What got you into mythology?

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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Post by Kasia » Thu Apr 03, 2008 10:58 am

I met with Joseph Campbell works a few years ago when I was studying philosophy. However, my adventure with mythology began much earlier.

I think that it was my grandma who showed me that life has a lot of aspects and secret passages which aren't easily seen. She started telling me stories, fairy tales, legends. She was also an artist so sometimes we turned my room into enchanted forest full of mythical creatures by putting some decorations there. I was also feeling as a part of that world.

Later, also as a child I was keen on "Star Wars" trilogy and now (having read Campbell, Jung and others) I realise why it had so hypnotizing power on me.
I grew up in a catholic family but I have never accepted it as my way of life and tried to find my own individual path. I got involved in world mythology, religions and different cultures.
Then I started studying philosophy.
Campbell's works were mentioned during a lecture about King Arthur legend. I remember that I noted down the title "Masks of god" and hoped to read it. But it had to wait for some time because I was busy with writing my thesis (based on Eliade and Levi-Strauss works).
Finally, I ordered "Masks of god", read it and so it began :-) From that time I've read much more and I must admit that Campbell, Eliade and Levi Strauss's ideas have a great influence on my life. My daily routine is fullfilled with plenty of activities, not necessarily connected with philosophy and mythology but I couldn't imagine my life without interpreting it without this essential mythological perspective.
Regards!
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Re: What got you into mythology?

Post by moonshade1971 » Wed Apr 23, 2008 1:29 am

David_20 wrote:I hope my post aren't getting annoying, but I wanted to know what got you into Joseph Campbell's works and mythology in general?.

For myself, I've always liked reading different mythologies - whether it's Hindu, Greek, Egyptian, Sumerian, Christian, etc. For myself, I love the messages they can convey, the tales of magic, gods, demons, etc.

What about you?.
Hello everyone!

I had been to quite a few different churches as a child, I have watched the "holy rollers", wow- I felt like all I was missing was some popcorn for that one! I went to a few others and I just had this feeling that they didn't know really anymore than I did. And I found that to be very profound then I think about the plates that would be passed around for my money...for what! A few comforting words that they were guessing at themselves. I thought like this at about the age of ten.

I started to read a few fantasy books..Tracy Hickman and Margaret Weiss, The Dragonlance series, then found a version of D&D, it was called Rune Quest. This opened up my mind to new ways of thinking in regards to god/gods..

At the age of 15 I received a Book called The Mists of Avalon (which I still have today, 20yrs later) and while reading this book I felt almost a kindred feeling. Since then I went into the Corporate World for over 10 yrs and packed away any inner searching until shortly after 9/11. I realized that my family and friends were FAR more important than the stress of climbing that ladder and the Jones next door.. I took a Data Entry job, a far cry from Top Sales Manager! But am VERY happy I did, for I would not be typing this right now!

At my office we are given pretty much freedom, so I started with Youtube and then Google Video..And Haven't looked back since!

I was listening to one of Michael Tasrion's lectures and he mentioned Joseph Campbell as inspiration, what a wonderfully insightful collection of books!

Thanks for letting me ramble on.. But I have been looking for a long time for a place to "type" home!

Mythology ROCKS!

I know there is some truth to the bible, it's almost all riddles to me, but in general felt it written for the sheeple (I was one). I feel there's sooo much hidden from us and have been reading many books.

And will be reading many more!

Any suggestions folks?!?

Thank You!

Peace
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Post by Clemsy » Wed Apr 23, 2008 2:17 am

Hey Moonshade! Welcome to the JCF Forums. You haven't mentioned which Campbell books you've read, but I'd recommend Pathways to Bliss, that's one of my favorites. However, I've just started Myths to Live By and I'm having great fun with my highlighter!

I could go on and on. Have you seen The Power of Myth series?

Cheers,
Clemsy
Give me stories before I go mad! ~Andreas
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Post by vanbengler » Wed Apr 23, 2008 9:35 am

Dear Moonshade, friend and reader;

I don't like giving advice, but just be yourself . . . . or, as more than one perosn has told me: Just BE . . . . and welcome also from a relative newcomer who is also enjoying this forum. Best wishes, good luck and may "God" bless you and those you lvoe and care for.

'free spirit in training"
aka Brian Leslie Engler
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Post by moonshade1971 » Wed Apr 23, 2008 12:03 pm

vanbengler wrote:Dear Moonshade, friend and reader;

I don't like giving advice, but just be yourself . . . . or, as more than one perosn has told me: Just BE . . . . and welcome also from a relative newcomer who is also enjoying this forum. Best wishes, good luck and may "God" bless you and those you lvoe and care for.

