Reply To: I’m surprised there is no topic for Personal Mythology
Well that does changed everything in my response doesn’t it? For me there are a lot of things I can reference to what you asked. The first book my grandmother use to read to me was about the “Gods and Heros” of ancient Greece; (in storybook form of course). There they all were in magnificent display when I would go visit my very favorite building in the city: the “Parthenon”. Throughout my life that place has been a source of wonder and still is to this very day. So Stephen not only are we on the same page; but it was not by chance that Joseph’s work affected me so profoundly. And when it came time for me to assimilate his separation between concretizing the Christian mythos and using it metaphorically the walls came tumbling down as it were; and the understanding of what a “personal” as opposed to a public myth involving it’s interpretation was concerned the whole world’s mythos was opened up.
I had had previous exposures to Eastern ideas; such as Buddhism and the Tao; but sitting Zazen on the floor in deep contemplative meditation was not my idea of enlightenment at the time. Fortunately I came across someone named Stephen Gaskin whose Monday Night Classes in San Francisco became a major source of understanding and integrating eastern and western ideas and showed some of their connections in an understandable way; but my individual (personal) journey involved a much more psychological approach because of what I had experienced in my past and continued on into adulthood until Joseph’s introduction into Jungian concepts began to unlock these closed doors.
The untying of my Gordian Knot began to unfold because Joseph could weave all three of these concepts into one thread; as it were; so that realizing what the Labyrinth represented was not just something you read about in ancient history class; but your own psyche; and that dealing with the Minotaur has to do with assimilating your own dark side. The Shadow, the persona, the anima/animus, and the ego along with the many other working components within your own inner world and how you navigate the outer one and finding meaning was the “Call” of direction I so desperately needed to go. And my realization of this began to open up understanding that this process happens throughout the course of a human lifetime as opposed to going through life on a treadmill of mere day to day existence and that it’s an ongoing process called individuation that lasts until we die. This was not the Christian concretized version but the mythological metaphorical one.
Joseph explained how all these cultural themes from the ancient myths from different time periods and their ideas fit together and were all part of this wonderous/nightmare interplay we call life. He also helped you to understand that this was not a destination called Heaven where all the Gods lived; but that it’s all right in front of you if you can just pull back the veil and see it. Your journey or passage through these various stages are part of a larger mosaic that never ends because it’s all one thing enclosed within a universe incomprehensible in size and magnitude. And your goal or quest is to realize the uniqueness of who and what you are within this context from birth to death; and your participation in it instead of withdrawal from it. And that I got from Joseph and not a guru or a priest; but out of your own experience. The most important idea; at least to me anyway; is that: “you are the one who gets to decide what the meaning of that is; and to appreciate the journey along the way.
Sorry for the earlier confusion about this. Perhaps others will care to join in with their ideas on “Personal Myth”.