Following the Marga

Joseph Campbell believed that "...each of us has an individual myth that's driving us, which we may or may not know." This forum is for assistance and inspiration in the quest to find your own personal mythology.

Moderators: Clemsy, Martin_Weyers, Cindy B.

JamesN.
Associate
Posts: 2187
Joined: Sat Mar 04, 2006 2:46 am
Location: Nashville, Tn.

Post by JamesN. » Wed Oct 30, 2013 10:23 pm

Thank you Clemsy.

So with these guidelines set in place I have another area of this concept I would like to address which is The Greek symbol of the " Labyrinth " and " Ariadne's Thread " which I think perfectly illustrates on another completely different psychological level this idea of " The Marga " or Pathway if applied properly.

I must take leave for a short break to tend to some work issues but in the meantime I will offer a link to an article written by Dr. Catherine Svehla of Pacifica Graduate Institute. As some of you may have already seen she is listed with an article on the home page here concerning another piece she has written and heads up one of our Roundtable Groups as well. She addresses this connection of myth and theme that might provide a quick idea of it's relevance to what I am pointing out within this framework. It is concerned with the idea of the pathway leading into and out of one's psychological landscape and within this understanding of an interior journey. Also I should mention that this very myth was referred to both Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers in " The Power Of Myth " as ( The little piece of string ) that might help to provide the pathway out of one's own mental labyrinth of anguish or confusion and is often a concept utilized in analysis as a descriptive metaphor. ( Cindy would be the go to authority on this; but the connection to this psychological aspect is fairly well established in my understanding. )

And from the article for reference to the topic:
But we are concerned with the thread. The Greek word for Ariadne's thread, the ball of yarn, is clew, the root of our word "clue," a useful snippet, tenuous and indispensable
.

And I would also add to this the idea of a " navigational compass " along with these metaphors in thinking about the marga or clue or thread one might follow on their own individual path of their journey as a starting place within this topic. ( Just like the threads of these forums we are engaged with right here. ) :wink:


At any rate I'll return later to pick this back up; but it may take a while to get to it.


Cheers :)


http://www.catherinesvehla.com/my_weblo ... hread.html


Addendum: Wikipedia has a nice link on Labyrinth:


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Labyrinth
Last edited by JamesN. on Fri Nov 01, 2013 5:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
What do I know? - Michael de Montaigne
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 » Wed Oct 30, 2013 11:53 pm

Interesting you should allude to the story of Theseus, James. My seniors will be diving into Theseus, Perseus. Jason and Orpheus in the coming weeks. But first they decipher that wonderful reference Cindy share with us some time back, Myth and Psyche
The Evolution of Consciousness


Theseus has always resonated with me, and Renault's timeless version holds a treasured spot in my lifetime top five. You must walk your inner labyrinth and slay the beast, but you also must embrace the help of the goddess if you want to find your way out again. The thread is her gift.
Give me stories before I go mad! ~Andreas
JamesN.
Associate
Posts: 2187
Joined: Sat Mar 04, 2006 2:46 am
Location: Nashville, Tn.

Post by JamesN. » Fri Nov 01, 2013 3:25 pm

Clemsy wrote:Interesting you should allude to the story of Theseus, James. My seniors will be diving into Theseus, Perseus. Jason and Orpheus in the coming weeks. But first they decipher that wonderful reference Cindy share with us some time back, Myth and Psyche
The Evolution of Consciousness


Theseus has always resonated with me, and Renault's timeless version holds a treasured spot in my lifetime top five. You must walk your inner labyrinth and slay the beast, but you also must embrace the help of the goddess if you want to find your way out again. The thread is her gift.

Excellent Clemsy; thank you. A perfect model for this. 8)

You got me thinking about another link Cindy posted in " Jung: In The Weeds " concerning the " Chrysalis " process on " Individuation "; so I went looking and came across this other link while I had a moment.

