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The power of myth


Reading Guide: Joseph Campbells The Power of Myth, Chapter 1

Prof. Stephen Hagin K Symbolic Connections in WL K 12th edition K Kennesaw State University

Chapter 1: Myth and the Modern World

(1-5) Why read myths? Greek and Latin myths have been removed from out curriculum, leaving a void in our knowledge of the world. Mythology connects us to common human experiences of which we are unaware. 1. Do people ultimately seek knowledge or experience? Why?

(5-8) Myths reveal spiritual truths about the world. Marriage demands a shift in our spiritual identity and view of the self: [Marriage is] a purely mythological image signifying the sacrifice of the visible entity for a transcendent good (7).
transcend to travel beyond a boundary (physical, psychological, spiritual, etc.)

2. Summarize Campbells critiques of modern-day marriages and how they differ from true spiritual marriages.

(8-12) What happens when a society no longer embraces a powerful mythology? Campbell explains that modern life is demythologized (11), lacking the rituals that connect us to our human condition. Lacking rituals that connect the individual to the culture, people are left to their own devices to make sense of the world, often placing the individual interpretation of life against that of the society. America, states Campbell, has no ethos (10). Instead of stories that convey the wisdom of life (11), we have lawyers and professionals who focus on specialized issues, but are often ignoring the greater reality.
Rollo May a 20th century American existentialist psychologist Ethos the understood, unwritten rules by which people live (10) Alexander de Tocqueville A French political thinker and historian who visited America and commented on the roles of individuals and their nations Heinrich Zimmer a 20th century art historian who explored the differences between Western and Indian art

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3. Why does Campbell suggest that Americans lack rituals that assist us in being twice born?

(12-15) How did Campbell become interested in mythology? Growing up in New York, Campbell visited museums and exhibits of Indian art and culture. After reading Native myths, he saw the mythological connections to the symbols and motifs of the Roman Catholic Church. This interest than developed into his love of comparative mythology.
motif a dominant theme or pattern

4. How is a judge, a president, or a soldier a sort of mythological character?

(15-18) Do old time religions serve us well? Campbell does not criticize religious teachings, but rather the application of these teachings to a different culture and time. Campbell explains that Western religions are out of sync with todays world, resulting in young people disconnecting from the spiritual messages. Myths, however, are universally adaptable, as exemplified by the peyote rituals by indigenous Mexican Indians who transferred their hunting rituals onto the peyote plant after their sacred animal was extinguished from their culture.
peyote a cactus that grown in the southwestern US known for its psychedelic effects

5. Why did these native peoples perform the hunting ritual on a plant? [opinion]

(18-20) What is Campbells definition of consciousness? Campbell explains that all life forms have consciousness on a variety of levels.
Cartesian mode Cartesian refers to the writings of 17th century French Philosopher and mathematician Ren Descartes (he developed the x/y axis plot); Campbell uses Descartes to represent the world view of the time

6. What is the role of mythology in our world?

The power of myth


(20-24) Why is it that films affect us? Campbell and Moyers discuss the impact of films as potential replacements for myths. Campbell questions whether films can replace mythology because the screenwriters often lack mythological understanding. When they do, such as George Lucas in creating Star Wars, the mythological heroes and archetypes can be revealed effectively to a modern audience that lacks the references.
Douglas Fairbanks an early 20th century silent film actor who portrayed swaggering, swordwielding heroes, such as Robin Hood, Don Juan, and assorted pirates Pablo Picasso 20th century Spanish painter who invented the art form known as cubism (in avantgarde art form that depicts images as broken pieces depicting its subject from a variety of viewpoints) Minotaur In Greek mythology, a creature depicted as having the upper torso of a man and the lower torso of a bull Faust a protagonist in many 16th-19th century German stories who sells his soul to the devil Mephistopheles an alternate identity for Satan, chief of the demons, developed in Renaissance literature

7. Why does a film actor assume the condition of a god in a movie theatre but only celebrity status on television?

8. How have machines become mythologized? Why?

Picture Source: 2007 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

(25-30) How does the modern Western world relate to myths? Campbell discusses some revelations that he has made after working on his first personal computer in the 1980s. He uses this as a specific example of the machine metaphor that he discusses earlier. Myths come from Nature and ones surroundings, but Western religions have shut Nature out, further distancing themselves from the essence of their spiritual messages. He discusses religious tensions in Lebanon and Ireland as examples of cultures that have ignored the mythology behind their religions, which leads to war. He then relates a few tribal and Eastern examples for comparison. Western beliefs promote a me vs. you mentality, but myths are universally adaptable. Campbell believes that humanity needs mythology that connects them to the planet, not a particular social group (transcending the culture to reveal the universal truths).

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NOTE: On page 28, Campbell makes an error in recalling the events of the Bible. Campbell says that the chapter after the Ten Commandments commanded the Jews to Go into Canaan and kill everybody in it, but this is a poor paraphrase. Exodus 20 provides the Commandments, but Exodus 21 details several laws against violence, much like Hammurabis Code. Chapter 21 of Numbers is the first chapter that recalls the smiting of the Canaanites: So Israel made a vow to the LORD, and said, If You will indeed deliver this people into my hand, then I will utterly destroy their cities. And the LORD listened to the voice of Israel and delivered up the Canaanites, and they utterly destroyed them and their cities (Numbers 21:2-4).
Kali a goddess in Hindu mythology that assumes many forms; kala in Sanskrit means time and black, therefore associating Kali as a goddess of death Yahweh The Hebrew name for God (specifically spelled YHWH) Gentile the name given to non-Jews during Old Testament times Canaan the land that was home to various people in the area around modern-day Israel that spoke Semitic languages (such as Hebrew and Ugaritic); Noahs son Ham was the father of Canaan (Genesis 9:18) Commodore Matthew C. Perry led an American Naval expedition to Japan in 1856 Marshall McLuhan a 20th century Canadian writer who critiqued the role of media and technology on social order

9. How are religious approaches similar to computer software?

10. Why does Campbell call mythology the song?

11. What are the two types of mythology?

12. What is the difference between magic and mythology?

(31-38) Are the symbols on the reverse side of the dollar bill mythological? Campbell explores the symbolism on the reverse of the dollar bill and how it reflected the Age of Reason (sometimes called The Age of Enlightenment) from which the nation was born. Take one out of your wallet and examine it while you read this section.

