We began our three week journey by discussing the power and origin of sounds and words. We were fascinated to see the impact that sound has on the material world as witnessed by the use of Chladni Plates in science or the images recorded by Dr Emoto’s experiments on the molecular structure of water. We experienced the personal impact of ancient Sanskrit mantras and realised that as children we ask about our own births but as young adults we question how everything came to be. We explored the ancient mythologies of the world during our first week, discovering parallels in many of the ancient civilizations – exploring tales from the Old Testament, the Indian Vedas, Chinese I Ching, Mesopotamia’s Gilgamesh, The Torah and the Quran. Each student researched and presented the creation myth of a different culture, they also invented their very own creation mythology.
In our second week we steeped ourselves in Ancient Greek mythology. We looked at the Olympian pantheon as examples of archetypes and identified our own strengths and challenges in them. Each student chose a God or Goddess that resonates with them and created a collage. We became familiar with Homer and his epic of the ten year Trojan War as recorded in “The Iliad,” we then launched into the remarkable journey of Odysseus and explored our own lives as examples of The Hero’s Journey. As we studied and reflected on “The Odyssey,” journaling at every turn, we faced our fears and made peace with the masculine and feminine aspects of ourselves as symbolised by the various magical creatures Odysseus encounters during his ten years wandering.
In our final week we traced the many tributaries of the English language, beginning some 100 000 years ago! We saw how each new culture brought something to bear, from the Gaelic speaking Celts, to the Romans, Angles, Saxons, Jutes, Vikings, Normans and eventually how the language mysteriously evolved without the assistance of invasions. We beat out the rhythm of Old English in “Beowulf” and sing-songed through the bawdy Middle English of some of Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales,” eventually enjoying the birth of Modern English in Shakespeare’s writing.
With permission I share some of the exquisite and courageous work done by our lovely Class 10s.
by Charisse Louw