The Reluctant Suitor--the Heroine's Journey

Who was Joseph Campbell? What is a myth? What does "Follow Your Bliss" mean? If you are new to the work of Joseph Campbell, this forum is a good place to start.

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judithfeldman
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Post by judithfeldman » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

in Joseph Campbell's conversation with Bill Moyers, he makes reference to an Iroquois myth he affectionately called "the reluctant suitor". It tells the story of an attractive Indian girl who rejects the local boys for what turns out to be a magician/serpent with seven brothers of like origin whose hearts are separate from their bodies.

The myth was used as an illustration of the greater danger facing the hero who has placed himself in a higher field, but is unwilling or unprepared to ascend to a higher consciousness.

Only a portion of the myth was told and I'm anxious to read the myth in its entirety and any analysis available. I gleaned from his discourse that he indeed was studying it.

Can anyone help me in my search?

many thanks,

judith

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Post by Guest » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

Here's the Iroquois story.

THE GIRL WHO WAS NOT SATISFIED WITH SIMPLE THINGS

"There once was a girl who was not satisfied with simple things. Her parents despaired of ever finding her a husband she would accept. Each man who came was not good enough. "That one was too fat; he will never do." Or "Did you see how shabby his moccasins were?" Or "I didn't like the way he spoke." Such were the things she would say..."
http://www.the-office.com/bedtime-story ... things.htm



Here's an Inuit version of the refusal of suitors myth.

THE STORY OF SEDNA

"Sedna was a very beautiful Inuit woman and only child to her widowed father. The trouble began when the time came for her to find a husband. Some said that Sedna was horribly vain, while others said that Sedna was simply a very self-assured woman that would not settle for less than what she thought she deserved. Never the less, Sedna refused to marry all the suitors that came to ask for her hand in marriage..."
http://www.ancientpathway.com/godgoddes ... sedna.html


Here's another version of the Sedna myth:

"Sedna was a beautiful Inuit girl who lived with her father. She was very vain and thought she was too beautiful to marry just anyone. Time and time again she turned down hunters who came to her camp wishing to marry her..."
http://www.hvgb.net/~sedna/story.html


Here's a Passamaquoddy version.

THE OWL HUSBAND

"A man and his wife lived at the edge of their village near a stream. They had a beautiful daughter whom many young men wished to marry, but she was proud, and no suitor pleased her..."
http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/Museum/4786/P399-402.htm


And here's a related Norse story that I remember from my childhood days of first reading myths.

THE WINNING OF RINDA:

"The king of the Ruthenes was named Billing. He ruled as a good king and his kingdom was happy and prosperous, but the king became worried when learned that a terrible host was about to invade his kingdom. In his youth, Billing was a great warrior, but he was old now, and though he was still in good form, he was too old to lead his troops into battle. His only child was a daughter by the name of Rinda, who was of marriageable age, but she refused to marry, and so Billing had not allies to help him defend his kingdom..."
http://www.balderrising.org/vali.htm




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judithfeldman
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Post by judithfeldman » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

what a resource you are! thank you. it was great reading.

but i'm still on my quest to uncover the source of the text Campbell was working from and any written analysis he provided on this Iroquois myth.

i was confused by the dialogue that accompanied the myth in the Moyers dialogue. i understood the part about higher field/higher danger (although a new concept to me), but the thought of the deamon marriage that will occur for the hero mired in separation who's placed himself/herself on the higher field...will they say yes to the snake or no to the snake...? the implication was they should say yes, that it is the journey that's important not the outcome. for me that gets into a discussion of the purpose of myth -- if this myth shows up in your life, do we read of this girl and learn or do we say yes and blindly or not so blindly take the experience?
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Post by Guest » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

1-13-03

After much thought, I decided to delete my posts from this thread. I have left the posts that provide links to myths, but I've removed all the posts with personal content, including those that received positive feedback and those that received negative feedback.

I must have gotten into a long streak of expressing myself badly. I had no intention of causing offense, but I did ... over and over and over again.

Some of the responses to what people thought I said or meant left me feeling stunned.

I was beginning to feel an increasing urge to defend myself by pointing out how mistaken other people were in their beliefs about me. :mad: I wanted to fight fire with fire.

Seeing that the fire that has most frequently been used against me in these forums (not just this thread) has been the ad hominem attack, I think it best that just call it a day.

Tree Hugger




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Post by Scarlett » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am



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Post by judithfeldman » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

T.H. --

once again, many thanks. and hello, Scarlet.

i think the higher field Campbell was referring to was one's connection with the divine...no? i think that's what he said...indeed all myths are stories of separation...i think he also said that...and the journey is one of reunification, recognition of who we really are. at times i thought in the moyer's interview that campbell was almost afraid to say this...he kept alluding to it...almost on the brink... perhaps because of his own catholic upbringing he knew these thoughts, that we are all indeed unique manifestations, co-creator and creation, bordered on blasphemy...he certainly said that. it is pretty wild...the whole concept...

so i think the myth of the reluctant suitor while having a societal purpose as you stated, has larger meaning...it is not merely meant as a cautionary tale...although i'm sure it has kept more than one maiden in line. the maiden in the tale is reluctant to make a committment, certainly to the local talent, but her greater reluctance relates to the greater journey.

