbol for those who wish to live fully, consciously, heroically.

Examples one can cite from a range of philosophical and cultural sources portray a protagonist who adventures in search of some magical object or enhanced state of being; the heroes do not navigate through these perilous passes for mere sport.

The lessons echoed throughout these stories teach us to center ourselves in the ultimate Center. When we do so, we can remain steady and balanced, not swayed too much to one side or another by seductive extremes, not tempted by the shortcomings of illusions.

This website and project does not advocate for a watered-down syncretism of religion, myth, or culture in general. In the plane of human experience, such things are different, and are supposed to be different.

Aspects of varying cultures, religions, and myths may reflect their particular expressions of natural law, and may ultimately meet and harmonize on a more transcendent plane, but that’s fodder for other writings.

This very much is a website and project, however, animated by using natural law, reason, and a holistic approach to life in order to identify, articulate, and navigate the particular narrow passes of our day and age.

Agents of deception most often play two sides against one another. This requires our constant awareness and vigilance.

The metaphor of successfully crossing through the narrow pass, and the balance/harmony it confers, does not mean that every issue is limply rendered safe by taking a moderate view.

Nor does it imply a perpetual attempt to accommodate the two opposing sides of every imaginable argument, trying in vain to validate each.

In extremely unbalanced times, those under the spell of such times will often view balance–an alignment with the true, the beautiful, the good, the healthy–as a dangerous extreme.

This concludes the first of nine foundational articles. The next article in this series is The Narrow Pass of Our Times: Globalism Vs. Chauvinism.


Sources:

(1) McKinnel, John; et al. (2014). Essays on Eddic Poetry. University of Toronto Press. p. 114. ISBN 9781442615885.

(2) An overview of this theme as a proto-myth can be found in this article by Ananda Coomaraswamy.

Archived web pages are linked to as sources when available. These provide a permanent record of articles that have appeared on the Internet.

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