Category: MythBlast

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MythBlast | The Still Point of the Turning World

At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless; Deleted: Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is — T.S. Eliot, “Burnt Norton” This December at JCF,...

Juno (with peacocks) and Iris (with rainbow) — Alegoría del Aire by Antonio Palomino (oil on canvas, Spain, c. 1700) 0

MythBlast | Reawakening Wonder

The poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti once wrote that he was waiting for the rebirth of wonder (“I am Waiting”, A Coney Island of the Mind, 49). In an age where technology has simultaneously brought us...

Navaho sand painting to a Blessing Chant. New Mexico, c. 1950 0

MythBlast | The Turn of the Pollen Path

In his 1986 publication The Inner Reaches of Outer Space, Campbell turns to a Navaho sand painting of a Blessing Ceremony which depicts a rite of passage for the initiate. Campbell sees this painting...

Enough is a feast by Arul Irudayam. Used through a Creative Commons license 0

MythBlast | The Birth of Tenderness

Here in America, November marks the celebration of Thanksgiving, and we at JCF have adopted the theme of gratitude for the MythBlasts this month. Gratitude is an interesting assortment of feelings, a complex emotion...

Icarus and Daedalus, Lord Frederic Leighton (oil on canvas, England, c. 1869) 0

MythBlast | Cultivating Gratitude through the Transcendent Function

Gratitude……….. (photo by smile7/flickr.com; used through a Creative Commons license) For me, it has been a challenging privilege to brush shoulders with this month’s theme of gratitude. Gratitude, to me, is simply appreciation, but...

Heinrich Zimmer, c. 1933 0

MythBlast | Voicing Joseph Campbell: How His Story Becomes Our Own

My life long, I’ve loved the relationship between a big mind’s biography and the themes and patterns of their oeuvre. The two mirror one another comparatively, opening up the symbolic dimensions, refracting, reflecting, reiterating...

From The Rubayat of Omar Khayam, 1909 0

MythBlast | An Impossible Thanksgiving: Story of the Birds and Beasts and the Son of Adam

On the 146th night of Scheherazade’s captivity, as told in Joseph Campbell’s edition of The Thousand and One Nights, The Story of the Birds and Beasts and the Son of Adam keeps her sovereign...

Soldier Military Uniform 0

MythBlast | A Bastion for Hope

Back in November of last year, an opinion piece in The New York Times entitled “Fighting the Spiritual Void,”  about the challenges faced by returning combat veterans, came to my attention and I was...

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...