Works by Campbell: Quotations

Quotations from the works of Joseph Campbell

LinkQuotationWork
Now, the realms of the gods and demons

The realms of the gods and demons–heaven, purgatory, hell–are of the substance of dreams. Myth, in this view, is the dream of the world. If we accept gods as objective realities, then they are the counterpart of your dream–this is a very important point–dream and myth are of the same logic.

Myths of Light
An initiation is a shock.

An initiation is a shock. Birth is a shock; rebirth is a shock. All that is transformative must be experienced as if for the first time.

On Being Human
Metaphors only seem to describe

Metaphors only seem to describe the outer world of time and place. Their real universe is the spiritual realm of the inner life. The Kingdom of God is within you.

Thou Art That
Mythology may

Mythology may, in a real sense, be defined as other people’s religion. And religion may, in a real sense, be understood as a popular misunderstanding of mythology.

Thou Art That
Perfection is not lovable

Perfection is not lovable. All the Buddhas are alike, and they have left the world so as not to live in it. If you’re going to live in the world, you live with imperfections. And what is lovable about a person is precisely that cute little twist of the nose that doesn’t belong to the Greek tradition. What is lovable is the fault; what is lovable is the humanity.

The Promised Land is not a place to be conquered

The Promised Land is not a place to be conquered by armies and solidified by displacing other people. The Promised Land is a corner in the heart.

It is inevitable that children should be taught in purely concrete terms

It is inevitable that children should be taught in purely concrete terms. But then the child grows up and realizes who Santa Claus is. He is really Daddy. So, too, we must grow in the same way in learning about God, and the institutional churches must grow in presenting the message of the symbols to adults.

Thou Art That
The happy ending of the fairy tale

The happy ending of the fairy tale, the myth, and the divine comedy of the soul, is to be read, not as a contradiction, but as a transcendence of the universal tragedy of man.

Hero with a Thousand Faces, The
Human adulthood is not achieved until the twenties

Human adulthood is not achieved until the twenties: [George Bernard] Shaw put it in the seventies: not a few look ahead to Purgatory.

eSingle: Bios & Mythos
Work begins when you don’t like what you’re doing

Work begins when you don’t like what you’re doing. Tension, a lack of honesty, and a sense of unreality come from following the wrong force in your life. As an adult, you must rediscover the moving power of your life!

Joseph Campbell Companion, A
People feel panicky at the thought

People feel panicky at the thought that we might all have something in common, that they are giving up some exclusive hold on the truth. It is something like discovering that you are a Frenchman and a human being at the same time. That is exactly the challenge that the great religions face in the Space Age.

Thou Art That
There is one phrase in Finnegans Wake

There is one phrase in Finnegans Wake that seems to me to epitomize the whole sense of Joyce. He says, “Oh Lord, heap mysteries upon us, but entwine our work with laughter low.” And this is the sense of the Buddhist bodhisattva: joyful participation in the sorrows of the world.

Hero’s Journey, The (book)
In the way of nature

In the way of nature one may experience, from time to time, glimpses of the world in this [transcendent] light – after the pelvic bioenergetic commitments have been honored and fulfilled, so that, freed from the dictatorship of the species, one is released to live as an individual (some little time, say, after the age of about thirty-five).

Inner Reaches of Outer Space, The
Revolution doesn’t have to do with smashing something

Revolution doesn’t have to do with smashing something, it has to do with bringing something forth. If you spend all your time thinking about that which you are attacking, then you are negatively bound to it. You have to find the zeal in yourself and bring that out.

The exclusivism of there being only one way

The exclusivism of there being only one way in which we can be saved, the idea that there is a single religious group that is in sole possession of the truth–that is the world as we know it that must pass away. What is the Kingdom? It lies in our realization of the ubiquity of the divine presence in our neighbors, in our enemies, in all of us.

Thou Art That
The folk-tale is the primer of the picture language of the soul

The folk-tale is the primer of the picture language of the soul.

Flight of the Wild Gander, The
People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life

People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonance within our innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.

The myth is the public dream and the dream is the private myth

The myth is the public dream and the dream is the private myth.

Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth with Bill Moyers (book)
What myth does for you

What myth does for you is to point beyond the phenomenal field toward the transcendent. A mythic figure is like the compass that you used to draw circles and arcs in school, with one leg in the field of time and the other in the eternal. The image of a god may look like a human or animal form, but its reference is transcendent of that.

Pathways to Bliss
We’re so engaged in doing things to achieve purposes of outer value that we forget

We’re so engaged in doing things to achieve purposes of outer value that we forget that the inner value, the rapture that is associated with being alive, is what it’s all about.

Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth with Bill Moyers (book)
A mythological order is a system of images that gives consciousness a sense of meaning

A mythological order is a system of images that gives consciousness a sense of meaning in existence, which, my dear friend, has no meaning––it simply is. But the mind goes asking for meanings; it can’t play unless it knows (or makes up) the rules.

Mythologies present games to play: how to make believe you’re doing thus and so. Ultimately, through the game, you experience that positive thing which is the experience of being-in-being, of living meaningfully. That’s the first function of a mythology, to evoke in the individual a sense of grateful affirmative awe before the monstrous mystery that is existence.

Pathways to Bliss
there is a critical problem indicated here, which parents and families

And so, it seems to me, there is a critical problem indicated here, which parents and families have to face squarely: that, namely, of insuring that the signals which they are imprinting on their young are such that will attune them to, and not alienate them from, the world which they are going to have to live; unless, of course, one is dead set on bequeathing to one’s heirs one’s own paranoia.

Myths to Live By
Our mythology now, therefore, is to be of infinite space and its light

Our mythology now, therefore, is to be of infinite space and its light, which is without as well as within. Like moths, we are cought in the spell of its allure, flying to it outward, to the moon and beyond, and flying to it, also, inward. On our planet itself all dividing horizons have been shattered. We can no longer hold our loves at home and project our aggressions elsewhere; for on this spaceship Earth there is no “elsewhere” anymore. And no mythology that continues to speak or to teach of “elsewhere” and “outsiders” meets the requirement of this hour

Myths to Live By
The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.

The privilege of a lifetime
is being who you are.

Joseph Campbell Companion, A
The Kingdom of God is within us

The Kingdom of God is within us. Easter and Passover remind us that we have to let go in order to enter it.

Joseph Campbell Companion, A
Apocalypse does not point to a fiery Armageddon

Apocalypse does not point to a fiery Armageddon, but to our ignorance and complacency coming to an end.

Thou Art That
The influence of a vital person vitalizes

The influence of a vital person vitalizes, there’s no doubt about it. The world without spirit is a wasteland. People have the notion of saving the world by shifting things around, changing the rules, and whos on top, and so forth. No, no! Any world is a valid world if it’s alive. The thing to do is to bring life to it, and the only way to do that is to find in your own case where the life is and become alive yourself.

Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth with Bill Moyers (book)
The basic story of the hero journey involves giving up where you are, going into the realm of adventure

The basic story of the hero journey involves giving up where you are, going into the realm of adventure, coming to some kind of symbolically rendered realization, and then returning to the field of normal life.

Pathways to Bliss
The work of the artist is to present objects to you in such a way that they will shine.

The work of the artist is to present objects to you in such a way that they will shine. Through the rhythm of the artist’s formation, the object that you have looked at with indifference will be radiant, and you will be fixed in esthetic arrest.

What I think is that a good life is one hero journey

What I think is that a good life is one hero journey after another. Over and over again, you are called to the realm of adventure, you are called to new horizons. Each time, there is the same problem: do I dare? And then if you do dare, the dangers are there, and the help also, and the fulfillment or the fiasco. There’s always the possibility of a fiasco.

But there’s also the possibility of bliss

The old gods are dead or dying and people everywhere are searching, asking

The old gods are dead or dying and people everywhere are searching, asking: What is the new mythology to be, the mythology of this unified earth as of one harmonious being?

For it is the artist who brings the images of a mythology to manifestation

For it is the artist who brings the images of a mythology to manifestation, and without images (whether mental or visual) there is no mythology.

Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth with Bill Moyers (video)
One thing that comes out in myths is that at the bottom of the abyss comes the voice of salvation.

One thing that comes out in myths is that at the bottom of the abyss comes the voice of salvation. The black moment is the moment when the real message of transformation is going to come. At the darkest moment comes the light.

Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth with Bill Moyers (video)
The idea in the hero adventure is to walk bodily through the door into the world

The idea in the hero adventure is to walk bodily through the door into the world where the dualistic rules don’t apply.

Hero with a Thousand Faces, The
The metaphor in religious traditions is to something transcendant that is not literally any thing.

The metaphor in religious traditions is to something transcendant that is not literally any thing. If you think that the metaphor is itself the reference, it would be like going to a restaurant, asking for the menu, seeing beefsteak written there, and starting to eat the menu.

The hero’s journey is a symbol that binds in the original sense of the word

The hero’s journey is a symbol that binds in the original sense of the word, two distant ideas: the spiritual quest of the ancients; with the modern search for identity.

For the symbols of mythology are not manufactured

For the symbols of mythology are not manufactured;
they cannot be ordered, invented, or permanently
suppressed. They are the spontaneous productions
of the Psyche, and each bears within it, undamaged,
the germ power of its source.

Hero with a Thousand Faces, The
And so, to return to our opening question: What is–or what is to be — the new mythology?

And so, to return to our opening question: What is — or what is to be — the new mythology?

It is — and will forever be, as long as our human race exists — the old, everlasting, perennial mythology, in its “subjective sense,” poetically renewed in terms neither of a remembered past nor of a projected future, but of now: addressed, that is to say, not to the flattery of “peoples,” but to the waking of individuals in the knowledge of themselves, not simply as egos fighting for place on the surface of this beautiful planet, but equally as centers of Mind at Large — each in his own way at one with all, and with no horizons.

Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth with Bill Moyers (video)
Mythology is not a lie; mythology is poetry, it is metaphorical.

Mythology is not a lie; mythology is poetry, it is metaphorical. It has been well said that mythology is the penultimate truth — penultimate because the ultimate cannot be put into words. It is beyond words, beyond images, beyond that bounding rim of the Buddhist Wheel of Becoming. Mythology pitches the mind beyond that rim, to what can be known but not told.

Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth with Bill Moyers (video)
The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe, to match your nature with Nature.

The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe, to match your nature with Nature.

Joseph Campbell Companion, A
Regrets are illuminations come too late.

Regrets are illuminations come too late.

Hero with a Thousand Faces, The
Half the people

Half the people in the world think that the metaphors of their religious traditions, for example, are facts. And the other half contends that they are not facts at all. As a result we have people who consider themselves believers because they accept metaphors as facts, and we have others who classify themselves as atheists because they think religious metaphors are lies.

Thou Art That
Easter and Passover

One must remember the central truth about Easter and Passover. We are called out of the house of bondage, even as the Jews were called out of their bondage in Egypt. We are called out of bondage in the way in which the moon throws off its shadow to emerge anew, in the way the life throws off its shadow of death. Easter and Passover have the same roots; we are called out of bondage to our old tradition. Easter is not Easter and Passover is not Passover, unless they release us even from the tradition that gives us these feasts.

Thou Art That
The hero’s death and resurrection is a model for the casting off of the old life

The hero’s death and resurrection
is a model for
the casting off of the old life
and moving into the new.

Instead of clearing his own heart the zealot tries to clear the world.

Instead of clearing his own heart the zealot tries to clear the world.

Hero with a Thousand Faces, The
Just as anyone who listens to the muse will hear, you can write out of your own intention or out of inspiration.

Just as anyone who listens to the muse will hear, you can write out of your own intention or out of inspiration. There is such a thing. It comes up and talks. And those who have heard deeply the rhythms and hymns of the gods, can recite those hymns in such a way that the gods will be attracted.

Hero’s Journey, The (book)
You enter the forest at the darkest point, where there is no path.

You enter the forest
at the darkest point,
where there is no path.

Where there is a way or path,
it is someone else’s path.

Pathways to Bliss
All life stinks and you must embrace that with compassion.

All life stinks and you must embrace that with compassion.

Pathways to Bliss
We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.

We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.

Joseph Campbell Companion, A
I always feel uncomfortable when people speak about ordinary mortals

I always feel uncomfortable when people speak about ordinary mortals because I’ve never met an ordinary man, woman or child.

Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth with Bill Moyers (book)
Eternity has nothing to do with time. Eternity is that dimension of here and now which thinking and time cuts out.

Eternity has nothing to do with time. Eternity is that dimension of here and now which thinking and time cuts out. This is it.

Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth with Bill Moyers (book)
We’re in a freefall into future. We don’t know where we’re going.

We’re in a freefall into future. We don’t know where we’re going. Things are changing so fast, and always when you’re going through a long tunnel, anxiety comes along. And all you have to do to transform your hell into a paradise is to turn your fall into a voluntary act. It’s a very interesting shift of perspective and that’s all it is… joyful participation in the sorrows and everything changes.

Sukhavati – A Mythic Journey
Where we had thought to travel outward, we shall come to the center of our own existence.

Where we had thought to travel outward, we shall come to the center of our own existence. And where we had thought to be alone, we shall be with all the world.

Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth with Bill Moyers (book)
Wherever the hero may wander, whatever he may do, he is ever in the presence of his own essence

Wherever the hero may wander, whatever he may do, he is ever in the presence of his own essence — for he has the perfected eye to see. There is no separateness.

Hero with a Thousand Faces, The
We have not even to risk the adventure alone, for the heroes of all time have gone before us — the labyrinth is thoroughly known.

We have not even to risk the adventure alone, for the heroes of all time have gone before us — the labyrinth is thoroughly known. We have only to follow the thread of the hero path, and where we had thought to find an abomination, we shall find a god; where we had thought to slay another, we shall slay ourselves; where we had thought to travel outward, we shall come to the center of our own existence. And where we had thought to be alone, we shall be with all the world.

Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth with Bill Moyers (video)
No tribal rite has yet been recorded which attempts to keep winter from descending; on the contrary:

No tribal rite has yet been recorded which attempts to keep winter from descending; on the contrary: the rites all prepare the community to endure, together with the rest of nature, the season of the terrible cold.

Hero with a Thousand Faces, The
For when scrutinized in terms not of what it is but of how it functions, of how it has served mankind in the past,

For when scrutinized in terms not of what it is but of how it functions, of how it has served mankind in the past, of how it may serve today, mythology shows itself to be as amenable as life itself to the obsessions and requirements of the individual, the race, the age.

Hero with a Thousand Faces, The
The tribal ceremonies of birth, initiation, marriage, burial, installation, and so forth, serve to translate the individual’s life-crises

The tribal ceremonies of birth, initiation, marriage, burial, installation, and so forth, serve to translate the individual’s life-crises and life-deeds into classic, impersonal forms. They disclose him to himself, not as this personality or that, but as the warrior, the bride, the widow, the priest, the chieftain; at the same time rehearsing for the rest of the community the old lesson of the archetypal stages.

Hero with a Thousand Faces, The
It is not only that there is no hiding place for the gods from the searching telescope and microscope

It is not only that there is no hiding place for the gods from the searching telescope and microscope; there is no such society any more as the gods once supported.

Hero with a Thousand Faces, The
The modern hero-deed must be that of questing to bring to light again the lost Atlantis of the co-ordinated soul.

