Category: MythBlast

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...

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MythBlast | Four Mysteries of Initiation in Pathways To Bliss

My first memories of Joseph Campbell are through my dad’s love for him. Dad played Campbell’s lectures on cassette tapes on long, sun drenched drives to visit our family’s patriarch in the desert. Ironically,...

A yamabushi performing a Shintō fire ritual, Kyōto,Japan, 1955. (Photograph by Joseph Campbell. Copyright © by Joseph Campbell Foundation, 2002. All rights reserved.) 0

MythBlast | Myths of Light — transcendence and reflection

It is the first day of spring as I sit down to write. The sun has entered Aries, the first sign in the Zodiac, marking the dawning of a new astrological year. The sun...

Joseph Campbell at his home office in Honolulu c. 1987 0

MythBlast | The Lively Art of Letter Writing

I have on a wall in my study at home in New Braunfels, Texas, a professionally framed letter from James Hillman to me dated 20 November 2000. It is one of several precious letters...

Thou Art That cover 0

MythBlast | Death, Eggshells, Zombies

Myths that involve resurrection span cultures from the Pharaohs to the Pagans. We see them appear, be forgotten, and then reappear throughout history. From Passover to the Paschal Mystery, we continue to celebrate them...

Joseph Campbell, circa 1982 0

MythBlast | 70 Years of the Hero’s Journey

The deeper my relationship with Joseph Campbell, the more I see him everywhere—and not just what I come across for the Campbell in Culture posts I help curate. The references we hear about, the overt mentions,...

The Emblem of Avicenna: the eagle and the toad (also known as Ibn Sinna. From Daniel Stolcius, Viridarium Chymicum, Prague, 1624.) 0

MythBlast | Sustaining the Celebration

With the 1949 publication of The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Joseph Campbell accomplished the rare task of uniting wisdom with mainstream interest, presenting foundational patterns of human experience through the archetypal content embedded...

Festival procession in Kandy, Sri Lanka. (Photograph by Joseph Campbell, 1955. From Asian Journals — India & Japan, copyright © 2002 and 2018 by Joseph Campbell Foundation. All rights reserved.) 0

MythBlast | The Mythology of Celebration

As we celebrate Joseph Campbell’s birthday this month, we can use the occasion to consider the mythological roots of our rituals of celebration. Sometimes we celebrate a one-time occasion, like a college graduation, getting...

Pygmalion and Galatea by Jean-Léon Gérôme, circa 1890. (Public domain image provided by the New York Metropolitan Museum) 0

MythBlast | Myths We Love By

A love of wonder: according to Aristotle, this is what brought the lover of wisdom (Greek, philosophos) and the lover of myth (Greek, philomuthos) together. For Socrates, love was that most ancient of gods,...

Tristan and Isolde: the love-death 0

MythBlast | The Power of Love Story

In Creative Mythology (Masks of God, Vol. IV), Joseph Campbell’s exquisite musings on love offer a palliative to the Hallmark-style simulacrum of Valentine’s Day love drenching this month in heart-shaped candies, teddy bears, and...

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MythBlast | What Will Be, Is

In his 1944 preface to A Skeleton Key to Finnegans Wake, Joseph Campbell calls Joyce’s book “…a kind of terminal moraine in which lie buried all the myths, programs, slogans, hopes, prayers, tools, educational...

The Hero's Journey® 0

MythBlast | Why We Rise

The Role of Story in Crafting New Beginnings for Our Lives Most attribute the foundations of Western story structure to Aristotle. His simple idea that stories should have a beginning, a middle, and an...

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MythBlast | Joyce, Campbell, and Jim Morrison

I recently had the pleasure of reading Michelle Obama’s Becoming—a story, eponymously, about Michelle’s “becoming,” grateful for the accessibility of an autobiography that models the unfolding nature of finding one’s purpose. I think how...

Mexico, Aztec, first–second century A.D. Teotihuacan - Pyramid of the Sun. Photo: Joel Bedford via Flickr.com. Creative Commons Logo Used under a Creative Commons: Attribution license. 0

MythBlast | The Transparency of the New Year

Many years from now, at the crossroads of our lives, our souls will want to remember the day our lives were given a fresh start. In such moments of reflection, the past, future, and...