Although my main focus has been on the concept of the " marga " or path; I'm trying to emphasize the idea of an internal metaphoric; as opposed to a external representative example of the journey. To me one of the aspects that gets overlooked is the framework within which symbols and experiences are illustrated. And I think part of what gets lost in the translation are exactly the kind of internal struggles of the psychological alchemical processes that take place within the context of the individual's consciousness for it to emerge toward the new rebirth that Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell illuminate. And this reflective ongoing pathway; ( which in some sense may be experienced as an odyssey or pilgrim's long spiritual journey ); is a metaphor reflectively pointed inward of this interior landscape that we all must interpret at greater psychological depths to reach and understand it's messages; than most of the more outwardly concretized symbols that are normally used. ( Perhaps a little convoluted in my attempt at expressing it; so I'll try to improve on this as the thread progresses. )

http://www.juliadodson.com/26901.html


Sorry I am still out of pocket for the moment but I will return after I get through with several things I am in the middle of at the moment. ( Clemsy; good luck with your senior class. Maybe if you have time at some point you can share some of your other top 5; or if you run across something else interesting you think might fit. )


Cheers :)
What do I know? - Michael de Montaigne
CarmelaBear
Associate
Posts: 4087
Joined: Wed Nov 27, 2002 3:51 pm
Location: The Land of Enchantment

Post by CarmelaBear » Sat Nov 02, 2013 1:33 pm

Clemsy wrote:Interesting you should allude to the story of Theseus, James. My seniors will be diving into Theseus, Perseus. Jason and Orpheus in the coming weeks. But first they decipher that wonderful reference Cindy share with us some time back, Myth and Psyche
The Evolution of Consciousness


Theseus has always resonated with me, and Renault's timeless version holds a treasured spot in my lifetime top five. You must walk your inner labyrinth and slay the beast, but you also must embrace the help of the goddess if you want to find your way out again. The thread is her gift.
That's seriously beautiful, Clemsy.

~
Once in a while a door opens, and let's in the future. --- Graham Greene
CarmelaBear
Associate
Posts: 4087
Joined: Wed Nov 27, 2002 3:51 pm
Location: The Land of Enchantment

Post by CarmelaBear » Sat Nov 02, 2013 1:41 pm

Campbell points out the capacity of an image framework to create illuminating energies. The images can release the individual from fates that undermine the best of intentions.

~
Once in a while a door opens, and let's in the future. --- Graham Greene
JamesN.
Associate
Posts: 2187
Joined: Sat Mar 04, 2006 2:46 am
Location: Nashville, Tn.

Post by JamesN. » Sat Nov 02, 2013 10:56 pm

CarmelaBear wrote:Campbell points out the capacity of an image framework to create illuminating energies.

~
Indeed this seems to me to be what he stresses with the utilization of a myth Carmela.

His reference of a mythological framework aligned within an individual's psychological interior or mental landscape can become a powerful evocative or motivating force is what I understood he was saying.

Here is an article link Cindy posted in " The Story " forum that fits nicely for this thread I think along with Clemsy's earlier suggestion and Catherine Svehla's " Labyrinth " and Julia Dodson's " Hero's Journey " pieces I spotted.


I'm sure more of these articles will emerge as this thread progresses.


Clemsy wrote:
Why do certain stories resonate with us so deeply? I think Campbell and Jung would ask, what archetypes are being stimulated? Is this another key? Archetypes have no meaning outside the structure of a story, and archetypes are the psychic symbols that bind us together. Hmmm.... Cindy territory! lol!

_________________________________________________

Cindy wrote:

This old NYT article may be of interest to some: Personal Myths Bring Cohesion to the Chaos of Each Life
http://www.nytimes.com/1988/05/24/scien ... all&src=pm

I want to draw attention to something not emphasized enough, though, in this introductory material: The instinctual archetypal/mythic dimension of the human psyche (the collective unconscious) shapes our perceptions and experiences as human beings, that is, what it means to be "human" and what is meaningful about being human, and is pluralistic in nature; and just as the universal human story has many archetypal themes and associated character types that may be expressed, so does the individual human story. I mention this since the question, "What is your personal myth?" can be misleading, it seems to me, and prompt one to look for a single archetypal link for understanding and meaning when the individual psyche, too, is pluralistic in nature. So when uncovering your "personal myth or story," consider what archetypal themes have emerged for you during the course of your lifetime, because each will have shaped where you find yourself in the here-and-now as well as offering clues as to where you might head next. As Jung said, "Anything psychic is Janus-faced: it looks both backwards and forwards. Because it is evolving, it is also preparing the future."

