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Archetypal Life Pattern
Artificial Reality
Assessment Function
Closed-Loop Assessment
Conscious Realm
Depth System
Enaction Function
Facilitation Function
Mythic Aspiration
Mythic Life Pattern
Numinous Human
Open-Loop Assessment
Personal Depth System
Personal Myth
Phases of Participation
Primal Virtual Space
Qualitative Model
Role Playing
Sacred or Spiritual
Software Module
Source of Realms
Subconscious Realm
Texture of Experience
Virtual Environment
Virtual Reality
World Depth System


Before you proceed with MYTHSEEKER, we suggest you now become familiar with terminology that will make you ready for more detailed aspects of the project, its unfolding and vision. This terminology is presented below in a natural, unfolding order to assist your exploration.
If you want to look up a particular definition you can link to it from the alphabetical list on the left. And, wherever you are, you can always click on this arrow to return to the top of the page.

Virtual Reality.
A computer-based simulation of a reality in which the participant is immersed. Immersion refers to the participant's experience of being within and interacting with the reality. The "reality" can be a strong departure from consensual reality, or it can be a visionary new reality. Virtual reality is a combination of technologies "whose interfaces with the user so dominate the person's senses that he or she intuitively interacts with the perceived, dynamic computer-created environment". For instance, desktop virtual reality takes place on a personal computer or workstation to simulate a 360-degree virtual world seen through the monitor screen. Web-based virtual reality uses components at different locations, allowing participants to share the same world, e.g., via VRML (the Virtual Reality Modeling Language), or other means of defining and utilizing objects across the Internet. Projection virtual reality (also called artificial reality) takes place via immersion in an intelligent, responsive environment without donning sensor or effector devices. For this, the user's image is projected onto the enclosing environment that also incorporates computer-generated imagery and sound integrated with the user's actions. Fully-immersive virtual reality gives participants the experience of being completely embedded in and participating with the virtual world.
Virtual Environment.
A computer-generated three-dimensional representation of a setting, which unlike virtual reality, need only suggest a real or imagined space, and does not have photo-realism and a sense of total immersion as a primary goal.
Artificial Reality.
A computer-based immersion in imagery and sound, achieved in an intelligent, responsive environment with which a person interacts without wearing special devices. Sometimes referred to as projection virtual reality. Derived from the work of Myron Krueger.
A story or narrative, usually culturally based, often with characters related to a meaningful facet of existence or a life purpose. In MYTHSEEKER terminology, a myth is as expressed within a Depth System. In a more ultimate view, myth is viewed by MYTHSEEKER as metaphor for processes of world-building, within the subconscious realm, shaped in narrative form over time.
Personal Myth.
The conscious or unconscious collection of stories and imagery that guide, give purpose to, or structure one's life experience. MYTHSEEKER works with three fundamental aspects or kinds of elements: primal myths, mythic agents, and enactments which are ritual or role-playing involvements with mythic agents.
Mythic Aspiration.
For MYTHSEEKER, a personal goal related to accomplishing a life-goal expressed within a Depth System.
Depth System.
A body of mythic belief and practice giving the origin, nature, and destiny of a culture's world and the means for individuals to attain mythic purposes of life. To be considered a MYTHSEEKER Depth System, a system must be consistent with the qualitative model of "world-emergence". The fundamental definition of Depth System is a means of accessing and being involved with one's subconscious realm and its processes. Such involvement takes place via the system's symbolism, sound, and content. Depth Systems include spiritual aspects of world mythology, central teachings and practices of the great religions, and new systems of transpersonal experience. Every Depth System is understood to emerge from Primal Virtual Space on behalf of the participant.
In the qualitative model developed for the MYTHSEEKER Project, world-emergence is the process by which the experiential "world" of the participant emerges from the Source of Realms through the subconscious realm into the person's conscious level. For the model, mythology is understood to be symbolism and metaphor for the world-emergence process having been codified in narrative form over time. This applies to one's personal myth as shaping his or her world of experience. The Source of Realms is the same as Primal Virtual Space.
Source of Realms.
The fundamental level in the qualitative model from which all phenomena arise within the participant's experiential world. The Source of Realms may be viewed as having a personal or impersonal nature. The Source of Realms is also referred to as Primal Virtual Space.
The process of participating, via virtual or artificial reality MYTHSEEKER creates for the participant, with mythic agents of a Depth System to attain mythic aspirations embodied in the Depth System. An enactment can involve ceremonial or ritual patterns or role playing as a mythic agent of the Depth System. In general, enactments are means of passage between stages of an archetypal life pattern (ALP), or for "deepenings" or "expandings" at any time. An enactment is structured as participation with one or more mythic agents.
