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Reply To: The Power of the Personal,” with Mythologist Dennis Slattery, Ph.D.”


Thank you for sharing your wisdom, knowledge and love of Joe Campbell, once again, in this forum. I love reading all that you write, and do wish to hear you speak in person, or sit in in one of your classes.

As you wrote, “Like so many millions, I came to Campbell’s work through the Bill Moyers series on PBS. I was mesmerized by both his knowledge, his passion and the visuals that accompanied his talks. I ran to the bookstore and bought The Power of Myth that I still return to.”   Ditto! I had Joe’s books, 1) The Mythic Image, 2) Hero with a thousand faces. It was very difficult to read and understand any of it. So, there they took their place on the top level of my book case, more as those artistic books, that can be judged  by their beautiful covers. That is actually that had lured me to the first book, about 15 years ago. Then came those famous Bill Moyers and Campbell series, and I was hooked – the timing was right, and I was drawn by Joe’s  words, like never before. More like a religious experience,

On the topic of a mystical state, you wrote, “Steve, as to being only a scholar, well, that is only the tip of the iceberg. Not many scholars can rouse an audience with the Eros that Campbell had a reputation for doing; when I watched him on videos, it seems that he goes into a bit of a mystical state of mind and body and speaks from that deeply incarnated place. His passion is rare and anyone who has heard him speak–I did once in 1974 when he came to the University of Dallas to lecture on Hero–I was entranced by his level of knowledge and the ease of his presentation..”

I once met a man who had attended Joe’s lecture at Loyola University in Montreal Canada, in 1972.. He had this to say about Joe’s lecture, “It was a cold cold  day, and not many had turned up for the Loyola Campus, guest speaker series, for which Joe was invited. I was one of the few who sat in the audience, and had never heard of him before then. But Campbell spoke with such passion, as if the hall was full and he was in another theatre, not this present one.” This man jumped into Joe’s works with as much enthusiasm as Joe himself had demonstrated in his presentation.

Here is a link referencing that lecture. “Joseph Campbell Man of Myth here Oct 16.

Click to access Happening-1972-10-10.pdf

I have a  question to ask you, It’s related to another thread in the COHO, initiated by Stephen, (What’s in  a Name). Did not Joe talk about importance or challenge of living by one’s name? Where can I find that discussion? I hope I am not mixing two different writers on the subject. The truth is that Joe’s words have stuck around in my memory bank, even though his books and the underlined passages are long lost. That’s why I am quite convinced that it’s Joe who said it. One day, once again, I plan to surround myself with his works.  And my immediate family, might say, ‘she passed away PEACEFULLY, with Joe Campbell’s  books by her side.”

Again, many thanks Dennis.

Shaahayda (reimagined after discussions with Marianne Bencivengo)