:)
For me Cindy's understanding of a Personal Myth suggests much more depth to consider than just a standard motif. Not only is it multi-dimensional ; ( but it changes ). What particularly caught my attention was the " Janus-face " aspect and how as the participation of the individual in their search for their " personal identity " and destiny unfolds through time " it evolves ". This quest or search definitely suggests the sense of " The Marga " or interior pathway to me. :idea:
What do I know? - Michael de Montaigne
JamesN.
Associate
Posts: 2187
Joined: Sat Mar 04, 2006 2:46 am
Location: Nashville, Tn.

Post by JamesN. » Fri Dec 20, 2013 3:13 am

Clemsy found some wonderful links from a series of articles about myth in " Psychology Today " that are an excellent fit for this thread and perfectly illustrate the connections previously made concerning the idea of following one's own " Ariadne Thread " and it's relationship to what " The Labyrinth " represents:


http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/evi ... -labyrinth

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/evi ... lowing-you

Also there is an interesting connection of the distinction made between fate, destiny, and how they are related to this theme.

Joseph Campbell in the chapter " Personal Myth " of " Pathways To Bliss "; (p.96 - 97 ) notes: Marga comes from a root that has to do with an animal trail; it means " the path. " By this , Indians mean the path by which the particular aspect of a symbol leads you to personal illumination; it is the path of enlightenment.

Also later he states: " By bringing your own imagination into play in relation to these symbols, you will be experiencing the " marga ", the symbols power to open a path to the heart of mysteries ".

In this sense what these inter-related concepts are representing to me is an aspect of the ( mythological zone or vehicle ) within which the " experience of one's own personal myth " is to be realized.


Cheers :)
What do I know? - Michael de Montaigne
JamesN.
Associate
Posts: 2187
Joined: Sat Mar 04, 2006 2:46 am
Location: Nashville, Tn.

Post by JamesN. » Thu Jan 09, 2014 7:55 pm

Hello everyone.

I have been spending time recently looking at how personal narrative and biography would be relative to the concept of " Marga " and came across these fascinating links concerning the concept of " Life Story ".



http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/22/healt ... d=all&_r=0


http://www.sesp.northwestern.edu/foley/ ... interview/


This integrates very well I think with the idea of " Personal Myth ". :idea:


Addendum: Here is another link to an article concerning the same material and what it means.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/1 ... 84006.html
Last edited by JamesN. on Mon Jan 13, 2014 10:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
What do I know? - Michael de Montaigne
CarmelaBear
Associate
Posts: 4087
Joined: Wed Nov 27, 2002 3:51 pm
Location: The Land of Enchantment

Post by CarmelaBear » Sat Jan 11, 2014 11:45 am

I finally took the time to follow your links and peruse the content. Now that I wrote my autobiography in book form, (no longer tweeking the book text, but having to edit the online description at Amazon and other sites), the material in the links help to explain how I remembered my life.

I liked the description of "generative adults", for example, from This is Your Life. We all hope we have some of that quality.

The interview and guided autobiography methods both help me look back at what I wrote.

What I like best about getting the story into written form is that I can close a lot of it and move on. There are elements that still create problems, and they usually involve the complex issues of protecting the people in my life. Although I was ill-treated or challenged sometimes, I learned a lot more from going through the tough times than from skating through the easy ones. I am better off for having travelled a path with some difficulties along the way. By the same token, I sometimes cast myself as the villain, and it does add regret and remorse to the narrative.

