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.

Moderators: Clemsy, Martin_Weyers, Cindy B.

Locked
indraant
Associate
Posts: 12
Joined: Fri Sep 26, 2008 10:56 am

Post by indraant » Sat Sep 27, 2008 9:54 am

After a little roaming through the forum, I found, like many others, that this was a great topic to start. My interest in mythology stated very early, with the myths of the classical world told to me by my parents, my personal favorite was Odysseus. An even greater impact on my love for mythology was the Bible. Brought up as a moderate Roman catholic, I myself became even stronger in my beliefs then my parents, and consider the “family authority” on matters of faith. In catholic class, most of my classmates were bored, I on the other hand found it as one of my two favorite subjects, and the other would be biology. The Bible was real History for me, and I had great admiration for Joseph, King David, the prophet Daniel, and most of all, Jesus.

When I got in my later teens the words of my favorite religious book started to collide with the words I found in books about Biology (the schoolbook even had a disclaimer that said it had nothing to do with the Bible), astronomy and actually everything else I read, and knew about. As the leers of my religious fate were slowly peeling away, I became more and more interested in the Greek, Egyptian and Norse myths. In high school I developed an interest in philosophy so I decided to change form catholic class to ethics, where I got a one year crash course in the history of world religions. By then I stopped going to church, and praying, which was a little shock for my family, but the thought I would be just a phase, it wasn’t, and would not be, but it left an emptiness in me.

As for Joseph Campbell, my introduction to his ideas came from Star Wars, of course I didn’t know then he had anything to do with it. So I stared exploring science fiction, and fantasy, and let the mythologies pick up dust on the shelves. My first contact with Joseph Campbell was thru a book about myth my mother borrowed from the library, and I only got interest in it because I found a picture of Luke Skywalker in it, so I read the parts about Star Wars, and forgot about the rest, but the title stuck with me, The Power of Myth. In my last year of high school I got interested in mythology again, so I bought a big encyclopedia of mythology, and spent days reading it, but nowhere did it mention Campbell.

And finally in my first year of attending University, while watching a program about Star Wars I heard the name Joseph Campbell again, and about the books The Power of Myth, and The Hero with a Thousand faces. I decide to get this book, and after a short search I bought a paperback copy. It was a though read but I loved the book, and it mentioned on of my old heroes, Jesus. After that book I went back to my Bible, and went on searching for book about Jesus and the early Church.

Along the way I listened to a series of lectures about the Historicity of Jesus, and started reading a little about Buddhism, and exploring the old Indian epics, such as the Ramayana, and the Bhagavad Gita. My religious faith was gone, but my love for mythology and the study of religions was reborn, and it filled the emptiness I had from abandoning my religious faith. I knew that I would spend a lot of my free time learning about myth, rituals and religions, and I did for the last two years. I started finding references to Campbell and Jung in the works I read, and a few months ago I got to see The Power of myth series, and right after that found the JCF on the internet, and yesterday decide to join.

Hope this wasn’t too long, but I thought to make a proper introduction, and English is not my first language so I think you won’t mind some errors in writing.
User avatar
Ned Kelly
Associate
Posts: 143
Joined: Sun May 18, 2008 12:35 pm

Post by Ned Kelly » Sat Sep 27, 2008 4:09 pm

What got me into mythology, and into Joe Campbell?

A mental and emotional breakdown and acute psychosis at age 29. Seriously. And Campbell would love to hear that, if he were with us now.

(Cf, one of Campbell's essays in "Myths to Live By", about schizophrenia being a kind of "hero's journey".)

I was never clinically schizophrenic, but I did go a bit insane at age 29, and that's when I discovered Campbell, and his writings led me back to sanity, and BEYOND sanity, to extraordinary vitality. All over the world - I mean literally I've lived all over the world since then, literally working as a Teacher of law and politics in many nations.

