Yesterday watching two footballs games vying to be the Number One in the Super Bowl, my mythic awareness came back to me (Thank you Joseph Campbell), and I saw the great football stadiums that every great city must have as our high gothic cathedrals of medieval Europe. Each city built a greater cathedral than its neighbor and would spend all its treasure to do so. These Cathedrals were in interior space, like the womb of the Great Goddess herself.
And our football stadiums, shaped as an oval are symbolic of the interior space of the great womb of the Goddess. In the Stadium all attention is focused on the field where the gods compete like two tom cats to be Number One, the One son of the Goddess. The celebration of the birth of the One is national, as if peace has been restored to the earth forever. But we have to understand that this is the ritual reenactment of an ancient myth, the dying and resurrected son of the Goddess. This is a universal myth that is ritualized in ceremonies all over the world, in different forms, to be sure, but the same pattern exists in all. In ancient society this ritual was human sacrifice. In modern society, it is symbolic sacrifice, and our sports are the reenactment of this ritual.
The dying and resurrected son is our team or our single sports hero. It makes no no difference whether its a single athlete or a team, one dies and a new king is born. Then that new king holds the throne until the next king defeats him and is the new resurrected son. The king is dead; long live the king.
We get blood thirsty excited in the reenactment of this ritual because there are deep psychic buttons that triggers this universal song of death and resurrection, and the longing to be Number One. This longing and striving to be Number One, the Unique One that has no second is the mythic theme of our civilization. And the football game is the myth in which this imperative law of life is renewed. Primitives believe that is this great Life Ritual is not performed, life itself would not return. Life is a blood sport.
Today we live in a symbolic reality where symbols are sacrificed instead of living humans. While our games are symbolic, however, our real life is very bloody, and hero’s are being sacrificed all the time and great funerals are held to mark the spot where their blood was spilled.
But getting back to the game. I also noticed that the actual game play itself is timeless. If you turn on any football game and just watch the play, (if you don’t recognize the uniforms) the play is timeless. It is a tape loop of play action that all looks the same. The ball is Snapped and for a few moments the Titans clash. The meaning of the play action rests entirely with the story of the play: what team, when in the game does it occur, the place, the score, the history…in other words the meaning of the play action is given by time. But the actual play is eternal. It all looks the same.
So you have on the field of Attention in the bowl of the Goddess womb, the interaction of time and eternity. It is time that gives meaning to eternity. But it is eternity that makes time possible. Without the timeless clash of Titans, there would be no story, no history, and no dying and resurrected Son who is the Unique One second to none.
We think we have wiped mythology from reality, swept it clean of ritual and myth…oh, no…we reenact our mythology every Sunday in the great cathedrals where eternity dances with time, and for a moment when the game ends we are all the Son of the Goddess, the Resurrected god who will be king for the day…until the next game begins.