Category: MythBlast

Scar (photo by Daniel Pasikov; used though a Creative Commons license) 0

MythBlast | Scares and Scars

Scars are curious things given an even more curious name: the word scar is derived from the Greek word eschara, meaning “place of fire.” The word does not mean “caused by fire,” nor does...

The Return of Jason (red-figure kalyx, Etruscan, Italy, c. 470 B.C.) 0

MythBlast | Through The Looking Glass

I myself have been traveling around quite a bit, these years, from one college campus to another, and everywhere the first question asked me is, “Under what sign were you born?” The mysteries of...

Death on a Pale Horse (by William Blake, pen and watercolor on paper, England, c. 1800) 0

MythBlast | The Undiscovered Country

The exploration of death in this MythBlast is not a departure from our theme of Harvest for the month of September; instead, it’s an inescapable deepening of the Harvest motif. Harvest time means reaping,...

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MythBlast | The Province of the Primitive

This month at JCF we are entertaining the theme of harvest. I’m not imagining a solely agrarian notion through which to explore that theme, but rather am  also referring to the harvesting of the...

The Sorcerer of Trois Frères. 0

MythBlast | Paleolithic Cave Art, Time, and Eternity

Joseph Campbell wrote about the great painted and engraved Paleolithic “temple caves,” as he called them, of southern France and northern Spain. Lascaux in the Dordogne and Les Trois Frères in the Pyrenees are...

Diana and Actaeon (marble metope, Hellenic, Sicily, c. 460 B.C.) 0

MythBlast | The Power of Story to Enrapt and Entrap Us

What is it that brought you to Joseph Campbell?  I remember distinctly what it was for me: In the early 1990s, I stumbled upon The Power of Myth docu-series on television. I don’t know...

The Handless Girl (Gordon Brown, illustrator, Fairy Tales from Grimm, print, England, 1894, public domain) 0

MythBlast | Re-membering: A Mythopoetic Interpretation of The Handless Maiden

“The Handless Maiden,” collected by the Brothers Grimm, is one of the most complete stories of feminine individuation in fairy tales. It addresses the wounding of the feminine by the patriarchal shadow, but it...

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MythBlast | Funerals, The Devil, and Poison Ivy (Mythology of Horror Films)

Growing up in East Texas, I was afraid of exactly two things—funerals and poison ivy. I occasionally had nightmares about having to attend the local rituals of the dearly departed. To be fair, many...

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MythBlast | Flowers, Death, and the Mythology of Horror Films: A Midsommar Night’s Dream

An immense billboard looms over Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles. On it, a woman appears to be consumed with deep sorrow, hot tears streaming down her cheeks. A crown of flowers rests ironically upon...

Demeter delivering the wheat to Plutus, who receives it in the Cornucopia (stone relief, Classical, Greece, fifth century b.c.) 0

MythBlast | The Mysteries at Eleusis: Different and Luckier

My grandfather was a farmer in rural Minnesota on land that was homesteaded, probably by my great-grandfather, in the late 19th century. It was a small farm by today’s standards, not much more than...

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MythBlast | Inner Revolutions

For most, the term revolution brings to mind matters of nations and politics. We see irruption, violence and wars in which all involved parties incur tremendous loss. However, on a less severe scale, revolutions can simply...

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MythBlast | The Place of Bliss

“…to transform your hell into a paradise is to turn your fall into a voluntary act . . . Joyfully participate in the sorrows of the world and everything changes.” —Joseph Campbell, Sukhavati: Place of...

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MythBlast | Into the Soul’s Revolution

Once heroes have endured the longest nights and defeated the mightiest monsters, once they have stared death in the face and survived to tell the tale, their journey is by no means over.  What...

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MythBlast | Revolution of One

This month we in the US celebrate the genesis of our country, marked by the signing of a document establishing the sovereignty of 13 colonies and establishing their collective intention to form an entity...

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MythBlast | Cosmic Marriage

What the holy grail symbolizes is the highest spiritual fulfillment of a human life […] It has to do with overcoming the same temptations that the Buddha overcame: attachment to this, and that, or...

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MythBlast | Love of a Higher Order

Somewhere in the middle of my journey with stories of individuation, as Carl Jung and others would term them, I became curious about where the feminine lives in the story of the self’s becoming....

Tristan and Iseult 0

MythBlast | Love: A Modern Mythology

In the field and scope of mythology, those of us who think or work in and around myth often discuss the apparent absence of a contemporary mythology. In conversation, Joseph Campbell sometimes noted that...

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MythBlast | Nerves of Myth, Part II

Let’s pick up some threads from last week, namely “initiation” as we discussed it, and the modern mediation of myths. This week, we will add to that an engagement with the notion of the...

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MythBlast | Nerves of Myth, Part I

One of Joseph Campbell’s key innovations was mapping his model of a heroic story-cycle onto so-called “rites of passage” as they were so eloquently dubbed by anthropologist Arnold van Gennep (1873–1957). Centuries earlier, however,...

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MythBlast | Underworld Initiation in Our Age

Looking at my life, I cannot escape a basic fact: my individual existence is enmeshed in the life of the collective—not only my immediate family and friends, but in the larger institutions and systems...

laughing buddha (Bali, Indonesia), photograph by Michael Pfaff (whiteganesha, flickr.com). Used through a Creative Commons license 0

MythBlast | Laughing Heroes

The classic characters and narratives of Greek mythology sculpted in stone throughout antiquity display a wide range of human emotions and psychological motifs. One particular expression, however, is often curiously absent – laughter. While...