September 6, 2021 at 9:21 pm #72140
Is Joe referring to one’s personal mythic forms?
Yes / can / no, depending on how you read the message. The unconsious (instinct) is very common and straightforward transparent to everybody, yet without awareness. Emotions (feelings, expressions, stories) are highly coloured personal integrated perceptions through personal synthetisms (nature-nuture) into personal expressions. Ratio is squaring the consious perception (‘spoken’ thoughts) into the mould of language and habit. So depending on one’s awareness in life, one’s personal myth can be lived, or unnoticed completely. What I’ve understood of all his books, everyone is within this adventure, this personal myth. Most folk do not even care but prefer the cages of belief and conviction instead.September 7, 2021 at 4:09 am #72139
My dear Sunbug,
Thank you for such a charming response to my question, and including your personal childhood symbols as well.
You wrote, “And I think it was only later through a love of mythology and discovering Campbell through the Power of Myth and reading the books…that THEN symbols became keys to a new way of seeing looking backwards as well as the present! It definitely meant more to me!”
Sunbug, you and I, and oh so many others came to recognize the importance of symbols in our traditions through Campbell and through the Power of Myth. What a giant leap for mankind I’d say. So many different traditions have much in common when it comes to symbols. Campbell talks of a tradition in India, which is, to make something sacred, you draw a red ring around it. One day, while strolling the king’s gardens in Oslo, I noticed that many trees were dressed with long beautiful red satin ribbons. – it was to mark them sacred. I’ll go through the pictures to find those particular ones.. but here are the Palace Gardens and now imagine, a red ribbon tied around the center of each —- simply gorgeous.
YOU mentioned that you are lucky to have friends of all different backgrounds from Methodist/Presbyterian to Catholic, Jewish and Buddhist and even one Cherokee Elder storyteller. And now you have me, Born to a Muslim family, but remained closer to a Theosophist friend from a very young age, and thus had the good fortune to listen to Krishna Murti lectures, later an atheist for a while, and now like you, totally devoted to Campbell, myth and metaphor, and the mystery that surrounds us all.
“I loved what Stephen wrote to you above. Perfect! He nailed it in my opinion! The Trickster energy!”
I too loved what Stephen wrote, which cleared my misunderstanding of ‘that which are misunderstood’. Now here is a strange dream, I had on the heels of that question, and immediately after Stephen, Mars and your answers. (+THANKS ALL)
Dream Scene: Time period: Almost 50 years ago, I am about to misunderstand the event that I alluded to. I am given a long beaded necklace (not plastic but neither very precious stones) I look at the chain that holds the red beads, and its black in color. At this point I am about to return the beaded necklace, when I wake up, and say to myself, “oh my, I have lived that mistake and it’s almost over.”
“If there was no harm/hurt caused to others and a joyous life has/is being lived (the yea! As Joe Campbell and Stephen are saying) then this “concretization” of what was or wasn’t true definitely seems the (trickster energy).”
Harm done to self, and perhaps others, definitely Sunbug but then Stephen posted that podcast: the personal myth. Joe Campbell talks on different topics, all immensely interesting, but what caught me was , Section 42:00>>> of the personal myth, ” Marx tells us to blame the society for our frailty.. Freud tells us to blame the parents for our frailty, astrology tells us to blame the universe… The only place to look for blame is (yourself) when you didn’t have the guts to bring up your full moon – and live the life that was your potential. Bingo!
Much more to write, and yes Loreena Mckennit is singing in the background. I love her too, and the Celtic music.
Shaahayda (Tying an imaginary red ribbon around our friendship)September 7, 2021 at 4:22 am #72138
Thank you Dear Mars for your generous response.
You wrote, “Ratio is squaring the conscious perception (‘spoken’ thoughts) into the mould of language and habit. So depending on one’s awareness in life, one’s personal myth can be lived, or unnoticed completely. What I’ve understood of all his books, everyone is within this adventure, this personal myth” Spot on, everyone is living his/her adventure but many are unaware because they are tied not to the mystery but to the mundane. Those who begin to notice their myths are the lucky ones, I suppose.
ShaahaydaSeptember 7, 2021 at 7:56 pm #72137
…they are tied not to the mystery but to the mundane. Those who begin to notice their myths are the lucky ones…
Depends too! Most respectfull is to accept other peoples choises, not by unawareness, but even by habit, belief, conviction or fearness. Entering an adventure is frightfull, our instinct tell us to flee, and that’s a forcefull drive. Shyness and uncertainty count too, and do not blame those. It’s their privilige to live their ( / everybody’s) lifes on their own way. Not entering an ‘adventure’ can be an adventure on it’s own. Lucky are the mundane, with sorrow the known. Quote from another JC.September 8, 2021 at 4:26 am #72136
Thank you dear Mars. My misunderstood event was definitely related to a mundane thought. Even my dream hinted at that. But my question was to get some clarity on Joe’s words, that is, ” the best things can’t be told—they are transcendent, inexpressible truths. The second-best are misunderstood: . . . metaphoric attempts to point the way toward the first. And the third-best have to do with history, science, biography, and so on. The only kind of talking that can be understood is this last kind.” The second best are attempts to point the way to the first…so they are definitely linked to mystery and the inexpressible.