The power of myth


Deist one who follows Deism, the belief in God through reason and knowledge, not through revelation or holy books; Deism often promotes the concept of the Divine Clockwinder, suggesting that God created the universe, but is now sitting back and watching the creatures of creation live on their own terms; many of the Founding Fathers were Deists Angelus a prayer in the Catholic Church that recites Ave, Maria (Hail, Mary) three times in its chorus manifest to manifest means to show, understand, demonstrate, or embody something clearly; therefore, a manifestation is the object that contains this knowledge or reality

13. How has 20th century America deviated from its Declaration of Independence?

(38-43) How do we live without myths? Campbell describes the differences between our society and the mythological cultures, suggesting that our world view projected from the Bible is out of date with the realities of the modern world discovered through reason. Myths can transcend time and place, but cultural dogma cannot. The world has changed enormously in the past 3,000 years, but the Western religions are locked in the past. The letter from Chief Seattle illustrates the difference in world view between modern societies and the mythological mindset: This we know: the earth does not belong to man, man belongs to the earth.
Paleolithic moral order Paleolithic means Stone Age, reflecting the hinters/gatherers and early agricultural societies that used myths to communicate natural truths Chief Seattle a Suquamish Indian chief near Puget Sound who delivered a stunning speech after he signed the Nisqually Treaty in 1846; the subsequent war led to the death and internment of the Native Americans in that region by the U.S. government

14. Why does Campbell say that America is moving too quickly to become mythologized?

15. What are the four functions of mythology? Which of these four still operate in America today?

16. How does Chief Seattles letter reflect the connection of the native Americans to their surroundings?

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Reading Guide: Joseph Campbells The Power of Myth, Chapter 2

Prof. Stephen Hagin K Symbolic Connections in WL K 12th edition K Kennesaw State University

Chapter 2: The Journey Inward

(44-50) Why do myths reflect what we know inside is true? Campbell explains that all humans live through the same stages of life and they recognize universal images (archetypes), such as the serpent and the bird. Myths help us to see the God inside the Man; that universal truths exist inside our subconscious brains (dreams) that are interpreted in terms of the individual experience. Individual dreams tend to reflect the public mythology; when they dont, only a hero can bring these two views into accord.
Theodore Roethke a 20th century American poet Christ an ancient Indo-European term meaning the anointed one or covered in oil; related words include grime, grease, and cream Shiva the Hindu god of destruction and part of the Hindu Triad: Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva Sigmund Freud a 19th/20th century Austrian neurologist who established psychoanalysis (the study of the interplay between the conscious and subconscious levels of the human brain) Carl Jung a 20th century Swiss psychiatrist, pioneer of dream analysis, and the founder of analytical psychology (the study of the forces and motivations of human behavior)

1. Why does Campbell call myth the public dream?

2. According to Carl Jung, what are the two orders of dream and how do they differ?

(50-67) Why are the worlds creation stories so similar? Campbell explains that all creation stories reflect a primordial mythical reality, and that many themes and archetypes that appear in one tend to appear in many others as well (a darkness, a formless void, a separation from the creator, etc). Campbell compares Genesis with tales from the Pima Indians (Arizona), the Upanishads (India), and the Bassari tribes (West Africa) as examples. Specific attention is devoted to the role of the serpent in these myths, a commonly misunderstood archetype in the modern West. Campbell then unveils the Garden of Eden stories from Genesis with mythological language to contrast myth from doctrine. Campbell illustrates the concepts of duality, archetypes, and transcendence through this example as well.

The power of myth


alimentary canal the digestive tract through which food is absorbed and converted into waste, from the mouth to the anus Johannes Eckhart (a.k.a. Eckhart von Hochheim, or Meister Eckhart) a 13th/14th century German theologian and Christian mystic, tried in court as a heretic by Pope John XXII William Blake 18th/19th century British Romantic poet and painter whose work focused on the themes of religious dualities (God/man, heaven/hell, innocence/experience, etc.) Emmanuel Kant 18th century German philosopher who argued a connection between two widely disputed philosophical traditions: Rationalism (logic, intuition, and revelation) and Empiricism (observation and experience), paving the way for nearly all philosophical study since the 19th century Stanislav Grof a 20th century Czechoslovakian researcher who established the field of transpersonal psychology that delves into ones fetal and neonatal experiences Ramakrishna a 19th century Hindu guru, revered by millions, who taught that the realization of God and the suppression of maya (illusion) are the supreme goals of all living creatures Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki a leading 19th/20th century Zen Buddhist scholar and linguist

3. What is the fundamental psychological purpose of all creation stories?

4. Why does Campbell suggest that the serpent is a symbol of life?

5. According to Campbell, how has the Biblical tradition rejected the mythical symbolism of the serpent?

6. What are the three oppositions in the Garden of Eden story?

7. How does God transcend the dualities?

8. What is our first life experience?

(67-70) What is a metaphor and how does it operate in religion? Campbell discusses how myths need to be read metaphorically, not literally. Myths are written in poetry, not prose, which is intended to allow the reader access to the unknown that which escapes the confines of language. Campbell examines a few important Christian concepts through the mythological perspective, which existed during the first few centuries of Christianity, specifically with the Gnostics.

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Novalis (Georg Philipp Friedrich, or also Freiherr von Hardenberg) an 18th century Romantic author and philosopher who sought to describe the process by which man can establish harmony with Nature Gospel of Thomas one of many Christian Apocryphal texts that were excluded from the Bible when it was assembled by Pope Damasus at the Roman Council in 382 CE; these Apocrypa were often rejected by Roman bishops because they revealed Jesus more as man than God, as well as a mystic whose teachings were more in accord with mythology and the concepts of the sacred feminine Gnosticism Gnostics were early Christians who believed in gnosis, or the awareness of God through personal experience, as well as a dualistic divinity (light and dark divine forces in conflict with each other); they were persecuted and discredited by the early Roman Church purgatory a state/place between heaven and hell where the soul is purged of its sins in order to ascend into heaven; a main setting of Dante Alighieris Divine Comedy (Inferno, Purgatorio, Paradiso); there is no mention of purgatory in the Bible, and the Catholic Church recently has backed away from this concept

9. How does metaphor assist one with the journey inward? [opinion]

(70-79) How do myths help us to connect to the spiritual world? Campbell discusses several ways that people can seek the God within themselves and how cultures are grounded in the myths that provide this transcendental instruction. Since Campbell argues that the myths connect people to God, he concludes that poets are doing this well today, but is critical of the literalist approaches of the Western churches that have ignored the messages of the myth and fail to share the rich symbolism upon which their religions were originally based. Campbell argues that religious experiences are the best means of knowing God, but symbols (especially words) must be available to substitute as a guide for those who lack the experience. Campbell completes this lesson with a retelling of The Myth of the Proud Indras, from the Hindu Upanishads.
transcend to travel beyond a boundary (physical, psychological, spiritual, etc.) shaman an intermediary between the earthly world and the spiritual realm, often transcending these worlds to acquire sacred knowledge through trances, meditation, or drug-induced rituals rishi a sage, saint, or prophet in Hinduism who has heard the Vedas (early Hindu scriptural hymns) directly from Brahman (the Supreme universal force) Muse the nine goddesses in Greek mythology who assisted human artists with their inspiration: Calliope (epic poetry), Euterpe (music/lyric poetry), Clio (history), Erato (lyrics/love poetry), Melpomene (tragedy), Polyhymnia (sacred poetry and geometry), Terpsichore (dancing), Thalia (comedy), Urania (astronomy and astrology) Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel a 19th century German philosopher who rationalized how one can understand unity through the vehicle of difference and negation Upanishads sacred Hindu texts that followed the Vedas, focusing on the spiritual realizations of students who were guided by their yogis (teachers) Indra an early Hindu god of war and thunderbolts from the Vedic tradition who constantly battled demons to preserve the cosmic order Brahma the Hindu god of creation who is the agent of Brahman, the Supreme Universal Being

