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Review of A Mythic Life: Learning to Live Our Greater Story

Do you need an antidote to the gloomy news we read every day? I did. And I found it by reading A Mythic Life: Learning to Live Our Greater Story by Jean Houston.

Dr. Houston is a renowned author, scholar, and teacher who leads transformational workshops all over the world. In part, this book is an unconventional autobiography but it’s much more than that. She also discusses the universality of myths across all times and cultures and how we can expand our own lives in light of those myths.

She’s led a fascinating life full of connections to many famous people including close associations with Margaret Mead and Joseph Campbell. Her father worked as a comedy writer in Hollywood and took her to work with him so her adventures began very early in life! She tells stories from her life with great exuberance and includes mortifying incidents as well as deeply meaningful ones

Much of Dr. Houston’s career has been occupied by studying the power of myths in forming our sense of humanity and framing the stories of our lives in mythic terms. She describes her life’s primary work as helping people recover their unique wisdom as well as finding ways to use that wisdom in the wider world. In her view myths are not just stories. They’re the primal patterns that underlie humanity and link each of us to the past and future.

Dr. Houston wants us to use the power of myths to both deepen and expand our sense of our own abilities and what’s possible for us to accomplish. She wants us to understand that we are heroes on a quest and uses stories from her own life to vividly demonstrate that. This is not a linear book but it’s written in a lively style that I found utterly captivating. The autobiographical elements fully support her theories of myth and how we can explore them to expand our lives and create a better future for ourselves and the world we live in. She’s a passionate and energetic storyteller who succeeds in carrying us along with her on her vibrant path to a better future.

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