The modern hero-deed must be that of questing to bring to light again the lost Atlantis of the co-ordinated soul.

Hero with a Thousand Faces, The
The image of the cosmos must change with the development of the mind and knowledge

The image of the cosmos must change with the development of the mind and knowledge; otherwise, the mythic statement is lost, and man becomes dissociated from the very basis of his own religious experience. Doubt comes in, and so forth. You must remember: all of the great traditions, and little traditions, in their own time were scientifically correct. That is to say, they were correct in terms of the scientific image of that age.

Audio: Series I, Volume 1: Mythology & the Individual (bundle)
All cultures have grown out of myths. They are founded on myths.

All cultures have grown out of myths. They are founded on myths. What these myths have given has been inspiration for aspiration. The economic interpretation of history is for the birds. Economics is itself a function of aspiration. It’s what people aspire to that creates the field in which economics works.

The achievement of the hero is one that he is ready for and it’s really a manifestation of his character.

The achievement of the hero is one that he is ready for and it’s really a manifestation of his character.

This is the threat to our lives. We all face it. We all operate in our society in relation to a system.

This is the threat to our lives. We all face it. We all operate in our society in relation to a system. Now is the system going to eat you up and relieve you of your humanity or are you going to be able to use the system to human purposes? … If the person doesn’t listen to the demands of his own spiritual and heart life and insists on a certain program, you’re going to have a schizophrenic crack-up. The person has put himself off center. He has aligned himself with a programmatic life and it’s not the one the body’s interested in at all. And the world’s full of people who have stopped listening to themselves.

This thing up here, this consciousness, thinks it’s running the shop. It’s a secondary organ.

This thing up here, this consciousness, thinks it’s running the shop. It’s a secondary organ. It’s a secondary organ of a total human being, and it must not put itself in control. It must submit and serve the humanity of the body.

I will participate in the game

I will participate in the game. It’s a wonderful, wonderful opera–except that it hurts.

People ask me, “Do you have optimism about the world, about how terrible it is?”

People ask me, “Do you have optimism about the world, about how terrible it is?” And I say, “Yes, it’s great the way it is”

Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth with Bill Moyers (video)
Follow your bliss.

Follow your bliss.

Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth with Bill Moyers (video)
I think it’s important to live life with a knowledge of its mystery, and of your own mystery.

I think it’s important to live life with a knowledge of its mystery, and of your own mystery.

Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth with Bill Moyers (video)
We are standing on a whale fishing for minnows.

We are standing on a whale fishing for minnows.

Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth with Bill Moyers (video)
Computers are like Old Testament gods; lots of rules and no mercy.

Computers are like Old Testament gods; lots of rules and no mercy.

Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth with Bill Moyers (video)
Do you ever have the sense of… being helped by hidden hands?

Moyers: Do you ever have the sense of… being helped by hidden hands?
Campbell: All the time. It is miraculous. I even have a superstition that has grown on me as a result of invisible hands coming all the time—namely, that if you do follow your bliss you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. When you can see that, you begin to meet people who are in your field of bliss, and they open doors to you. I say, follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.

Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth with Bill Moyers (book)
We are the sensing organs of the Earth.

We are the sensing organs of the Earth. We are the senses of the universe. We have it all right here within us. And the deities that we once thought were out there, we now know, were projected out of ourselves. They are the products of our human imagination seeking to interpret, one way or another, the mysteries of the universe….

Thou Art That
We must not understand apocalypse literally, not as some physical destruction and judgment of the world

We must not understand apocalypse literally, not as some physical destruction and judgment of the world, or as something that is going to occur in the future. The kingdom is here; it does not come through expectation. One looks at the world and sees the radiance. The Easter revelation is right there.

Thou Art That
The first condition, therefore, that any mythology must fulfill if it is to render life

The first condition, therefore, that any mythology must fulfill if it is to render life to modern lives is that of cleansing the doors of perception to the wonder, at once terrible and fascinating, of ourselves and of the universe of which we are the ears and eyes and the mind.

Myths to Live By
Even the horizon of China, the horizon of India, the horizon of Rome were little horizons

Even the horizon of China, the horizon of India, the horizon of Rome were little horizons compared with what we have now. There are no horizons now. There is no such thing as a bounded world anymore. The Communist world–this reactionary bunch of stupid people–are trying to bound their world. They have machine guns to see to it that their world is bounded, and Berlin Walls. This is an attempt to restore something that’s no longer possible.

Just as from the old cosmologies of the simple tribal peoples there was an enormous step to the vast cosmologies

Just as from the old cosmologies of the simple tribal peoples there was an enormous step to the vast cosmologies of the monumental cultures, so we are right now experiencing in our own lifetime a step as great: from the monumental to the mechanized world, to the no-horizon world, to a world that makes the sort of multiple nature of old Hellenistic civilisation look very simple.

Now, one can feel negatively about this, but one should not feel negatively about anything going on.

Now, one can feel negatively about this, but one should not feel negatively about anything going on. You’ve got to grab it, and move into it, and note the positive thing. And so, not only are the culture forms being taken down, but the civilization forms are being found and built which will be the guiding forms of the next five, six hundred years–the last years, perhaps, of our civilization.

The origin of the mythological symbols is not pseudo-scientific, pseudo-historical.

The origin of the mythological symbols is not pseudo-scientific, pseudo-historical. They spring from the psyche. They are not the consequence of observations; they are the consequence of observations misinterpreted through projections from the human psyche.

The unfolding through time of all things from one is the simple message, finally, of every one of the creation myths

The unfolding through time of all things from one is the simple message, finally, of every one of the creation myths … including that of our contemporary biological view, which becomes an effective mythic image the moment we recognize its own inner mystery. By the same magic, every god that is dead can be conjured again to life …

Mythological symbols touch and exhilarate centers of life beyond the reach of vocabularies of reason and coercion.

Mythological symbols touch and exhilarate centers of life beyond the reach of vocabularies of reason and coercion.

The Masks of God 4: Creative Mythology
Read myths. They teach you that you can turn inward, and you begin to get the message of the symbols.

Read myths. They teach you that you can turn inward, and you begin to get the message of the symbols.

Read other people’s myths, not those of your own religion, because you tend to interpret

Read other people’s myths, not those of your own religion, because you tend to interpret your own religion in terms of facts-but if you read other ones, you begin to get the message.

Myth helps you to put your mind in touch with the experience of being alive.

Myth helps you to put your mind in touch with the experience of being alive.

God is a metaphor for a mystery that absolutely transcends all human categories of thought,

God is a metaphor for a mystery that absolutely transcends all human categories of thought, even the categories of being and non-being – those are categories of thought. It’s as simple as that.

Participate joyfully in the sorrows of the world.

Participate joyfully
in the sorrows of the world.

We cannot cure the world of sorrows,
but we can choose to live in joy.

The way to become human

The way to become human is to learn to recognize the lineaments of God in all of the wonderful modulations of the face of man.

Hero with a Thousand Faces, The
Make your god transparent to the transcendent, and it doesn’t matter what his name is.

Make your god transparent to the transcendent, and it doesn’t matter what his name is.

If myth is translated into literal fact, then myth is a lie.

If myth is translated into literal fact, then myth is a lie. But if you read it as a reflection of the world inside you, then it’s true. Myth is the penultimate truth.

You know, the virtue manager is the real curse of the modern world, I think.

You know, the virtue manager is the real curse of the modern world, I think. The one who’s got righteousness on his side and knows that everyone else is to be corrected.

It is the function of art to carry us beyond speech to experience.

It is the function of art to carry us beyond speech to experience.

There is a Japanese saying I recall once having heard, of the five stages of man’s growth.

There is a Japanese saying I recall once having heard, of the five stages of man’s growth. “At ten, an animal; at twenty, a lunatic; at thirty, a failure; at forty, a fraud; at fifty, a criminal.” And at sixty, I would add (since by that time one will have gone through all this), one begins advising one’s friends; and at seventy (realizing that everything said has been misunderstood) one keeps quiet and is taken for a sage.

Life is but a mask worn on the face of death.

Life is but a mask worn on the face of death. And is death, then, but another mask? ‘How many can say,’ asks the Aztec poet, ‘that there is, or is not, a truth beyond?’

Mythic Image, The
The unfolding through time of all things from one is the simple message, finally,

The unfolding through time of all things from one is the simple message, finally, of every one of the creation myths reproduced in the pages of these volumes – including that of our contemporary biological view, which becomes an effective mythic image the moment we recognize its own inner mystery.

When you have lived your individual life in your own adventurous way and then look back upon its course

When you have lived your individual life in your own adventurous way and then look back upon its course, you will find that you have lived a model human life, after all.

The world, as they say in India, is God’s “play.”

The world, as they say in India, is God’s “play.”

What is the cause… of the growth of an acorn? The oak that is to come!

What is the cause… of the growth of an acorn? The oak that is to come! What is to happen in the future is then the cause of what is occurring now; and, at the same time, what occurred in the past is also the cause of what is happening now. In addition, a great number of things round about, on every side, are causing what is happening now. Everything, all the time, is causing everything else.

Myths to Live By
Life as an art and art as a game––as action for its own sake,

Life as an art and art as a game––as action for its own sake, without thought of gain or of loss, praise or blame––is the key, then, to the turning of living itself into a yoga, and art into the means to such a life.

Myths to Live By
There is no “Thou shalt!” any more. There is nothing one has to believe, and there is nothing one has to do.

There is no “Thou shalt!” any more. There is nothing one has to believe, and there is nothing one has to do. On the other hand, one can of course, if one prefers, still choose to play at the old Middle Ages game, or some Oriental game, or even some sort of primitive game. We are living in a difficult time, and whatever defends us from the madhouse can be applauded as good enough—for those without nerve.

We must not understand apocalypse literally, not as some physical destruction and judgment on the world,

We must not understand apocalypse literally, not as some physical destruction and judgment on the world, or as something that is going to occur in the future. The kingdom is here; it does not come through expectation. One looks at the world and sees the radiance. The Easter revelation is right there. We don’t have to wait for something to happen.

Mythologies are in fact the public dreams that move and shape societies,

Mythologies are in fact the public dreams that move and shape societies, and conversely one’s own dreams are the little myths of the private gods, antigods, and guardian powers that are moving and shaping oneself: revelations of the actual fears, desires, aims and values by which one’s life is subliminally ordered.

Mythic Image, The
The absolute hangs like the moon above the water, and the water is my very own soul.

The absolute hangs like the moon above the water, and the water is my very own soul. Winds of desire stir my soul and my vision of the absolute. My reflection of the moon, my notion of eternity is in splinters, but I desire only to see the truth, to reflect the moon, and the winds die slowly …

‘All life,’ said the Buddha, ‘is sorrowful’; and so, indeed,

‘All life,’ said the Buddha, ‘is sorrowful’; and so, indeed, it is. Life consuming life: that is the essence of its being, which is forever a becoming. ‘The world,’ said the Buddha, ‘is an ever-burning fire.’ And so it is. And that is what one has to affirm, with a yea! a dance! a knowing, solemn, stately dance of the mystic bliss beyond pain that is at the heart of every mythic rite.

Myths to Live By
Myths are clues to the spiritual potentialities of the human life.

Myths are clues to the spiritual potentialities of the human life.

Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth with Bill Moyers (book)
The modern hero, the modern individual who dares to heed the call and seek the mansion

The modern hero, the modern individual who dares to heed the call and seek the mansion of that presence with whom it is our whole destiny to be atoned, cannot, indeed must not, wait for his community to cast off its slough of pride, fear, rationalized avarice, and sanctified misunderstanding.

Whenever men have looked for something solid on which to found their lives,

Whenever men have looked for something solid on which to found their lives, they have chosen not the facts in which the world abounds, but the myths of an immemorial imagination.

The Masks of God 1: Primitive Mythology
A ritual is the enactment of a myth. And, by participating in the ritual, you are participating in the myth.

A ritual is the enactment of a myth. And, by participating in the ritual, you are participating in the myth. And since myth is a projection of the depth wisdom of the psyche, by participating in a ritual, participating in the myth, you are being, as it were, put in accord with that wisdom, which is the wisdom that is inherent within you anyhow. Your consciousness is being re-minded of the wisdom of your own life.

All mythologies, finally, are works of art…

All mythologies, finally, are works of art…

Jesus was crucified because he said, ‘I and the Father are one.’

Jesus was crucified because he said, ‘I and the Father are one.’ Well, the ultimate mystical experience is of one’s identity with the divine power. That’s the sense of the Chandogya Upanishad saying which says ‘You are It.’ That divinity which you seek outside, and which you first become aware of because you recognize it outside, is actually your inmost being.

On John Lennon: “He definitely was a hero … in the mythological sense he is the innovator,

On John Lennon: “He definitely was a hero … in the mythological sense he is the innovator, and those four young men had achieved something, they brought forth an image for which there was a readiness … And what those young men gave, the Beatles – there was a whole new spiritual depth to music …”

In Japan all things are Buddha things. All things are themselves real.

In Japan all things are Buddha things. All things are themselves real. The fluid aspect of impermanence is itself the absolute state.

Read the Bible in your own way, and take the message because it says something special to each reader, based on his or her own experience.

Read the Bible in your own way, and take the message because it says something special to each reader, based on his or her own experience.

Where you stumble, there lies your treasure

Where you stumble, there lies your treasure. The very cave you are afraid to enter turns out to be the source of what you are looking for. The damned thing in the cave that was so dreaded has become the center.”

Joseph Campbell Companion, A
The ego that sees a “thou” is not the same ego that sees an “it.”

The ego that sees a “thou” is not the same ego that sees an “it.”

The agony of breaking through personal limitations is the agony of spiritual growth.

The agony of breaking through personal limitations is the agony of spiritual growth.

Money is congealed energy and releasing it releases life possibilities …

Money is congealed energy and releasing it releases life possibilities … Money experienced as life energy is indeed a meditation, and letting it flow out instead of hoarding it is a mode of participation in the life of others.

Joseph Campbell Companion, A
The sun is our second symbol of rebirth …

The sun is our second symbol of rebirth … When you realize that eternity is right here now, that it is within your possibility to experience the eternity of your own truth and being, then you grasp the following: That which you are was never born and will never die; that is the insight rendered in term of the solar mystery, the solar light.

Thou Art That
Nobility of spirit is the grace—or ability—to play, whether in heaven or on earth.

Nobility of spirit is the grace—or ability—to play, whether in heaven or on earth.

The Masks of God 4: Creative Mythology
We are all born as animals and live the life that animals live: we sleep, eat, reproduce, and fight.

We are all born as animals and live the life that animals live: we sleep, eat, reproduce, and fight. There is, however, another order of living, which the animals do not know, that of awe before the mystery of being, the mysterium tremendum et fascinans, that can be the root and branch of the spiritual sense of one’s days. That is the birth––the Virgin Birth––in the heart of a properly human, spiritual life.

Thou Art That
I think the person who takes a job in order to live – that is to say, for the money – has turned himself into a slave.

I think the person who takes a job in order to live – that is to say, for the money – has turned himself into a slave. Work begins when you don’t like what you’re doing. There’s a wise saying: make your hobby your source of income. Then there’s no such thing as work, and there’s no such thing as getting tired. That’s been my own experience …

If you follow your bliss, you will always have your bliss, money or not.