The power of myth


Vishnu the Hindu god of preservation who incarnated himself ten times to preserve the order in the universe by thwarting the demons Shiva the Hindu god of destruction who often sacrifices himself to protect the world, such as when he held the poison in his throat in The Churning of the Milk Ocean

10. What is the difference between a priest and a shaman?

11. What does the god Indra learn in The Myth of the Proud Indras?

(80-85) Why is good and evil promoted in mythology? Campbell discusses the Santa Claus myth and how it operates to form relationships between parents and children. But the adult world ponders evil as well as good, so myths provide spiritual guidance for us to accept the dualities of life both the bad with the good. We contribute and receive good and evil by participating in the game of life. Therefore, we must come to understand how our world of dualities operates, and to learn to avoid judging the world based on our bias of one duality over another. Myths teach us that. Campbell relates some tales from the Hindu Rig Veda and The Upanishads, high spiritual works.
Thanatos The Greek personification of death (Roman Mors). He was the son of Night and the brother of Sleep, and his presence was fearsome. The Romans depicted him as a cherub. Freuds theory of the Death instinct hypothesized that humans have two primal drives in opposition: Eros (lust, desire for pleasure) and Thanatos (the drive to end the struggle of life and to pass quietly into the grave).

12. What is the metaphor of Santa Claus?

13. Why do myths teach us to not judge against evil?

14. What was the question that Campbell posed to the Hindu guru, and what was the answer?



Reading Guide: Joseph Campbells The Power of Myth, Chapter 3

Prof. Stephen Hagin K Symbolic Connections in WL K 12th edition K Kennesaw State University

Chapter 3: The First Storytellers

(86-99) What do our souls owe to ancient myths? Campbell explains how ancient tribal myths and animal myths help people to transcend the boundaries of birth and death in greater harmony and accord with the world. Ancient myths help humans to comprehend the mysteries and fears of birth, life, and death, and to reach an understanding between our minds and our bodies. Rituals, through myths, help us to understand the grander scheme of life that exists outside of our individual bodies. We must understand the bigger picture of life before we can truly understand ourselves as participants in it, such as killing other creatures for our own survival. Myths help us to contemplate the mysteries of the universe that are greater than us. Campbell tells several stories about native American rituals, and he contrasts this perspective to modern ones through the use of the theories of Martin Buber, who conceived of the notion of the I and Thou.
William Wordsworth A prominent English Romantic poet (1770-1850) who initiated the Romantic Age with his publication of Lyrical Ballads, poems that promoted the beauty and power of Nature Bushmen hunter/gatherer tribes from southern Africa Samurai feudal military noblemen from pre-industrial Japan; the name means those who serve in close attendance to nobility; they wielded the katana, the Japanese long sword Martin Buber An Austrian-born Jewish philosopher (1878-1965) famous for his essay Ich und Du (I and Thou) that examines the means of connecting with that which is different from us. I, Thou, and It Bubers philosophical construct that explains that the self (the I) is always understood in relation to the other, and that our relationship with the other must be understood either as an extension of the self (I-Thou) or as separate from the self (I-It)

1. What were the ancient myths designed to teach us?

2. What is the challenge between mind and body that we all face in middle age?

3. What does Campbell identify as the basic theme of all mythology?

The power of myth


4. How are the hunting myths a kind of covenant between the worlds of animals and man?

5. How is the guilt over killing an animal wiped out by the myth?

6. What is the power of the animal master?

7. In the story of the Japanese samurai warrior, why did the samurai refuse to avenge the murderer of his overlord?

8. In what ways can animals become our superiors?

(99-104) How are men and women initiated into adulthood differently? Campbell describes his experiences inside ancient temple caves that depict mythological rites on the walls and ceilings. Acting as todays cathedrals do, the cave places the participant inside another world from which to contemplate the mysteries of life. Girls are initiated into these mysteries by Nature herself, bringing the first menstruation, but boys must voluntarily be initiated into manhood through their societies. This is demonstrated by the stories of Australian aboriginal rites of manhood. 9. Why was there no chance of relapsing back to boyhood after participating in the aboriginal ritual?

10. Although Hollywood films apparently have replaced mythological stories, why does Campbell believe that films fall short of accomplishing the same goals?

(104-106) How has religious instruction become obsolete to many people today? Joseph Campbell was raised Catholic in New York City, and he witnessed many procedural changes to the rituals in his lifetime. In the past, rituals helped people to grow and develop into responsible members of their societies and their environments, but now these rituals have been reduced to catch phrases and symbolic spectacles that do not thrust the recipient into a new mindset, unless they choose to go there voluntarily. In short, Campbell argues that todays Western rituals are a lot of show, but offer little substance, because they have been dumbed down and sterilized.



11. Why does Campbell criticize the Catholic Church for changing the delivery of the Mass from Latin to English in the mid-20th century?

12. Why does Campbell claim that many of our rituals are now dead?

(106-112) How does the environment shape the mythology? Campbell explains how mythology is borne of its natural connections, relating how many Native American tribes changed from a vegetation mythology to a buffalo mythology after the introduction of the horse. Campbell also discusses how the shaman, or tribes spiritual visionary, relates to the consciousness of the environment through a mystical spiritual experience that transports him out of his body and into the body of the earth spirits. In order to have a spiritual awakening, one must undergo an unfamiliar experience where the mind and/or body are connected to another realm. Campbell relates an example of Black Elk, a young Sioux boy who underwent a shamanistic experience that allowed him to understand the nature of God.
das Volk dichtet The seals of the people; the concept that the regular people, the folk, establish the cultural and spiritual identity through the poetry and storytelling shaman an intermediary between the earthly world and the spiritual realm, often transcending these worlds to acquire sacred knowledge through trances, meditation, or drug-induced rituals Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche an influential 19th century German philosopher and naturalistic critic of traditional moral and religious thought, once postulating that God is dead to argue that modern cultures are beyond the influence of traditional religious teachings axis mundi world axis; the central axis point around which the universe revolves Sioux the collected name of the unified tribes of the Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota peoples of the American Midwest and southwest

13. How does Biblical tradition relate to our 21st century society and its environment?

14. How are artists the keepers of mythology today?

15. Does mythology originate from the common folk or the elite? Why?

16. What is the common emotion associated with the spiritual experience? Why?

The power of myth


Reading Guide: Joseph Campbells The Power of Myth, Chapter 4

Prof. Stephen Hagin K Symbolic Connections in WL K 12th edition K Kennesaw State University

