MythBlast | The Communitas of Story

As the Joseph Campbell Foundation explores ideas about how people use myth this month, I am reminded of one of the deep purposes of story: building community.

As humans have done for thousands of years, we come together to tell stories, to amuse, to entertain, to challenge, and to imagine – and remember – with our communities, whether they be family, village or neighborhood, co-workers or conspirators; and whether we are sharing them while in the same room or from around the world. By their very nature, stories are built to be shared.

For decades now, the Joseph Campbell Foundation has honored a sense of that communitas in story and myth with an ongoing effort to support people coming together around the globe to share myths and the ideas that spring from them.

From jcf.org:

The Joseph Campbell Foundation Mythological RoundTable® (MRT) Network groups are gatherings of people drawn together by a deep and abiding interest in all things mythological. Much like the Round Table of yore, it is a place where individual and community come together — a place to play, plan, create, partake in ritual, and share tales of one’s own quest with companions well met. But the Mythological RoundTable® groups do more than just enrich the individual; they also offer the opportunity to introduce Joseph Campbell’s work to the wider community, carrying his vision off the page and out into the real world.

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Last fall, one of the earliest communities that arose from the Mythological Roundtable® program came together as they have virtually every month for twenty years in Los Angeles under the leadership of Joyce Alexson, to celebrate what they have done together; what they have learned, argued, agreed upon, shared, and broken open with each other in an ongoing conversation about myth. I’d love to share some photographs of this celebration, taken by longtime member and filmmaker, Harrison Engle.

Congratulations and thank you to all of the people who continue to come together to share myth and metaphor with one another, and ponder how it can shape their lives.

If you’re interested in joining or forming a Mythological Roundtable® there are folks on hand to help you find your way. Click here to learn more.

All the best,

Leigh Melander, Ph.D.

About Leigh

Leigh has an eclectic background in the arts and organizational development, working with inviduals and organizations in the US and internationally for over 20 years. She has a doctorate in cultural mythology and psychology and wrote her dissertation on frivolity as an entry into the world of imagination. Her writings on mythology and imagination can be seen in a variety of publications, and she has appeared on the History Channel, as a mythology expert. She also hosts a radio who on an NPR community affiliate: Myth America, an exploration into how myth shapes our sense of identity. Leigh and her husband opened Spillian, an historic lodge and retreat center celebrating imagination in the Catskills, and works with clients on creative projects. She is honored to serve as the Vice President of the Joseph Campbell Foundation Board of Directors.

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