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

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    Writer, teacher, and mythologist Dennis Patrick Slattery, Ph.D. has graciously consented to join us this week in Conversations of a Higher Order to discuss “The Power of the Personal: The Flight of the Wild Gander,” his most recent contribution to JCF’s MythBlast essay series (click on link to read). Please feel free to join this conversation and engage Dr. Slattery directly with your questions and comments.

    Dr. Slattery’s curriculum vitae (some of which is summarized at the end of his essay) is too extensive to repeat here, so I’m just going to share a few items of particular note for Joseph Campbell aficionados. He is an Emeritus Core Faculty member at Pacifica Graduate Institute, where he has taught for 25 of his 45 years in the classroom (he recently shared that teaching the one course on Joseph Campbell in Pacifica’s Mythological Studies program was a highlight of his years there).  He is also the author, co-author, editor or co-editor of 27 books, including Joseph Campbell’s Correspondence: 1927 1987  (with Evans Lansing Smith, Ph.D.), where his foreword is a sweet ode to the lost art of letter writing. And, on a personal note, I had the great good fortune to meet regularly with Dennis and a handful of other dedicated souls over nearly two years as we planned the Symposium for the Study of Myth, held on Pacifica’s Ladera Lane campus over Labor Day weekend in 2012.

    Many of you know the drill by now. I will get us started with a few questions and comments, but no telling where the conversation will go from there. It will be your thoughts, reactions, observations and insights that make this a communal exchange of ideas rather than just another interview.

    Dr. Slattery – Dennis, if you will, given the informal nature of discussion boards – before diving in to your essay, I’d like to ask a question about where your personal history first intersects with Joseph Campbell’s work (I’ve been facilitating discussions devoted to mythology on a variety of online platforms for over two decades, and have observed that one of the most popular topics involves how individuals first discovered Joseph Campbell – so this strikes me as a way to ease into our subject while offering COHO participants an opportunity to get to know you better):

    Did you stumble across Campbell, or intentionally seek out his writings? Given his reputation and your career in educational and academic fields, what were you expecting when you first encountered Campbell’s work – and what did you find? Were you already working in the field of myth, or did your engagement with his work help nudge you in that direction?

    Shifting focus to your essay, I’d like to make one passing observation before introducing a question on a completely different subject.

    Campbell once told Jeffrey Mishlove, the host of “Thinking Allowed,”

    I’m not a mystic, in that I don’t practice any austerities, and I’ve never had a mystical experience. So I’m not a mystic. I’m a scholar, and that’s all.”

    Couldn’t help recalling Campbell’s remark while reading your MythBlast. Methinks Joe doth protest too much! Your discussion of brahman-atman and Campbell’s “quest for the crack, the gap, the thin membrane that allows him to glimpse and discern the symbolic, transcendent nature of the world winking back at us” suggests scholar-as-mystic is not the contradiction in terms it would seem.

    And on to one more question. Toward the end of the essay you write:

    Nor can myths be divorced from the inventions and discoveries of the time in which they surface. Indeed, I sense in Campbell that myths survive by accommodating such discoveries, especially those of science.”

    This is a compelling observation that rings true to me. But in The Hero with a Thousand Faces (pp. 18-19 for those who have the 2nd edition, p. 14 in 2008’s 3rd edition), Campbell asserts

    The archetypes to be discovered and assimilated are precisely those that have inspired, throughout the annals of human culture, the basic images of ritual, mythology, and vision.”

    If myths survive by accommodating the discoveries of science and inventions of man, yet archetypes inspire the basic images of myth, this would seem at odds with a common perception (one that has been espoused by Jordan Peterson, among others), that archetypes rely on fixed images that do not change.

    Could you speak to that? Is that a misunderstanding of the nature of archetypes – or rather, perhaps, of archetypal imagery?

    That should get us started.

    #73709

    Good morning Steve and all who have taken time to read this conversation, initiated so beautifully by Steve.

    I am honored to add my thoughts to the rich conversations I have read and to the fine commentaries from many, several of whom I know as colleagues and as former students. I am responding here on Sunday morning in the Texas Hill Country, which right now has a thin glaze of ice over everything, so dangerous to go out. Yesterday I spoke to a fine group at the Phoenix Friends of Jung group on personal mythology and then posed some questions to them to write on re. their personal myth. So today it is a joy to stay within the cone of myth a bit longer.

    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. What a threshold crossing intellectually and emotionally that journey was for me.

