Goddesses

Goddesses: Mysteries of the Feminine Divine

By Joseph Campbell | Edited by Safron Elsabeth Rossi

This title is part of the The Collected Works of Joseph Campbell series

“Joseph Campbell brought mythology to a mass audience. His bestselling books, including The Power of Myth and The Hero with a Thousand Faces, are the rare blockbusters that are also scholarly classics. While Campbell’s work reached wide and deep as he covered the world’s great mythological traditions, he never wrote a book on goddesses in world mythology. He did, however, have much to say on the subject. Between 1972 and 1986 he gave over twenty lectures and workshops on goddesses, exploring the figures, functions, symbols, and themes of the feminine divine, following them through their transformations across cultures and epochs. In this provocative volume, editor Safron Rossi— — a goddess studies scholar and professor of mythology— collects these lectures for the first time. In them, Campbell traces the evolution of the feminine divine from one Great Goddess to many, from Neolithic Old Europe to the Renaissance. He sheds new light on classical motifs and reveals how the feminine divine symbolizes the archetypal energies of transformation, initiation, and inspiration.

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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 [share]
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. [share]
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. [share]
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." [share]
The goal of all meditation and mystery journeys is to go between the pair of opposites [share]
"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."     [share]
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. [share]

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2019 Russian Hardcover
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