If you follow your bliss,
you will always have your bliss,
money or not.

If you follow money,
you may lose it,
and you will have nothing.

Joseph Campbell Companion, A
We can’t rid the world of sorrow, but we can choose to live in joy …

We can’t rid the world of sorrow, but we can choose to live in joy … The Bodhisattva participates joyfully in the sorrows of the world.

When God says, “I’m no metaphor. I’m a fact,” you’re in trouble.

When God says, “I’m no metaphor. I’m a fact,” you’re in trouble.

The Wasteland is the preliminary theme to which the Grail is the answer.

The Wasteland is the preliminary theme to which the Grail is the answer.

You are in the field of time when you are man

You are in the field of time when you are man. And one of the problems of life is to live in the realization of both terms. That is to say, I know the center, and I know that good and evil are simply temporal apparitions.

Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth with Bill Moyers (book)
Whatever your fate is, whatever the hell happens, you say ‘This is what I need.’

Whatever your fate is, whatever the hell happens, you say ‘This is what I need.’ It may look like a wreck, but go at it as though it were an opportunity, a challenge. If you bring love to that moment -not discouragement- you will find the strength is there.

Joseph Campbell Companion, A
When I lectured at Eugene, Oregon, on the stages of life as Dante describes them in the ‘Convivio’

When I lectured at Eugene, Oregon, on the stages of life as Dante describes them in the ‘Convivio’ – youth, maturity, age, wisdom – a young woman came up to me and said, ‘We go directly today, Mr. Campbell, from infancy to wisdom.’ ‘That’s really wonderful,’ I said. ‘All you’ve missed is life.’

You begin by breath control, by breathing to certain paces, and the breath is very curious

You begin by breath control, by breathing to certain paces, and the breath is very curious ; The notion is that emotion and feeling and state of mind are related to breath. When you are at rest, the breathing is in a nice, even order. When you are stirred with shock, the breathing changes. With passion the breathing changes. Change the breathing, and you change the state.

Our Eternal Selves
The right word, le mot juste, Tonio Kröger had recognized, can wound

The right word, le mot juste, Tonio Kröger had recognized, can wound; can even kill. Yet the duty of the writer must be to observe and to name exactly: wounding, even possibly killing. For what the writer must name in describing are inevitable imperfections

Myths to Live By
Have we heard? Have we understood?

Have we heard? Have we understood? ”All life is sorrowful!’ The important word here is ‘all,” which cannot be translated to mean ‘modern’ life, or (as I have recently heard) ‘life under capitalism,’ so that if the social order were altered, people then might become happy. Revolution is not what the Buddha taught. His First Noble Truth was that lifeall life–”is sorrowful. And his cure, therefore, would have to be able to produce relief, no matter what the social, economic, or geographical circumstances of the invalid.

Myths to Live By
The way to find out about your happiness is to keep your mind on those moments when you feel most happy,

The way to find out about your happiness is to keep your mind on those moments when you feel most happy, when you really are happy — not excited, not just thrilled, but deeply happy. This requires a little bit of self-analysis. What is it that makes you happy? Stay with it, no matter what people tell you. This is what I call “following your bliss.”

Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth with Bill Moyers (book)
As you proceed through life, following your own path, birds will shit on you.

As you proceed through life,

following your own path,

birds will shit on you.

Don’t bother to brush it off.

 

Getting a comedic view

of your situation

gives you spiritual distance.

Having a sense of humor saves you.

Joseph Campbell Companion, A
If you follow someone else’s way, you are not going to realize your potential.

If you follow someone else’s way,
you are not going to realize
your potential.
The goal of the hero trip
down to the jewel point
is to find those levels in the psyche
that open, open, open,
and finally open to the mystery
of your Self being
Buddha consciousness
or the Christ.

That’s the journey.

Joseph Campbell Companion, A
In choosing your god, you choose your way of looking at the universe. There are plenty of Gods. Choose yours.

In choosing your god, you choose
your way of looking at the universe.
There are plenty of Gods.
Choose yours.

Joseph Campbell Companion, A
The god you worship is the god you deserve.

The god you worship
is the god you deserve.

Joseph Campbell Companion, A
It is for an obvious reason far easier to name examples of mythologies of war than mythologies of peace;

It is for an obvious reason far easier to name examples of mythologies of war than mythologies of peace; for not only has conflict between groups been normal to human experience, but there is also the cruel fact to be recognized that killing is the precondition of all living whatsoever: life lives on life, eats life, and would otherwise not exist.

Myths to Live By
Love as passion; love as com-passion — these are the two extreme poles of our subject.

Love as passion; love as com-passion — these are the two extreme poles of our subject. They have been often represented as absolutely opposed — physical, respectively, and spiritual; yet in both the individual is torn out of himself and opened to an experience of rediscovered identity in a larger, more abiding format.

Myths to Live By
Is the conscientious teacher — concerned for the moral character as well as for the book-learning of his students

Is the conscientious teacher — concerned for the moral character as well as for the book-learning of his students — to be loyal first to the supporting myths of our civilization or to the “factualized” truths of his science? Are the two, on level, at odds? Or is there not some point of wisdom beyond the conflicts of illusion and truth by which lives can be put back together again?

Myths to Live By
In short, my friends, what I find that I am saying is that our schizophrenic patient is actually experiencing inadvertently

In short, my friends, what I find that I am saying is that our schizophrenic patient is actually experiencing inadvertently that same beatific ocean deep which the yogi and saint are ever striving to enjoy: except that, whereas they are swimming in it, he is drowning.

Myths to Live By
The inward journeys of the mythological hero, the shaman, the mystic,

The inward journeys of the mythological hero, the shaman, the mystic, and the schizophrenic are in principle the same; and when the return or remission occurs, it is experienced as a rebirth: the birth, that is to say, of a “twice-born” ego, no longer bound in by its daylight-world horizon.

Myths to Live By
All the old bindings are broken.

All the old bindings are broken. Cosmological centers now are any- and everywhere. The earth is a heavenly body, most beautiful of all, and all poetry now is archaic that fails to match the wonder of this view.

Myths to Live By
What gods are there, what gods have there ever been, that were not from man’s imagination?

What gods are there, what gods have there ever been, that were not from man’s imagination? We know their histories: we know by what stages they developed. Not only Freud and Jung, but all serious students of psychology and of comparative religions today, have recognized and hold that the forms of myth and the figures of myth are of the nature essentially of dream.

Myths to Live By
Some such elementary course in comparative mythology as I have here suggested-conducted, however, by a team of scholar-specialists lecturing

Some such elementary course in comparative mythology as I have here
suggested––conducted, however, by a team of scholar-specialists lecturing
in their special fields and separately directing individual student projects-
could be put together readily in any one of the major universities. It would
serve not only to open to students a view of the whole range of possibilities
before them, when they enter as wide-eyed youngsters the enchanted wood
of the world’s learning, but also to lead them along, through paths of their
own choosing, to explorations of its deep groves.

Mythic Dimension, The
“God is an intelligible sphere whose center is everywhere and circumference nowhere.”

“God is an intelligible sphere whose center is everywhere and circumference nowhere.” So we are told in a little twelfth-century book known as The Book of the Twenty-four Philosophers. Each of us — whoever and wherever he may be — is then the center, and within him, whether he knows it or not, is that Mind at Large, the laws of which are the laws not only of all minds but of all space as well.

Myths to Live By
We are particles of that mystery, that timeless, endless,

We are particles of that mystery, that timeless, endless, everlasting mystery which pours forth from the abyss into the forms of the world.

The main sin is inadvertance, not being attentive to life, to the moment you are in,

The main sin is inadvertance, not being attentive to life, to the moment you are in, to its mystery, to what is happening right here now. When that is there, and you realize that the whole mystery and void is shining through at you, you are there.

When you are in accord with nature, nature will yield its bounty.

When you are in accord with nature, nature will yield its bounty. This is something that is coming up in our consciousness now, with the ecology movement, recognizing that by violating the environment in which we are living, we are really cutting off the energy and source of our own living.

There is an Indian fable of three beings who drank from a river:

There is an Indian fable of three beings who drank from a river. One was a god; he drank ambrosia. One was a man; he drank water. One was a demon; he drank filth. What you get is a function of your own consciousness.

Audio: Lecture I.3.2 – The Mystical Traditions of India
Well, mythology tells us that where you stumble, there your treasure is.

Well, mythology tells us that where you stumble, there your treasure is. And where it seems most challenging lies the greatest invitation to find deeper and greater powers in ourselves. But where the power to respond succeeds, there comes a new amplification of life and consciousness.

Marriage is not a love affair.

Marriage is not a love affair. A love affair is a totally different thing. A marriage is a commitment to that which you are. That person is literally your other half. And you and the other are one. A love affair isn’t that. That is a relationship of pleasure, and when it gets to be unpleasurable, it’s off. But a marriage is a life commitment, and a life commitment means the prime concern of your life. If marriage is not the prime concern, you are not married.

For nature, as we know, is at once without and within us.

For nature, as we know, is at once without and within us. Art is the mirror at the interface. So too is ritual, so also myth. These, too, bring out ‘the grand lines of nature,’ and in doing so, re-establish us in our own deep truth, which is one with that of all being.

In the words attributed to Jesus, ‘The two shall be one flesh.’ For the ‘precious thing’

In the words attributed to Jesus, ‘The two shall be one flesh.’ For the ‘precious thing’ then is no longer oneself, one’s individual life, but the duad of each as both and the living of life, self-transcended in that knowledge.

Evidently it is not science that has diminished man or divorced him from divinity.

Evidently it is not science that has diminished man or divorced him from divinity. On the contrary… we are to recognize in this whole universe a reflection magnified of our own most inward nature; so that we are indeed its ears, its eyes, its thinking, and its speech-or, in theological terms, God’s ears, God’s eyes, God’s thinking, and God’s Word; and, by the same token, participants here and now in an act of creation that is continuous in the whole infinitude of that space of our mind through which the planets fly, and our fellows of earth now among them.

Myths to Live By
Everybody has his own possibility of rapture in the experience of life.

Everybody has his own possibility of rapture in the experience of life. All he has to do is recognize it and then cultivate it and get going with it.

So then, what are we really questing for?

So then, what are we really questing for? And here is the answer: It is the fullfillment of what is potential in ourselves, our true selves. It is not an ego trip. You are not your ego. You experience your ego. You are not your thoughts. You experience your thoughts. You are not your feelings. You experience your feelings. And you are not your body. You behold your body. This recognition awakens a heritage within us that exists before all these mythologies, religions and belief systems came into being and into our traditions. It’s an awakening of our own pre-ego, pre-Hindu, pre-Jewish, pre-Buddhist, pre-Muslim, pre-Christian hearts.

Pathways to Bliss
There is a level of consciousness which we all share, insomuch as we all share a human body…

There is a level of consciousness which we all share, insomuch as we all share a human body… even with the dogs and cats [and mammals and vertebrates] because we all share an animal body. By that, we all share the same impulses that animals have: to sleep, to reproduction, to aggression and winning through.

We’re born from space. It was from space that the Big Bang came that sent forth galaxies,

We’re born from space. It was from space that the Big Bang came that sent forth galaxies, and out of the galaxies, solar systems. The planet we are on is a little pebble in one of these things, and we have grown out of the earth of this pebble. This is the fantastic mythology that’s waiting for someone to write poems about.We’re born from space. It was from space that the Big Bang came that sent forth galaxies, and out of the galaxies, solar systems. The planet we are on is a little pebble in one of these things, and we have grown out of the earth of this pebble. This is the fantastic mythology that’s waiting for someone to write poems about.

When you are in accord with nature, nature will yield its bounty …

When you are in accord with nature, nature will yield its bounty … and every sacred place is the place where eternity shines through time.

Tragedy is the shattering of forms and of our attachment to them

Tragedy is the shattering of forms and of our attachment to them; comedy the wild and careless, inexhaustible joy of life invincible [together] they constitute the totality of the revelation that is life, and which the individual must know and love if he is to be purged of the contagion of sin and death.

Hero with a Thousand Faces, The
If you are at peace with eternity, the blowing up of the universe is perfectly acceptable

If you are at peace with eternity, the blowing up of the universe is perfectly acceptable—just as your own death has to be acceptable. It is going with organic processes. Everything that comes… goes.

Wherever the poetry of myth is interpreted as biography

Wherever the poetry of myth is interpreted as biography, history, or science, it is killed.

Hero with a Thousand Faces, The
When the intellect tries to explicate an image, one can never exhaust its meaning

When the intellect tries to explicate an image, one can never exhaust its meaning, one can never exhaust its possibility. Images don’t essentially mean anything: they just are, just as you are. They talk to some kernel in you that is.

So ask an artist, “What does your picture mean?” Well, if he despises you enough, he’ll tell you.

Apocalypse is not about a fiery Armageddon

Apocalypse is not about a fiery Armageddon, but about the fact that our ignorance and our complacency are coming to an end.

Thou Art That
Through a dialogue conducted with these inward forces through our dreams

Through a dialogue conducted with these inward forces through our dreams and through a study of myths, we can learn to know and come to terms with the greater horizon of our own deeper and wiser, inward self.

Myths to Live By
[T]he universal doctrine teaches that all the visible structures of the world
[T]he universal doctrine teaches that all the visible structures of the world … are the effects of a ubiquitous power out of which they rise, which supports and fills them during their manifestation, and back into which they must ultimately dissolve. This is the power known to science as energy, to the Melanesians as mana, to the Sioux Indians as wakonda, the Hindus as Shakti, and the Christians as the power of God.

We’re born from space. It was from space that the Big Bang came that sent forth galaxies,

We’re born from space. It was from space that the Big Bang came that sent forth galaxies, and out of the galaxies, solar systems. The planet we are on is a little pebble in one of these things, and we have grown out of the earth of this pebble. This is the fantastic mythology that’s waiting for someone to write poems about.

[W]hen extended to symbolize not only the one historic moment of Christ’s crucifixion on Calvary
[W]hen extended to symbolize not only the one historic moment of Christ’s crucifixion on Calvary, but the mystery through time and space of God’s presence and participation in the agony of all living things, the sign of the cross would then have to be looked on as the sign of an eternal affirmation of all that is, ever was, or ever shall be.

One of the Shinto texts says that the processes of nature cannot be evil.

One of the Shinto texts says that the processes of nature cannot be evil. Every natural impulse is not to be corrected but to be sublimated, to be beautified.

Siegfried and Fafner, the dragon that he kills–the typical dragon killing deed of the hero crossing the threshold.

…Siegfried and Fafner, the dragon that he kills–the typical dragon killing deed of the hero crossing the threshold. He and the dragon are opposites, but it’s only when he’s tasted the dragon’s blood and integrated the dragon character in himself that he hears the birds sing and knows what their song is saying.

I’ve been feeling that a terrific amount of the anxiety associated with the fear of an impending atomic explosion

I’ve been feeling that a terrific amount of the anxiety associated with the fear of an impending atomic explosion and the dissolution of the universe is a projection of anxiety coming from a world of people who have never found the center beyond coming and going.

