Campbell on Reading Dreams

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

Michael,

It's a curious thing, this interpreting each other's dreams. The night after I decided to come forward boldly with my interpretation of your dream, serendipity would have it that I'd get a dream that solves a long standing question in my mind. Maybe ... my subconscious rewarded me with an answer because I truelly wished for you to have one?

Evinnra <IMG SRC="/forum/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif">

(*smiling* at last from the depth of my soul)
'A fish popped out of the water only to be recaptured again. It is as I, a slave to all yet free of everything.'
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Cindy B.
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Post by Cindy B. » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

Hello, everyone.

I was delighted to find this thread today. I'm new to posting on the forum but not to lurking, so I'm not sure what took me so long in finding these very interesting dreams. I recently turned to Joseph Campbell as a means to complement my many years of studying and living with Jung’s ideas, and for me dream work is part of my everyday (and night!) life. My hope is that you’ll allow me to bounce a couple ideas off you while I sort out my thinking, then later, when I’m better versed in Campbell’s ideas, perhaps I’ll be able to contribute to this dream thread without confusing the heck out of all of us… So in advance, thanks for reading and sharing any feedback you might have.

So you know, my readings of Campbell’s works have been limited to this board, "The Power of Myth," and "A Joseph Campbell Companion"; currently I’m reading "The Hero with a Thousand Faces," but more about this in a moment. In general my view is this so far--that while Jung typically (though not always) takes a “bottom up” approach when it comes to archetypes and myths, i.e., his starting point is the individual psyche and the contents of the collective unconscious, Campbell prefers the “top down” approach, i.e., he starts at the level of culture and society such that his ideas about archetypes and myth trickle down, so to speak, to the individual situation. So during my earliest readings of Campbell, and in reference to his teachings about applying the wisdom of myths to our everyday lives, I kept asking myself, What about dream imagery, the most personal and immediate link (other than creative works) between the individual and the collective unconscious, its contents, of course, being archetypes and archetypal processes?

Then I began to read "The Hero with a Thousand Faces," and I’m about halfway through this work. Here Campbell does merge a psychological point of view with the historical cultural picture by including examples from individuals’ dreams in relation to myths and archetypes. I would appreciate very much if posters here would refer me to other works by Campbell that contain a similar composite approach.

So what’s the big deal, you might say, and why all this on the dream thread? Because I’m trying to reconcile Campbell’s “top down” approach with Jung’s “bottom up” approach when it comes to the adult’s personal growth. For now, and until I learn more, my bias is this—that to truly understand the most salient mythic motifs and/or archetypal processes affecting one’s life at any given moment, a look inward might best precede that look outward. This is what drew me to the dream thread because I see that here. Much of what I’ve read on the board so far seems to be that outward look to myth first, then an attempt to apply that myth to an individual situation in the here and now.

And please know that in no way am I criticizing Campbell or those who post on the forum. I find his ideas fascinating, as well as most helpful when it comes to the notion of “follow your bliss,” what Jung might have called part of “the individuation process.” Perhaps what would help me most is if some of you could share specifics per Campbell re: the process he suggested to uncover the most salient mythic motifs applicable to an individual at a given time; and in particular I’d like to know what his ideas were about dream work, if any. I’d appreciate clarification, too, if I’m off the mark so far when it comes to Campbell’s approach. Something tells me that perhaps I am… <IMG SRC="/forum/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif">

Many thanks, and next time I promise to keep it brief. Take care!

Cindy








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

Welcome to the forums, Cindy!

Top down versus bottom up - interesting observation! Maybe this is what Campbell keeps from becoming a Jungian.

I guess though that Campbell's use of depth psychology as well as his ideas about bliss as a guiding psychological response include some bottom up processes as well. We certainly need both directions! (If you want to read more bottom up-stuff, Pathways to Bliss might be helpful.)

There's a paragraph in Power of Myth that nicely illustrates Campbell's thoughts about myths and dreams. (I can't remember, but it probably has already been quoted in this thread.)
CAMPBELL: I don't listen to other people's dreams.

MOYERS: But all of these myths are other people's dreams.

CAMPBELL: Oh, no, they're not. They are the world's dreams. They are archetypal dreams and deal with great human problems. I know when I come to one of these thresholds now. The myth tells me about it, how to respond to certain crises of disappointment or delight or failure or success. The myths tell me where I am.


In regards of other Campbell works comparable to his approach in The Hero with a thousand Faces: This work is probably unique in its psychological approach. During that period of time, Prof. Joe was more influenced by Jung and even Freud, than at any later point of time.

I remember, somewhere Campbell encourages people to keep a dream diary, to find out about their personal myth. On the other hand, I don't believe he was interested too much in talking about other people's dreams, because this is something personal everybody has to do himself.

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<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Martin_Weyers on 2006-01-15 11:43 ]</font>
Cindy B.
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Post by Cindy B. » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

Hi, Martin.

'Tis done. I ordered "Pathways to Bliss." My reading of the book's reviews led me to believe this is indeed what I'm looking for. Thank you!

Cindy
If the path before you is clear, you’re probably on someone else’s. --Jung
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