click image to enlarge

The Water of Life

Initiation and the Tempering of the Soul: New and Revised Edition
Paperback Book
October, 2006
$26.95 CAD
Banyen's Description: 

This beautiful new edition of The Water of Life is a re-visioning and refining of an already classic text (previously published in 1993 as Men and the Water of Life). Michael Meade has added a new preface that addresses the important issue of men and violence in modern culture. As a recent reader remarked, “This book is even more prescient and important at this critical point in the world than when it was first published.”

At once a mythic journey, a study in depth psychology and a treatise on initiation, Meade mines ancient stories, finding wisdom and guidance for the turbulent times in which we live. Throughout the text, the “water of life” functions as a core symbol for both personal and cultural renewal, and for the redemption of nature from a wasteland condition. Using ideas gleaned from many years of cutting-edge work with at-risk youth and oppressed communities, Meade's writing has the ring of lived truth and sings with an incantational voice that takes you right to the edge of elemental knowing.

Major themes include:

  • Initiation and the nobility of the soul
  • The awakening of youth and the making of elders
  • The Firebird and the impassioned heart
  • The sword between fathers and sons
  • Mother and Great Mother
  • Mentors and mythical helpers
  • Breaking the family spells
  • Gifts and wounds.

With psychological insight and a storyteller’s sense of wonder, Meade presents a number of traditional tales—from the ritual mating dance of an adolescent’s Saturday night to a “Forest of Stories”: “The Hunter and His Son,” “The Boy and the Half-Giantess” and “The Lizard in the Fire” from Africa, “Conn-Eda” from ancient Ireland, “The Water of Life” from Germany, and “The Firebird” from Russia. Provocative and witty, the stories are brought to life by the interspersed accounts of people like us muddling through the insecurities of youth, initiation into adulthood, the search for purpose, the making of meaningful community, the mystery and fear of the feminine, becoming an “elder,” and more.

Storyteller-drummer-teacher Michael Meade’s book reads, with amazing fidelity, like he talks, in his own distinctively seasoned, sometimes funny, sometimes scary style.

Mythic stories are like big dreams caught in a collective dreamcatcher. I sincerely hope that the stories in this book can help to catch some of the imagination needed to restore the living dream of life.

Michael Meade also co-edited The Rag and Bone Shop of the Heart, a poetry anthology, and Banyen offers audio CDs of his fiery, earthy storytelling/insights. More info:

Community Reviews

Login or Register to post a review