You know the old joke about the best way to get to Carnegie Hall? Remember.....practice, practice, practice. In a book on focus, by Daniel Goleman, the idea of repetition as a teacher is qualified. Repeating is not enough. A person has to find and eliminate errors along the way, has to find better ways, and has to constantly make adjustments. Without the energy put into the edit of a life story, the personal myth is not going to have a chance of achieving excellence. So, we don't just wander the halls of the labyrinth, day in and day out. We find and follow the thread or set of mythological clues.

~
Cindy B.
Working Associate
Posts: 4719
Joined: Wed Oct 05, 2005 12:49 pm
Location: USA
Contact:

Storytime...

Post by Cindy B. » Fri Jan 17, 2014 7:43 pm

JamesN. wrote:Hello everyone.

I have been spending time recently looking at how personal narrative and biography would be relative to the concept of " Marga " and came across these fascinating links concerning the concept of " Life Story ".



http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/22/healt ... d=all&_r=0


http://www.sesp.northwestern.edu/foley/ ... interview/


This integrates very well I think with the idea of " Personal Myth ". :idea:


Addendum: Here is another link to an article concerning the same material and what it means.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/1 ... 84006.html
Hey, James.

I decided to follow up on our recent PM correspondence in your thread since you’d begun on the board, so here are a few thoughts.

First, from the perspective of social psychology that underlies the information you shared, I like this Life Story Model very much. (Historically, much experimental investigation into personality has fallen within the field of social psychology, a link, so to speak, between psychology and sociology.) For the purposes of those who frequent this board and have taken on the tasks of self-understanding and self-direction, the links that you shared offer quality food for thought, I think, to complement the notions of Campbell and Jung when it comes story/narrative and the process of individuation, i.e., personality development. For any who may be unsure about how to start such self-exploration, a look at The Life Story Interview research tool would even be useful to get the ball rolling. Yet…

…the social psychological perspective offers only part of the story, so to speak—no pun intended :P—albeit an important part that focuses on conscious functioning, in that the point of view originates from and gives priority to an objective stance (outer, observable, other-oriented, collective) in order to make inferences about a subjective (inner, private, self-oriented, personal) stance that’s the typical starting point for Jung’s and Campbell’s approaches to self-exploration. And unlike primarily objective perspectives, Campbell and Jung give equal credence to both the personal and the collective in a causative sense and at both levels of experiential psychological functioning, i.e., conscious and unconscious. Then, of course, for any who want to explore the archetypal/mythic dimension of personality and personal myths/stories/narratives, the Jungian depth psychological approach and/or Jungian-derived theories are the only way to go…in my Westerner’s opinion. ;)

Still, and as I’ve mentioned before, I’d encourage folks to go with whatever approach or combination of approaches that works best for them. There’s more than one way to get a thing done, and no one can know better than oneself what that way may be.

The End

:)
Last edited by Cindy B. on Fri Jan 17, 2014 9:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
If the path before you is clear, you’re probably on someone else’s. --Jung
JamesN.
Associate
Posts: 2187
Joined: Sat Mar 04, 2006 2:46 am
Location: Nashville, Tn.

Post by JamesN. » Fri Jan 17, 2014 9:46 pm

Cindy thank you; that was just awesome and so very helpful. 8)

I want to point out something in particular that identifies; ( at least to me ); the missing link that I think is the main underlying factor that Jung defined and Campbell illuminates which is the ( mythical dimension ) at work within these parameters:

Cindy:
And unlike primarily objective perspectives, Campbell and Jung give equal credence to both the personal and the collective in a causative sense and at both levels of experiential psychological functioning, i.e., conscious and unconscious. Then, of course, for any who want to explore the archetypal/mythic dimension of personality and personal myths/stories/narratives, the Jungian depth psychological approach and/or Jungian-derived theories are the only way to go…in my Westerner’s opinion. :wink:
And for those of us who see " Star Wars ", or Tolkien's work, of hear of King Arthur or the Greek Myth's or any number of the other great mythic tales; that archetypical ( DNA ) is stimulated deep within our subconscious and we are affected by it in a way that evokes a mirror within our own personal narrative.