All societies are evil, sorrowful, inequitable; and so they will always be.

All societies are evil, sorrowful, inequitable; and so they will always be. So if you really want to help this world, what you will have to teach is how to live in it. And that no one can do who has not himself learned how to live in it in the joyful sorrow and sorrowful joy of the knowledge of life as it is.

One does not say to one’s eyes, ‘Go out and do something to that thing out there.’

One does not say to one’s eyes, ‘Go out and do something to that thing out there.’ One looks, looks long, and the world comes in. There is an important Chinese term, wu-wei, ‘not doing,’ the meaning of which is not ‘doing nothing,’ but ‘not forcing.’ Things will open up of themselves, according to their nature.

One is harassed, both day and night, by the divine being that is the image

One is harassed, both day and night, by the divine being that is the image of the living self within the locked labyrinth of oner’s own disoriented psyche. The ways to the gates have all been lost: there is no exit. One can only cling, like Satan, furiously, to oneself and be in hell; or else break, and be annihilate at last, in God.

One way or another, we all have to find what best fosters the flowering of our humanity in this contemporary life,

One way or another, we all have to find what best
fosters the flowering of our humanity in this contemporary life, and
dedicate ourselves to that.

Then it must be conceded, as a basic principle of our natural history of the gods and heroes,

Then it must be conceded, as a basic principle of our natural history of the gods and heroes, that whenever a myth has been taken literally its sense has been perverted; but also, reciprocally, that whenever it has been dismissed as a mere priestly fraud or sign of inferior intelligence, truth has slipped out the other door.

Myths to Live By
From the position of secular man

From the position of secular man (Homo sapiens), that is to say, we are to enter the play sphere of the festival, acquiescing in a game of belief, where fun, joy, and rapture rule in ascending series. The laws of life in time and space––economics, politics, and even morality––will thereupon dissolve. Whereafter, re-created by that return to paradise before the Fall, before the knowledge of good and evil, right and wrong, true and false, belief and disbelief, we are to carry the point of view of man the player (Homo ludens) back into life.

The mask in a primitive festival is revered and experienced as a veritable apparition

The mask in a primitive festival is revered and experienced as a veritable apparition of the mythical being that it represents-even though everyone knows that a man made the mask and that a man is wearing it. The one wearing it, furthermore, is identified with the god during the time of the ritual of which the mask is a part. He does not merely represent the god; he is the god.

The Masks of God 1: Primitive Mythology
Your life is the fruit of your own doing. You have no one to blame but yourself.

Your life is the fruit of your own doing. You have no one to blame but yourself.

‘The fool says in his heart there is no God’ (Psalms 14:1). There is, however, another type of fool,

‘The fool says in his heart there is no God’ (Psalms 14:1). There is, however, another type of fool, more dangerous and sure of himself, who says in his heart and proclaims to all the world, ‘There is no God but mine.’

The Masks of God 4: Creative Mythology
Not only is image generated from inside, but images are found outside.

Not only is image generated from inside, but images are found outside. One of the intentions of a mythological system is to present evocative images, images that touch and resonate in very deep centers of our impulse system, and then move us from those very deep centers into action

You know, when real trouble comes, your humanity is awakened.

You know, when real trouble comes, your humanity is awakened. The fundamental human experience is that of compassion.

Hero’s Journey, The (book)
When you see the Earth from the Moon, you don’t see any divisions

When you see the Earth from the Moon, you don’t see any divisions there of nations or states. This might be the symbol, really, for the new mythology to come. This is the country that we are celebrating. And these are the people that we are one with.

[W]hen life produces what the intellect names evil,
[W]hen life produces what the intellect names evil, we may enter into righteous battle, contending from ‘loyalty of heart’: however, if the principle of love (Christ’s ‘Love your enemies!’) is lost, our humanity too will be lost. ‘Man,’ in the words of the American novelist Hawthorne, ‘must not disclaim his brotherhood even with the guiltiest.’

Eternity has nothing to do with the hereafter… This is it…

Eternity has nothing to do with the hereafter… This is it… If you don’t get it here, you won’t get it anywhere. The experience of eternity right here and now is the function of life. Heaven is not the place to have the experience; here’s the place to have the experience.

Myths formulate things for you.

Myths formulate things for you. They say, for example, that you have to become an adult at a particular age. The age might be a good average age for that to happen – but actually, in the individual life, it differs greatly. Some people are late bloomers and come to particular stages at a relatively late age. You have to have a feeling for where you are.

Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth with Bill Moyers (book)
A bit of advice given to a young Native American at the time of his initiation:

A bit of advice given to a young Native American at the time of his initiation: ‘As you go the way of life, you will see a great chasm. Jump. It is not as wide as you think.’

If ever there was an art in which the whole community of man has worked

If ever there was an art in which the whole community of man has worked – seasoned with the philosophy of the codger on the wharf and singing with the music of the spheres – it is this of the ageless tale.

Flight of the Wild Gander, The
I would say that all our sciences are the material that has to be mythologized.

I would say that all our sciences are the material that has to be mythologized. A mythology gives spiritual import – what one might call rather the psychological, inward import, of the world of nature round about us, as understood today.There’s no real conflict between science & religion … What is in conflict is the science of 2000 BC … and the science of the 20th century AD.

And in athletics, all this mysticism of track, and the rapture and ecstasy in sexual experiences

And in athletics, all this mysticism of track, and the rapture and ecstasy in sexual experiences – all these are mystical; all related to the loss of ego and its tenacity – yielding to a larger opening. That’s what mysticism is, and these are the foregrounds, the shallows of that depth.

The recognition of cultural cycles is the recognition that there is in the history

The recognition of cultural cycles is the recognition that there is in the history of a culture a beginning, a middle, & an end … That is the pattern for all organic forms. Recognizing cultural cycles means one sees cultures as an organism & cultural history as an organic history. We are going through the cycle and have to say “Yes” to it.

Mythologies are products of the human imagination,

Mythologies are products of the human imagination, which in turn is grounded in the energies that animate the organs of the human body, and since these have not significantly changed since the appearance of Cro-Magnin Man, c. 40,000 B.C., there can be recognized in the mythologies and associated ceremonials of all mankind certain themes and images that are constant.

Successful marriage is leading innovative lives together,

Successful marriage

is leading innovative lives together,

being open, non-programmed.

It’s a free fall: how you handle

each new thing as it comes along.

The key to the Grail is compassion, suffering with, feeling another’s sorrow

The key to the Grail is compassion,

suffering with, feeling another’s sorrow

as if it were your own.

The one who finds

the dynamo of compassion

is the one who’s found the Grail.

Joseph Campbell Companion, A
I personally don’t even think that unconditional love is an ideal.

I personally don’t even think that unconditional love is an ideal. I think you’ve got to have a discriminating faculty and let bastards be bastards and let those that ought to be hit in the jaw get it. In fact, I have a list. If anybody has a working guillotine, I’d be glad to give them my list.

That’s the problem with getting married.

That’s the problem with getting married. You must ask yourself, “Can I open myself to compassion?” Not to lust, but to compassion. I don’t mean you have to have unconditional love. Committing yourself to a person unconditionally is very different from having unconditional love for everybody in New York City

Survival is the second law of life. The first is that we are all one.

Survival is the second law of life.

The first is that we are all one.

The myths are clues to unite the forces within us.

The myths are clues

to unite the forces within us.

Myth makes a connection between our waking consciousness and the mystery of the universe.

Myth makes a connection between our waking consciousness and the mystery of the universe. It gives us a map or picture of the universe and allows us to see ourselves in relationship to nature, as when we speak of Father Sky and Mother Earth. It supports and validates a certain social and moral order. The Ten Commandments being given to Moses by God on Mount Sinai is an example of this. Lastly, it helps us pass through and deal with the various stages of life from birth to death.

Thou Art That
“What will they think of me?” must be put aside for bliss.

“What will they think of me?”

must be put aside for bliss.

Joseph Campbell Companion, A
It’s like a tree growing. It doesn’t know where it’s growing next.

It’s like a tree growing. It doesn’t know where it’s growing next. A branch may grow out this way, then that way, and then another way. If you let it be that way and don’t have pressures from outside, when you look back, you’ll see that this will have been an organic development. Just remember: Parzival blew the job when he did what people expected him to do.

What the Holy Grail symbolizes is the highest spiritual fulfillment of a human life.

What the Holy Grail symbolizes is the highest spiritual fulfillment of a human life. Each life has some kind of high fulfillment, and each has its own gift from the Grail.

My experience is that I can feel that I’m in the Grail Castle when I’m living with people I love,

My experience is that I can feel that I’m in the Grail Castle when I’m living with people I love, doing what I love. I get that sense of being fulfilled. But, by god, it doesn’t take much to make me feel I’ve lost the Castle, it’s gone. One way to lose the Grail is to go to a cocktail party. That’s my idea of not being there at all.

The hero’s journey always begins with the call. One way or another, a guide must come to say,

The hero’s journey always begins with the call. One way or another, a guide must come to say, “Look, you’re in Sleepy Land. Wake. Come on a trip. There is a whole aspect of your consciousness, your being, that’s not been touched. So you’re at home here? Well, there’s not enough of you there.” And so it starts.

If what you are following, however, is your own true adventure,

If what you are following, however, is your own true adventure, if it is something appropriate to your deep spiritual need or readiness, then magical guides will appear to help you…. If you are ready for it, then doors will open where there were no doors before, and where there would not be doors for anyone else. And you must have courage. It’s the call to adventure, which means there is no security, no rules.

Joseph Campbell Companion, A
I work out on a veranda

I work out on a veranda–they call it a “lanai” out there–with my back to the ocean and to what’s going on. What’s going on is usually a startling bikini walking past. I couldn’t write about anything but the Goddess if I were looking in the other direction. So mine is a nice sort of forest to retire to.

If the body is a light bulb, and it burns out,

If the body is a light bulb, and it burns out,

does that mean there’s no more electricity?

The source of energy remains.

We can discard the body and go on.

We are the source.

An Aztec prayer to be said at the deathbed

An Aztec prayer to be said at the deathbed:

“Dear Child! Thou hast passed through and survived the labors of this life. Now it hath pleased our Lord to carry thee away. For we do not enjoy this world everlastingly, only briefly;

our life is like the warming of oneself in the sun.

Eternity is a dimension of here and now.

Eternity

is a dimension

of here and now.

To see life as a poem and yourself participating in that poem is what the myth does for you.

To see life as a poem and yourself participating in that poem is what the myth does for you.

I think the idea of life after death is a bad idea.

I think the idea of life after death is a bad idea. It distracts you from appreciating the uniqueness of the here and now, the moment you are living.

Life is sorrowful. How do you live with that?

Life is sorrowful. How do you live with that? You realize the eternal within yourself. You disengage, and yet, reengage. You–and here’s the beautiful formula–‘participate with joy in the sorrows of the world.’ You play the game. It hurts, but you know that you have found the place that is transcendent of injury and fulfillments. You are there, and that’s it.

Sacred space and sacred time and something joyous to do is all we need.

Sacred space and sacred time and something joyous to do is all we need. Almost anything then becomes a continuous and increasing joy.

The rational mind stresses opposites.

The rational mind

stresses opposites.

Compassion and love

go beyond pairs of opposites.

Wisdom and foolishness are practically the same.

Wisdom and foolishness

are practically the same.

Both are indifferent

to the opinions of the world.

The goal of life is rapture.

The goal of life is rapture. Art is the way we experience it.

Joseph Campbell Companion, A
Writer’s block results from too much head. Cut off your head.

Writer’s block results from too much head. Cut off your head.
Pegasus, poetry, was born of Medusa when her head was cut off. You have to be reckless when writing. Be as crazy as your conscience allows.

The secret of dreams is that subject and object are the same.

The secret of dreams is that subject and object are the same. The object is self-luminous, fluent in form, multivalent in its meanings. It’s your dream, the manifestation of your will, and yet you are surprised by it … Write down your dreams. They are your myths.

There is an old standard saying about the arts:

There is an old standard saying about the arts: ‘You need to learn all the rules, and then forget them’ … In writing a book, you are moving along on the wave of your inspiration and intuition, and then you come to a difficult passage, an area you have to cover in order to get from here to there, and your momentum stops. That’s when you have to bring in the rules.

The priest presents for consideration a compound of inherited forms with the expectation

The priest presents for consideration a compound of inherited forms with the expectation (or at times, even the requirement) that one should interpret and experience them in a certain authorized way, whereas the artist first has an experience of his own, which he then seeks to interpret and communicate through effective forms. Not the forms first and then the experience, but the experience first and then the forms.

All of these possibilities are before you.

All of these possibilities are before you. And then… when you come down finally to the last, you are born. And this little thing comes into the world, ignorant of all that it has experienced. It has been through the spheres of the gods and the light. And it comes out in darkness: the darkness and avidity… of the first cakra.

That’s the great cycle of the tantric spheres.

No experience can be taught; all that can be taught is the way to an experience.

No experience can be taught; all that can be taught is the way to an experience. Hence Buddhism is something that is implicit in ourselves and is to be achieved through experience but cannot be delivered to us like a package. No sooner did [the Buddha] have this illumination than the deities themselves came down and they said, “Teach.” So he said, “For the good of man and the gods I will teach.” But what he teaches is not Buddhism; what he teaches is the way to Buddhism; and this is called the Middle Way

When one looks at the glorious panorama of Indian art one sees a repetition of themes;

When one looks at the glorious panorama of Indian art one sees a repetition of themes; beautiful themes, dependable themes, motifs that recur time and time again. And if you compare that galaxy of forms with their counterparts in post-Renaissance Europe, you’ll be struck by the absence of individual inflection in any of these works.

I had my first rock and roll experience at a performance of the Grateful Dead

I had my first rock and roll experience at a performance of the Grateful Dead. Rock music had always seemed a bore to me, but I can tell you, at that concert, I found eight thousand people standing in mild rapture for five hours. The place was just a mansion of dance. And I thought, “Holy God! Everyone has just lost themselves in everybody else here!”

There’s the idea of bumping into experience and people while you’re wandering.

There’s the idea of bumping into experience and people while you’re wandering. You really are experiencing life that way. Nothing is routine, nothing is taken for granted. Everything is standing out on it’s own, because everything is a possibility, everything is a clue, everything is talking to you. It’s marvelous. It’s as though you had a nose that brought you into the right places. You are in wonderful moments when you travel like that-for example, my putting up my hand in the Carmel library and finding a book that became a destiny book. It really did! That rambling is a chance to stiff things out and somehow get a sense of where you feel you can settle.

Let me now remark, as a comparative mythologist whose professional career

Let me now remark, as a comparative mythologist whose professional career has been spent comparing the mythological traditions of mankind, that I find it extremely useful to let the mind range over the whole field, observing that what is said one way in one tradition is said another way in another. They are all mutually illuminating.

Our life evokes our character. You find out more about yourself as you go on.

Our life evokes our character. You find out more about yourself as you go on. That’s why it’s good to put yourself in situations that will evoke your higher nature rather than your lower.

