Category: MythBlast

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The Blessing of Spiritual Poverty

However, one has to recognize a distinction between the ends and means of devotion and of science; and in relation to the latter there is no reason to fear a demonstration of the derivation...

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The Mythical Game of The Green Knight

Games have long been a compelling presence in mythology. The origins of the Kurukshetra War between Kauravas and Pandavas in the epic poem The Mahābhārata begin over a game of dice. Mythologist David L. Miller...

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Virtue and Democracy

This month, the MythBlast Series is centered on Joseph Campbell’s The Masks of God, Vol. 3: Occidental Mythology. Given that we in America are celebrating the fourth of July on the day this MythBlast...

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Incarcerated, But Not Imprisoned: Joseph Campbell’s Hero Myth

When I was invited by Dr. Mary Watkins, director of Pacifica Graduate Institute’s Liberation Psychology program, to volunteer to teach a correspondence course with inmates from a California state prison, I responded to her...

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A Lover’s Quarrel With the World

In Chapter IV of The Masks of God, Vol. 2: Oriental Mythology, Joseph Campbell supplies his readers with a quote from the Buddha’s Fire Sermon, a dharma talk focused on renunciation and developing an...

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Poetic Imagination: The Rich Language Of Image And Metaphor

“Read myths as newspaper reports by reporters who were there and it doesn’t work. Reread them as poems and they become luminous,” [9] writes Joseph Campbell in Myths of Light as he invites us to cultivate...

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Flirting With Reality: At Play in the Play of the World

One of the things that I find endearing about Joseph Campbell is that frequently in his writing, as well as his lectures, he displays a palpable enthusiasm for certain subjects. When I read Myths...

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The Jewel In The Lotus

Campbell was fond of talking about dualities and how getting beyond them forms a critical part of the hero’s journey: dualities like finite and infinite, transcendent and immanent, sacred and profane. The blooms of...

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The Blooming of Truth: Campbell on the Mythic Past

Edgar Allan Poe once wrote a little piece called “The Imp of the Perverse,” and I do believe that there must be in the fashioners of piously held beliefs, all over the world, an...

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The Greatest Poem is Lyric Life Itself

This month in the MythBlast Series, we’re focusing on Joseph Campbell’s Masks of God, Vol II: Oriental Mythology. On page 490 of that volume, Campbell quotes from “The Song of the Cowherd” by the...

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The Inner Reaches of Outer Space is Within Reach

Some have confused a mythology as nothing more than an elegantly-packaged ideology. Not so. Nor is it true to say that mythic figures are to be read as literal facts. The confusion commonly stems,...

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The Way of Art and Two-Way Roads

Art, among other things, is image-making. As a teacher of creative writing, I often emphasize the power of images due to their effectiveness in rendering experiences in our readers. Concrete language, which communicates to...

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The Song of the Sirens

One of Campbell’s last projects, The Inner Reaches of Outer Space: Metaphor as Myth and as Religion, was developed from a series of lectures delivered in San Francisco. The series included a symposium at...

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Whosoever Loses Their Life Will Find It

In The Inner Reaches of Outer Space: Metaphor as Myth and Religion, Joseph Campbell writes that the mythic metaphor, the mythic image, “is necessarily physical and thus apparently of outer space. The inherent connotation...

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Metamorphosis: Dreaming the New Songs

“Mythology is the womb of mankind’s initiation to life and death,” states Joseph Campbell in his collection of essays titled, The Flight of the Wild Gander: Explorations in the Mythological Dimension. (34) Death and rebirth...

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The Power of the Personal: Flight of the Wild Gander

Anytime I read, and especially reread, Joseph Campbell’s books, I feel like I am in a personal conversation with a priest or a confessor, one who understands the need for the transcendent in our...