    My excitement grew when I took a teaching position as Core faculty at Pacifica Graduate Institute; here, I thought, I could soak myself in the writings of Campbell and because of his love of and excellent reading of literary classics, for I had found a kindred soul mingling the poetic with the mythic imagination; let’s call it then a mytho-poetic imagination. I felt truly AT HOME in an academic setting.

    As to your quote from Campbell, 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.

    Thanks too for your two points of view on archetypes, Steve. I think we might speak about an archetype and an archetypal image. The former is universal and constant, but the image it is birthed in is organic and dynamic. I believe Jung writes that archetypes are shaped and formed into an image depending on the cultural pressures that work on it as it comes into being. So, paradoxically, the archetype is unchanging and changeable, shaped by the particular cultural impressions that work on it. I do think we can have it both ways on this point.

    For instance, I can have very much alive in me the archetype of the Trickster, but when I behave according to this archetypes imaginal influence on me, I will customize its embodiment in a unique way.

    As I leave this first foray into COHO, a privilege I feel so grateful for, I want to comment on Campbell’s writing style. I would choose various works of his when I taught the course on his thinking for many years at Pacifica. I think his prose is both lyric and epic in its expression. I think Campbell, if not a poet, although I was delighted to read his short stories when they were published, his sensibility is that of a poet.

    For example, in speaking of a Living Myth In Gander, he writes: “And so, finally, neither a stale and overdue nor a contrived plastic mythology will serve; neither priest nor sociologist takes the place of the poet-seer–which, however, is what we all are in our dreams” (xiv). A profound insight, delivered in delightful poetic-prose. It is part of the reason I will be reading Campbell for the duration.

    Thank you Steve for asking such provocative questions, and gratitude to all who read this exchange.

    #73708

    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.

    https://www.concordia.ca/content/dam/concordia/offices/archives/docs/happening/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)

    #73707

    Dear Dr. Dennis Slattery,

    So honored to be writing to you in this interactive session, and for jcf.org to make this interaction possible from the ease and comfort of our homes — Is this not our our new myth, aka as our new technology?  This is our new landscape, the sun or the moon above, our cyber cloud which is now also the very essence of our beings. Our lives run around it, and in this pandemic, so do our livelihoods. I’ll touch upon it a bit later as well.

    You wrote, “Here is my image: the invisible lining of a jacket or coat is what I would call history’s inner myth; it gives shape and contour to the outer sleeve, which is history itself. Yes, the sleeve can be turned inside-out to reveal the hidden myth, and that is part of Campbell’s mode of excavation: he turns the sleeve inside-out in order to explore the mystery shaping history.”   I love your example — the ‘fabri-cation’  as you well describe. There is a time-lapse between the inside and the outside of the sleeve, and would I be correct in saying , when it’s turned outside it becomes a myth. Two thoughts came to my mind, with your example:

    1)      Alan Watts’ on myth: ” that myth is that whose time has yet not come.” or as in  Joe Campbell quoting Alan Watts: “Alan Watts used to tell the story of the Apollo astronaut who came back from space; some smart-aleck reporter asked, since he’d been to heaven, had he seen God? ‘Yes,’ answered the astronaut, ‘and she’s black.” Myth is divined and not stated, said Watts.

    2)      Ray Grasse in his essay (Grasse, Ray, “The Mythologist: Brief Encounters with Joseph Campbell” Quest 106:3, pg 26-29 ) comes upon the same idea as he tries to decode Joe’s offhand remark, for example, “ Trying to digest it all sometimes felt like trying to drink from a fire-hose. Even his passing asides were provocative—intellectual depth charges that released their power only later on. Like his offhand remark that ‘Hitler set out to create the Third Reich but gave birth to the state of Israel instead.’”  A sleeve inside out, or the myth of creating manifestation.

    Again, I love what you wrote, “Nor can myths be divorced from the inventions and discoveries of the time in which they surface. Indeed, I sense in Campbell that myths survive by accommodating such discoveries, especially those of science. This discipline has knocked down the walls “from around all mythologies—every single one of them—by the findings and works of modern scientific discovery.” (81)  Yes indeed, Campbell said it on his famous PBS series with Moyers, “Computers are old testament gods, lots of rules and no mercy”   from jcf.org quotes.

