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Reply To: I’m surprised there is no topic for Personal Mythology


Hello James,

So kind and thoughtful of you to write back with your thoughts on the subject of childhood symbols.

Now if I understand this correctly his “Red Book” was what came out of this process. Joseph also commented several times: (via your childhood games reference); that he would move big rocks around; (the creation of his home: “Bollingen”);

Yes, he mentions Jung’s reinvention of his childhood symbols in several works. He reinvented his symbols by building his own house in Bollingen…which led to fascinating dreams that resulted in the “Red Book”, and also friends and scholars came into his life.  Lynn also posted a link to Campbell’s lecture on “personal myth”. There too, he goes into the importance of childhood symbols and dreams.

On dreams, he talks about Freud’s interpretation of dreams. I found this very interesting especially the way Joe phrased that. He says, when Freud interprets  the symbols in terms of the inspiration and zeal from the lower end of our biology (waist down) instead of the neck up, he has misunderstood the whole thing. Since the whole sense of the mythic imagery is to pitch you in the the spiritual realm but Freud’s interpretation pulls you down, deflates and breaks the symbol.

Thank you also for this wonderful reminder of ” “Modern Myths of Quest” – Lecture: II.I.6 of: “Symbolic Realization”; which he talks about integration within the Individuation process of going down into your inner world ” . I’ll definitely look into that lecture too.

I  just read something similar, ” The first thing I’d do would be to think, “What are, specifically, the symbols that are still active, still touching me this way?” What are the symbols? There’s a great context of symbols in the world. Not all of them are the ones that afflict you. When you do find the symbol that is blocking you, find some mode of thinking and experience that matches in its importance for you what the symbol meant. You cannot get rid of a sym-bol if you haven’t found that to which it refers.” (The Collected Works of Joseph Campbell Book 2)

When the symbols are interpreted spiritually rather than concretely, then they yield the revelation.

Also James, Thank you for mentioning Dennis’ works. I have visited his website and blog, and feasted on some very precious writings there. With reference to personal myths, he cited Joe Campbell, “Joseph Campbell believes that myths reveal the movement of psyche, indeed “of the whole nature of man and his destiny” (Flight,35)

So thank you James, and I shall definitely revisit the Modern Myths of Quest and the Flight of the Wild Gander.