At the end of Campbell's chapter about schizophrenia (and/or other kinds of insanity), he cited these words from the Book of Revelation, to suggest what the BEST kind of insanity - such as St John experienced on the isle of Patmos - can lead to:
1: And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.
2: In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
(Revelation, 22:1-2)

PS, Indraant, you say English is not your first language, but I say you write in English more eloquently than the vast majority of Brits or North Americans. Shakespeare would be proud to call you a representative of his language.
User avatar
bodhibliss
Working Associate
Posts: 1659
Joined: Tue Oct 07, 2003 5:00 am

Post by bodhibliss » Sat Sep 27, 2008 4:18 pm

Indraant

(By the way, love your cybermoniker, drawn from one of Campell's favorite myths - it's a potent image).

What a poignant introduction!

Your experience certainly speaks to me - especially the formative role of bible mythology (which for me, like you, wasn't myth but history - "what actually happened"), and the collision between the Bible € biology. The influence of my upbringing remains, and that same sense of awe € wonder I felt on hearing and reading and re-reading the tales of Abraham, Moses, Joseph and his brothers, Jesus, Paul, even the horrific visions of St. John on Patmos, carries over today into all myths. Every myth I hear or read today feels as sacred and "True" as did the tales I was told as a child.
Thanks for sharing your tale

(And please excuse any typos - this is the first -and likely the last - time -I've typed a post on my cell phone ... How do kids manage to text so fast?)

May the Force be with you ...

Bodhibliss
freespiritintraining
Associate
Posts: 60
Joined: Sun Oct 05, 2008 2:45 am
Location: Richmond, B.C. Canada
Contact:

Hello again:

Post by freespiritintraining » Sun Oct 05, 2008 3:10 am

Hello all,

i want to introduce my new username: freespiritintraining. some of yoiu may recognize it and that I have been away for a while. I would just like to say i am back. My prevous username was vanbengler. so the old vanbengler is now known as freespiritintraining.

I am 56 years old; got kicked out of my job in early may; had a nice summer and have decided to to university to get my degree in counsellling/clinical pschology; second choice: Philosophy . . .

Any way; it's nice to be back. and hello once again..
May God Bless you And Those you Love And Care For: It does Anyway: Whether you Like it or Not.
nobletitan
Associate
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Jul 01, 2009 3:18 pm
Location: United States

Post by nobletitan » Tue Jul 28, 2009 4:24 pm

I have always been interested in the subject since childhood. They enriched my youth and helped me to become the person I am now. It's just that I had never know if you could have a career with them.So I had put them aside to focus on other forms of study. Now I know it's possible and so have embraced them once again and am loving every minute.
I pray to God for wisdom.
I pray to the eternal soul for grace.
I pray to my ancestors for guidance.
I pray to the natural universe to light the path before me.
- Nicole Morales "My Prayer"
User avatar
bodhibliss
Working Associate
Posts: 1659
Joined: Tue Oct 07, 2003 5:00 am

Post by bodhibliss » Tue Jul 28, 2009 4:28 pm

Welcome aboard, nobletitan - and godspeed as you follow your bliss into mythic realms
LoveGirL3

Post by LoveGirL3 » Tue Aug 04, 2009 3:54 pm

When i was young, fairytaLes- etc...reaLLy didn't penetrate mY psyche...i was too LiteraL and didn't "get it"...then @ 30 i was reading MicKey Hart's- Drumming (at/on?) the Edge of Magic...& He wrote of this inteLLect, Joseph CampbeLL. i thought-->if The GratefuL Dead couLd dig this happening {rather interesting} storyteLLing MythMan...maybe i shouLd check Him out...
Ever since
i've been FoLLowing mY BLiSS ! ! !
& digging it(smiLe)...
User avatar
Clemsy
Working Associate
Posts: 10645
Joined: Thu Apr 04, 2002 6:00 am
Location: The forest... somewhere north of Albany
Contact:

Post by Clemsy » Tue Aug 04, 2009 5:31 pm

Hi LoveGirL3, and welcome to the JCF Forums!

Always room for another Dead Head at this particular whistle stop!

Image

Cheers,
Clemsy
Give me stories before I go mad! ~Andreas
lancimouspitt
Associate
Posts: 152
Joined: Fri Jul 31, 2009 11:32 pm
Location: Ohio

Post by lancimouspitt » Wed Aug 05, 2009 1:28 am

Though I have one other post,I feel like I should give my self a proper introduction.
First off,I would like to tell everyone on thte JCF forums that after reading a lot of what you have typed out, I really feel at home.
I read all these great post and though I understand the language and everything you say(or most of what I have read anyway),I certainly cannot articulate myself to such a great degree.
I feel so happy to be so humbled!