Our first tangible evidences of mythological thinking are from the period of Neanderthal Man,

Our first tangible evidences of mythological thinking are from the period of Neanderthal Man, which endured from ca. 250,000 to ca. 50,000 B.C.; and these comprise, first, burials with food supplies, grave gear, tools, sacrificed animals, and the like; and second, a number of chapels in high-mountain caves, where cave-bear skulls, ceremonially disposed in symbolic settings, have been preserved.

Only birth can conquer death—the birth, not of the old thing again, but of something new.

Only birth can conquer death—the birth, not of the old thing again, but of something new. Within the soul, within the body social, there must be—if we are to experience long survival—a continuous “recurrence of birth” (palingenesia) to nullify the unremitting recurrences of death.

Hero with a Thousand Faces, The
In a word: the first work of the hero is to retreat from the world scene of secondary effects to those causal zones of the psyche

In a word: the first work of the hero is to retreat from the world scene of secondary effects to those causal zones of the psyche where the difficulties really reside, and there to clarify the difficulties, eradicate them in his own case (i.e., give battle to the nursery demons of his local culture) and break through to the undistorted, direct experience and assimilation of what C. G. Jung has called “the archetypal images.”

Hero with a Thousand Faces, The
Dream is the personalized myth, myth the depersonalized dream;

Dream is the personalized myth, myth the depersonalized dream; both myth and dream are symbolic in the same general way of the dynamics of the psyche.

Preachers err, he told me, by trying to talk people into belief; better they reveal the radiance of their own discovery.

Preachers err, he told me, by trying to talk people into belief; better they reveal the radiance of their own discovery.

Bill Moyers, talking of Joseph Campbell

Myth is a manifestation in symbolic images, in metaphorical images, of the energies of the organs of the body in conflict with each other.

Myth is a manifestation in symbolic images, in metaphorical images, of the energies of the organs of the body in conflict with each other. This organ wants this, that organ wants that. The brain is one of the organs.

[Heroes have] moved out of the society that would have protected them,
[Heroes have] moved out of the society that would have protected them, and into the dark forest, into the world of fire, of original experience. Original experience has not been interpreted for you, and so you’ve got to work out your life for yourself. Either you can take it or you can’t. You don’t have to go far off the interpreted path to find yourself in very difficult situations. The courage to face the trials and to bring a whole new body of possibilities into the field of interpreted experience for other people to experience-that is the hero’s deed.

It is… the task of the psychologist and comparative mythologist not only to identify,

It is… the task of the psychologist and comparative mythologist not only to identify, analyze, and interpret the symbolized facts of the mind, but also to evolve techniques for retaining these in health and, as the old traditions of the fading past dissolve, assist mankind to a knowledge and appreciation of our own inward, as well as the worlds outward, orders of fact.

Myths, according to Freud’s view, are of the psychological order of dream.

Myths, according to Freud’s view, are of the psychological order of dream. Myths, so to say, are public dreams; dreams are private myths.

In the Buddhist view, that is to say

In the Buddhist view, that is to say, what is keeping us out of the garden is not the jealousy or wrath of any god, but our own instinctive attachment to what we take to be our lives.

When we consider, however, instead of the physical

When we consider, however, instead of the physical, the psychological character of our species, the most evident distinguishing sign is man’s organization of his life according primarily to mythic, and only secondarily economic, aims and laws.

If a differentiating feature is to be named

If a differentiating feature is to be named, separating human from animal psychology, it is surely this of the subordination in the human sphere of even economics to mythology.

Our outward-oriented consciousness, addressed to the demands of the day

Our outward-oriented consciousness, addressed to the demands of the day, may lose touch with these inward forces; and the myths, states Jung, when correctly read, are the means to bring us back in touch.

Myths to Live By
And one can readily understand, even share in some measure

And one can readily understand, even share in some measure, their anxiety, since lies are what the world lives on, and those who can face the challenge of a truth and build their lives to accord are finally not many, but the very few.

Myths to Live By
The sin of inadvertence-not being alert, not quite-awake is the sin of missing the moment of life

The sin of inadvertence-not being alert, not quite-awake is the sin of missing the moment of life; whereas the whole of the art of the non-action that is action (wu-wei) is unremitting alertness. One is then fully conscious all the time, and since life is an expression of consciousness, life is then lived, as it were, of itself. There is no need to instruct it or direct it. Of itself it moves. Of itself it lives. Of itself it speaks and acts.

Any disaster you can survive is an improvement in your character

Any disaster you can survive is an improvement in your character, your stature, and your life. What a privilege! This is when the spontaneity of your own nature will have a chance to flow.

Nothing can happen to you that is not positive.

Nothing can happen to you that is not positive. Even though it looks and feels at the moment like a negative crisis, it is not. The crisis throws you back, and when you are required to exhibit strength, it comes.

The dark night of the soul comes just before revelation.

The dark night of the soul comes just before revelation. When everything is lost, and all seems darkness, then comes the new life and all that is needed.

Joseph Campbell Companion, A
Every commitment is a narrowing

Every commitment is a narrowing, and when that commitment fails, you have to get back to a larger base and have the strength to hold to it.

When you follow your passion, society’s help is gone.

When you follow your passion, society’s help is gone. You must be very careful. You’re completely on your own.

Marriage is not a love affair,

Marriage is not a love affair,

it’s an ordeal.

It is a religious exercise, a sacrament,

the grace of participating in another life.

That is the contrast that I seek to illustrate for my students

That is the contrast that I seek to illustrate for my students through the materials of Greece and Rome, the Celts and Germans, the Bible and Islam. And I find that it serves not only to make clear to them certain grand lines of historical stress and conflict but also to bring out some of the problems of their own lives and beliefs in this strange society of ours, where for six days a week we honor the humanistic values of Greece and Rome and on the seventh for half an hour or so, confess guilt before a jealous Levantine god. Then we wonder why so many of us must repair to the psychoanalyst.

[The Greeks] did not personify that mystery in a being before whom the human spirit

(The Greeks) did not personify that mystery in a being before whom the human spirit should abdicate but, on the contrary, recognized that the supreme manifestation on earth of that same mystery and wonder is the human mind itself, well housed in the beautiful human body.

Mythic Dimension, The
It is not easy for students to realize that to ask, as they often do

It is not easy for students to realize that to ask, as they often do, whether God exists and is merciful, just, good, or wrathful, is simply to project anthropomorphic concepts into a sphere to which they do not pertain. As the Upanishads declare: “There, words do not reach.”

Opportunities to find deeper powers within ourselves come when life seems most challenging.

Opportunities to find deeper powers within ourselves come when life seems most challenging. Negativism to the pain and ferocity of life is negativism to life. We are not there until we can say “yea” to it all.

Joseph Campbell Companion, A
In my writing and my thinking and my work I’ve thought of myself

In my writing and my thinking and my work I’ve thought of myself as addressing artists and poets and writers. The rest of the world can take it or leave it as far as I’m concerned.

There are two aspects to a thing of this kind.

One is your judgment in the field of time, and the other is your judgment as a metaphysical observer. You can’t say there shouldn’t be poisonous serpents, that’s the way life is. But in the field of action, if you see a poisonous serpent about to bite somebody, you kill it. That’s not saying no to the serpent, that’s saying no to that situation.

Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth with Bill Moyers (book)
Shakespeare said that art is a mirror held up to nature.

Shakespeare said that art is a mirror held up to nature. And that’s what it is. The nature is your nature, and all of these wonderful poetic images of mythology are referring to something in you. When your mind is simply trapped by the image out there so that you never make the reference to yourself, you have misread the image.

In teaching women I found they were always asking to know the relationship

In teaching women I found they were always asking to know the relationship of these materials to their own living. And this interest of women in LIFE is something that is far more emphatic than the masculine interest in footnotes … It’s my female students who taught me what the life value of these forms are.

Sit in a room and read

Sit in a room and read–and read and read. And read the right books by the right people. Your mind is brought onto that level, and you have a nice, mild, slow-burning rapture all the time.

Gods suppressed become devils

Gods suppressed become devils, and often it is these devils whom we first encounter when we turn inward.

Thou Art That
The first step

The first step to the knowledge of the wonder and mystery of life is the recognition of the monstrous nature of the earthly human realm as well as its glory, the realization that this is just how it is and that it cannot and will not be changed. Those who think they know how the universe could have been had they created it, without pain, without sorrow, without time, without death, are unfit for illumination.

Myths to Live By
The big question

The big question is whether you are going to be able to say a hearty yes to your adventure.

Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth with Bill Moyers (video)
You can write that sentence in a way that you would have written it last year

You can write that sentence in a way that you would have written it last year. Or you can write it in the way of the exquisite nuance that is writing in your mind now.

I don’t have to have faith

I don’t have to have faith. I have experience

I don’t know where else they come from.

I don’t know where else they come from. They come from the imagination, don’t they? The imagination is grounded in the energy of the organs of the body, and these are the same in all human beings. Since imagination comes out of one biological ground, it is bound to produce certain themes. Dreams are dreams. There are certain characteristics of dreams that can be enumerated, no matter who is dreaming them.

In the journey of the soul itself the way out is the way in.

In the journey of the soul itself the way out is the way in. It is a movement beyond the known boundaries of faith and convention, the search for what matters, the path of destiny, the route of individuality, the road of original experience, a paradigm for the forging of consciousness itself: in short the hero’s journey.

Love thine enemies because they are the instruments to your destiny.

Love thine enemies because they are the instruments to your destiny.

And when you think of this! The number of men who are in fact responsible for the condition

And when you think of this! The number of men who are in fact responsible for the condition of the world right now … could all be contained in this room, & they are acting as though there were no way of common understanding … the world is in chaos simply as a function of their inability to assume the middle position in a conversation.

We have, therefore, to recognize what now appears to be the demonstrated

We have, therefore, to recognize what now appears to be the demonstrated and documented fact that all of the high civilizations of the world are, finally, but so many variants and developments of a single marvelous monad of mythological inspiration—and that, whereas the history and prehistory of the human race covers some one million seven hundred and fifty thousand years, this monad was constellated and brought into a living form in the mud flats and among the reeds of Mesopotamia hardly more than five thousand years ago.

Now the energies of nature are present

Now the energies of nature are present in the outer world, but also inside ourselves, because we are particles of nature. So when you are meditating on a deity, you are meditating on power of your own spirit and psyche, and on powers that are also out there.

All I can tell you about mythology

All I can tell you about mythology is what men have said and have experienced, and now women have to tell us from their point of view what the possibilities of the feminine future are. And it is a future––it’s as though the lift-off has taken place, it really has, there’s no doubt about it.

Goddesses
It is one of the glories … of the Celtic

It is one of the glories … of the Celtic tradition that in its handling even of religious themes it retranslates them from the languages of imagined fact into a mythological idiom, so that they may be experienced not as time-conditioned but as timeless, telling not of miracles long past but of miracles potential within ourselves, here, now, and forever.

Nobility of spirit

Nobility of spirit is the grace––or ability––to play, whether in heaven or on earth.

The Masks of God 1: Primitive Mythology
For although life

For although life, as Nietzsche declares, ‘wants to be deceived and lives on deception,’ there is need also, at certain times, for a moment of truth.

Mythological symbols touch and exhilarate

Mythological symbols touch and exhilarate centers of life beyond the reach of vocabularies of reason and coercion.

The Masks of God 4: Creative Mythology
Since the powers of nature in this dreamer

Since the power of nature in this dreamer, in that dreamer, and in the macrocosm of nature itself, are the same, only differently inflected, the powers personified in a dream are those that move the world. All the gods are within: within you––within the world.

The Masks of God 4: Creative Mythology
In the older mother myths

In the older mother myths and rites the light and darker aspects of the mixed thing that is life had been honored equally and together, whereas in the later, male-oriented, patriarchal myths, all that is good and noble was attributed to the new, heroic master gods, leaving to the native nature powers the character only of darkness––to which, also, a negative moral judgment was now added.

The Masks of God 3: Occidental Mythology
So I came back to New York …

So I came back to New York in 1929 and Booommm! . . . I wanted to write, I wanted to be an anthropologist – I didn’t know what! A new world was around. So I said, “To hell with it, Columbia!” I’m writing short stories. I discover American literature, Hemingway, Sinclair Lewis, the whole bunch. Hemingway just knocks me over, those early things of his – In Our Time, Men Without Women, The Sun Also Rises. Like every callow young author, I wanted to write like him; meanwhile Joyce was interesting. Five years, no job! . . . Writing stories nobody would buy.

The spirit is really the bouquet of life….

The spirit is really the bouquet of life. It is not something breathed into life, it comes out of life. This is one of the glorious things about the mother-goddess religions, where the world is the body of the Goddess, divine in itself, and divinity isn’t something ruling over and above a fallen nature….

Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth with Bill Moyers (book)
When writing

When  writing, don’t criticize the words coming out. Just let them come. Let go the critical factor: Will I make money? Am I wasting my time?

Joseph Campbell Companion, A
We are, in fact, productions of this earth

We are, in fact, productions of this earth. We are, as it were, its organs. Our eyes are the eyes of the earth; our knowledge is the earth’s knowledge.

Inner Reaches of Outer Space, The
As viewed by astronauts

“As viewed by astronauts from the moon, the Earth lacks those lines of sociopolitical division that are so prominent on maps. And as recognized here below, the web of interlacing socioeconomic dependencies that now enfolds the planet is of one life. All that is required is a general change of vision to accord with these contemporary facts. And that this will occur is certain. It is, in fact, already occurring. Moreover, the vision required is nothing new, nor unnatural. What are unnatural, artificial, and contrived, are the separations.”

Inner Reaches of Outer Space, The
One cannot predict the next mythology

“One cannot predict the next mythology any more than one can predict tonight’s dream; for a mythology is not an ideology. It is not something projected from the brain, but something experienced from the heart.”

Inner Reaches of Outer Space, The
The life of a mythology derives

The life of a mythology derives from the vitality of its symbols as metaphors delivering, not simply the idea, but a sense of actual participation in a realization of transcendence, infinity, and abundance.

Inner Reaches of Outer Space, The
Indeed, the first and most essential service

Indeed, the first and most essential service of a mythology is this one, of opening the mind and heart to the utter wonder of all being. And the second service, then is cosmological: of representing the universe and the whole spectacle of nature, both as known to the mind and as beheld by the eye, as an epiphany of such kind that when lightning flashes, or a setting sun ignites the sky, or a deer is seen standing alerted, the exclamation ‘Ah!’ may be uttered as a recognition of divinity.

Inner Reaches of Outer Space, The
Out of perfection nothing can be made

Out of perfection nothing can be made. Every process involves breaking something up. The earth must be broken to bring forth life. If the seed does not die, there is no plant. Bread results from the death of wheat. Life lives on lives. Our own life lives on the acts of other people. If you are lifeworthy, you can take it.

Joseph Campbell Companion, A
What I think is that a good life

What I think is that a good life is one hero journey after another. Over and over again, you are called to the realm of adventure, you are called to new horizons. Each time, there is the same problem: do I dare? And then if you do dare, the dangers are there, and the help also, and the fulfillment or the fiasco. There’s always the possibility of a fiasco.

But there’s also the possibility of bliss.

Pathways to Bliss
For amor is neither

For amor is neither of the right-hand path (the sublimating spirit, the mind and community of man), nor of the indiscriminate left (the spontaneity of nature, the mutual incitement of the phallus and the womb), but is the path directly before one, of the eyes, and their message to the heart.