I like what McAdams referred to as the 3rd person position as in the personal narrative of one's own movie that they are authoring and participating in. This provides an ( objective ) as opposed to ( subjective ) psychological position of distance within which the person can edit their biographical script and re-engage in the their own storyline. But from my layman's perspective the main ingredient; ( to me ); that is missing here with this approach is the " mythical " dimension. ( Life has an element of unpredictability and a way of not going according to any script. And it is this loss of the mythological sense of " profound mystery " of all life that Joe talked about that separates us from T.S. Elliott's " Wasteland ". ) :idea:
What do I know? - Michael de Montaigne
Cindy B.
Working Associate
Posts: 4719
Joined: Wed Oct 05, 2005 12:49 pm
Location: USA
Contact:

Post by Cindy B. » Fri Jan 17, 2014 10:54 pm

I hear what you're saying, James, regarding the "mythical dimension" and tend to agree. And I think that this is a reflection of our natural tendencies toward introversion and introspection and our needs to explore the depths of our personalities and ourselves...Selves.

I will say this, though, from a clinical perspective. Unless one has the luxury in terms of time and money to engage in professional analysis of some sort (preferrably Jungian, of course :lol:) and so explore the depths of one's personality and subjectivity, the objective perspective and method of retelling suggested by McAdams et al. can bear real fruit...and does. While the links you provided suggest that researchers have discovered something new, this simply ain't so. ;) Exploring a client's personal story and encouraging him or her to reframe that narrative in some proactive form is part and parcel of the typical long-term clinical psychology or counseling experience. As I mentioned above, though, I like very much the content and perspective of the Foley's Center's Life Story Interview from an objective stance.

And want to make personal use of this Interview and incorporate an archetypal/mythic dimension? For each of the category areas, take particular note of any or all emotion, positive and negative, that arises when considering the suggested content. This emotional reaction will be your key and the clue that an archetype is activated.

Later!
Last edited by Cindy B. on Thu Jan 23, 2014 2:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
If the path before you is clear, you’re probably on someone else’s. --Jung
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 » Sat Jan 18, 2014 3:26 am

OMG! James! I missed your earlier post where you linked to those Psychology Today articles. However, while searching for some references for class, i stumbled upon those very articles and used two of them in class. They are awesome!
Give me stories before I go mad! ~Andreas
CarmelaBear
Associate
Posts: 4087
Joined: Wed Nov 27, 2002 3:51 pm
Location: The Land of Enchantment

Post by CarmelaBear » Sat Jan 18, 2014 11:55 am

Yes, James.

8)
JamesN.
Associate
Posts: 2187
Joined: Sat Mar 04, 2006 2:46 am
Location: Nashville, Tn.

Post by JamesN. » Sun Jan 19, 2014 4:19 am

Thank you everyone for your kind and thoughtful input here; it means a lot. 8)

I have recently been reading through passages of Stephen Larsen's awesome book: " The Mythic Imagination - The Quest for Meaning Through Personal Mythology ".

In the JCF bookstore a link to amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Mythic-Imaginatio ... 991&sr=1-5

The book explores the concept of " Personal Myth " from a multitude of directions such as: roleplaying, masks, mental maps and landscapes, play and the imagination, myths and symbols just to name a few. This fellow is a major Campbell figure and I wish I had come across this book sooner. Loads of material and just full of things that relate to this topic that knock me out. 8)
" In our personal mythology our story ultimately is told, and that story includes characters. The ego, I, or sense of self, whichever we choose to call it, is both immensely powerful and at the same time, confusingly fragile. Our most important task though is the gaining of self-knowledge. More than merely actors, we are skilled directors. To put on the " good show " that comprises life we need to keep track of our inner cast. " ( page 204 ) :idea:
Last edited by JamesN. on Sun Jan 19, 2014 4:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
What do I know? - Michael de Montaigne
Locked