John; you are most kind in your thoughtful response. Hillman’s: “Daimon” from the Soul’s Code I like a lot. The Male Tigers in my life; although some longer than others in time spent; were important in their influence and presence. Each had their gifts they bestowed; as did the privilege of the Crones. The Senex as guide when I think of him now takes on a different form than as a young boy; the man must also think differently than just as a warrior-hero role for induction into life; for I was also introduced to a more gentle and thoughtful perspective; as someone like Atticus Finch as well as magicians and noble Knight Errands. The world changes even though there are constants to be patterned after; and one of the most important things I learned from Joseph’s ideas was that one’s own interpretation of life must be developed as well. “This is the left-hand path of the maverick way”; the one who must often go into the forest without counsel to find their own path. The modern world may borrow from the old; but the new has it’s own realities that must be incorporated as well.
I came to Joseph’s work later than many and the influence of them all; both male and female was rekindled. The life experience of those among us we often never know much about; and I’m constantly reminded after Joseph’s influence that what I see and experience from others is only a part of what may actually lay hidden from view. Their heartache and suffering as well as my own may mirror parts of something of which I may be only partly aware; and though my own blind spots may be in the way; it was Joseph’s connection to Jung that helped to open a doorway or a window into a much deeper understanding of myself and those around me. We grow up in a culture that provides only partial instruction for what life may hold; and our trajectory may lead us down many paths; but it’s mystery; as Joseph suggests; may intervene and cause unforeseen circumstances to dictate something else of which we have no idea.
Most of my own life I had to learn to be my own hero; but I did not know of Campbell’s existence. I had already found a life path but that is only part of the task to be completed; one must then incorporate and face whatever difficulties that may lie ahead by taking this journey into deeper realms as the Sun-Chariot crosses over one’s life meridian toward old age; and part of that life journey was only beginning. Life crisis situations can take many forms; some of mine included great loss; including losing the family house and taking on yet more tasks; and a revisit from other former crisis may sometimes be included as I was to find out more than once. This particular one involved losing one’s berings; which Joseph calls the: “long season”; where a rebuild is in order. I was completely lost and for two years tried every religion or change of perspective I could think of. As Joseph said about religion: “these paths can often lead nowhere”; and one day walking the several miles back home from a church which held nothing for me but a brick wall in deeply depressed reflection; upon reaching home turned on the television to find Joseph Campbell talking to Bill Moyers and my world just stopped; “who was this person that could speak in a voice where everything suddenly made sense?”; and from then on everything changed. That was 1988; and my life has never been the same.
One of the great joys has been sharing this new world with those who have the same love for his work; and it continues to transform my life ever since. So in another sense you could say Joseph has become a mentor to me. And others I suspect may feel the same way. There is something he talks about where the calamities in ones life may actually be the defining moments; but it is only after looking back in later life this realization becomes apparent. This was one of the most important moments of my understanding of where it all started; and like the realization of: (” the Marga” or animal path back to it’s den) Joseph mentions; what appeared on the outside was not the true reflection of what happened on the inside. Every day I am more and more grateful for discovering Joseph Campbell; for in my mind his mentorship has saved my life from where it had begun so very long ago; and this appreciation will stay with me till my journey’s end. Everyone has a journey they are on; thank you for your kind thoughts regarding mine.