'free spirit in training"
aka Brian Leslie Engler
Hi Brian, I guess I wasn't looking for advice for myself, I know I am on a journey and This is only the beginning for me!

But was looking for more insightful book suggestions.. I also have a 14 yr old that is showing alot of interest into mythology and inner search of herself. She is a MAJOR book reader.. She has a library of over 150+ books, so her level of understanding what she is reading is very good but I do not what books that will scare her..

Any suggestions?!

I again am just looking for great books to help ones journey in this life and the study of our worlds histories, and so-called myths..


Peace my friend!
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Post by Clemsy » Wed Apr 23, 2008 12:08 pm

Hi again Moonshade!
I also have a 14 yr old that is showing alot of interest into mythology and inner search of herself. She is a MAJOR book reader.. She has a library of over 150+ books, so her level of understanding what she is reading is very good but I do not what books that will scare her..
I have a 15 year old who is reading The Power of Myth and enjoying it immensely. If your daughter already has some background in mythology, she may do well with this one.

Cheers,
Clemsy
Give me stories before I go mad! ~Andreas
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Post by vanbengler » Thu Apr 24, 2008 2:26 am

Dear Moonshade, friend and reader:

With respect; and as a suggestion only: Why not let her read what she likes; and if it scares her, "validate" her feelings . . . that way she will/may learn that it really is just a feeling; she won't need to suppress it (because it's been validated as being appropriate under the circumstances) and she won't learn to be afraid of her "feelings" and subsequently suppres them or become "out of touch with them". Then the story will become her "friends" and the characters may become "teachers".

She may gain foresight into the cause and effect relationships of her own actions and decisions; based on the cause and effect relationships of the actions of her mythological "friends".

And if she says something that surprises you, perhaps just simply say, "Gee I didn't see it that way . . . .. what do you think (or) how do yiou feel about that . . .

"free spirit in training"
aka Brian Leslie Engler
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Post by Kasia » Thu Apr 24, 2008 11:30 am

I also have a 14 yr old that is showing alot of interest into mythology and inner search of herself. She is a MAJOR book reader.. She has a library of over 150+ books, so her level of understanding what she is reading is very good but I do not what books that will scare her..
Maybe it will be quite risky but I would recommend "Into the Wild" by Joe Krakauer. This book is not directly connected with mythology but shows that each person should seek his own path of life to understand what is important and what not. It shows that you should learn being an independent free-thinking person trying to find way of life on your own. The plot in this book isn't very optimisic but it provokes to consider your own life. I've read this book a few times since I was 15 and it definitely changed my life. Recently I've seen a movie based on this book and it was also great.

Kasia
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Post by moonshade1971 » Fri Apr 25, 2008 5:39 pm

Clemsy wrote:Hi again Moonshade!
I also have a 14 yr old that is showing alot of interest into mythology and inner search of herself. She is a MAJOR book reader.. She has a library of over 150+ books, so her level of understanding what she is reading is very good but I do not what books that will scare her..
I have a 15 year old who is reading The Power of Myth and enjoying it immensely. If your daughter already has some background in mythology, she may do well with this one.

Cheers,
Clemsy

Thank you Clemsy!

Will do!


Peace and any future ones you may come across is greatly appreciated!
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Post by moonshade1971 » Fri Apr 25, 2008 5:44 pm

vanbengler wrote:Dear Moonshade, friend and reader:

With respect; and as a suggestion only: Why not let her read what she likes; and if it scares her, "validate" her feelings . . . that way she will/may learn that it really is just a feeling; she won't need to suppress it (because it's been validated as being appropriate under the circumstances) and she won't learn to be afraid of her "feelings" and subsequently suppres them or become "out of touch with them". Then the story will become her "friends" and the characters may become "teachers".

She may gain foresight into the cause and effect relationships of her own actions and decisions; based on the cause and effect relationships of the actions of her mythological "friends".

And if she says something that surprises you, perhaps just simply say, "Gee I didn't see it that way . . . .. what do you think (or) how do yiou feel about that . . .

"free spirit in training"
aka Brian Leslie Engler

You know I really have no issue with this idea myself. but she herself will close a book if it's sexual, violence that seems it could really happen and vulgar text.

Yes a bit sheltered, but hey a little sheltered is ok..just not totally sheltered... It seems one cannot grow if there is no exposure!