    Allow me to elaborate a few lines from my thesis. Around 1999, I worked on my  Master’s thesis where my core argument was that internet technology is not just a mere modern scientific discovery, but fits right in with the sociological function of mythology as described by Joe Campbell.  The sociological function, according to Campbell, is the way we write laws and the way we do business, or better put, “sociological function is to pass down “the law,” the moral and ethical codes for people of that culture to follow, and which help define that culture and its prevailing social structure. “ So, my argument was that the new technology (our new mythic landscape)  will soon drive the way we do business and the way we write laws. I was able to project this much before the era of youtube (circa 2005)  videos (as evidence in law suits). Intellectual Property Law has been rewritten and is being rewritten. Facebook  (2004) –Our business advertising model has been turned upside down with Facebook.  Amazon (1994) — ‘we dance to it, even when we can’t name the tune’ (Joe Campbell- Power of Myth). Although Campbell did say, “ You can’t predict what a myth is going to be any more than you can predict what you’re going to dream tonight ” (jcf.org) Yet, I can argue, one can view the sleeve turned inside out, and  imagine the impact of the new landscape on our  lives, on the myths we live by.

    Ray Grasse:  “For a man in his late seventies, his vitality and enthusiasm were remarkable, as was his ability to rattle off volumes of information on a wide range of topics without ever relying on notes. Trying to digest it all sometimes felt like trying to drink from a firehose. Even his passing asides were provocative—intellectual depth charges that released their power only later on.”   Drinking from a fire hose is not easy, but we can take a few drops here and there and rejoice in what we think we  saw.

    Returning to the intro part of your essay, “I feel like I am in a personal conversation with a priest or a confessor, one who understands the need for the transcendent in our lives and is prepared to point me in the right direction. I think this feeling emerges because Campbell’s storytelling gene is a part of all of his utterances, but especially when he works a concept by morphing it into a narrative. ” Campbell has pointed so many of us in some direction and which years later they can view as sleeves turned inside out. Ever so grateful to this thinker, scholar, poet-seer.

    Shaahayda

     

    #73706
    jamesn.
    Participant

     

    Hello Dr. Slattery; so wonderful to have you here. After you’ve had a chance to respond to Shaheda’s excellent thought provoking requests I was wondering if you might share some of your insights concerning finding one’s “personal myth”. You’ve written extensively on this topic and some of us have been discussing various aspects of this subject lately; (many of which you have covered in your excellent book on journaling: “Riting Myth, Mythic Writing – Plotting Your Personal Story”.

    I hope you don’t mind but I have taken the liberty of copying a short blog post from your great website which frames part of the topic I was curious about since it is such a broad subject to address; and indeed there are folks here who journal, keep dream diaries, or have various forms of their art which are utilized to explore what Joseph would call one’s: “Sacred Space”; or place of: “creative incubation”; which Joseph referred to as the place where one could find and realize who and what they might become. A place of nurturing one’s idea of their own personal myth; not the social image or the religious demand of: “thou shalt”; but to find the thing inside them that calls and speaks to them of their own individual destiny. Joseph would call this the left hand path of the hero as opposed to the right hand path of the village compound.

    I particularly like the image you use of the Spiral; which reminds me of the: “Ariadne thread and the Labyrinth” as symbolic of one’s inner journey of transformation; and I very much look forward to your thoughts on this. Again a warm welcome and so glad you are here.

    ____________________________________________________________________________

    September 17, 2020
    What is Mything in Your Life?

    It is unfortunate that in our current world the word “myth” is still maligned as something that is a lie, untrue, and opposed to “fact.” Myth is something to be done away with because it is counter to what is true. The irony here is that such a definition of myth grew out of a period in history when fact, measurement, and quantification were seen as the only way of measuring reality. That in itself is a myth, namely a belief system, a way of seeing and understanding that shoved myth to the sidelines. It has no standing in our nation’s educational curriculum.

    Before the rise of reason, of quantifying and the like, myths were the preferred way to knowledge. Simply put, the word myth means story, narrative and for thousands of years humans told one another stories to impart what had happened to them, what they had learned and even their desires and hopes for the future. Just as importantly, the language of myth is metaphor, symbol, figures of speech, images. I like how one writer I enjoy reading put it: “A myth is a loom on which we weave the raw materials of daily experience into a coherent story.” We can all grasp with a little reflection the power of this metaphor.
    The key word above is “coherence.” A myth, be it personal or collective, brings the disparate parts of our life together into a meaningful whole. Without such a coherent meaning, our lives are full of holes. And with coherence another element is included: meaning. A life without meaning is a life without a coherent myth. Some have called myths belief systems. That works.

