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Reply To: What’s In a Name?” with Stephen Gerringer”


Thank you, jamesn, for sharing your thoughts.

You write

This is the place of creative incubation where one can bring forth who and what they might be. It is also the creative space of the artist; and whether in movement or stationary this enclosed mind-space is the tabernacle of the individual’s creative soul expression; the holy space out of which the individual identity expresses itself.”

Absolutely right, James! Though we’re ostensibly talking his work desk, that photo is a pallid re-creation of Joseph Campbell’s sacred space (“pallid” because it’s just a mock-up in the basement at OPUS Archives – and though there was more magic to it once it was transported to the Cherry Art Center in Carmel [rather than Monterey, as my caption states], it was still lacking that which gave it life – the man himself). But you’ll notice he surrounded himself with items full of significance – works of art by friends and colleagues, the image of a Geisha and a set of wooden Kokeshi dolls he picked up during his six months in Japan in 1954, the crude bookcase he built himself to hold his set of Encyclopedia Britannica (which is where he began the research for every one of his books), “The Shaman and the Sorcerer ” yarn painting given to him by a Huichol shaman that he included in  The Historical Atlas of World Mythology to illustrate the section discussing the Huichol peyote pilgrimage, a Tibetan bell, tiny corn husk figurines, a hand carved antler letter opener, and a Mother Goddess figurine, and of course a picture of young Joe and Jean together – these provided comfort and helped transport him out of the mundane world to that “place of creative incubation” you describe.

And no surprise that, in addition to the sentimental value, each object on and around his desk from the mythologies of many cultures hold profound symbolic significance, serving as tools that activate the mythic imagination . . .