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I’m surprised there is no topic for Personal Mythology

Viewing 8 posts - 16 through 23 (of 23 total)
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    Thanks, Lynn!

    How do you like the new COHO layout (pruning and deleting fallow forums and adding new ones – some of which should look familiar to you from the old discussion board).


    Hi Stephen

    The new COHO layout looks great!



    Yes indeed the new COHO layout is very attractive and easy to navigate. Thank you Lynn for the reference to Joe’s audio lecture on “Personal Myth”. Although, I love the entire recording, the reinventing our childhood symbols is my favorite. Particularly enjoyable was the section on Jung uncovering his childhood symbols, and from then forward, his dream world became rich and the images that came through his dreams, then found their way into his psyche, doors opened for him, he met new friends, and scholars. I especially loved the way he described Freud’s interpretation of dreams (ha ha) from waist downward, and neglects the neck upward part of our biology!!

    I need to find a way to work with my childhood symbols. Realization a bit too late because skipping rope is no longer that easy or that much fun!

    Jumping rope



      Hello Shaheda; I’ve been thinking about your idea a lot for several days now and here is what it represents to me. Joseph talked on many occasions about Jung’s process in getting in touch with his inner myth or (mind-space) if you will; to try and understand what this thing actually was; or put another way; “to understand what it was that was forming him from the inside out”. Now if I remember correctly from his book: “Memories, Dreams and Reflections” his “Red Book” was what came out of this process. Joseph also commented several times: (via your childhood games reference); that he would move big rocks around; (the creation of his home: “Bollingen”); because building little cities and houses was what he enjoyed as child and he was recreating this activity on a much larger scale and got enormous pleasure from his home he created.

      (You may know all of this already); and Joseph went on to say that the individual must find their own playground to do this. (Dennis for instance talks about his painting as an example he mentioned to us before.) Here is where we get into one of Joseph’s most well known concepts of creating one’s: “Sacred Space”. Now this may or may not resonate with your ideas; but I’m pretty sure this was the concept he was suggesting. There are certainly ideas along this line stated in various ways like: (Dream work of course); along with journaling or constructing your own art expressions mentioned in some of our MythBlast discussions. But the main term I’ve heard Joseph use that to me seems to fit this idea along with what you heard in the “Personal Myth lecture; which I’ve listened to as well; is in: “Modern Myths of Quest” – Lecture: II.I.6 of: “Symbolic Realization”; where he talks about integration within the Individuation process of going down into your inner world and finding what’s down there and accessing it to inform you of how to make this later life transition within the Sacred Space mind-space. A lot of Joseph’s lectures I’ve listened to talk about these same concepts; but in different ways. (Since I haven’t listened to that particular one in a while what you mentioned about the little girl jumping rope I believe is an example of the very same thing but of course I could be mistaken.)

      Not to overstate the obvious I think the point Joseph is making is to utilize your childhood experiences as metaphoric tools through personal artistic expressions. A few helpful books I’ve come across on ways to do this would be Stephen Larson’s excellent book: “The Mythic Imagination”; where he shows various techniques like: drawing, group mask making and role playing and photography to reveal some of these inner themes that are working inside you. And I particularly like Sam Keen’s: “Your Mythic Journey” where he and Anne Valley-Fox take some of the things to think about that were used in the workshops he and Joseph put together during the yearly gatherings at Esalen Institute. Some extras to add would be Michael Toms: “An Open Life”; Diane Osbon’s “Reflections on the Art of Living – A Joseph Campbell Companion”; and of course: “Pathways to Bliss” edited by David Kudler; along with “Power of Myth”. Some of these books you probably already have but other people reading this may not be aware of them.  As for myself I developed my own process with my music, photography, reading material and writing; (much of this is connected to my own life narrative); and organized into different sequenced time periods where I can see and understand how my life has unfolded and the various ways it has changed over time. But each person develops their own process.

      At any rate these are just some suggestions to explore if you’re interested; (although it sounds like you may have already started to develop your own system). But the point I think Joseph is saying is there is no necessary standard roadmap for this inner process as he mentions in the clip below because the revelations come through the alchemy of discovery within the experience of doing it; and that it should be things that you deeply love spending time doing; and “not” a procedural prescribed system like following steps 1 through 10, etc. (Certainly Stephen, Aidian, yourself, or others may have more to add about this so I’ll stop here.)

      (A little synchronistic experience I had this morning I’ll share I took a clue from) while thinking about this post was that every couple of weeks or so I usually check the JCF YouTube channel to see if there are any new additional clips that have been added. Well; low and behold here was this little clip from the: “Power of Myth” series with Bill Moyers only 2 hours old that had been added. So see if this clip about: “Sacred Spaces” speaks to your question.