Chapter 4: Sacrifice and Bliss

(113-124) What is the significance of the sacred place? Campbell tells us that we all need a sacred place in which we connect with our inner selves, a place to meditate and find our bliss. Mythological cultures deified their places by making the mountains and the animals represent their spirits. Today, the land becomes infused with spirit forces through the building of temples or cathedrals. The tallest and most central structures in a city reveal its spiritual center, be they religious, economic, governmental, etc. Campbell also suggests that artists and selected authors play the shamanic roles today in the West. Shamans channeled spiritual messages from beyond and then communicated them in terms that the culture could understand.
Cicero a Roman Senator, orator, and philosopher from the 1st century BCE Navaho (Navajo) a large Native American tribe in the American southwest hogan the traditional sacred house of the Navaho people, built into a pyramid shape Jacob ( )son of Isaac and Rebeccah and father of Joseph in Genesis Tenochtitln the capital of the Aztec empire, built in the middle of Lake Texcoco in Mexico, and the current site of Mexico City Chartres a grand cathedral, located about 60 miles southwest of Paris, known for its intricate Gothic architecture nave the central approach to the altar in a Gothic church transept the area set crosswise to the nave in a cruciform (cross-shaped) church apse the semicircular section of the sanctuary located at the east end of the altar choirscreen the area between the nave and the sanctuary that houses the altar Gothic an architectural style defined by its vertical stone walls, high stained glass windows, and high arched ceilings, often decorated with gargoyles, grotesque statues that were intended to scare off evil spirits Assyria a great kingdom located in northern Mesopotamia mandala a Sanskrit word for circle, it is a geometrical design, usually made with colored sand, that represents the universe (cosmos) in Hindu and Buddhist beliefs, and it is traditionally ruined after its completion to symbolize the passing of all things troubadours 12th century French knights who composed songs and poems about chivalry and courtly love instead of fighting courtly love the playful flirtations between knights and ladies that achieved a spiritual eroticism between man and woman, which was not typically found in arranged marriages

1. How can a Navaho hogan (or a room in your house) become a spiritual center?



2. Why does Campbell say that the spiritual symbolization of our own civilization is basically lost to us?

3. Why does Campbell refer to the idea of the supernatural being over and above nature as a killing idea?

4. What is the difference between a shaman and a priest?

(124-131) How does geography shape ones culture and religion? Campbell argues that each environment allows cultures to arrive at different conclusions of lifes mysteries, God, etc. A desert culture will tend to become influenced by the sky, the horizon, and large distances, but a jungle community will relate to the spirit world differently. If they never see the horizon, for example, then they will not use that imagery in their myths. Campbell addresses how the hunting/herding cultures opposed the planting cultures, and that the transition from one to the other changes the metaphors and the mythology. Campbell tells several stories that demonstrate the Cain vs. Abel theme (farmer vs. shepherd, hunter, or herder), including ones from Native American tribes.
Colin Turnbull a 20th century British-American anthropologist who studied the Mbuti Pygmies in Africa Algonquin Native American tribes who spoke similar languages, stretching from the upper Midwest to the Rocky Mountains Iroquois a confederacy of Native American tribes located in New York state, comprised of five tribes: the Mohawks, the Oneidas, the Onondagas, the Cayugas, and the Senecas

5. Why does a hunting culture project a mythology that is outward turned while a planting culture projects a mythology that is more inward turned?

6. What did Cain and Abel represent metaphorically?

The power of myth


(131-136) What is the purpose of sacrifice? Campbell identifies the quest for understanding and bliss as being marked by sacrifice. First, he compares the human rites of New Guinea (that used human sacrifice and cannibalism) with those of the Christian Eucharist (host, wafer) consuming the body turns ones spiritual focus inward. Campbell further compares the symbolic traditions of Buddhism and Christianity, demonstrating how both traditions seek a spiritual rebirth outside ones body, which feeds off of fear and desire. The concept of death in planting cultures tends to be embraced and understood as necessary for new life to flourish. Campbell recalls a story of an Iroquois sacrifice of a man that was witnessed by horrified French priests and notes the irony of their horror. Campbell then quotes from a passage that is found in Christian apocryphal literature, the body of readings that were not sanctioned by the Roman Church in the 4th and 5th centuries, BCE. The canonized books were generally masculine in tone, while the apocryphal texts reflect the goddess perspective of early Christian belief.
Rood the old Anglo-Saxon word for pole, and applied to the crucifix in Christian poetry Maya the native Mesoamerican tribes of northern Mexico and lower Midwest who built elaborate pyramids and developed the only written language in Mesoamerica before Columbus apocrypha any collection of spiritual texts that fall outside the orthodox canon Acts of John a 2nd century CE apocryphal narrative by Leucius Charinus, inspired by the Gospel of John, and containing the Round Dance of the Cross by Jesus during the Last Supper

7. How are the sacrifices different in hunting and planting cultures?

8. How does Campbell describe the two trees in the biblical Garden of Eden? What do they have to do with duality?

(137-143) What is the mythic idea of self-sacrifice? Campbell discusses several examples of people who have crossed a metaphysical boundary in which they sacrifice their selves for the good of another. As seen in the examples of the Hawaiian policeman, the bodhisattva, and Jesus, people who transcend the duality of god/man sacrifice their individual desires for a greater understanding where they act in favor of life itself rather than merely the self. This, argues Campbell, is how we get close to God. Campbell further reveals examples of self-sacrificial heroism, such as Vietnam soldiers risking death to rescue their fallen comrades, but also mothers who sacrifice their lives for their young. Campbell also shares several classic titles of literature that evoke this mystery of sacrificing the self to the whole of God, including Dantes The Divine Comedy and James Joyces Ulysses.
Arthur Schopenhauer a 19th century German philosopher who saw life as inherently evil and full of suffering, but salvation could be found through ascetic living



metaphysical meaning beyond the physical, a term that addresses the spiritual reality that lies behind the physical realities bodhisattva from the words for enlightenment and truth, a person who arrives on the verge of nirvana (Buddhist salvation), but voluntarily pulls back into the world to assist others on their spiritual journeys; Buddha and Jesus are both considered to be bodhisattvas ambrosia from the Greek words for not and mortal, the nectar of the gods, sometimes associated with hallucinogenic mushrooms Dante Alighieri a 13th and 14th century Italian Florentine poet famous for his 100-canto masterpiece, The Divine Comedy, a poetic journey through Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise Pierre Abelard a 12th century French philosopher who placed Christian doctrines into rational terms, interested in examining the ethical values of human actions atonement a Jewish and Christian doctrine that explains how God absolves ones sins; Moyers and Campbell use word play (at-ONE-ment) to suggest the merging of the duality of God/Man Publius Vergilius Virgil a Roman poet during the time of Jesus who wrote the national epic of Rome, The Aeneid, the fictional story of the hero Aeneas and the founding of Rome Calvary (Golgotha) the hill outside of Jerusalem on which Jesus was crucified James Joyce an early 20th century Irish author known for his cryptic novels Martin Luther a 16th century German monk and theologian who challenged the Roman Catholic Church by nailing 99 theses to the Wittenberg Cathedral, beginning the Protestant revolution

9. What is the final secret of mythology?

(143-150) Can Westerners understand this mystical experience? Campbell introduces the theme of following your bliss, in which he explains that we only understand the rapture of being alive when we do what we truly love. He uses the metaphor of the wheel of fortune, but he asks us to find a place near the hub of the wheel, not the outside, so that we are centered and grounded against the tide of change. Entering a career that inspires you will help you to reach your spiritual center rather than doing what society wants you to do. Campbell describes this leap into bliss through three Sanskrit terms: sat, chit, and ananda.
Sufi a dedicated Muslim from the Middle Ages who practiced asceticism in the deserts, often acquiring the name whirling dervishes because of their enraptured spinning Sinclair Lewis a 20th century American novelist and playwright who wrote critically about American capitalism and its impact on our lives Leo Frobenius a 19th and 20th century ethnographer who studied the similarities amongst hunting cultures, planting cultures, and great societies that built megalithic structures Sanskrit the ritual language of Hinduism in which the great spiritual texts are composed