The Masks of God 4: Creative Mythology
Perfection is inhuman

Perfection is inhuman. Human beings are not perfect. What evokes our love––and I mean love, not lust––is the imperfection of the human being. So, when the imperfection of the real human peeks through, say, “This is a challenge to my compassion.” Then make a try, and something might begin to get going.

Pathways to Bliss
A love affair

A love affair has to do with immediate personal satisfaction. But marriage is an ordeal; it means yielding, time and again. That’s why it’s a sacrament: you give up your personal simplicity to participate in a relationship. And when you’re giving, you’re not giving to the other person: you’re giving to the relationship. And if you realize you are in the relationship just as the other person is, then it becomes life building, a life fostering and enriching experience, not an impoverishment because you’re giving to somebody else … This is the challenge of a marriage.

We have not even to risk the adventure alone

Furthermore, we have not even to risk the adventure alone; for the heroes of all time have gone before us; the labyrinth is thoroughly known; we have only to follow the thread of the hero-path. And where we had thought to find an abomination, we shall find a god; where we had thought to slay another, we shall slay ourselves; where we had thought to travel outward, we shall come to the center of our own existence; where we had thought to be alone, we shall be with all the world.

Hero with a Thousand Faces, The
This is what Joyce called the monomyth

This is what Joyce called the monomyth: an archetypal story that springs from the collective unconscious. Its motifs can appear not only in myth and literature, but, if you are sensitive to it, in the working out of the plot of your own life. The basic story of the hero journey involves giving up where you are, going into the realm of adventure, coming to some kind of symbolically rendered realization, and then returning to the field of normal life.

Pathways to Bliss
The hero’s journey always begins with the call

The hero’s journey always begins with the call. One way or another, a guide must come to say, “Look, you’re in Sleepy Land. Wake. Come on a trip. There is a whole aspect of your consciousness, your being, that’s not been touched. So you’re at home here? Well, there’s not enough of you there.” And so it starts.

Joseph Campbell Companion, A
The heroine will encounter

The heroine will, of course, encounter difficulties and advantages which are not those that the male meets, but whether one is male or female, the stages of the inner journey, the visionary quest, are the same, even though the imagery is going to be a little different.

Joseph Campbell Companion, A
The hero adventures out of the land we know

The hero adventures out of the land we know into darkness; there accomplishes his adventure or again is simply lost to us, imprisoned, or in danger; and his return is described as a coming back out of that yonder. Nevertheless—and here is a great key to the understanding of myth and symbol—the two kingdoms are actually one. The realm of the gods is a forgotten dimension of the world we know. And the exploration of that dimension, either willingly or unwillingly, is the whole sense of the deed of the hero.

Hero with a Thousand Faces, The
Underneath the verbal ambiguities

Underneath the verbal ambiguities and philological traps of the Wake, deep speaks to deep about such everyday matters as marital discord, sibling strife, military slaughter, racial violence, theological differences, and financial thimblerigging — fascinating material that academicians (at their peril) fail to discuss or continue to ignore

Skeleton Key to Finnegans Wake, A
What the mythic image shows

What the mythic image shows is the way in which the cosmic energy manifests itself in time, and as the times change, the modes of manifestation change.

Pathways to Bliss
If you want resurrection

If you want resurrection, you must have crucifixion. Too many interpretations of the Crucifixion have failed to emphasize that relationship and emphasize instead the calamity of the event. . . . But crucifixion is not a calamity if it leads to new life. Through Christ’s crucifixion we were unshelled, which enabled us to be born to resurrection. That is not a calamity. So, we must take a fresh look at this event if its symbolism is to be sensed.

Joseph Campbell Companion, A
The hero’s death and resurrection

The hero’s death and resurrection is a model for the casting off of the old life and moving into the new.

Joseph Campbell Companion, A
The eternal principle

The eternal principle, which never was born, never will die: it is in all things: it is in you now. You are a wave on the face of the ocean. When the wave is gone, is the water gone? Has anything happened? Nothing has happened. It is a play, a game, a dance

Asian Journals — India and Japan
My feeling is that mythic forms

My feeling is that mythic forms reveal themselves gradually in the course of your life if you know what they are and how to pay attention to their emergence. My own initiation into the mythic depths of the unconscious has been through the mind, through the books that surround me in this library. I have recognized in my quest all the stages of the hero’s journey. I had my calls to adventure, my guides, demons, and illuminations.

When you just now rang my doorbell

When you just now rang my doorbell, I was right in the middle of a sentence about an American Indian initiation: an initiation myth having to do with two boys––twin heroes––born of a virgin. Their father is the Sun. Monsters are troubling the land, and the boys––one a warrior and the other a medicine man––journey to their father the Sun to get weapons. The father puts them through a series of four terrible tests, and when they survive these tests, he initiates them, tells them what their true names are. That’s it––the awakening to the inward self, to the knowledge of who you truly are.

A bit of advice given to a young Native American

A bit of advice given to a young Native American at the time of his initiation:

“As you go the way of life, you will see a great chasm.

Jump.

It is not as wide as you think.”

Joseph Campbell Companion, A
It is important to know how old you are

It is important to know how old you are in spiritual development, where you are on this path. The function of initiations is to commit one’s whole psychological pitch to the requirements of a particular stage in life. The big initiation is when one has to leave the psychology of childhood behind: the death of the infantile ego, which is dependant and obedient, and the birth of the self-reliant adult participating in the society.

Joseph Campbell Companion, A
My general formula for my students

My general formula for my students is “Follow your bliss.” Find where it is, and don’t be afraid to follow it.

Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth with Bill Moyers (book)
If you go into marriage with a program

If you go into marriage with a program, you will find that it won’t work. Successful marriage is leading innovative lives together, 
being open, non-programmed.
 It’s a free fall: how you handle
 each new thing as it comes along. As a drop of oil on the sea, you must float, using intellect and compassion to ride the waves.

Joseph Campbell Companion, A
The rules of love, they

“The rules of love, they really are severe. If you’re giving up everything for something, then give up everything for somethingand stay with it with your mind on where you’re going.”

 

 

Goddesses
Through your own integrity

Through your own integrity, you evoke your destiny, which is a destiny that never existed before.

Romance of the Grail
Marriage took place in the psyche first

Marriage took place in the psyche first, and the physical realization of their love [Parzival and Condwiramurs] was the fulfillment of a spiritual marriage; it did not work the there way around. No priest confirmed the marriage. It was confirmed in love and was itself the sacrament of love. And neither lust nor fear, but courage and compassion, were its motivations…

Romance of the Grail
People have the notion of saving the world

People have the notion of saving the world by shifting things around, changing the rules, and who’s on top, and so forth. No, no! Any world is a valid world if it’s alive. The thing to do is to bring life to it, and the only way to do that is to find in your own case where the life is and become alive yourself.

Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth with Bill Moyers (book)
The warrior’s approach to life

The warrior’s approach is to say ‘yes’ to life: say ‘yea’ to it all. Participate joyfully in the sorrows of the world. We cannot cure the world of sorrows, but we can choose to live in joy. When we talk about settling the world’s problems, we’re barking up the wrong tree. The world is perfect. It’s a mess. It has always been a mess. We are not going to change it.

Joseph Campbell Companion, A
A bit of advice

“A bit of advice
given to a young Native American
at the time of his initiation:

“As you go the way of life,
you will see a great chasm.

Jump.

It is not as wide as you think.”

 

Joseph Campbell Companion, A
I have a firm belief

I have a firm belief in this now, not only in terms of my own experience, but in knowing the experiences of other people. When you follow your bliss, and by bliss I mean the deep sense of being in it, and doing what the push is out of your own existence—it may not be fun, but it’s your bliss and there’s bliss behind pain too.

Hero’s Journey, The (book)
I think the best thing I can say

I think the best thing I can say is to follow your bliss. If your bliss is just your fun and your excitement, you’re on the wrong track. I mean, you need instruction. Know where your bliss is. And that involves coming down to a deep place in yourself

Hero’s Journey, The (book)
You have to learn to recognize your own depths

You have to learn to recognize your own depths

Hero’s Journey, The (video)
Religions, philosophies, arts, the social forms of primitive

Religions, philosophies, arts, the social forms of primitive and historic man, prime discoveries in science and technology, the very dreams that blister sleep, boil up from the basic, magic ring of myth.

Hero with a Thousand Faces, The
Those who know, not only that the Everlasting

Those who know, not only that the Everlasting lives in them, but that what they, and all things, really are IS the Everlasting, dwell in the groves of the wish-fulfilling trees, drink the brew of immortality, and listen everywhere to the unheard music of eternal concord. These are the immortals.

Hero with a Thousand Faces, The
Metaphors only seem to describe the outer world

Metaphors only seem to describe the outer world of time and place. Their real universe is the spiritual realm of the inner life. The Kingdom of God is within you.

Thou Art That
For me, myth is primarily visual

For me, myth is primarily visual, not linguistic. It comes from visions and cuts across linguistic provinces. Language is secondary. It has to do with the communication of myth.

There’s nothing you can do that’s more important than being fulfilled

There’s nothing you can do that’s more important than being fulfilled. You become a sign, you become a signal, transparent to transcendence; in this way, you will find, live, and become a realization of your own personal myth

Pathways to Bliss
I think a good way to conceive of sacred space

I think a good way to conceive of sacred space is as a playground. If what you’re doing seems like play, you are in it. But you can’t play with my toys, you have to have your own. Your life should have yielded some. Older people play with life experiences and realizations or with thoughts they like to entertain. In my case, I have books I like to read that don’t lead anywhere. One great thing about growing old is that nothing is going to lead to anything. Everything is of the moment.

Joseph Campbell Companion, A
Blunders are not the merest chance

Blunders are not the merest chance. They are the results of suppressed desires and conflicts. They are ripples on the surface of life, produced by unsuspected springs. And these may be very deep—as deep as the soul itself. The blunder may amount to the opening of a destiny.

Hero with a Thousand Faces, The
What if we choose not to do the things we are supposed to do?

What if we choose not to do the things we are supposed to do? The principal gain is a sense of an authentic act – and an authentic life. It may be a short one, but it is an authentic one, and that’s a lot better than those short lives full of boredom. The principal loss is security. Another is respect from the community. But you gain the respect of another community, the one that is worth having the respect of.

Work begins when you don’t like what you’re doing. And if your life isn’t play

Work begins when you don’t like what you’re doing. And if your life isn’t play, or if you are engaged in play and having no fun, well, quit! The spirit of the sacred space is Śiva dancing. All responsibilities are cast off. There are various ways of doing this casting off. and it doesn’t matter how it happens. The rest is play.

Joseph Campbell Companion, A
How does the ordinary person come to an experience

How does the ordinary person come to an experience of the transcendent? For a start, I would say, study poetry. Learn how to read a poem. You need not have the experience to get the message, or at least some indication of the message. It may come gradually. There are many ways, however, of coming to the transcendent experience.

Thou Art That
What’s made up in the head is the fiction

What’s made up in the head is the fiction. What comes out of the heart is a myth.

Hero’s Journey, The (book)
In other traditions, good and evil are relative

In other traditions, good and evil are relative to the position in which you are standing. What is good for one is evil for the other. And you play your part, not withdrawing from the world when you realize how horrible it is, but seeing that this horror is simply the foreground of a wonder: a ‘mysterium tremendum et fascinans.’

Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth with Bill Moyers (book)
“All life is sorrowful” is the first Buddhist

“All life is sorrowful” is the first Buddhist saying, and so it is. It wouldn’t be life if there weren’t temporality involved, which is sorrow – loss, loss, loss. You’ve got to say yes to life and see it as magnificent this way; for this is surely the way God intended it

Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth with Bill Moyers (book)
Life is joyful just as it is

Life is joyful just as it is. I don’t believe there was anybody who intended it, but this is the way it is. James Joyce has a memorable line: ‘History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake.’ And the way to wake from it is not to be afraid, and to recognize that all of this, as it is, is a manifestation of the horrendous power that is of all creation. The ends of things are always painful. But pain is part of there being a world at all.

Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth with Bill Moyers (book)
The Waste Land, let us say

The Waste Land, let us say then, is any world in which (to state the problem pedagogically) force and not love, indoctrination, not education, authority, not experience, prevail in the ordering of lives, and where the myths and rites enforced and received are consequently unrelated to the actual inward realizations, needs, and potentialities of those upon whom they are impressed.

The Masks of God 4: Creative Mythology
For the human mind in its polarity

For the human mind in its polarity of the male and female modes of experience, in its passages from infancy to adulthood and old age, in its toughness and tenderness, and in its continuing dialogue with the world, is the ultimate mythogenetic zone—the creator and the destroyer, the slave and yet the master, of all the gods.

The Masks of God 1: Primitive Mythology
The goal of all meditation

The goal of all meditation and mystery journeys is to go between the pair of opposites

Goddesses
You become mature

You become mature when you become the authority for your own life

Joseph Campbell Companion, A
For just as the figments of a dream derive

For just as the figments of a dream derive from the life energy of one dreamer, representing only fluid splittings and complications of that single force, so do all the forms of all the worlds, whether terrestrial or divine, reflect the universal force of a single inscrutable mystery: the power that constructs the atom and controls the orbit of the stars.

That font of life is the core of the individual, and within himself he will find it—if he can tear the coverings away

Hero with a Thousand Faces, The
The aim of all religious exercises

The aim of all religious exercises is a psychological transformation. You can make up your own meditations and rites based on knowing, loving, and serving the deity in caring for your children, doctoring drunks, or writing books. Any work whatsoever can be a meditation if you have the sense that everything is “brahman”: the process, the doing, the thing that is being looked at, the one that is looking—everything.

Joseph Campbell Companion, A
The goddess is red with the fire of life

The goddess is red with the fire of life; the earth, the solar system, the galaxies of far-extending space all swell within her womb. For she is the world creatrix, ever mother, ever virgin. She encompasses the encompassing, nourishes the nourishing, and is the life of everything that lives.

She is also the death of everything that dies. The whole round of existence is accomplished within her sway, from birth, through adolescence, maturity, and senescence, to the grave. She is the womb and the tomb: the sow that eats her farrow. Thus she unites the “good” and the “bad,” exhibiting the two modes of the remembered mother. The devotee is expected to contemplate the two with equal equanimity.

Hero with a Thousand Faces, The
Mythology is very fluid

Mythology is very fluid. Most of the myths are self-contradictory. You may even find four or five myths in a given culture, all giving different versions of the same mystery. Then theology comes along and says it has got to be just this way. Mythology is poetry, and the poetic language is very flexible.

Religion turns poetry into prose. God is literally up there, and this is literally what he thinks, and this is the way you’ve got to behave to get into proper relationship with that god up there.

Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth with Bill Moyers (book)
I have read somewhere of an old Chinese curse

I have read somewhere of an old Chinese curse: “May you be born in an interesting time!” This is a VERY interesting time: there are no models for ANYTHING that is going on. It is a period of free fall into the future, and each has to make his or her own way. The old models are not working; the new have not yet appeared. In fact, it is we who are even now shaping the new in the shaping of our interesting lives. And that is the whole sense (in mythological terms) of the present challenge: we are the ‘ancestors’ of an age to come, the unwitting generators of its supporting myths,the mythic models that will inspire its lives.”