      Hello James,

      So kind and thoughtful of you to write back with your thoughts on the subject of childhood symbols.

      Now if I understand this correctly his “Red Book” was what came out of this process. Joseph also commented several times: (via your childhood games reference); that he would move big rocks around; (the creation of his home: “Bollingen”);

      Yes, he mentions Jung’s reinvention of his childhood symbols in several works. He reinvented his symbols by building his own house in Bollingen…which led to fascinating dreams that resulted in the “Red Book”, and also friends and scholars came into his life.  Lynn also posted a link to Campbell’s lecture on “personal myth”. There too, he goes into the importance of childhood symbols and dreams.

      On dreams, he talks about Freud’s interpretation of dreams. I found this very interesting especially the way Joe phrased that. He says, when Freud interprets  the symbols in terms of the inspiration and zeal from the lower end of our biology (waist down) instead of the neck up, he has misunderstood the whole thing. Since the whole sense of the mythic imagery is to pitch you in the the spiritual realm but Freud’s interpretation pulls you down, deflates and breaks the symbol.

      Thank you also for this wonderful reminder of ” “Modern Myths of Quest” – Lecture: II.I.6 of: “Symbolic Realization”; which he talks about integration within the Individuation process of going down into your inner world ” . I’ll definitely look into that lecture too.

      I  just read something similar, ” The first thing I’d do would be to think, “What are, specifically, the symbols that are still active, still touching me this way?” What are the symbols? There’s a great context of symbols in the world. Not all of them are the ones that afflict you. When you do find the symbol that is blocking you, find some mode of thinking and experience that matches in its importance for you what the symbol meant. You cannot get rid of a sym-bol if you haven’t found that to which it refers.” (The Collected Works of Joseph Campbell Book 2)

      When the symbols are interpreted spiritually rather than concretely, then they yield the revelation.

      Also James, Thank you for mentioning Dennis’ works. I have visited his website and blog, and feasted on some very precious writings there. With reference to personal myths, he cited Joe Campbell, “Joseph Campbell believes that myths reveal the movement of psyche, indeed “of the whole nature of man and his destiny” (Flight,35)

      So thank you James, and I shall definitely revisit the Modern Myths of Quest and the Flight of the Wild Gander.



        I thought you had already come across a bunch of these concepts but I wasn’t sure; so sorry for the added revisit. The “Modern Myths of Quest” I think you’ll like because it gives an overview of many of the Jungian themes he often talks about but states them a bit differently than usual. Here is a quick clip from one of them concerning the “symbolic realization and not becoming concretely fixed” idea I was mentioning which is a good example. Sounds like you are already on your way; so I’ll end here.


        Thank you James, Just listened to Campbell’s “symbolic realization” mp3 — The night sea journey. Awesome of course. “Don’t become concretely fixed in a symbolic situation.”


        Hello All,

        Such an interesting topic and I am hoping we’ll have this thread alive for a while. So, here is one angle of personal mythology (PM) that has me puzzled.

        Beginner’s guide to Japan”, By Pico Iyer- Pg. 101:  Here Iyer quotes Joe Campbell and leads the readers into a unique Japanese trait, pointing to the lack of “I”, “Me”, “My”.  “For a Westerner Joe Campbell noted in Japan, meditation may awaken a sense of divinity within; for a Japanese, it’s more likely to inspire a sense of divinity inside a temple, a flower, a gnat.  The person sitting still doesn’t say “I’m awake”.  She says, “The world is illuminated! ”

        Similarly, in some parts of the Indian subcontinent, the “I”, the “Me”, is totally secondary to the needs of the parents, and parents’ needs within their community.

        Pico adds, Japan’s foundational novel, The Tale of Genji, is notoriously hard to translate, because proper names are sometimes hard to translate, avoided….As the scholar of Japan, Ivan Morris notes,  ‘the hard and fast rules we like to maintain between past present singular plural, male femaledon’t apply.”   “Beginner’s guide to Japan”, By Pico Iyer- Pg. 104:

        In Japan, there are twenty ways of saying “I”…women are expected to refer to themselves in the third person, men not.” Pg. 104.

        My sense”  is that the personal myths of women growing up in Japan  have got to be on a different track than for women growing up in a Western culture.  Hampered?  psychologically blocked?  How different is their archetypal energy and their sense of individuation from their Western counterpart?

        “In meditating, meditate on your own divinity. The goal of life is to be a vehicle for something higher. Keep your eyes up there between the world of opposites watching your ‘play’ in the world. Let the world be as it is and learn to rock with the waves”
        — Joseph Campbell
        Joseph Campbell Companion, A (p. 189)
        Find more quotations at


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