10. How does a person find his or her bliss?

Picture Source:

The power of myth


Reading Guide: Joseph Campbells The Power of Myth, Chapter 5

Prof. Stephen Hagin K Symbolic Connections in WL K 12th edition K Kennesaw State University

Chapter 5: The Heros Adventure

(151-159) Why are there so many stories of the hero in mythology? Campbell outlines some basic definitions of heroism, including the heros motivation and the two types of heroic deed. Campbell extends the reach of the heros message by applying it to human development and change in our consciousness, especially from childhood to adulthood. The hero makes sacrifices, whether voluntarily or involuntarily, and performs actions that represent societys values while also promoting a universal human condition.
Otto Rank an early 20th century Austrian psychoanalyst and colleague of Sigmund Freud Leo Tolstoy a 19th century Russian fiction writer whose works, such as War and Peace, were acclaimed for their realistic depictions of Russian life Napoleon Bonaparte a French Revolutionary general who usurped power in 1799, naming himself Emperor, and later conquering most of Europe militarily Prometheus the Greek Titan who stole fire from Zeus to assist the mortals

1. How is everyone a hero in birth?

2. What is the significance of the trials, tests, and ordeals of the hero?

3. How does a leader differ from a hero?

4. What is a heros moral objective?

5. What are the two types of approaches that heroes use when embarking on journeys?



(159-164) Does our modern age help or hinder our access to mythological mystery? Campbell and Moyers discuss the distance between our modern, mechanical lives and the experiences of people who lived in more simple times. Campbell suggests that Cervantes 17th century story Don Quixote begins to identify the advent of a more mechanistic interpretation of life that still dominates our outlooks to this day. Today, we examine life more intellectually, without participating in the physical and spiritual mysteries as deeply as we used to. Campbell summarizes the message of T. S. Eliots 20th century poem The Waste Land: that we suffer a sociological stagnation of inauthentic lives and living that has settled upon us. Here, Campbell once again applies Buddhist concepts, such as the Middle Path, that are evoked throughout world literature that assist us in understanding these vital life lessons. Modern America gravitates toward the superficial (such as celebrities) that fails to provide a proper heroic influence in our culture.
Jos Ortega y Gasset a 20th century Spanish philosopher who argued against biases in the works of previous philosophers ennui boredom, listlessness, or dissatisfaction T. S. Eliot the 20th century American and British poet knows for his bleak disillusionment of modern life

6. What is Campbell critique about our sedentary lifestyles of the modern age?

7. Does Campbell argue against technology?

8. What is the value of the middle path?

9. Do science and mythology conflict?

10. Why does Campbell consider John Lennon a hero (as opposed to other celebrities)?

The power of myth


(164-172) Why must heroes suffer? Moyers begins this section by asking why heroes suffer, and Campbell responds by illustrating the value of the suffering that it promotes a rebirth and gives rise to new illumination. Although cultural differences abound, mythological heroes follow archetypal patterns. One commonality is that heroes discover new insights or new ways of life that change the cultures illumination. Moses, Jesus, and Buddha each found a new realization of the condition of life, although their religions promote different details in their scriptures. Myths also provide that guidance toward realization, going beyond simple childrens stories and fairy tales that often culminate in happy endings. Real life is more complicated than that, and mythology helps us to approach these realities. Campbell parallels the lives and teachings of Jesus and Buddha, with references to their trials against fear and desire.
Pindar a Greek lyrical poet in the 5th century BCE Pythian Pythia was the priestess who channeled prophesies from Apollo at the Oracle at Delphi in ancient Greece; the name is derived from the Python killed by Apollo at that location Buddha Born Siddhartha Gautama as a Nepalese prince in 5th century BCE, he found enlightenment under the Bo tree and achieved Enlightenment, hence being referred to as the Buddha Gilbert and Sullivan a 19th century British musical tandem who wrote comic operas Harold Pinter a prolific 20th century writer of stage plays, screen plays, and radio and TV dramas that addressed the complex conflicts between the individual and his society Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm 19th century German academics who are best known for collecting German fairy tales and folk tales such as Cinderella, Snow White, and Hansel and Gretel Titian A pen name for Tiziano Vecellio, a 16th century leader of the Venician school of the Italian Renaissance, known for painting colorful landscapes

11. What is the archetypal heroic adventure sequence?

12. What distinguishes a myth from a fairy tale?

13. Why is the journey from childhood to adulthood harder for the boy than for the girl?

14. How do the temptations of Buddha and Jesus compare?

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(173-187) What can mythology teach me about the self? Campbell contemplates the distinctions between mythology and religion, calling mythology the poetry of the world. Myths present the mysteries of life in ways that the dogmatic mind cannot comprehend. Rather, these mysteries must be experienced by each individual. The journey begins with our own psyches, our own innate reactions to the world that we instinctively perform since birth. Myths instruct us in these matters, but our society lacks these messages today, having been replaced by dogmatic creeds that restrict our development and keep us at a distance from the essential mysteries, both of the world and of the self. Campbell and Moyers then discuss the mythological messages of George Lucas film Star Wars, a script that Lucas wrote in consultation with Campbell himself. The motifs of the heros adventure, the guru (or spiritual guide), the spiritual center, and the belly of the whale are all evident in this film. The self (the ego) needs to battle its dragons and reveal the life within.
Thomas Mann a 20th century German novelist and social critic who explored the psychology of the individual and incorporated many ideas of Friedrich Nietzsche James Joyce an early 20th century Irish author known for his cryptic novels Jonah a man mentioned in the Old Testament (2 Kings, chapter 14) and the Quran (Sura 10) who was swallowed by a whale after disobeying a command from God to begin a religious mission, and is released after asking God for forgiveness Siegfried a dragon-slaying hero in the Germanic epic The Nibelungenlied, based on Sigurd, a hero from Norse mythology (10th century) and the 13th century Islandic Vlsung Saga St. George a 3rd century Roman soldier and Christian martyr, immortalized for having slain a dragon who hoarded the cities water in the 11th century (each country names a different city) Johann Wolfgang von Goethe an 18th/19th century German writer most famous for his dramatic poem Faust, the tragic psychological story of a man who sold his soul to the devil Faust a protagonist in many 16th-19th century German stories who sells his soul to the devil Mephistopheles an alternate identity for Satan, chief of the demons, developed in Renaissance literature Theseus the mythological king of Athens, Greece, who founded the city, killed the Marathonian Bull, slew the Minotaur, and battled against the Underworld Ariande daughter of the Greek King Minos and goddess of fertility in Crete; she gave Theseus a magic sword and red yarn that he used to escape the Minotaurs labyrinth

