In his book Wisdom of the Mythtellers, Sean Kane defines myth-telling as “an affectionate counterpoint to the earth’s voices, with no ambition to direct them or force them to give up their meanings,” while myth expresses the “ideas and emotions of the Earth” (1994), of landscapes and ecosystems. The environment that encircles us is the home of the planet’s essential stories. Myth is open and adapts to the contexts in which it is performed or recounted. If closed and fixed, it fossilizes into a religion, a dogmatic moral system. “A way of obeying instead of a way of seeing” (Kane, Wilderness Storytelling 36). “Memory is in a state of creative incompleteness, which is probably as good a characterization as any of culture, education and oral mythology.” (Kane, Wilderness Storytelling 35).
Myth-telling may be an art of oral history and the performance of stories that establish the origins and development of ecologies that are both physical and ethical. Myth itself doubles the actuality of places, animals and persons with their intellectual and spiritual identities, connecting listeners with a cultural view of the world as landscape rather than a bare bones “what you see is what you get” spaces. Myth thus reminds and inserts its subjects and listeners into the arc of historical narratives of meaning.