“Thinking in Mythological terms helps to put you in accord with the inevitables of this vale of tears. You learn to recognize the positive values in what appear to be the negative moments and aspects of your life. The big question is whether you are going to be able to say a hearty yes to your adventure.” Joseph Campbell
Joseph Campbell is one of my life’s heroes. The wisdom and insight that he gained though a lifetime of studying Mythologies from around the world has deeply influenced my thinking and perspective on life. In fact, it was his work that lead me to the grad school I am studying at, Pacifica Graduate Institute. Luckily for me they have all of his private library and archives of his personal papers!
Not everyone agrees with me regarding Joseph Campbell, usually you love him or hate him. Imagine that! In the tall Ivory towers of academia there are those who disagree with Campbell. The range of emotions begins with disgruntled scholars and runs the gamete through those who are dismissive of his theories, to down right hatred of the man. (They are, I believe, angry that he is so popular and he abandoned academia! When he found his passion and his advisors would not let him change his Ph.d. focus, he went off and followed his passion.)
Envy is a dangerous thing.
Within Mythology is the beginning of all stories. All narrative, novels, films, even the art of the pre-written cultural tradition of storytelling. It all begins with the Mythologies humans created or learned from the world around us. Mythologies give us an understanding of the world, the cosmos and our place in it.
If you haven’t read amy Campbell yet, I suggest you start with The Power of Myth or The Hero with a Thousand Faces and find your way from there. We are each heroes on our own journey to becoming fully who we can be. It is up to us to walk out the door and find the paths to follow, with passion and dedication. Each life is made of of many large and small hero journeys, and it is not all flowers and sunshine, but if you meet the hard times head on and venture into the unknown spaces, it is often there that you will find the treasure you seek.
Through mythology and it’s Archetypes, we can see that we are not alone. The course of a life has built into it– stages and rites of passage– that are both thrilling and terrifying- everyone who lives, must pass through them. It is truth of the human journey from womb to tomb. We are all in this together. The only question is, will you say yes to your adventure?
Again we have lost another artist to a drug overdose. What is it in these peoples lives that leads them and other un-celebrated people, to use drugs for fun, excitement or escape?
After the long road to success they find out that $$$ and fame are not the answers to the holes in their hearts and lives. Our society, based on youth and wealth, offers few guides to the well-lived and deeply experienced human life.
The models of growth, transition, development, and ultimately transformation of personality, and psyche are few and far between. Instead of embracing the changes that come with the continuity of life, the inner natural changes of focus and meaning, we strive to remain adolescent in look, attitude and behavior.
The rapture, experience and understanding of the neuminal evade us as we race culturally for the next new gadget, car, or thing- the answers are not in things, or found in others who you hope to heal your wounds and make you whole.
The answers are as old as human history, they are available through the great mythologies and their traditions that provide a guide book to the human condition. The metaphors are all around us. Go find one.