    To access one’s myth, one can ask: what am I called to in this life? What is my destiny, my purpose and my path? To answer such questions is to invite one’s myth into the conversation. Most people do not know the myth they are living, or get only glimpses in times of disruption. Illness, surgery, loss of a relationship, family, a job, a purpose for living—all of these can force one to pause and ask: what am I doing in this life? What is not any longer working for me and where do I need to change? Again, these are mythic questions. Not only individuals but nations can find themselves at an impasse where they reach a critical point in what they believe and begin to reflect on its basic values. Values are one of many ways that a myth reveals its presence.

    The most popular mythologist of the last century was Joseph Campbell (1904-87). As a comparative mythologist, he spent his life comparing world mythologies and noticed the common terms that so many of them shared. He was also one of the few that understood the power of the media to disseminate not just information but knowledge. His 6 part series on PBS, “The Power of Myth,” in conversation with Bill Moyers is still among the most viewed programs on public television. His book of the same name is a bedrock text for grasping the ways that we are both living a myth and being lived by a myth.
    All myths, Campbell believed, are metaphors for actions and events in both our interior life and the external world we move in each day; both can aid us in becoming more aware of life’s meaning. “Follow Your Bliss” reached bumper sticker status years ago. By this he meant follow the path that arises within you, that serves a constructive purpose, rather than following a path dictated to you. If you do, you are living another’s myth, not yours. But he was no sentimentalist; he believed following one’s bliss created its own unique assortment of blisters.

    Some of the current myths that govern our country include: the myth of growth, the myth of economics, the myth of technology, the myth of consumption, the myth of safety, the myth of self-protection as well as some form of the myths of equality, freedom and opportunity. Our myths reveal themselves most pointedly in the political and advertising worlds. Of course, what shows find their way into our television sets and movie theaters are also good barometers of our values. Look at any country and not what holidays they celebrate together and you get a pulse read on what myths they believe in, even if only partially. A wonderful short story by the American writer Shirley Jackson entitled “The Lottery,” reveals what happens when belief in a myth has been lost, disavowed or forgotten, but the rituals that once organically supported it continue to be practiced. Violence is the consequence. Her entire story can be read on-line.

    When a myth that has heretofore united a people begins to dismantle into tribal myths that divide rather than maintain an essential unity, that myth is stressed and strained, perhaps into distorted forms of itself. When a myth is called into question it may need to be revised and/or reasserted with exceptional vigor. Such a crisis can be a signal that parts of a myth need to be rethought, let go of, or revitalized. Being reflective rather than reactionary about this condition can be constructive and replenishing. Being mythically aware is an essential element of being fully human.

    #73705
    jamesn.
    Participant

    As an addendum to the above post I am adding a separate link to a conversation in CoaHO that covers material from myself, Stephen, Shaheda, and Marianne and contains multiple references to your book plus links to your website and Amazon for it’s purchase for those who may be interested. This book is highly recommended as it was first introduced by Stephen for help in exploring one’s personal myth through journaling:

    Finding your story in a time of uncertainty

    #73704
    Participant

    Hello,

    I enjoy the unveiling motif.
    Brings to mind :

    Godfrey Higgins – The Anacalypsis: An Attempt to Draw Aside the Veil of the Saitic Isis or an Inquiry into the Origin of Languages, Nations and Religions 1836

    Blavatsky – Isis Unveiled 1877

    Did Joseph Campbell read these works ?

    I like The quote -“The wild gander is a rich metaphor for “Hindu master yogis,” who in their trance states, go beyond all boundaries of thought and are best known as “hamsas and paramhamsas: “’wild ganders’ and “’supreme wild ganders.’””
    Brings to mind Merkabah/heikhalot mysticism.

    Isis

    #73703

    Thank you both for writing, Shaahayda and Gard. I will respond to Shaahayda first and I hope I am using the right place to do that. I love the fact that your thesis on technology was ahead of its time in seeing the mythic dimension of technology. It is a place for science and the humanities, including the place of myth, to inform people in a massive way.

    Also in your first missive above, Shaahayda, you mention a student who attended one of Campbell’s lectures and was struck with the passion that he expressed in his talk. I can feel and hear that passion in his writings as well, when I read him. My sense is that you can as well. So much of what makes something present to us is through the affect it carries, in addition to the words expressed.