Goddesses
Change the focus of the eye

Change the focus of the eye. When you have done that, then the end of the world as you formerly knew it will have occurred, and you will experience the radiance of the divine presence everywhere, here and now

On Being Human
What the relationship of the Father and the Son and

What the relationship of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost to each other might be, in technical terms, is not half as important as you, the celebrant, feeling the virgin birth within you, the birth of the mystic, mythic being that is your own spiritual life.”

Pathways to Bliss
All we really want to do is dance

All we really want to do is dance.

Joseph Campbell Companion, A
I regard The Odyssey as a book of initiations

I regard The Odyssey as a book of initiations, and the first initiation is that of Odysseus himself into a proper relationship to the female power, which was put down at the time the Judgment of Paris when the male principle was dominant in an excessive way. Now the female power must be recognized to make possible a proper relationship—what I call an androgynous relationship—in which the male and female meet as co-equals. They are equals, but not the same, because when you lose the tension of polarities you lose the tension of life.

Goddesses
I don’t see any conflict between religion and science

I don’t see any conflict between religion and science. Religion has to accept the science of the day and penetrate it to the mystery. The conflict is between the science of 2000 B.C. and 2000 A.D.

Hero’s Journey, The (book)
And this then is one of the problems with our tradition

And this then is one of the problems with our tradition, where our inherited mythology, let’s say the Judeo-Christian tradition, relates to the first millennium B.C., and has nothing to do with life here. Everything has to be ‘explained’––and a mythological image that has to be explained to the brain is not working.

Hero’s Journey, The (video)
People ask, “Did Jesus go to India?”

People ask, “Did Jesus go to India?” He didn’t have to—India had already come to the Near East. One wonders how this idea of the inward Christ came to this young Jewish prophet, because it’s not in the Jewish tradition at all. This I think is what knocked St. Paul off his horse—when he realized that the actuality of Christ’s death and alleged resurrection was an actual historical enactment of the sense of the mystery religions.

Goddesses
I think that the movie is the perfect medium for mythological messages.

I think that the movie is the perfect medium for mythological messages. The medium is so plastic and pliable and magic things can happen. And then the combination, you know, of fantastic landscape and possible modes of action and voyaging that we can hardly conceive of in good solid terms … That’s a mythological realm, and movies could handle this kind of thing.

Nietzsche was the one who did the job for me

Nietzsche was the one who did the job for me. At a certain moment in his life, the idea came to him of what he called ‘the love of your fate.’ Whatever your fate is, whatever the hell happens, you say, “This is what I need.” It may look like a wreck, but go at it as though it were an opportunity, a challenge. If you bring love to that moment—not discouragement—you will find the strength is there.

Joseph Campbell Companion, A
When looking back at your life

When looking back at your life, you will see that the moments which seemed to be great failures followed by wreckage were the incidents that shaped the life you have now. You’ll see that this is really true. Nothing can happen to you that is not positive. Even though it looks and feels at the moment like a negative crisis, it is not. The crisis throws you back, and when you are required to exhibit strength, it comes.

Joseph Campbell Companion, A
The adventure of the Grail

The adventure of the Grail––the quest within for those creative values by which the Waste Land is redeemed––has become today for each the unavoidable task; for, as there is no more any fixed horizon, there is no more any fixed center, any Mecca, Rome, or Jerusalem. Our circle today is that announced, c. 1450, by Nicholas Cusanus: whose circumference is nowhere and whose center is everywhere; the circle of infinite radius, which is also a straight line.

The Masks of God 3: Occidental Mythology
If we think of the Crucifixion

If we think of the Crucifixion only in historical terms, we lose the symbol’s immediate reference to ourselves. Jesus left his mortal body on the cross, the sign of earth, to go to the Father, with whom he was one. We, similarly, are to identify with the eternal life within us. The symbol also tells us of God’s willing acceptance of the cross, that is to say, of his participation in the trials and sorrows of human life in the world, so that he is here within us, not by way of a fall or mistake, but with rapture and joy. Thus the cross has dual sense: one, of our going to the divine; the other, of the coming of the divine to us. It is a true crossing

Joseph Campbell Companion, A
One characteristic of Buddhism

One characteristic of Buddhism, in contrast to Christianity, is that Buddhism does not eliminate deities. Rather, they are seen as manifestations of Buddha-consciousness in the mode of a given culture and are kept.

When the MacArthur people took a census of religious beliefs in Japan, they found that there were more religious believers than there were people, because everyone was both a Shinto and a Buddhist.

The ego is the center of your consciousness

The ego is the center of your consciousness. The energies that are the source of your life, the inward light you speak of, is below the level of your mental consciousness. For example, we will soon eat lunch, and then we will be digesting the lunch; but I don’t think there is anyone here who knows consciously just HOW to digest a lunch, although we are all going to do it. There’s more to you than your mental consciousness knows about. The vocabulary that relates and links our mental consciousness to the energies that inform our body and move our lives and give us our sentiments of love and hate and despair is the vocabulary of myth.

Mythic Worlds, Modern Words
This, I believe, is the great Western truth

This, I believe, is the great Western truth: that each of us is a completely unique creature and that, if we are ever to give any gift to the world, it will have to come out of our own experience and fulfillment of our own potentialities, not someone else’s.

Joseph Campbell Companion, A
The “monstrous, irrational, and unnatural” motifs in folklore

The “monstrous, irrational, and unnatural” motifs in folklore and myth are derived from the reservoirs of dream and vision. On the dream level such images represent the total state of the individual dreaming psyche. But clarified of personal distortions and profounded by poets, prophets, and visionaries, they become symbolic of the spiritual norm for Man the Microcosm. They are thus phrases from an image-language, expressive of a metaphysical, psychological, and sociological truth.

Flight of the Wild Gander, The
I didn’t write my books for critics and scholars

I didn’t write my books for critics and scholars. I wrote them for students and artists. When I hear how much my work has meant to them––well, I can’t tell you how happy that makes me. That means that this great stuff of myth, which I have been so privileged to work with, will be kept alive for a whole new generation. That’s the function of the artists, you know, to reinterpret the old stories and make them come alive again, in poetry, painting, and now in movies.

Hero’s Journey, The (book)
The entire heavenly realm is within us, but

The entire heavenly realm is within us, but to find it we have to relate to what’s outside

Joseph Campbell Companion, A
Significant images render insights beyond speech

Significant images render insights beyond speech, beyond the kinds of meaning speech defines. And if they do not speak to you, that is because you are not ready for them, and words will only serve to make you think you have understood, thus cutting you off altogether. You don’t ask what a dance means, you enjoy it. You don’t ask what the world means, you enjoy it. You don’t ask what you mean, you enjoy yourself; or at least, so you do when you are up to snuff.

Myths to Live By
You don’t ask what a dance means

You don’t ask what a dance means, you enjoy it. You don’t ask what the world means, you enjoy it. You don’t ask what you mean, you enjoy yourself.

Myths to Live By
But to enjoy the world

But to enjoy the world requires something more than mere good health and good spirits; for this world, as we all now surely know, is horrendous. “All life,” said the Buddha, “is sorrowful”; and so, indeed, it is. Life consuming life: that is the essence of its being, which is forever a becoming. “The world,” said the Buddha, “is an ever-burning fire.” And so it is. And that is what one has to affirm, with a yea! a dance! a knowing, solemn, stately dance of the mystic bliss beyond pain that is at the heart of every mythic rite.

Myths to Live By
Almost all non-literate mythology has a trickster-hero

Almost all non-literate mythology has a trickster-hero of some kind. … And there’s a very special property in the trickster: he always breaks in, just as the unconscious does, to trip up the rational situation. He’s both a fool and someone who’s beyond the system. And the trickster represents all those possibilities of life that your mind hasn’t decided it wants to deal with. The mind structures a lifestyle, and the fool or trickster represents another whole range of possibilities. He doesn’t respect the values that you’ve set up for yourself, and smashes them.

The fool is the breakthrough

The fool is the breakthrough of the absolute into the field of controlled social orders

God and Buddhas in the Orient

God and Buddhas in the Orient are not final terms like Yahweh, the Trinity, or Allah, in the West—but point beyond themselves to that ineffable being, consciousness, and rapture that is the All in all of us. And in their worship, the ultimate aim is to effect in the devotee a psychological transfiguration through a shift of his plane of vision from the passing to the enduring, through which he may come finally to realize in experience (not simply as an act of faith) that he is identical with that before which he bows

Flight of the Wild Gander, The
There are today no horizons

There are today no horizons, no mythogenetic zones. Or rather, the mythogenetic zone is the individual heart. Individualism and spontaneous pluralism––the free association of men and women of like spirit, under protection of a secular, rational state with no pretensions to divinity––are in the modern world the only honest possibilities: each the creative center for himself. in Cusanus’ circle without circumference whose center is everywhere, and where each is the focus of God’s gaze.

The Masks of God 4: Creative Mythology
Every failure to cope with a life situation

“Every failure to cope with a life situation must be laid, in the end, to a restriction of consciousness. Wars and temper tantrums are the makeshifts of ignorance; regrets are illuminations come too late.

Hero with a Thousand Faces, The
The whole sense of the ubiquitous myth of the hero’s passage

The whole sense of the ubiquitous myth of the hero’s passage is that it shall serve as a general pattern for men and women, wherever they may stand along the scale. Therefore it is formulated in the broadest terms. The individual has only to discover his own position with reference to this general human formula and let it then assist him past his restricting walls. Who and where are his ogres? Those are the reflections of the unresolved enigmas of his own humanity. What are his ideals? Those are the symptoms of his grasp of life

Hero with a Thousand Faces, The
There is a definition of God which has been repeated by many philosophers

There is a definition of God which has been repeated by many philosophers. God is an intelligible sphere—a sphere known to the mind, not to the senses—whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere. And the center . . . is right where you’re sitting. And the other one is right where I’m sitting. And each of us is a manifestation of that mystery. That’s a nice mythological realization that sort of gives you a sense of who and what you are.

Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth with Bill Moyers (book)
Going back at least nine thousand years

Going back at least nine thousand years to the early agriculture of the Near East and Old Europe, we have a tradition of the power of the Goddess and of her child who dies and is resurrected—namely, it is we who come from her, go back to her, and rest well in her. This tradition was carried through the cults of ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt, and down into the Classical world, before finally delivering the message into Christian teaching

Goddesses
Life throws up around us these temptations, these distractions, and

Life throws up around us these temptations, these distractions, and the problem is to find the immovable center within. Then you can survive anything. Myth will help you do that. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go out on picket lines about atomic research. Go ahead, but do it playfully. The universe is God’s play.

Myths of Light
My writing is of a very different kind

My writing is of a very different kind from anything I’ve heard about. All this mythological material is out there, a big gathering of stuff, and I have been reading it for some forty- or fifty-odd years. There are various ways of handling that. The most common is to put the material together and publish a scholarly book about it. But when I’m writing, I try to get a sense of an experiential relationship to the material. In fact, I can’t write unless that happens … I don’t write unless the stuff is really working on me, and my selection of material depends on what works.

Joseph Campbell Companion, A
When I wrote about the Call forty years ago

When I wrote about the Call forty years ago, I was writing out of what I had read. Now that I’ve lived it, I know it’s correct. And that’s how it turned out. I mean, it’s valid. These mythic clues work.

This is to say that in what we think we know of the interior of the atom

This is to say that in what we think we know of the interior of the atom, as well as of the exploding stars in millions of spinning galaxies throughout an expanding space that is no longer, as in Newton’s view, ‘always similar and immovable,’ the old notion of a once-upon-a-time First Cause has given way to something more like an immanent ground of being, transcendent of conceptualization, which is in a continuous act of creation now.

Way of the Animal Powers
This is an absolute necessity for anybody today. You must have a room

This is an absolute necessity for anybody today. You must have a room, or a certain hour or so a day, where you don’t know what was in the newspapers that morning, you don’t know who your friends are, you don’t know what you owe anybody, you don’t know what anybody owes to you. This is a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be. This is the place of creative incubation. At first you may find that nothing happens there. But if you have a sacred place and use it, something eventually will happen.

Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth with Bill Moyers (book)
It would not be too much to say that myth is the secret opening

It would not be too much to say that myth is the secret opening through which the inexhaustible energies of the cosmos pour into human cultural manifestation. Religion, philosphies, arts, the social forms of primitive and historic man, prime discoveries in science and technology, the very dreams that blister sleep, boil up from the basic, magic ring of myth

Hero with a Thousand Faces, The
Writer’s block results from too much head

Writer’s block results from too much head. Cut off your head. Pegasus, poetry, was born of Medusa when her head was cut off. You have to be reckless when writing. Be as crazy as your conscience allows.

Joseph Campbell Companion, A
We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned

We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us. The old skin has to be shed before the new one can come.

Joseph Campbell Companion, A
What we are really living for is the experience of life, both the pain

What we are really living for is the experience of life, both the pain and the pleasure. The world is a match for us. We are a match for the world.

Joseph Campbell Companion, A
The conquest of the fear of death is the recovery of life’s joy

The conquest of the fear of death is the recovery of life’s joy. One can experience an unconditional affirmation of life only when one has accepted death, not as contrary to life, but as an aspect of life. Life in its becoming is always shedding death, and on the point of death. The conquest of fear yields the courage of life.

Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth with Bill Moyers (book)
Deities have to become, as one great German scholar said, “transparent to the transcendent.”

Deities have to become, as one great German scholar said, “transparent to the transcendent.” The transcendent must show and shine through those deities. But it must shine through us, too, and through the spiritual things we are talking about.

Of what profit to the young man going off to war

Of what profit to the young man going off to war to have chanted over him, five long days and nights, the hymns and prayers of such a rite? What can be the meaning of this solemn sitting or standing or walking on a picture, this wearing of feathers and string? To anyone familiar with the pictorial language of myth and cult the answer is clear and simple: the one sung over becomes identified, inwardly and outwardly, with the divine hero, and thus imbibes his power and the harmony of his perfection.

Where the Two Came to Their Father
The beauty of the rite … is the beauty of one’s essential nature

The beauty of the rite … is the beauty of one’s essential nature. By participation in the rite, by uniting the mind with that beauty, by walking the way of the god, one becomes profoundly composed. The landscape of the myth is the landscape of the human spirit.

Where the Two Came to Their Father
The landscape of the myth

The landscape of the myth is the landscape of the human spirit.

Where the Two Came to Their Father
If you live with the myths in your mind,

If you live with the myths in your mind, you will find yourself always in mythological situations. They cover everything that can happen to you. And that enables you to interpret the myth in relation to life, as well as life in relation to myth.

The Cosmic Dancer, declares Nietzsche

The Cosmic Dancer, declares Nietzsche, does not rest heavily in a single spot, but gaily, lightly, turns and leaps from one position to another. It is possible to speak from only one point at a time, but that does not invalidate the insights of the rest.