But as for my interest in myth.
It's hard to pinpoint it.
As a kid I was always deeply involved with super heroes and the legends of King Arthur. You name it,and I was interested. If their was a hero,a journey,and a villian to overcome I was intrigued.
When other kids were getting into sports and those types of activities,I started studying the philosophy behind martial arts.
In particular was Aikido.
Well as you can probably guess my studies in the martial arts took me down the path of eastern philosophy.
Though Buddhism was a lot to absord at 16,I like to think I came out of it with a better piece of mind about me.

(Which I a have a very funny story I would love to share sometime about discovering Buddhism when I was much younger. Then realzing what it was years later at 16)

One particual pet peeve I had,was dealing with a lot of fundementalist thinking.
I had a lot of friends that I found were just as open minded as me,and I learned in this great big vast world,how could any one person have the right idea?
I would always refer to a quote for Morihei Ushiba (the founder of Aikido)
Roughly:

"Their are many paths to the mountain top,but their is only one top,and that is love."



Down the line I started studying the history of Christianity and I noticed 2 names that continualy came up in my studies.
Campbell and Jung. I started to see their was a forumal for what I had been thinking for quiet some time,and that was their is a comparitive between the mythology that shapes religions and the whole world around us.

Though I've only been studying both for around a year, I think if I had started this journey any earlier I wouldn't have been able to consume the ideas or understand the quest.
One thing I can attest to is that by studying Campbell I have found myself to be a much happier person in this great mystery we call life.

Here's hoping the journey only moves foward.
Neoplato
Associate
Posts: 3907
Joined: Fri Nov 21, 2008 3:02 pm
Location: Virginia
Contact:

Post by Neoplato » Wed Aug 05, 2009 4:22 pm

Hey lancimouspitt,
One thing I can attest to is that by studying Campbell I have found myself to be a much happier person in this great mystery we call life.
I can attest to that too. 8)
Infinite moment, grants freedom of winter death, allows life to dawn.
User avatar
Samarra
MRT Leader
Posts: 85
Joined: Tue Oct 21, 2008 10:33 pm
Location: Montes Carpatus
Contact:

How I got into Mythology

Post by Samarra » Wed Aug 05, 2009 8:43 pm

I got interested in mythology when I was 25. My uncle had given me the Transformation of Myth Trough Time series on video. I was fascinated by the way Joe focused on the similarities of the world’s religions and mythologies instead of the differences. It seemed like he had found a golden thread that runs throughout all of these stories, connecting them together.

My uncle also gave me the book that went along with the series. In one of his lectures, Joe said the word “Samarra”. That caught my attention, because my last name “Czamara” was pronounced exactly that way. I didn’t know the spelling when I heard it on the video, so I looked it up in the book. He was talking about a very important city.

Joe went on to say:

“During the Neolithic period (10,000 - 2000 BC), when the first city civilizations began to emerge, man invented writing. Along with this came numeration, both decimal (based on the ten digits of the human hands) and sexagesimal (based on the number sixty which is still used today to measure increments of time). Finally, a system of mathematics was born. With precisely recorded observations and calculations, early cultures were able to conclude that the heavens didn’t just whirl about at random, but that the planets and stars were moving at a mathematically determinable rate. Thus, man becomes aware of a cosmic order.”

One of the first cities, Samarra, appeared during this period around 4000 BC in the Tigris - Euphrates area of Mesopotamia (also known as the “Cradle of Civilization”). Ceramic ware from this region distinctly shows the emergence of symmetry, aesthetic composition, and arrangement. Sacred animals are often depicted in groups of four, representing the cardinal directions, circumambulating a cosmic tree.