15. What does Campbell mean when he says that theology turns poetry into prose?

16. How does a restrictive upbringing prevent one from understanding the self?

17. How does the Force concept from Star Wars differ from programmed political intentions?

The power of myth

18. What does the mythological theme of entering the belly represent?


19. What is the risk of exclusively adhering to societys programmatic messages?

20. What does the dragon represent?

21. What does Campbell believe is the great Western truth?

(187-193) What does mythology teach us about death? This lesson is the hardest to grasp, and it is best understood through the study of mythology. Campbell recalls the Middle English legend of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, where Gawain confronted his fear of death. Each person must learn to let go of his fear of death. We also have to discover our selves apart from what our elders wish for us to become. Campbell illustrates this in discussing students of art, who first study under their structured masters, but then have to transcend these constructs and discover their own abilities and styles. We must always embrace our next stage of life.
Thus Spake Zarathustra the 19th century prose work by Nietzsche that proposed two of Nietzsches greatest philosophies: God is dead and will to power

22. What is the riddle of the Sphinx?

23. Summarize Friedrich Nietzsches three transformations of the spirit.

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(193-206) What do myths tell about happiness? Myths cannot tell us how to be happy, but they can reveal what happens to us when we reach that state of bliss. Campbell tells an Iroquois tale that reveals a motif called the refusal of the suitors, suggesting that the adventures in life help us to understand who we are and what we can expect. Campbell then tells the real story of the massacre of the Tibetan monks by the Chinese army in 1959. The survivors who escaped, such as the Dalai Lama, have never uttered a word of hatred against their enemies. That is one form of happiness to transcend the suffering, as did Siddhartha Gotama, the prince who became the Buddha. Our happiness is found within our own selves.
Iroquois a confederacy of Native American tribes located in New York state, comprised of five tribes: the Mohawks, the Oneidas, the Onondagas, the Cayugas, and the Senecas nirvana the Buddhist concept that means to blow out, implying the extinguishing of the flame of desire that binds us to carnal suffering Sigmund Freud a 19th/20th century Austrian neurologist who established psychoanalysis (the study of the interplay between the conscious and subconscious levels of the human brain) Karl Heinrich Marx the influential 19th century philosopher and economist who wrote The Communist Manifesto, a treatise that predicted that capitalism would be replaced by a classless society that therefore would end all struggles karma a Sanskrit word meaning action, indicating the cause-and-effect return of ones actions back onto the self that determines the next reincarnation of a living being William Blake 18th/19th century British Romantic poet and painter whose work focused on the themes of religious dualities (God/man, heaven/hell, innocence/experience, etc.)

24. What do we learn from the tales of the refusal of the suitors?

25. How does Campbell define compassion?

26. What does Campbell mean when he says that God is within you. You yourself are your creator?

27. Why does suffering underlie all existence?

The power of myth


Reading Guide: Joseph Campbells The Power of Myth, Chapter 6

Prof. Stephen Hagin K Symbolic Connections in WL K 12th edition K Kennesaw State University

Chapter 6: The Gift of the Goddess

(207-216) What is the goddess culture mentality and where did it go? Campbell addresses the fact that the earliest mythologies focused on more maternal aspects of nature, since we are first connected to our mothers, only later to seek the father in our lives. The goddess represents the creative aspects of the universe, making the female a more natural creator than the male. However, nomadic herders invaded the goddess cultures roughly 6000 years ago, bringing with them a male-oriented mentality that replaced and subjugated the feminine imagery, worship, and value. Campbell specifically recalls the Babylonian story (Enuma elish) that glorifies how the warrior god Marduk effectively kills off the ancient Mesopotamian ocean mother goddess, Tiamat. Campbell also recalls several examples of Hebrew history and culture that subjugated the neighboring goddess cultures, leading to Western societies affinity for male dominance.
Neolithic the period from about 8000 BCE 3000 BCE when mankind developed agriculture and metalworking throughout the world maya a Sanskrit term, meaning illusion Semite/Semitic a linguistic term representing the language family shared by speakers of Hebrew, Arabic, and many others; the term is derived from Shem, one of Noahs sons Indo-European another linguistic term that refers to the largest branch of the language tree, a collection of related languages that spans from India (Indo) to Europe Big Sur a spectacular wilderness located in central coastal California Upanishads A collection of Hindu scriptures that reveals Hinduism through probing questions and discussions involving gurus and their students supererogatory to act beyond the call of duty, exceeding beyond what is necessary Hildegarde of Bingen a 12th century German saint and writer of religious literature Eleanor of Aquitaine a 12th century French and English queen who supported the Crusades and bore many powerful children, including her son Richard I (the Lionhearted) of England; she was the queen of Henry II in the James Goldman play The Lion in Winter

1. Why are most Neolithic figurines female rather than male?

2. Why does the female represent maya in India?

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3. How are male-oriented and female-oriented societies psychologically different?

4. Why does Campbell suggest the following: [O]ur own Western subjugation of the female is a function of biblical thinking?

(216-224) What is the meaning of the virgin birth motif? Campbell explains that the virgin birth idea was introduced to the Western traditions by way of the Greeks, who retained the feminine principles alive when the Near East was subjugating this concept. Campbell then discusses an ancient Indian concept of the seven psychological centers that illustrate the path to enlightenment. He then provides an excellent summary of the Osiris story, drawing close attention to the birth of Horus, son of Isis, the two figures in the original artistic representation of the Madonna. All the while, Campbell is explaining how the virgin birth concept is a spiritual (not a physical) one. All of us seek a spiritual rebirth.
Leda in Greek mythology, Leda was raped by Zeus who had taken the form of a swan; one result of this pregnancy was Helen of Troy, the face that launched the thousand ships that began the Trojan War Persephone the queen of the underworld in Greek mythology who was married to Hades Madonna an Italian name for Mary (My lady), mother of Jesus; the name also refers to artistic depictions of Mary with the baby Jesus upon her lap, modeled after the Egyptian goddess Isis who protected her son Horus from Set Attis a Phrygian (Trojan/Turkish) archetypal deity of rebirth and the feminine-oriented life cycles Adonis a Semitic and Greek archetypal deity of rebirth and the feminine-oriented life cycles, related to Osiris and Dumuzi Mithra a Persian and Zoroastrian god of light who promoted honesty and friendship Sol (Greek Helios) the Roman sun god who rode his ox-drawn chariot across the sky while wearing his crown of light Lucius Apuleius Platonicus a 2nd century CE Roman writer of the Metamorphoses (also called The Golden Ass) Council of Ephesus a meeting in 431 CE of early Christian Church leaders who forbade any changes to the Nicene Creed and reaffirmed the absolute status of Original Sin Artemis (Roman Diana) Greek goddess of the hunt, the moon, and chastity