Hero with a Thousand Faces, The
Now, all these myths that you have heard and that resonate with you

Now, all these myths that you have heard and that resonate with you, those are the elements from round about that you are building into a form in your life. The thing worth considering is how they relate to each other in your context, not how they relate to something out there – how they were relevant on the North American prairies or in the Asian jungles hundreds of years ago, but how they are relevant now – unless by contemplating their former meaning you can begin to amplify your own understanding of the role they play in your life

Pathways to Bliss
The spirit is the bouquet of nature

The spirit is the bouquet of nature.

Joseph Campbell Companion, A
Once you understand symbolic things, you, too, will see symbols everywhere.

Once you understand symbolic things, you, too, will see symbols everywhere.

Joseph Campbell Companion, A
In meditating, meditate on your own divinity.

In meditating, meditate on your own divinity. The goal of life is to be a vehicle for something higher. Keep your eyes up there between the world of opposites watching your ‘play’ in the world.Let the world be as it is and learn to rock with the waves

Joseph Campbell Companion, A
There are mythologies that are scattered, broken up, all around us

There are mythologies that are scattered, broken up, all around us. We stand on what I call the terminal moraine of shattered mythic systems that once structured society. They can be detected all around us. You can select any of these fragments that activate your imagination for your own use. Let it help shape your own relationship to the unconscious system out of which these symbols have come

Thou Art That
To live the heroic life is to live the individual adventure

To live the heroic life is to live the individual adventure, really. One of the problems today is that with the enormous transformations in the forms of our lives, the models for life don’t exist for us. In a traditional society––the agriculturally based city––there were relatively few life roles, and the models were there; there was a hero for each life role. But look at the past twenty years and what has come along in the way of new life possibilities and requirements. The hero-as-model is one thing we lack, so each one has to be his own hero and follow the path that’s no-path.

Open Life, An
Mythology helps you to identify the mysteries of the energies

Mythology helps you to identify the mysteries of the energies pouring through you. Therein lies your eternity.

Joseph Campbell Companion, A
My definition of a devil is a god who has not

My definition of a devil is a god who has not been recognized. That is to say, it is a power in you to which you have not given expression, and you push it back. And then, like all repressed energy, it builds up and becomes completely dangerous to the position you’re trying to hold.

Open Life, An
when the glow of a sunset holds you and you say “Aha,”

In one of the Upanishads it says, when the glow of a sunset holds you and you say “Aha,” that is the recognition of the divinity. And when you say ‘Aha’ to an art object, that is a recognition of divinity. And what divinity is it? It is your divinity, which is the only divinity there is. We are all phenomenal manifestations of a divine will to live, and that will and the consciousness of life is one in all of us, and that is what artwork expresses.

Mythic Dimension, The
My general formula for my students is “Follow your bliss.”

My general formula for my students is “Follow your bliss.” Find where it is, and don’t be afraid to follow it … If the work you are doing is the work that you chose to do because you are enjoying it, that’s it. But if you think, “Oh no, I couldn’t do that!” that’s the dragon locking you in. “No, no, I couldn’t be a writer,” or “No, no, I couldn’t possibly be doing what So-and-so is doing.”

Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth with Bill Moyers (book)
A dream is a personal experience of that deep, dark ground

A dream is a personal experience of that deep, dark ground that is the support of our conscious lives, and a myth is the society’s dream. The myth is the public dream and the dream is the private myth. If your private myth, your dream, happens to coincide with that of the society, you are in good accord with your group. If it isn’t, you’ve got an adventure in the dark forest ahead of you.

Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth with Bill Moyers (book)
The mythogenetic zone today is the individual in contact with his own interior life

The mythogenetic zone today is the individual in contact with his own interior life, communicating through his art with those “out there.” But to this end communicative signs must be employed: words, images, motions, colors, and perfumes, sensations of all kinds, which, however, come to the creative artist from without and inevitably bear associations not only colored by the past but also relevant to the commerce of the day.

Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth with Bill Moyers (book)
The mythogenetic zone today

The mythogenetic zone today is the individual in contact with his own interior life, communicating through his art with those “out there.”

Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth with Bill Moyers (book)
As a drop of oil on the sea

As a drop of oil on the sea,

you must float,

using intellect and compassion

to ride the waves.

Joseph Campbell Companion, A
You can’t predict what a myth is going to be

You can’t predict what a myth is going to be any more than you can predict what you’re going to dream tonight. Myths and dream come from the same place. They come from realizations of some kind that have then to find expression in symbolic form. And the only myth that’s going to be worth thinking about in the immediate future is one that is talking about the planet, not the city, not these people, but the planet and everybody on it.

Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth with Bill Moyers (book)
Life is a guy trying to play a violin

Life is a guy trying to play a violin solo in public, while learning the music and his instrument at the same time.

Love is the burning point of life

Love is the burning point of life, and since all life is sorrowful, so is love. The stronger the love, the more the pain. . . . the pain of being truly alive.

Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth with Bill Moyers (book)
It is by going down into the abyss that we recover

“It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life. Where you stumble, there lies your treasure.”

Joseph Campbell Companion, A
Awe is what moves us forward.

Awe is what moves us forward.

Joseph Campbell Companion, A
The latest incarnation of Oedipus

The latest incarnation of Oedipus, the continued romance of Beauty and the Beast, stand this afternoon on the corner of 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue, waiting for the traffic light to change.

Hero with a Thousand Faces, The
One part of the mythological motif of the hero’s journey is acquiescence

One part of the hero’s journey is acquiescence. For instance, I am moving toward death, as we all are. That’s also yielding. And the hero is the one who knows when to surrender and what to surrender too. The main theme is to yield your position to the dynamic. And the dynamic of life is now this form eats that form. Yield.

Hero’s Journey, The (book)
The Grail becomes that which is attained

The Grail becomes that which is attained and realized by people who have lived their own lives. The Grail represents the fulfillment of the highest spiritual potentialities of the human consciousness.

 

Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth with Bill Moyers (book)
The wonder is that the characteristic efficacy to touch and inspire

The wonder is that the characteristic efficacy to touch and inspire deep creative centers dwells in the smallest nursery fairy tale—as the flavor of the ocean is contained in a droplet or the whole mystery of life within the egg of a flea.

Hero with a Thousand Faces, The
The wonder . . . dwells in the smallest nursery fairy tale

The wonder is that the characteristic efficacy to touch and inspire deep creative centers dwells in the smallest nursery fairy tale—as the flavor of the ocean is contained in a droplet or the whole mystery of life within the egg of a flea. For the symbols of mythology are not manufactured; they cannot be ordered, invented, or permanently suppressed. They are spontaneous productions of the psyche, and each bears within it, undamaged, the germ power of its source

Hero with a Thousand Faces, The
We are now observing … the immanence of the occult

We are now observing throughout our cultural world a resurgence of the cult of the immanence of the occult, within ourselves and within nature. The old Bronze Age realization of a micro-macrocosmic unity is returning, and everywhere all the old arts that were banished are coming back.

Mythic Dimension, The
Under what sign were you born?

I myself have been traveling around quite a bit, these years, from one college campus to another, and everywhere the first question asked me is, “Under what sign were you born?” The mysteries of the Tarot pack, the I Ching, and Transcendental Meditation . . . Well, all this is just the beginning, the first signaling of a dawning realization of the immanence of the occult, and of this as something important for our living.

Mythic Dimension, The
First among the features of the great caves

First among the features of the great [paleolithic] caves that are of paramount importance to our study is the fact that these deep, labyrinthine grottos were not dwellings but sanctuaries . . . The enigmatic figures painted into the crypts and deepest recesses of the caves almost certainly hold in their silence the myths of the ultimate source of the magical efficacy of these magnificent shrines.

The Masks of God 1: Primitive Mythology
Life is joyful just as it is.

Life is joyful just as it is. I don’t believe there was anybody who intended it, but this is the way it is. James Joyce has a memorable line: ‘History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake.’ And the way to wake from it is not to be afraid, and to recognize that all of this, as it is, is a manifestation of the horrendous power that is of all creation. The ends of things are always painful. But pain is part of there being a world at all … I will participate in the game. It is a wonderful, wonderful opera – except that it hurts.

Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth with Bill Moyers (book)
The stress on the sexual character of the deity

The stress on the sexual character of the deity—whether male or female— is secondary and, in certain contexts, baffling. It was originally oriented toward the masculine to establish the superiority of the patriarchal societies over the matriarchal.

 

Pathways to Bliss
And just as in the past each civilization was the vehicle of its own mythology

And just as in the past each civilization was the vehicle of its own mythology, developing in character as its myth became progressively interpreted, analyzed, and elucidated by its leading minds, so in this modern world––where the application of science to the fields of practical life has now dissolved all cultural horizons, so that no separate civilization can ever develop again––each individual is the center of a mythology of his own, of which his own intelligible character is the Incarnate God, so to say, whom his empirically questing consciousness is to find. The aphorism of Delphi, ‘Know thyself,’ is the motto.

The Masks of God 4: Creative Mythology
The key to the Grail is compassion

The key to the Grail is compassion,
suffering with, feeling another’s
sorrow
as if it were your own.

The one who finds
the dynamo of compassion
is the one who’s found the Grail.

Joseph Campbell Companion, A
Nobody can give you a mythology.

Whenever a knight of the Grail tried to follow a path made by someone else, he went altogether astray. Where there is a way or path, it is someone else’s footsteps. Each of us has to find his own way, and this is what gives our Occidental world its initiative and creative quality. Nobody can give you a mythology. The images that mean something to you, you’ll find in your dreams, in your visions, in your actions – and you’ll find out what they are after you’ve passed them.

 

 

Survival is the second law of life.

Survival is the second law of life.
The first is that we are all one.

Joseph Campbell Companion, A
The great German philosopher Schopenhauer

The great German philosopher Schopenhauer, in a magnificent essay on ‘The Foundation of Morality,’ treats of this transcendental spiritual experience. How is it, he asks, that an individual can so forget himself and his own safety that he will put himself and his life in jeopardy to save another from death or pain—as though that other’s life were his own, that other’s danger his own? Such a one is then acting, Schopenhauer answers, out of an instinctive recognition of the truth that he and that other in fact are one. He has been moved not from the lesser, secondary knowledge of himself as separate from others, but from an immediate experience of the greater, truer truth, that we are all one in the ground of our being. Schopenhauer’s name for this motivation is ‘compassion,’ Mitleid, and he identifies it as the one and only inspiration of inherently moral action. It is founded, in his view, in a metaphysically valid insight. For a moment one is selfless, boundless, without ego.

Myths to Live By
For when a heart insists on its destiny

For when a heart insists on its destiny, resisting the general blandishment, then the agony is great; so too the danger. Forces, however, will have been set in motion beyond the reckoning of the senses. Sequences of events from the corners of the world will draw gradually together, and miracles of coincidence bring the inevitable to pass.

Hero with a Thousand Faces, The
Mythologies present games to play

Mythologies present games to play: how to make believe you’re doing thus and so. Ultimately, through the game, you experience that positive thing which is the experience of being-in-being, of living meaningfully. That’s the first function of a mythology, to evoke in the individual a sense of grateful affirmative awe before the monstrous mystery that is existence.

Pathways to Bliss
The fundamental thought in the Oriental philosophical world

The fundamental thought in the Oriental philosophical world is that the mysterious, ultimate truth, that which you seek to know, is absolutely beyond all definition. All categories of thought, all modes of imaging fall short of it. When we ask, “Is God merciful, just, loving? Does he love me, does he love my people more than those? Are these not chosen, are those not rejected?”–this from the Oriental standpoint is sheer kindergarten stuff.

Myths of Light
Myths — that is to say, religious recitations

Myths — that is to say, religious recitations — [are] conceived as symbolic of the play of eternity in time.  These are rehearsed not for diversion, but for the spiritual welfare of the individual or community.

Flight of the Wild Gander, The
It may be a species of impudence

It may be a species of impudence to think that the way you understand God is the way God is.

Thou Art That
There’s a word being used here this evening

“There’s a word being used here this evening that I don’t understand.”

He said, “What’s the word?”

I said, “God.”

“You don’t understand what God means?” he replied.

I said, “I don’t know what you mean by God. You’ve told us that God has hidden his face, that we are in exile. I’ve just come from India, where people are experiencing God all the time.”

And do you know what (Martin) Buber said? “Do you mean to compare?”

There you have revealed two sides of looking at the idea of God.

Thou Art That
My magnificent master and great friend

My magnificent master and great friend of many years ago, Heinrich Zimmer (1890-1943), had a saying: “The best things can’t be told: the second best are misunderstood.” The second best are misunderstood because, as metaphors poetically of what cannot be told, they are misread prosaically as referring to tangible facts.

Inner Reaches of Outer Space, The
Now let us ask: What about the symbolism of the Bible?

Now let us ask: What about the symbolism of the Bible? Based on the Old Sumerian  astronomical observations of five to six thousand years ago and an anthropology no longer  credible, it is hardly fit today to turn anybody on. In fact, the famous conflict of science and  religion has actually nothing to do with religion, but is simply of two sciences: that of  4000 B.C. and that of A.D. 2000.

Myths to Live By
The modern Western concept of a legal code 

The modern Western concept of a legal code  is not of a list of unassailable divine edicts but of a rationally contrived, evolving compilation of  statutes, shaped by fallible human beings in council, to realize rationally recognized social (and  therefore temporal) aims. We understand that our laws are not divinely ordained; and we know also that no laws of any people on earth ever were. Thus we know — whether we dare to say so or not — that our clergies have no more right to claim unassailable authority for their moral law than for their science.

Myths to Live By
In the West, you have the liberty

In the West, you have the liberty and the obligation of finding out what your destiny is. You can discover it for yourself. But do you?

Of course, it doesn’t hurt to be blessed with the accident of money, and a certain amount of support, and a margin of free time. But let me say this: people without money very often have the courage to risk a life of their own, and they can do it. Money doesn’t count, it’s not that important in our culture; it really isn’t.

Pathways to Bliss
Just as anyone who listens to the muse

Just as anyone who listens to the muse will hear, you can write out of your own intention or out of inspiration. There is such a thing. It comes up and talks. And those who have heard deeply the rhythms and hymns of the gods, can recite those hymns in such a way that the gods will be attracted.

Hero’s Journey, The (book)
The old in many societies

Furthermore, the old in many societies spend a considerable part of their time playing with and taking care of the youngsters, while the parents delve and spin: so that the old are returned to the sphere of eternal things not only within but without. And we may take it also, I should think, that the considerable mutual attraction of the very young and the very old may derive something from their common, secret knowledge that it is they, and not the busy generation between, who are concerned with a poetic play that is eternal and truly wise.

The Masks of God 1: Primitive Mythology
Instead of clearing his own heart

Instead of clearing his own heart the zealot tries to clear the world. The laws of the City of God are applied only to his in-group (tribe, church, nation, class, or what not) while the fire of a perpetual holy war is hurled (with good conscience, and indeed a sense of pious service) against whatever uncircumcised, barbarian, heathen, “native,” or alien people happens to occupy the position of neighbor.

The world is full of the resultant mutually contending bands: totem-, flag-, and party-worshipers. Even the so-called Christian nations— which are supposed to be following a “World” Redeemer—are better known to history for their colonial barbarity and internecine strife than for any practical display of that unconditioned love, synonymous with the effective conquest of ego, ego’s world, and ego’s tribal god, which was taught by their professed supreme Lord…

Hero with a Thousand Faces, The