Here is a funny story that is similar to my misunderstood event:
Scene: One of my childhood homes. There’s a knock at the door. My brother opens the door, and then quickly runs back in, asking my mother to get some food for the beggar man outside. “Huh? a beggar at this time?”, asks my mother. My mother, a bit confused, rushes to the door.
Mother: “Uh Uh, it’s you, Yosef! Sorry, my son didn’t recognize you.” My mother, thoroughly embarrassed welcomed Yousef and asked him to step in.
What happened was this. Yousef (an elderly man, from old school) on seeing my brother ( a young 10 year old boy) bowed his head, and raised his palm to his forehead, a gesture known as “ADAB” in old Muslim culture. “Adab (gesture) – Wikipedia
Adab from the Arabic word Aadaab (آداب), meaning respect and politeness, is a hand gesture used in the Indian subcontinent, by the Urdu-speaking and …
My brother had not until then encountered such a gesture, and mistook that as a gesture for begging in the Indian sub continent, which involves taking the palm to the mouth and not to the forehead.
So, that’s two different perceptions, similar gestures. My brother could not even imagine that an old man would bow and greet him with such respect, hence the rush to get some food for him, whereas, Yousef had no idea that his gesture of respect and politeness, was taken for a plea for food.
Anyway, in that example the misunderstanding was immediately corrected, but in my case I lived the misunderstanding. It could be like giving Yousef a hearty meal for 50 years, each time he bent and bowed. Lol!
Shaahayda (with thanks)September 8, 2021 at 7:09 pm #72135
It seems to me that both adab and aadaab share the same root in speech and original meaning, but have diverged through time, distance and cultural reintepretation. Yet, a very fine gesture still in both cultures anyway (The not particularly western handshake does not meet this.). But this is close to the third-best have, invoking only a different second-best attempt to the first-best transcedent communication. But back on earth, I’m puzzled a bit who and in what relation the involved Yousef is. Your brother cannot be blamed, let alone his age then, for the striking shift.
So here prooves your mundane example story a stepstone to almost all other shifts and misinterpretations throuhout space and time, casting us civilised and heavenly favoured humans back into develish cursed savages – from paradise banned. The road back, through prose or poem, in rythm or ryme, is twisted, curled and endless. Thanks Shaahayda! Bliss on your path.September 9, 2021 at 2:46 pm #72134
Such a good question, “ But back on earth, I’m puzzled a bit who and in what relation the involved Yousef is. Your brother cannot be blamed, let alone his age then, for the striking shift.”
I had not even thought of the cultural gap between my brother (includes all the siblings) except the parents. So, Yousef (Arabic version of Joseph) happened to be from Lucknow (India). A seat of Muslim education and culture since the early 1600s..
“Lucknow became important in 1528, when it was captured by Bābur, the first Mughal ruler of India. …
Today, it is a marketplace for agricultural products (mangoes, melons, and various grains are grown locally), and its industries include food processing, manufacturing, handicrafts, and railroad shops. Its population, which has grown dramatically since the late 20th century, surpassed that of Kanpur in the early 21st century to become the most-populous city in Uttar Pradesh.”
Lucknow contains notable examples of architecture. The Great Imāmbāṛā (1784) is a single-storied structure where Shīʿite Muslims assemble during the month of Muḥarram.
The Rumi Darwaza, (Where poetry recitals took place) or Turkish Gate, was modeled (1784) on the Sublime Porte (Bab-i Hümayun) in Istanbul. The best-preserved monument is the Residency (1800), the scene of the defense by British troops during the Indian Mutiny. A memorial commemorating the Indians who died during the uprising was erected in 1957.”
RUMI DARWAZA ——->
“Historically, Lucknow was considered one of the great centres of Muslim culture. Two poets, Mir Babar Ali Anis and Mirza Dabeer, became legendary exponents of a unique genre of Muslim elegiacal poetry called marsiya centred on Imam Husain’s supreme sacrifice in the Battle of Karbala, which is commemorated during the annual observance of Muharram.
