A soldier returns home from battle but has brought the war with him. He stares off into the distance, unable to take joy in his family or friends, still hyperalert to threats he no longer faces. Unable to heal his invisible wound, he takes his own life.
People have been struggling for thousands of years with the question of how war changes people and what their loved ones can do about it. Some of the answers to this huge social problem can be found in the past, says Michael Meade, who runs myth-filled retreats for veterans called “Voices of Veterans.” (The retreats are part of his larger Seattle-based nonprofit, Mosaic Voices.)
Meade calls himself a “mythologist,” and he uses ancient stories from Ireland, Greece, India and other cultures to prod veterans into unloading their experiences and making sense of them over four-day retreats on the West Coast. Veterans in Meade’s program also sing ancient warrior chants together, take part in a “forgiveness” ceremony, and write and recite poetry. He believes that many ancient cultures did a better job of formally welcoming returning warriors home and helping ... (click title for more)