5. Why would a virgin birth motif be a common archetype?

The power of myth

6. What are the seven psychological centers and what do they represent?


7. Why is the motif of the resurrected god associated with the moon and sun?

8. What is a true spiritual rebirth?

(225-230) So how does the female relate to the male in spiritual life? Campbell illustrates that the feminine concepts and values are intrinsically tied to Nature. The male aspects reflect societies and social organizations. Campbell recalls several religious examples of this female/male dichotomy, where both concepts play a role in the beliefs. Campbell concludes this discussion by suggesting that the study of mythology reintroduces our physical ties to nature (that is, to the feminine) that is counterbalanced by our ties to our particular societies (that promote the male). The people who can learn to reconcile this duality spiritually will get the message of life.
Vedic gods The Vedas are the oldest Hindu Sanskrit scriptures that told the history of the earliest Hindu gods, such as Indra (god of war) and Agni (god of fire)

9. What philosophical question did our Founding Fathers contemplate?

10. How is a ritual an enactment of a myth?

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Reading Guide: Joseph Campbells The Power of Myth, Chapter 7

Prof. Stephen Hagin K Symbolic Connections in WL K 12th edition K Kennesaw State University

Chapter 7: Tales of Love and Marriage

(231-238) What is the highest form of love? Campbell begins this chapter on love by recalling a 12th century French tradition of the troubadours, who were young knights who forsook fighting for romantic escapades. They sought the genuine experience of love that affirms the values of both participants, not the arranged marriages of the Middle Ages that were really just political unions for political child rearing. Campbell proposes an interesting duality between libido and credo: the human drive to experience life from the heart against what he calls the monolithic system (the absolute authority of rule of law). Libido reflects the feminine energies, while the credo imposes societal rule and the dominance of the masculine. Nature versus Society, heart versus mind, and selflessness versus selfishness are additional incarnations of this duality. True love and marriage are matters of the spirit, not the physical. One who has found true love will accept any pain to experience this love the love overcomes the fear of death. Campbell then discusses the pleasure/pain, heaven/hell duality. Campbell urges us to seek happiness beyond the binds of society.
troubadours 12th century French knights who composed songs and poems about chivalry and courtly love instead of fighting Albigensian Crusade of 1209 the 20-year-long bloody war launched by the Roman Catholic Church against the troubadours in Provene as well as the French Cathars, an offshoot sect that was critical of Church corruption Manichean heresy Manichaeism was a Persian religion (from the 3rd 16th centuries BC) based on dualism of nature without an omnipotent power guiding it; the Roman Church condemned this Eros (Roman Cupid) Greek god of carnal love and origin of the word erotic libido the concept of sexual desire or similar pleasure energy from ones Id unconscious credo ones creed, or verbal commitment to ones beliefs or values, such as the Nicene Creed Tristan and Isolde the names of the lovers from the 12 century CE romance Tristan and Isolde, the story of an adulterous relationship between a knight and a princess George Bernard Shaw the 19th and 20th century CE Irish author who wrote the play Pygmalion, the story of lower class British woman who is coached into speaking as an upper class woman Paolo and Francesca 13th century Italian lovers referenced in Dante Alighieris Divine Comedy for their sin of adultery; Francescas husband murdered them when he discovered them in bed Wilhelm Richard Wagner 19th century CE German composer who wrote music inspired by Norse and Germanic myth and legend

1. What were the qualities of the three kinds of love (during the time of the troubadours)? eros agape amor

The power of myth

2. Why are Eros and Agape impersonal loves, while Amor is a personal one?


3. What aspect of the West makes it unique to all other traditions?

4. Why does Campbell suggest that love is the meaning of life?

(238-243) Shouldnt both male and female perspectives be in balance? Moyers presses Campbell about the dangers of when the matters of the heart (love and bliss) dominate over reason and limits. Campbell agrees that both heart and mind need to be in balance, but that the heart should lead the way. Campbell recalls several qualities of chivalry, the code of conduct that guided the behaviors of medieval knights. There were also rules for courtly love, practiced by the troubadours. Matters of the heart need to be guided by some type of order, but this structure must evolve naturally out of the heart and not be imposed from society.
courtly love the playful flirtations between knights and ladies that achieved a spiritual eroticism between man and woman, which was not typically found in arranged marriages chivalry the medieval code of knightly conduct that promoted defending the Church and womens virtues as well as fair fighting and personal courage

5. Why does Campbell suggest that the heart should lead the way (and not the head)?

6. List the five virtues of the medieval knight

7. How did medieval women control love?

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8. How does Campbell define compassion?

(243-247) Was the quest for the Holy Grail a spiritual test? Moyers and Campbell begin a discussion of medieval romances, such as the quest for the Holy Grail. Despite Dan Browns book The DaVinci Code, the Grail is a mythological symbol for the fulfillment of the highest spiritual potentialities of the human consciousness. Participants on this holy quest are really testing their hearts, their passions for spirituality, not looking for some golden cup. The knight on the journey must experience, must suffer, and must understand the world of duality.
Psyche the Roman story from Lucius Apuleius The Golden Ass of a beautiful mortal who incured jealousy from Venus, who sent her son Cupid to make Psyche fall in love with an ugly man, only to find that Cupid himself fell in love with her; psyche in psychology refers to the concept of the self or the forces that comprise the identity of ones self

9. What does Campbell say the Holy Grail represents?

10. What mentality does Campbell equate with the beginning of Europe?

(247-249) Who cracked up old Europe? Rather than crediting the troubadours to answer this question, Campbell points to Martin Luthers protest against the Roman Church. This idea of awakening ones spirit was an original practice of early Christians, but it was restricted by the Roman Church for over a thousand years. Campbell makes one interesting reference to an apocryphal gospel (that is, one not accepted by the 5th century Roman Church), The Gospel of Thomas, where Jesus is portrayed in a far more pagan light. Whereas the organized Church imposed a societal structure on its parishioners (especially regarding love and marriage), the politically rejected gospels speak enthusiastically of the matters of the heart, which is a more natural path toward bliss and the sublime. The troubadours, while pegged as adulterers by the Roman Church, were actually experiencing the highest form of love, the true love found in the heart.
Martin Luther a 16th century German monk and theologian who challenged the Roman Catholic Church by nailing 99 theses to the Wittenberg Cathedral, beginning the Protestant revolution Flavius Theodosius the 4th century CE Roman emperor who mandated Roman Christianity as the official religion of Rome

The power of myth


Byzantium the name of the Greek speaking, Easternmost portion of the Roman Empire during the Dark Ages and the Middle Ages Abbot Joachim of Floris the 12th century CE Italian monk who proposed the three ages of the spirit: The Age of the Father (Old Testament), the Age of the Son (New Testament), and the Age of the Holy Spirit (the age to follow that would allow us to truly understand God) St. Francis of Assisi the 12th century CE founder of the Franciscan Friars and a lover of animals and nature Gnostics early Christians who believed in gnosis, or the awareness of God through personal experience, as well as a dualistic divinity (light and dark divine forces in conflict with each other); they were persecuted and discredited by the early Roman Church Gospel of Thomas one of many Christian Apocryphal texts that were excluded from the Bible when it was assembled by Pope Damasus at the Roman Council in 382 CE; these Apocrypa were often rejected by Roman bishops because they revealed Jesus as more of a man than a god, as well as a mystic whose teachings were more in accord with mythology and the concepts of the sacred feminine


How was the concept of the individual experience (psyche) promoted by Western religious thinkers, such as Abbot Joachim of Floris and St. Francis of Assisi?