The revolutionary Ram Prasad Bismil, who was hanged by the British at Gorakhpur jail, was largely influenced by the culture of Lucknow and remembered its name in his poetry. Surrounding towns such as Kakori, Daryabad, Fatehpur, Barabanki, Rudauli, and Malihabad produced many eminent Urdu poets and litterateurs including Mohsin Kakorvi, Majaz, Khumar Barabankvi and Josh Malihabadi.”
More on : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucknow
Essentially, Yousef grew up among the poets and scholars of Lucknow, and the partition of 1947, loss of livelihood and pension (if any) had brought him over to Pakistan. I was told that he left his home and all material possessions, and took a train to Pakistan, in search of relatives and perchance a job. His presence at our door, that one night, was to pay his respects to my Uncle, who too was visiting us from Hyderabad India, and whom he had not seen in ages, although they both lived in India.
My brother and I were born in Punjab Pakistan, and the area we grew up in was surrounded by Pathans, Punjabis, Pushtoons, People from Gilgit, Swat and Lahore. Our Anglo connections were the Convent schools and colleges, and so we had very little to do with the Muslim culture of Lucknow, and nor had my brother and I ever met Mr. Yousef. A monumental cultural gap!!
They say children learn the sign language very quickly while adults have great difficulty. Hand gestures fall in that category, I’d say.
Thank You Mars for taking me down memory lane with that one potent question of yours.
Shaahayda (in gratitude)September 11, 2021 at 6:53 pm #72133Stephen GerringerKeymaster
Is Joe referring to one’s personal mythic forms?”
Not exactly – or rather, yes and no. Campbell is discussing what he discovered in the books in his library, which, unless they are addressed to him specifically, don’t contain “personal mythic forms”; rather, they reveal the workings of the unconscious in general, which does seem the subject under discussion. That’s the “no” part.
At the same time, it’s his introduction to the depths of the unconscious that allowed him to recognize how these were playing out in his own life – which is the “yes” part.
Sam Keen had just asked Campbell about the use of LSD and psychedelics in the Sixties. Here is a little more context:
“I think drugs have uncovered the unconscious depths in a society that is lopsidedly rational and evaluative. They have shown many people that the archetypes are in the unconscious. They are as real as tables and chairs. But the drug culture has been caught in the fuzzy end of things . . .
I prefer the gradual path––the way of study. My feeling is that mythic forms reveal themselves gradually in the course of your life if you know what they are and how to pay attention to their emergence. My own initiation into the mythical depths of the unconscious has been through the mind, through the books that surround me in this library. I have recognized in my quest all the stages of the hero’s journey. I had my calls to adventure, guides, demons and illuminations. In the conflict between the Celtic-Arthurian and the Roman Catholic myths, I discovered much about the tensions that shaped my past. I also studied primitive myths and Hinduism and later Joyce, Mann, Jung, Spengler and Frobenius. These have been my major teachers.”
“Man and Myth: A Conversation with Joseph Campbell,” Psychology Today, July 1971
For me, it was both. Psychedelics – particularly LSD – opened that door. It wasn’t something I did to “party,” but to explore and find out more about myself – the deep Self – a task I approached with discipline and commitment, akin to the decades-long study of my dreams (in the process discovering the amazing resonance between the dream state and the psychedelic state).
The works of Campbell, Jung, Grof, and others helped me process those psychedelic experiences, in the same way Jung and Campbell and Hillman and others helped me process my dream life – these scholars, and the myths they explore, providing the clues that helped me “to pay attention” to the emergence of mythic forms in my own life.
But it started with acid, which provided an in-depth encounter with the personal and collective unconscious, along with the certainty that, in Joe’s words, archetypes “are as real as tables and chairs.”
What I did with that, and how I engaged those pre-existing energies, is where the personal comes in to play.September 13, 2021 at 2:21 pm #72132
As always you answer all questions, whether basic or not-so-basic, with a detail and attention that’s your hallmark, a labor of love.
Thank you also for sharing your personal journey so honestly and openly. You wrote, “For me, it was both. Psychedelics – particularly LSD – opened that door. It wasn’t something I did to “party,” but to explore and find out more about myself – the deep Self – a task I approached with discipline and commitment, akin to the decades-long study of my dreams (in the process discovering the amazing resonance between the dream state and the psychedelic state).”
It appears to me that a few who have understood their personal myth have done so through hard work and desire, extreme commitment to exploring their own selves, and also have done through LSD or Ayahuasca – Among others, one example that comes to mind is Mark Harner – his journey was through ayahuasca, and then he left his academic settings and started his own training methods and institutions. Yes indeed, what he did with the archetypes, the energies, the images, is to engage with them and watched his personal myth emerge. Not all are so determined and/or gifted, they just stumble upon it by remaining engaged with the mystery of their own lives.
Thank you Stephen.
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