Peace and thank you
The Black Sheep
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Post by moonshade1971 » Fri Apr 25, 2008 5:45 pm

Kasia wrote:
I also have a 14 yr old that is showing alot of interest into mythology and inner search of herself. She is a MAJOR book reader.. She has a library of over 150+ books, so her level of understanding what she is reading is very good but I do not what books that will scare her..
Maybe it will be quite risky but I would recommend "Into the Wild" by Joe Krakauer. This book is not directly connected with mythology but shows that each person should seek his own path of life to understand what is important and what not. It shows that you should learn being an independent free-thinking person trying to find way of life on your own. The plot in this book isn't very optimisic but it provokes to consider your own life. I've read this book a few times since I was 15 and it definitely changed my life. Recently I've seen a movie based on this book and it was also great.

Kasia

Kasia thank you for the suggestion!

And if you have ANY in the future please pass them along!


Peace and thank you too!
The Black Sheep
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Post by somehopesnoregrets » Tue Apr 29, 2008 4:21 pm

Interesting thread. I got into mythology early on, at age 8 or 9 maybe? My parents had a book on Greek mythology on their shelf, which I devoured. My favorite deity was Athena, my favorite hero Ulysses. Around that time I had also asked my father why he was believing in God (he's Lutheran; I grew up in Germany). His answer, "because my mother did," did not satisfy me. So I vowed to find out more. I did construct a number of elaborate personal mythologies, including magic spells, element rituals, and forms of communion with nature (none of which based on books or anything, as far as I can tell, it came all out of the depth of my own spirit). I went through a phase during which I read anything I could get my hands on about knights. My favorite was Parzival (that's the German spelling, not sure about the English spelling), even though I was angry at the story, because after he first sees the Grail and doesn't ask 'cause that's what he was told to do, I felt that he acted nobly and had to be rewarded not punished as the story goes. I have and had a strong dislike for what seems "unfair" to me, so this story (and many others) touched a nerve. I also, for a while, came up with an elaborate idea of there being a God but He was overworked, so our prayers are given to him by guardian angels who hear them and prioritize. So, for a while I wrote my prayers down, addressing them to "Domenico," my guardian angel (and then going through an elaborate delivery ritual that involved drawing a beautiful picture on the back of the message, burning it, and throwing some of the ashes into the air, burying some in the ground, and washing away some with water). My parents' marriage was unraveling but they never had the guts to call it quits, so there was a lot of hate and screaming in my childhood, and mythology was a bit of an escape. I was also fascinated with Biblical stories and fairy tales. Again, I felt very passionately about some of those stories, especially those that seemed "unfair" in some way or another. God killing Job's children to test his faith bothered me greatly, and so did the whole story about Abraham's faith being tested with the order to sacrifice his son. I saw both of those stories from the point of view of the children in question, and I couldn't believe that a God would do such things. I much later reconciled this with the idea that the biblical God is merely a human creation trying to explain the horrors and happiness that befall us, and that the "real" God is something less corporeal and less moody than what I found described in the old testament.

I also was an elaborate daydreamer, and wove stories that I kept continuing for weeks and months, whenever I had a quiet moment. It fascinated me to, decades later, when I read Campbell's "Hero with a Thousand Faces" find many of the elements of those stories mentioned.

As adult I decided pretty much on a whim to run away from an unhappy love story to California. It was a haphazard choice, but something or somebody seemed to watch over me... or maybe I was just lucky. I fell in love here, I started a business, I fell in love again, I became a mother. I've been here for more than 14 years now.

I also have always dreamed very vividly. Some of those dreams have been deeply spiritually meaningful to me. For example, I did dream once of a Zen master who gave me a dish of cranberries and told me to teach the cranberries. Again, I got furious and shouted, but you can't teach cranberries, they don't have brains. Maybe you can learn from them, but you sure can't teach them. At that moment I realized that the real task had not been to teach the cranberries but to observe my own reaction to what looked like an impossible task. I woke up and it changed how I approached life. I had several dreams like that over the years. I also had waking moments of what I consider some form of cosmic consciousness, visions. During a time of great personal pain, I remember suddenly visualizing my skin peeling off my body and giving birth to a new "me" below the old skin, bloody and pulsing with life, essentially midwifing myself. At another time, I felt a great stillness and suddenly noticed that there was a rhythm to the nature around me, and that all of us had a hum, some kind of harmonic, cosmic sound. This experience came with a sense of overwhelming joy. I had one day without fear and noticed that I did just about what I would have usually done, just not out of fear but out of love. I consider such experiences gifts, to be used wisely, for inspiration and understanding.