    I wish I could respond with some certainty about Campbell’s observation of living one’s name. If you do find that source, please share it. But I can share a personal example. It has been many years now, but I remember being told by a Greek friend of mine in San Antonio that my first name, Dennis, is derived from the Greek Dionysos. When he told me, it somehow felt right and true. I have always enjoyed and loved teaching and giving talks and I cannot help myself in becoming enthusiastic when I enter the material I have prepared. Then I learned that one of Dionysos’s qualities is enthusiasmos, the god of enthusiasm. When i learned that I became convinced that my parents had named me correctly. So that Campbell made such an observation, I would agree wholeheartedly. Thank you so much for your first missive Shaahayda. I will answer your second one in a moment.

    #73702

    Thank you for your second set of insights, Shaahayda. I touched on your thesis in the last missive. But here you hone in on that mystical sensibility that Campbell had, making many of us who read him feel as if we are truly in the presence of an Elder, someone who has matured into his own work, his vocation, and into himself as a bellwether for us to be directed by. I have tried to follow Campbell’s image as a teacher, to open the space, to create a temenos of the imagination for us to enter and be entertained–not distracted–by his insights. That he so often spoke without notes I can only envy; that is the depth to which he has embodied his discipline and speaks directly from the insights he is having at the moment, as well as a phenomenal memory to retain what he has worked out for himself.

    And story, as you mention after working my image of the inner sleeve of a jacket being the mythic fabric that guides and shapes the history on the outside, is at the heart of his work–to find the appropriate metaphor to ground his insights, and I find that stories are like extended metaphors that allow our own stories space to rest beside his, to make the correspondences, one of his favorite words, with the story he tells. His gifts as a literature student gave him a massive treasury from which to pull out the patterns of the plots that guide all of our lives. Wonderful insights from you, Shaahayda. I am very grateful to you for extending what I wrote.

    #73701

    Thank you Gard and gratitude for your sharing one of my blog posts re. myth and especially personal myth. I read and loved your comments on writing. As a creative act, writing is one of the deepest ways into our mythic terrain. Here is one of my practices: Each morning at 4:30–I don’t recommend this time to everyone!–after I make a coffee, light a candle in my study and have my little table lamp lit, I sit quietly with my journal, which I write in daily and ask: what from yesterday wants to be remembered?

    It takes only a moment or two for what seeks to be witnessed to appear. Then I simply write it down. I have two columns: Blessings and Blisters. Under Blessings I record those gifts from the day before. Under Blisters I record what was a particular challenge, a hardship, some resisting me that needs to be dealt with. Blessings and Blisters comprise each day of our lives and recording them, without interpretation, leads us to the deeper patterns of our personal myth. I have journaled for decades and have over 9000 pages of journal entries. Will I ever read them? Perhaps, but other writing projects keep me busy, so not at the moment. But I agree with you that deepening into our personal myth is occasioned by giving the matters of our life room to speak. I am always surprised by what the memories of yesterday bring forward. I hope I have touched on responding with some accuracy to your fine comments, Gard. Many thanks for taking the time to join the conversation.

    #73700

    Thank you R3. I loved listening to Dylan on Isis, “you mystical child.” You touch on one of the most rich archetypal actions, that of unveiling. Writing and painting do that for me. It has to do with peeling back some of the layers that hide a person, a thing, a situation so it shows itself in its splendor. Writing is a ritual of unveiling. It requires courage and patience and often, revisions to get at what might be veiled beneath the phenomenal appearance of things.

    I wish I knew more of the mystical tradition you mention in your missive. That in itself is an area of study for a lifetime. Campbell has that mystical sense about him and seeks it through moving to a position where one” becomes transparent to transcendence” as he refers to it. That for him was one of the major functions of a myth: to move the individual to that space, that attitude and then to be receptive to what is divine in the ordinary. That is my understanding. Thank you for your comments and for the Dylan song–what a genius he is.

    #73699
    Participant

    Dennis,
    Thank you for your reply. Have you done any computer graphic art with Procreate? Computer graphics is rich in the layering technique/motif. A great metaphor for art and perceptions of reality. Palimpsestical awareness !!!
    I reasonate with your revision perspective. Brings to mind literary historical criticism. I like to think on some phenomenal level we humans are the mythic fabric veil of Isis , the Masks of God … We are the Veil the Membrane that separates the eminent immanent and transcendent , the waters below and above , internal and external light.

    Yes! Dylan is a genius !!! I got to see him a few years back ! To me he is a God !!! My wife hated him. A playful bone of contention between us.

    RCubed

    The Three R’s

    R to the third power

    Robert Raymond Reister

     

    Can your art be seen on the web anywhere ? I would enjoy seeing it.

