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Reply To: Challenging Campbell (and asking Questions)


Think I will stick with a light hearted question and challenge to Campbell 1st, since I tend to the long metaphorical musings alas!
At least I’ve found similar “kin” here on the board and in the realm of mythology and philosophy. So that’s fun! Grin. And I enjoy reading those other essays and musings!

Ok to point and this one feels kind of silly, because after reading excerpts from “Ecstasy of Being,” I could tell that Joe Campbell was broadening his view on certain subjects. Especially the journey of woman or women…and he said the Warrior Goddess would make the best metaphor.

But the question that came to my mind was provoked by his earlier works where Campbell  referenced a story he had read that had an Amazon warrior in it. A male hero warrior was the main protagonist, but the Amazon offered to defend the rear guard while the male hero went on with his quest.

Now here is the silly question and the thoughts I might have asked Campbell:

In Nature there are the equivalent of “matriarchal,” species who play both the role of the Life Bringer, the Mother and the Warrior.
Because Campbell seemed to have interest in science (even if more interested in Space) I thought he would be open to this.

For example…A Lion Pride. The Pride is all female except for some of the Cubs who might be male.

The Pride brings forth the life, but the big male lions don’t necessarily stick around. And the males usually hunt for themselves. (At least from the Nature documentaries I watched growing up.)
The Pride hunts and works together like a pack.
They are not only Mothers, but also “meat winners” (bread winners.)

They provide the food. And the defense (sometimes defense against rogue male lions who are a threat to the young cubs.)

Not to say that lions can’t partner or mate like wolves. I’ve seen articles and videos about lions protected on reserves and I think some were life  mates.

But a Lion Pride requires the female cat to play all roles.

Next Wolves:
With wolves the greatest Alpha wolf is a female who “governs” over the whole pack male and female. Her mate may be an Alpha male but it is the Female Alpha given deference unless another female challenges and ousts her.

Bees and other colony insects:

Even though the hive mind is mostly at play and there are drones (male) do some work…It was my understanding, that the Queen insect is center and her main attendees, workers and foragers are female. They are the Warriors and defenders and providers.
They have to learn the routes, scout out new homes if necessary and locations of food. (Or farm in the case of ants!)     (New research suggests there is more individual behavior to some bees than previously thought.That’s interesting too but back on track)

It would be my thought in the world of early humans, who often took inspiration or whose lives were informed by nature, that such creatures would have influenced various tribes and cultures and that the definition of matriarchy might be much broader than originally assumed.
I think this wouldn’t have been a Challenge to Campbell by his later works. But the common view of the male warrior protecting and defending the woman/goddesss so she can bring forth life…is just one of many stories.

(not that there’s anything wrong with Chilvalry…still a bit old fashioned and poetic myself grin)

But the point is that Nature has always challenged the common themes of the times.
And in this case I think it’s And/Both.

Wolves and Hawks partnering for life.
Male and female birds building nests and providing for their young.
Female deer having their herds, young bucks having their herds and larger bucks presiding over a herd of does and fawns.
So I would have been curious to see what Campbell would have thought about those themes in Nature and how that opened up what was possible both in the myths and societies of humans on this planet.
I guess the only challenge would be as soon as it’s said “there is always this one theme,” nature proves that the theme plays out in a myriad of ways and did not always follow the common predictions and philosophies held dear at those times.
But by the Ecstasy of Being I think Campbell could see that (grin.)