(249-257) How does this liberation of the heart affect a marriage? Campbell clarifies between a true Amor marriage and a love affair. He discusses how marriage is bound together by loyalty. Furthermore, any harm that one renders onto the other is also rendered onto the marriage itself. He then recalls the Greek myth of Tiresias, the man who experienced both manhood and womanhood. This blind prophet experienced two genders, which is beyond even the scope of the gods and goddesses, revealing where wisdom can be found in seeking understanding of the other, not the self. Through that experience, one will ultimately find ones true self. This idea comes from Hinduism and Buddhism. Oddly, however, Campbell next appears to defend love affairs when Moyers argues that following ones heart could violate a marriage. Campbell reminds him that temptations amongst married people are both common and natural. Campbell ends this section by explaining a Persian story about Satan and Hell. Read this section carefully and focus on the question of true spiritual love.
Zeus (Roman Jupiter) the Greek sky god and ruler of Mount Olympus, known for his thunderbolts and relentless sexual escapades Hera (Roman Juno) the wife and sister of Zeus; she was the goddess of marriage Circe the daughter of the sun god Helios, Circe was a goddess of potions and magic, known in The Odyssey for turning Odysseus men into pigs Johannes Eckhart the 13th/14th century CE German theologian who was tried as a heretic for promoting the individual soul above the hierarchy of the Roman Church

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12. How does Campbell distinguish between a marriage and a love affair?

13. How does Campbell apply the concept of sacrifice to the yin/yang symbol?

14. What does the myth of Tiresias explain about using ones intuition?

15. Is a person better off having loved and lost? What do myths say about this?

16. What does love have to do with morality?

17. Does mythology ever link romantic love and God?

18. In the Persian tradition, why was Satan Gods greatest lover? Why is love associated with pain and suffering?

19. In Campbells second Persian myth example, how was love restricted?

The power of myth


Reading Guide: Joseph Campbells The Power of Myth, Chapter 8

Prof. Stephen Hagin K Symbolic Connections in WL K 12th edition K Kennesaw State University

Chapter 8: Masks of Eternity

(258-268) Why does every culture seek to know God? Campbell clarifies the distinctions between Western and Eastern mentalities, beginning with the different views of God and cosmic energy. The discussion then turns more personal. Campbell explains how he was taught about the forces of good and evil as a child, recalling the angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other. He then discusses meditation and prayer, extracting a difference between West and East: that the Western religions do not prioritize the spiritual experience as much as the Eastern religions. This causes many Westerners to avoid searching for religious experiences because they appear to differ from the images and structures promoted by the Western doctrines. Note that, by experiences, Campbell refers to personal spiritual participation in a transcendental mystery that originates within ones heart, but it lies outside the constructs of your formal religious upbringing, causing reservations and a hesitation to become enlightened. Again, this is a concept inspired by Campbells experiences with Hinduism and Buddhism. Campbell devotes significant time to assessing how modern Christianitys approach differs from Eastern beliefs, spiritual mysticism, and even original Christian beliefs practiced during the early years.
Suez Canal a man-made canal in Egypt that connects the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Rosary Catholic prayer beads that direct a meditative experience by repeatedly reciting prayers such as the Hail Mary and the Our Father

1. How does the West view God and energy, and how does this compare with Eastern and primal cultures?

2. What does Campbell mean when he speaks about living out the sense of the Christ in you?

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3. What is the etymology (word origin) of religion?

(268-274) What of the psyche, circles, and centers? Campbell alludes back to his discussion of marriage and his enclosure of the two partners within a circle. He discusses spiritual symbolism of the circle, especially the aspects of completeness and transcendence. Circles are used to show the transcendence of space and time (both spacial and temporal). People are buried as an act of rebirth, as they have been replanted into the womb of Mother Earth. Wedding rings are also circular, representing the unity of the married partners. Buddhists monks spend weeks creating sand mandalas, only to wipe them away so as to return them to their source. The center of a circle can also represent the center of the universe, another universal mythological motif. The center suggests a universal consciousness a commonality in thinking processes and patterns that make us instinctively human. Campbell recalls that the Holy Grail represented the vessel from which flowed the inexhaustible source, and that one clear message in mythology is that the source of God is found within yourself. Campbell applies the Buddhist concepts of being and becoming to illustrate our spiritual journeys, suggesting that we revert back to a state of becoming, a condition that is receptive to our inevitable change.
Mortimer Adler the 20th century CE American philosopher who wrote on topics such as will to power, derived from Friedrich Nietzsche Orpheus the character from Greek mythology whose singing and strumming of his lyre could intoxicate people, animals, and even nature mandala a Sanskrit word for circle, it is a geometrical design, usually made with colored sand, that represents the universe (cosmos) in Hindu and Buddhist beliefs, and it is traditionally ruined after its completion to symbolize the passing of all things

4. What does a circle symbolize or portray?

5. What does symbol mean, according to Campbell?

6. What does the fisherman concept represent?

7. What is the ultimate archetype of man? Why?

The power of myth


(274-287) How does one rectify pleasure and pain? Campbell once again relies on Buddhist answers to Moyers Western questions. This section examines the duality of the divine, probing into fundamental religious questions about the nature of God. Referring to trickster gods (who cause dispute) as well as Vishnu (or Shiva, who destroys the earth), Campbell draws a distinction between myths and Western religions: the West sees God as only good, whereas mythological cultures openly recognize Gods dual nature. Campbell uses art to explain spiritual epiphany and the experience of the sublime. However, he asks that all of us look within ourselves to find the person we really are and how we relate to others and the world around us. Follow your bliss, he instructs. AUM.
Heraclitus the 6th/5th century BCE Ephesian philosopher who believed that the world was in a state of flux, but governed by cosmic justice; he influenced later philosophers, such as Plato and Aristotle Abraham Maslow the 20th century CE American psychologist who categorized five distinct levels of human needs, from carnal to spiritual, referred to as the hierarchy of needs James Joyce an early 20th century Irish author known for his cryptic novels sublime a word that means lofty, impressive, supreme, complete, or pure Vishnu the Hindu god of preservation who incarnated himself ten times to preserve the order in the universe by thwarting the demons Shiva the Hindu god of destruction who often sacrifices himself to protect the world, such as when he held the poison in his throat in The Churning of the Milk Ocean Arthur Schopenhauer a 19th century German philosopher who saw life as inherently evil and full of suffering, but salvation could be found through ascetic living Karlfried Graf Drckheim a 20th century CE German psychotherapist who was inspired by Meister Eckhart

8. What role does the clown or trickster play in mythology?

9. How does Campbell describe a peak experience?

10. How did Irish author James Joyce define epiphany?

11. What is Moyers disagreement with Campbell, and how does Campbell respond?

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12. How does Campbell distinguish between eternity and everlasting?

13. What is the place and role of ethics in mythology?

14. How do metaphysics, ethics, and religion work together?

15. What does poetry help us understand, beyond the words?

16. What is Campbells response to the purpose of life.

17. Where does Campbell suggest Eden exists?

18. What have you learned the most from this book?