    Have you seen The Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese on Netflicks ? It brought Back so many memories I never had …

    #73698

    Hi Robert: Just learned how to reply to each posting individually. Thank you for your thoughts above as well.

    No, I have not done any computer graphic art with Procreate. I did hire a friend to create for me a new website awhile back.

    Yes, my art work is on it.

    http://www.dennispatrickslattery.com

    and go to the three Galleries. Some of my pottery is there as well. My books are listed under Books. Take a look when time allows.

    Your image of us as membranes, perhaps separating the two realms, is intriguing and there is something right about it.  And you remind me when in the 80s I was involved with literary historical criticism, a rich field. My grad work at The University of Dallas leaned towards the New Literary Criticism which I have found compatible with Jungian Depth. Psychology.

    Many thanks for your rich reflections in both postings. I found them very rich.

    Thank you for the Netflix reference. I will indeed view it.

    #73697
    jamesn.
    Participant

    Dennis; thank you for your extraordinary sensitivity and thoughtfulness in the way you shared such personalized insights with each of our posts. I found particularly fascinating your own methods of accessing and giving voice to the things in your life that you feel need addressing by letting them speak through two specific categories of: “blessings and blisters”. This brings to mind a story about one of things I heard concerning Joseph’s frustration with the way people often misunderstood the meaning of the way people interpreted his term of: “follow your bliss”; and what it often entailed. His comment of: “I should have said follow your blisters” seems to bear this out since his insights in many of his recorded lectures often state there may be great personal suffering along our individual: “road of trials” to fully understand and process what our life is trying to tell us; often through the personal alchemy of our dreams and life experiences in the way we see ourselves. I find for myself that his interpretations of Jungian material has been some of the most helpful in the way I see myths, metaphors, and symbols as suggestive guideposts instead of concretized “thou shalt” commands that society and religion often put up as roadblocks within our own personal experiences; often keeping us out of our own mythical garden so to speak; where the awe and rapture of being alive lies waiting to be discovered; even within this Grand Opera he mentioned we live in with all it’s pain and heartache. Seeing it as a participatory act instead of an ordeal is tough and difficult business sometimes because being able to look behind this veil where our grail truly lies doesn’t necessarily reveal itself automatically; and as he offered we participate in this game of life with gratitude even though we know it hurts; and that is often extremely difficult to ascertain when all this stuff we are in the middle of may be suggesting otherwise.

    (This pandemic we are now going through I think underlines how important these insights he left behind are in being able to navigate this: “freefall into the future” he talked about; and our ability to understand what all these inner messages within our lives are telling us with competence.) For instance these last few weeks here in the US with our catastrophic political landscape falling to pieces would be a perfect example of how Joseph’s material could be so very helpful in assimilating the: who, what, and where we all are in getting through these things.) When Joseph talks about Bastion and Spengler and Jung he is not saying that there is some way to see our lives through a single lens; but to see a much larger season of change that is evolving and we must evolve with it and it is hard without the old roadmap we once relied upon. We are making this stuff up as we go along by going inward as well as driving our vehicle outwardly; and our inner compass; (which you so very thoughtfully suggest); is giving us clues we have to: “learn how to read”; and by each of us sharing how we do this I think is of enormous value. Your important book that you put together with such great care is a tremendous aid in helping people to decipher their own inner landscape; and if I may join with the others here in saying we are so glad you could be here with us in sharing these insights you have gathered over the years that are so helpful in doing so.

    If I may be allowed one humorous anecdote in reference to your wonderful little clip at the end. My name is (James) btw; and I loved your reference to Hermes and how he loves to have fun by playing the trickster; often causing mischief by messing with communication of any kind. Yesterday; he hijacked my entire post by erasing it completely. Stephen came to my rescue by helping me retrieve it from the “ethers” and alerted me; (that for any astrology buffs); “Mercury is in retrograde at the moment” and this always provides the perfect avenue for him to create mischief and havoc with those who fall under this particular configuration.

    Thank you again for your generous and kind participation with us and I will certainly look forward to more of these wonderful insights as we go along. Namaste

    #73696
    Participant

    Dennis,

    Thank you for the link to your website. Your art is Beautifully expressive and archetypical. They seem to make the transcendent concrete. Portals of contemplation meditation. They have a zen quality of pointing at the moon.

    Thanks for sharing

    I have an affinity for the sprouting leaf as a metaphor … The pale green horse of the apocalypse … great mythic associations …

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