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Reply To: Themes in Joseph Campbell’s Thought


For me, personally, the pedagogical theme Campbell identifies in myth is a sign of his genius – it’s where academic analysis and the real world intersect. The first time I read The Hero with a Thousand Faces I appreciated it as an historical work, and for the insights it offered into understanding the extreme fundamentalist cult in which I was raised – but it wasn’t until I came back to Hero …, during a period of psychological crisis in the midst of a health emergency, that I realized the stages of the hero quest aren’t just some abstract, intellectual analysis, but actually apply to my life!

I was able to see where I was on the path (at that point, mired deep in the Wasteland) … and myth provided the road map that helped me make sense of my journey.