For years, Joseph Campbell celebrated his birthday (March 26th) at Esalen. Explaining why, he’d tell of Carl Jung’s wondering, “What myth am I living by?” And how Jung, realizing he didn’t know, wrote “I took it upon myself to get to know ‘my’ myth, and I regarded this as the task of tasks.”
“That’s what a birthday is for,” Campbell would conclude, “and what Esalen is about.” In March 1988, five months after Campbell’s death, his friends again gathered at Esalen for “Campbell Week”—a tradition that endures. These festivities morphed into this playshop, for familiarity with Campbell is not needed to retool the myths that shape one’s life—though a sense of humor certainly helps.
Recall dreams, rekindle visions, deploy mythmaking tools like drums and dance, music and song, masks, medicine bags and altars. Individual, small-group, and collective activities provide opportunities for reflection and expression.
Who were you? What mise-en-scènes inspire your biographical saga? What treasures are banished to your basement, secreted in your attic? Who are you? What’s displayed in your home or dangling from your rearview mirror? Who do you aspire to be? What face do you envision in the mirror? What remains on your bucket list? If you dare to revision yourself, then join our springtime rituals of rebirth.
Please bring a meaningful but expendable totem, an unsung story, or evocative song.