A being, entity, or force within an enactment which seems to have will, intelligence, and numinous quality. A mythic agent's purpose is focussed on the participant's agreed-upon needs. Mythic agents may be spirits, gods or goddesses, other beings or aliens, sages or seers, mystic symbols or numinous objects, numinous fields of light or sacred structures of sound. A mythic agent affects the participant on a psychic, spiritual, or subconscious level, and may be directive or nondirective in its interaction with the participant. MYTHSEEKER uses the term mythic agent to prevent confusion with the term agent used more generally in the virtual reality field. A principal mythic agent is one normally thought of as having awareness and intelligence within a Depth System--such as a god, a goddess, an archangel, or a spirit. An instrumental mythic agent is one normally thought of as having a secondary role without any awareness--such as a mandala, a mantram or other sound-structure, a shamanic quartz crystal, or other power object.
Embodying the sublime, and perceived as emanating sacred qualities in ways spoken of in a particular system or culture. Related to a higher and deeper realm of being and knowing, embodying a sense of the presence of the holy. Every agent is intended to express a numinous quality.
Sacred or Spiritual.
Related to a higher and deeper realm of being and knowing; experienced as the numinous; a quality of ultimate concern or significance embodied in a Depth System and in agents as expressed in that Depth System. Many times the experience of the sacred or numinous occurs spontaneously as well as in nature.
The involvement of a participant with a primal myth, a mythic agent, or an enactment representing a Depth System within a virtual or artificial reality experience.
Archetypal Life Pattern (or ALP).
A complete individual lifepath recognized or taught within a Depth System as leading to a major purpose of human existence. An ALP is archetypal for a specific Depth System. An ALP typically has successive stages. There are transitions between the stages, and enactments or passages within the Depth System related to helping with the transitions. MYTHSEEKER is strongly concerned with ALPs underlying all Depth Systems. One example from India is the succession of the four life stages of child, student, householder, mendicant that can lead to samadhi or enlightenment; there are transitions between the stages that take place via traditional ceremonies, rituals, and practices such as meditation.
Mythic Life Pattern (or MLP).
A series of life stages, patterns, transitions, or goals--already existing in the life of the participant--that give meaning to his or her life; a pattern of events that is of mythic significance to him or her and potentially suggestive of one or more archetypal life patterns (ALPs). An MLP is personal or idiosyncratic in a participant's life. An MLP can suggest the appropriateness of one or more Depth Systems, or readiness for transition to a new stage, or of having reached a certain stage. For example, a person may have preferences for certain types of visual imagery, as well as particular patterns of experience, that suggest a particular Depth System.
Texture of Experience.
The tangible ways people experience and perceive themselves in terms of time, space, centeredness (anchoredness) or kinetic balance, separation from others, feelings, etc., often unique to each individual.
Assessment Function.
The MYTHSEEKER process of determining information of significance used to choose a Depth System and enactment, and for experiencing the enactment. Within the MYTHSEEKER structure, the person's mythic life pattern (MLP) assessment determines events and patterns that are used to determine appropriate Depth Systems and enactments for the user's exploration. Texture of experience (TOE) assessment works to understand the way a participant experiences reality so as to understand his or her modes of perception. Jungian psychological types are used as one aspect of the assessment function.
Closed-Loop Assessment.
A way of performing assessment in which intermediate information is interpreted entirely by MYTHSEEKER intelligent software without the intervention of a counselor.
Open-Loop Assessment.
A way of performing assessment in which intermediate information is interpreted by a counselor and is then entered for further use by MYTHSEEKER intelligent software.
Facilitation Function.
The MYTHSEEKER process of determining a Depth System and an enactment to be experienced in a virtual or artificial reality by the user. The facilitation process searches to find potential archetypal life patterns (ALPs) within Depth Systems as suggested by mythic life patterns (MLPs) in the participant's life.
Enaction Function.
The MYTHSEEKER process of involving the participant in a previously chosen enactment, in virtual or artificial reality, representing an archetypal life pattern (ALP) in an appropriate Depth System. The entire involvement of a participant during the enaction phase is referred to as a MYTHSEEKER session.
Phases of MYTHSEEKER Participation.
The initial or assessment phase consists of the assessment function performed by the "existential analyzer" module; the next or facilitation phase consists of the facilitation function performed by the "facilitator" module; and the third or enaction phase consists of the enaction function performed by the "enactor" module (see definition of software module).
Software Module.
One of the four major structural portions of MYTHSEEKER software. The existential analyzer module performs the assessment function. The facilitator module performs the facilitation function. The enactor module performs the enaction function. There is also an executive module for control functions within MYTHSEEKER software.
A created enactment having the character of an observance or celebration, or the quality of bringing about a desired situation. Rites of passage are one form of ceremony. MYTHSEEKER works primarily with rituals as the primary form of ceremony.
An enactment of relatively fixed structure for a given transformation or purpose.
The way in which the participant experiences inward support, an existential ground. Not the same as "being centered". Often of a solar or visceral nature, anchoredness can involve feelings of jaggedness, abyssal precipitousness, warmth, loving support, sexual arousal, rapture, ecstatic transport, threat, etc. Anchoredness refers to the shape and nature of a person's experience of "rootedness" or the lack thereof.
