by John Bucher
Modern technology has given us more ways than ever before to discover the stories, the rituals, and the characters that make up our mythologies. The technology of the written word vastly changed the ways...
This month’s theme is Origins. Enjoy our Weekly Offerings...
News & Updates
New World Library and Joseph Campbell Foundation are excited to to announce the release on December 29, 2020 of Primitive Mythology, the first title in a new hardcover edition of The Masks of God series. The first volume in Joseph Campbell’s monumental four-volume Masks of God series, originally published in 1959 and now revised with up-to-date science and new illustrations in this Collected Works of Joseph Campbell edition.
“[T]he mask in a primitive festival is revered and experienced as a veritable apparition of the mythical being that it represents — even though everyone knows that a man made the mask and that a man is wearing it. The one wearing it, furthermore, is identified with the god during the time of the ritual of which the mask is a part. He does not merely represent the god; he is the god.”
– Joseph Campbell, Primitive Mythology
This Week in Mythological Events
Origins of two faith traditions are honored on January 10: Rinzai Buddhists observe the Linji Memorial while Christians celebrate the Baptism of the Lord.
Coming of age is also the theme in the Japanese celebration of Seijin-no-hi, January 11.
As the sun enters the zodiacal sign of Makara, millions of Hindus will take part in the harvest festival Makar Sankranti (January 14).
On the same date, Orthodox Christians celebrate New Year’s Day according to the Julian calendar.
Joseph Campbell — The Laws of God and Man
II.2.3.12 – A Great Impersonal Power - an excerpt from this lecture.
Campbell in Culture
Our gift to you this month is a short e-single from Primitive Mythology titled Toward a Natural History of the Gods and Heroes (eSingle). Access this download for free until the end of the month.
Where The Hero with a Thousand Faces looks at the universal themes of myths and dreams, in the four books of his great Masks of God series Joseph Campbell explores the ways in which those themes have varied across the ages and between cultures. Yet in this full-throated introduction, Campbell establishes his basic thesis: that although humanity’s myths are many, their source is “always the same.”
Got ideas? Share them with a community of like-minded mythmakers at our discussion forum – the Conversations of a Higher Order.
Joseph Campbell Book Club
“It’s only fitting that we launch the new year with this vivid, aching, hopeful book, The One Hundred Nights of Hero. This modern retelling of an ancient tale wades between the Now and Then with both ease and danger, gravity and humor. The mythic themes author Isabel Greenberg draws upon may launch with One Thousand and One Nights, but they span all corners of folklore and the human condition – most notably, love and sacrifice.”
It’s one thing to get the old structure of the hero myth, but now they are pitching it out into the void, into space, where it’s possible to let the imagination go. You’re not bound to historical fact. You get bound to history, and then you lose the spirit. That’s the problem with the Bible; everything gets to be historical instead of spiritually activated.