I decided to change the spelling of my name to “Samarra”. This was a very important time in our evolution as a species and I wanted to be connected to it by name. I even adopted one of the symbols from JC’s slideshow as my new family emblem:


Image

So, every time I sign a Visa receipt, write a check, put my signature on a document or even see my name in print, I’m reminded that I live in Joe’s Wake (pun intended).
Image
lancimouspitt
Associate
Posts: 152
Joined: Fri Jul 31, 2009 11:32 pm
Location: Ohio

Re: How I got into Mythology

Post by lancimouspitt » Thu Aug 06, 2009 12:53 am

Samarra wrote:I got interested in mythology when I was 25. My uncle had given me the Transformation of Myth Trough Time series on video. I was fascinated by the way Joe focused on the similarities of the world’s religions and mythologies instead of the differences. It seemed like he had found a golden thread that runs throughout all of these stories, connecting them together.

My uncle also gave me the book that went along with the series. In one of his lectures, Joe said the word “Samarra”. That caught my attention, because my last name “Czamara” was pronounced exactly that way. I didn’t know the spelling when I heard it on the video, so I looked it up in the book. He was talking about a very important city.

Joe went on to say:

“During the Neolithic period (10,000 - 2000 BC), when the first city civilizations began to emerge, man invented writing. Along with this came numeration, both decimal (based on the ten digits of the human hands) and sexagesimal (based on the number sixty which is still used today to measure increments of time). Finally, a system of mathematics was born. With precisely recorded observations and calculations, early cultures were able to conclude that the heavens didn’t just whirl about at random, but that the planets and stars were moving at a mathematically determinable rate. Thus, man becomes aware of a cosmic order.”

One of the first cities, Samarra, appeared during this period around 4000 BC in the Tigris - Euphrates area of Mesopotamia (also known as the “Cradle of Civilization”). Ceramic ware from this region distinctly shows the emergence of symmetry, aesthetic composition, and arrangement. Sacred animals are often depicted in groups of four, representing the cardinal directions, circumambulating a cosmic tree.

I decided to change the spelling of my name to “Samarra”. This was a very important time in our evolution as a species and I wanted to be connected to it by name. I even adopted one of the symbols from JC’s slideshow as my new family emblem:


Image

So, every time I sign a Visa receipt, write a check, put my signature on a document or even see my name in print, I’m reminded that I live in Joe’s Wake (pun intended).

That's amazing.
:)
pmorkan
Associate
Posts: 19
Joined: Wed Sep 10, 2003 5:00 am
Location: Near Philadelphia

Post by pmorkan » Thu Aug 06, 2009 4:34 am

When I was fifteen, I happened upon a copy of the Lord of the Rings. That same year, Jethro Tull came out with "Songs From The Wood." LOTR was an obvious feed into mythology--I quickly read The Hobbit and Silmarilion, then started investigating the Norse myths behind the books, especially the Kalevala.

"Songs" was not so obvious. There was something different about that album. I started researching what a "Jack-in-the-Green" was, and that led me to the Green Man, and I was off into the Celtic worlds and otherworlds.

I didn't come to Joe until college, and when I found him, I felt like all my reading had been creating the shaft of an arrow, and Joe formed the point. I've been following the flight of that arrow ever since, and it has made my life rich beyond measure.
jonsjourney
Associate
Posts: 3191
Joined: Fri Oct 17, 2008 3:24 pm
Location: Earth

Post by jonsjourney » Mon Aug 10, 2009 12:44 pm

When I was fifteen, I happened upon a copy of the Lord of the Rings. That same year, Jethro Tull came out with "Songs From The Wood." -pmorkan
While I am slightly younger, we share these as experiences! Songs from the Wood is one of my absolute favorite albums, yeah...I said albums, of all time and, of coarse, Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit are books I read and re-read time and time again!
"He was a dreamer, a thinker, a speculative philosopher... or, as his wife would have it, an idiot." -Douglas Adams
Neoplato
Associate
Posts: 3907
Joined: Fri Nov 21, 2008 3:02 pm
Location: Virginia
Contact:

Post by Neoplato » Wed Aug 12, 2009 11:21 pm

Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit are books I read and re-read time and time again!
Hey JJ. You and me both. Talk about the Hero's Journey. I love the ending chapter where the hobbits return to the Shire, hero's from the war. You can actually feel the change in perspective in the 4 "queer" hobbits. :wink:
Infinite moment, grants freedom of winter death, allows life to dawn.
Locked