Conscious Realm.
As a region spoken of in the MYTHSEEKER qualitative model, the conscious realm is the field of self-aware consciousness involving a full range of experience. In our model, conscious-realm experience is understood and worked with via methods of existential analysis, expressive arts therapy, cognitive psychology, sentics, etc.
Sentics is the science, developed by neuroscientist Manfred Clynes, of invariant patterns in nervous system expressions, universal for all persons, related to feelings such as love, anger, joy, grief, hate, or reverence. Sentics provides means to detect these feelings in different expressive artistic modes and situations.
Subconscious Realm.
As a region spoken of in the MYTHSEEKER qualitative model, the subconscious realm is understood as the enclosure of conventions that determine content and connectedness of the participant's conscious realm. The conventions are understood to emerge from the Source of Realms (Primal Virtual Space). In the present stage of modelling, the conventions are taken to be expressed by Jungian archetypes and the individuation process, with recent interpretations by James Hillman and Stanley Krippner. Additionally, in ways not yet modelled, conventions are understood to establish space and time structure of the "world" the person experiences, the relative balance and transitioning of emotions--called MYTHSEEKER emotive profiles--and other areas. Content of the conscious realm is understood to emerge from the subconscious realm. The subconscious realm and its processes are approached and interacted with via Depth Systems.
Qualitative Model of World-Emergence.
The fundamental MYTHSEEKER view of the structure of the psyche. It combines the conscious realm and the subconscious realm, with an assumed emergence of the participant's world from a numinous source. A Depth System is understood as a way to work with and to approach emergence within the subconscious realm, emergence that must involve an emanation or emergence of an individual's phenomenal experience from a Source of Realms having a sublime or numinous nature. A Depth System incorporates primal myth giving the origin, nature, and destiny of the world, plus individual life courses, their stages and purposes. Such life courses are archetypal life patterns (ALPs). A Depth System includes enactments (useful interactions or encounters) for the purpose of advancing the participants on chosen mythic paths--with enactments that include methodology and visual and/or aural elements for approaching a life purpose or making a life transition.
Primal Virtual Space.
Primal Virtual Space is a visual field a user is placed in at the beginning of a MYTHSEEKER session. Primal Virtual Space, which is an encompassing intelligent virtual environment, contains portals to all Depth Systems, including the user's Personal Depth System and the World Depth System. Primal Virtual Space is considered to be the foundation or source of all Depth Systems and their contents. A user enters a Depth System by invoking the corresponding virtual portal, causing the virtual reality to emerge from and "immerse" the participant in the Depth System.
A portal is a place in Primal Virtual Space from which a Depth System can emerge to immerse the participant in a corresponding virtual environment. Similarly, a portal is a place within a Depth System from which a primal myth, a mythic agent, or an enactment can emerge into the virtual environment. Primal myths, mythic agents, and enactments are understood to emerge from Primal Virtual Space.
Personal Depth System.
The Personal Depth System, which is evoked via a portal in Primal Virtual Space, contains elements chosen by the user during sessions of experience with other Depth Systems. These elements include primal myths, enactments, numinous agents, lifeshapes and objectives, and sacred text. The purpose of a user's involvement with MYTHSEEKER is defined as building and experiencing his unique Personal Depth System. A user's personal myth develops through experiencing the Personal Depth System as it is formed during a series of MYTHSEEER sessions. The Personal Depth System is saved for the user over multiple sessions. Contributions to the World Depth System can be made only from a participant's Personal Depth System.
World Depth System.
The World Depth System embodies primal myths, mythic agents, and enactments that pertain to humankind on a global (world) level. This is akin to Joseph Campbell's concept of a monomyth. The World Depth System, as approached by MYTHSEEKER, is a collection of mythic aspects contributed by participants from their Personal Depth Systems as a way of bettering humanity. It is planned that these contricutions be made from MYTHSEEKER Centers, which are locations with extensive resources for exploring one's personal myth. The Centers communicate to combine contributions to form the evolving World Depth System. The World Depth System always incorporates as a mythic agent the famous photograph of the Earth in full view as seen from the moon.
In general virtual reality usage, an avatar is a three-dimensional image that serves as a stand-in for the person who controls it. Its motions, gestures, and speech may be derived from the user's voice, keyboard, or other input device.
Role Playing.
Role playing refers to a user assuming the role of a numinous agent within the Depth System in force during enaction, i.e., the Depth System entered via a Primal Virtual Space portal. This means that there is an avatar representing the user, and that the avatar has the form of a numinous agent. The user identifies with the agent via the avatar.
Numinous Human.
Each MYTHSEEKER Depth System contains a special numinous agent, the Numinous Human. This embodies the Depth System's view of the idealized person, embodying full spiritual attainment according to the Depth System. Sometimes also referred to as the Ideal Human (for the particular Depth System).

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Mythseeker © 1998 ® McCagie Brooks Rogers
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This page last updated on August 17, 1998