when one places oneself in that higher field where there is no separation, but the ego is unwilling or unready to surrender, senses its own annihilation, and literally fights for its life... being in that field, one is also in the field of higher danger and a demon marriage may be made at that point. not as punishment, but for the purpose of moving the maiden/hero along the journey from separtion to unification with her divine self. of working out, in simplest terms, what needs to be worked out to continue the journey. i think....

but who knows what the journey is?...i certainly don't presume to... the divine pattern may very well be wrapped up in that very demon marriage... that something we never anticipated emerges...the birth of a child who ends ignorance....and as you said, and campbell pointed out, that voice is always there to transform the individual and any experience of life...perhaps even the demon marriage... into something far beyond one's imagining.

aj

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Post by Guest » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am



Here's a link that discusses the Persephone myth in terms of archetypal Jungian analysis. I offer it as information only.

http://home.earthlink.net/~maxmcdowell/quad4web.html



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judithfeldman
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Post by judithfeldman » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

T.H.

i only asked after trying on the internet, but i will try again as per your instructions. thank you.

it just so happens i picked up three of Campbell's works, including the POM and look forward to reading.

thank you again.
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Post by Guest » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am




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Post by Guest » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

Here's a charming version of the Psyche and Eros myth.
http://www.paleothea.com/Myths/Psyche.html



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Post by Scarlett » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am



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Post by David_Kudler » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

What a fascinating topic! Just goes to show that you never know where you're going to go when you start delving into mythic material.

If no one objects, I'm probably going to move this thread to The Wisdom Pool in a few days, as it seems to be more suited to that forum than this, which is aimed at discussing truly basic issues of mythology and Campbell's work.

BTW, Scarlett, I think you're right in looking at these stories as not necessarilly concerning the proper behavior for men and women, but rather exploring perceived relationships between the masculine and feminine concept implicit in each of us, and in the world around us. My wife and I were looking at a Feng Shui book the other day and we both realized that we had always read the yin-yang symbol far to literally. I was always taught yin is female and yang is male, but that's just the beginning of each of these concepts. And of course, as part of a whole (the complete yin-yang), each part bears within it a hologram of its opposite.

My favorite version of the 'marriage to the demon' myth comes from Shakespeare. He calls it "The Taming of the Shrew." I've been in the play a number of times and directed it as well, and it's always struck me that looking at the play as a battle between the sexes misses the point. Yes, Shakespeare lived in a fairly misogynistic time; however, the performance tradition of the play has taken on the far more sexist interpretations of the play that developed during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. If you ever watch the Burton/Taylor "Shrew" (don't, it's terrible) you're actually watching a script adapted by a Restoration playwrite/actor, David Garrick, that emphasises Petruchio's domination of Kate.

If you actually look at what happens in the play, it concerns a huge group of people who are totally caught up in persona games. Everyone is pretending to be someone else, but no one is copping to it--the only two characters who seem to admit what is happening are Kate, who angrily refuses to play along, and Petruchio, who gleefully changes his persona every five minutes. What Petruchio teaches Kate is to play the game--on her own terms.

The VERY long speech that Kate gives at the end of the play about 'the duty a woman owes unto her lord' is a fortissimo example of the kind of games that Petruchio has been playing with Kate all along. If Shakespeare had wanted the monologue to be understood on its own terms, he was more than capable of making it much more effective, and much shorter. Given its length, this monologue MUST be understood to be at least in part ironic. In the Burton/Garrick version, much of this speech was given to Petruchio, because otherwise the monologue can only be played for laughs, and the percieved "women are weak" point is diluted. Giving the monologue to Petruchio is an attempt to reinforce the 'real' point--that women should kneel to men. But Shakespeare DIDN'T give the last part to the husband, so we must believe that he meant it to be played as comedy.

In a way, this play is a battle of opposites, not so much sexual opposites, but beween a world-negating world-view (Kate's) and a world-embracing view (Petruchio's).

At least, that's what I've always thought....

I love the take on Galadriel, TH. I've always thought she was one of the most compelling characters in Lord of the Rings, yet she only appears in one or two chapters.

I've always wondered if there's a seperate heroine monomyth that obeys its own rules and follows the maiden through her own journey. Do truly yin stories follow the same 'hero's journey' as classic yang stories?

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Post by ALOberhoulser » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

Great question at the end there David...one I felt like asking at the beginning of this thread, but avoided asking because my timing seems to be off when it comes to subtle points like that.

Peace.
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Post by Martin_Weyers » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

The question that comes - always, always, always - is: "What about the woman's journey?" [...] The heroine will, of course, encounter difficulties and advantages which are not those that the male meets, but whether one is male or female, the stages of the inner journey, the visionary quest, are the same, even though the imagery is going to be a little different.
(Joe Campbell in: Reflecting..., pp. 226-227)

Girls, if you feel that there is missing something, what about inventing that story on your own? :smile:

I was always wondering, why in the Hero's-chapter of PoM Campbell gives TWO examples for the heroine's journey (Motherhood is the second), whereas on earlier occasions those female stories seemed to be rare. Maybe he just want to be a good boy... :smile:

When we had our first RoundTable meeting on "Hero's Journey" in April, warned by Campbells saying quoted on top, I was clever enough to have a heroine's story in the pocket, because we have some powerful female participants. It was the story of Julia B. Hill, Rebecca Armstrong has written a thoughtful Myth Letter about:

http://www.jcf.org/myth_letter.php?mid=18

I think this woman has written a beautiful and modern heroine's story - and (not that it would be really of importance, but this is, why it's really a modern story:) totally without marriage and motherhood! :smile:

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