I had a bout with an eating disorder and did some 12-step work during recovery. I also have some experience with intense moods, such as panic attacks and depression. All of this and my curiosity are what got me into sitting meditation. I've been studying Soto-Zen with a wonderful (and consistently annoying) teacher for 8 years. She's great, even though she really pushes my buttons (actually, maybe partly because she really pushes my buttons). A few years ago, I took Jukai, Soto Zen lay ordination. Just around the time I started practicing Zen, I also started reading Campbell, loving it. I'm currently back in school part-time, and am studying for a B.A. in psychology with a minor in religious studies. For a while I sang in a Baptist Gospel choir, enjoying the fact that both, the loudness of the Gospel church and the silence of Zen, touch exactly the same spot in my heart. I'm also a long-time (14 years) practitioner of martial arts (Chinese kung fu and Filipino stick fighting), love science and dislike pseudo-science and merchants in the temple (anybody trying to gain personal advantage or riches off other people's ignorance or lack of access to accurate information).

I strongly believe that the diversity of faiths and attitudes exists, so we can find out different things and learn from each other.

I keep learning.

Love.
:-) Julia
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Post by redbear » Tue May 06, 2008 9:48 pm

Hello everyone,
I grew up in a traditional Navajo home listening to Navajo stories from my grandparents, uncles, aunts, parents, etc... In the beginning they were just stories. Then at age 13 I left the reservation and went to a private school in MA. Then continued my education in the East coast. The melting pot of the east coast forced me to give notice to my background. I was exposed to many different cultures and many different myths. What set me back was that the other ethinic groups always explained their myth but I could not explain any of the myths that I had learned. This set me on a course to ask questions. I would return to the reservation and ask my family for explainations and answers I recieved were always unsatisfactory. Then I started to ask medicinemen or shamen but I always recieved the same answers which were, You just have to believe, You don't ask questions, or Its unexplainable because it is sacred. I could not except these answers.
Then one faithful night as I watched PBS one episode of The Power of Myth came on. It was strange to me because here was a whitemen explaining myth effortlessly and from that one episode I started to slowly decipher one myth story. Then I asked at a local video store if I could order The Power of Myth series and they got it. I also started to look for books by J. Campbell. So far I have read "The Power of Myth", "Myths to Live By", "Hero with a thousand faces", "Transformation of Myth".
There I so much I learned that I was sadden when I learned that Campbell had passed in the 80's.
Not many families continue the Navajo traditions of story telling today and if they do it usually with out explaination and slowly the grip on the culture is slipping. Which is evident since children do not speak the language anymore. From my studies and reading J.Campbell I did a presentation to my community and many elders were in tears while the youth became interested in the culture. And my dream now is to preserve the culture by writing a book deciphering the Navajo myths for future generations.
Today many Native Americans complain about colonization and the disregard for their cultures. Well, one american maybe responsible for the revitalization of one tribe's BLISS to dance to the sound of their cosmic tune.
Thank You Joseph Campbell.


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Post by Clemsy » Tue May 06, 2008 11:46 pm

Hi Redbear and welcome to the JCF Forums!

That is a very moving post. I do understand that many native cultures in the U.S. are fading, and their languages are disappearing. However, there also seems to be a resurgence in an interest towards preserving these cultures. Whether or not Campbell's work has been a factor in this, I can't say. However, I am confident that if he knew that he inspired just one person such as yourself toward working on reclaiming their heritage, he would be more than honored.

Not too far from where I live, a group of Mohawks have returned to the Mohawk valley for the first time since they were pushed out. The community, Kanatsiohareke, offers language immersion and other programs for preserving Mohawk culture.

So it is happening. All the best in realizing your dream. I know many of us here would love to hear about your progress.

Cheers,
Clemsy
Give me stories before I go mad! ~Andreas
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Hello David

Post by Silvis » Fri May 23, 2008 2:30 pm

Raised in a pseudo – Christian environment (I was never fully vested in it. It offered what I now know to be a very uncomfortable awareness that I was denying my whole human experience and at times actually feeling horrible about being human!!!)
For me the break from that journey begin as I embraced the art forms of Sci-Fi and the creation of future “myths”., Heinlein .Clarke, Asimov and very drawn to the novel series of “Dune” by Frank Herbert whose themes involved the myths by which men live by and chancing again in a older and wiser state on Bill Moyers “Power of Myth” PBS series, well that just opened up new paths in my forest. Joseph’s love of the American native’s lore fits well with my own love of such myths. It lifts my heart to join such a community and share in our Sacred human journey.
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