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Mythblasts Category MythBlast

Joseph Campbell On the Moon

The inscription on the curved aluminum surface reads simply: “Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the moon, July 1969, A.D. We came in peace for all mankind.” Signed,— alongside signatures from the three astronauts—Richard Nixon.  It’s…

We Happy Few

A few weeks ago, on October 25th, we observed St. Crispin’s Day. I recognize that it’s probably an exaggeration to say “we” observed it. This feast day was removed from the Roman Catholic Church’s universal liturgical calendar following Vatican II,…

The Union of Purposeful Polarities

Light and dark. Heat and cold. These are some of the primal archetypal polarities that underpin the world and its workings. For example, we experience these archetypes within the natural cycles of the earth. The Winter Solstice: dark and cold.…

One Way to Avoid Hell

I have noticed over the years, a characteristic of human beings–not quite a fatal flaw, but a potentially disabling one. It’s best described as the lack of congruence between the life they are living and the life they would like…

Don’t Panic

“I like the cover,” he said. “Don’t Panic. It’s the first helpful or intelligible thing anybody’s said to me all day.” Douglas Adams, A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy The 2022 Nobel Prize for Physics was just awarded to three…

When Metaphors Become Zombies

Halloween decorations sprang up suddenly, like giant mushrooms on front lawns all around my neighborhood this week—3 full weeks before the official holiday. (I’m writing this at the end of September so, technically, it’s a full month before the official…

The Sacred in Place and Time

Sacred realms. It’s so easy to discuss such a topic in the abstract. But how can we discern and honor such places and spaces in our everyday lives, given the many issues and pressures that many of us encounter on…

Tracking the Wild Feminine

The Goddess, on the other hand, is in everybody, in every place, and is every place; the business of recognizing her there is the business of this mythology. Joseph Campbell, Goddesses: Mysteries of the Feminine Divine (232) Our world is…

Languishing Poets and Longing in Temples of Cinema

Entering a movie theater is a sacred experience for me. My only routine public confrontations are with those that ignore the warnings about respecting the sacredness of the experience. Living in Los Angeles, I have the privilege of visiting classic…

Once a Hero, Always the Hero?

After a lengthy journey full of hardship and struggle, the final threshold has at last been crossed. The dragon’s been slain, the maiden rescued, the treasure recovered, and the kingdom restored. As our Hero takes a victory lap, credits roll…

The Many Faces of the Goddess

In our physicalist, rationalist, demythologized, deconstructed and utterly modern world there is but little space in our mental field for what is deemed to be spurious, goddess notions. At best, the goddess is an interesting, curio relic within religious history…

The Luminous Dark

Joseph Campbell states in A Joseph Campbell Companion: Reflections on the Art of Living that: Nietzsche was the one who did the job for me. At a certain moment in his life, the idea came to him of what he…

Skywoman’s Sacred Creative Power

Recently I had an appointment with a dental hygienist I’d never met before. Making small talk, he asked me what I do. I told him I’m a mythologist, which means I study stories that have meant a lot to a…

Archetypal-Mechanics from an Unseen Aid

Let’s begin by reminding ourselves that the term “the unseen aid,” along with so many other potentials for that title like “the Great Mother,” “the psychopomp/guide-of-souls,” “the wise old woman or man,” etc., are archetypes. If we are to approach…

Meditation in a Former Chapel

On my first day of graduate school I became aware that the auditorium in which we gathered had formerly been a church. Despite efforts to secularize the place, a clear liturgical signature remained: a recessed marble basin for holy water,…

The New Old Age

It’s interesting how a book can show us a crystal-clear picture of who we were, are, and maybe even will be. The Portuguese edition I have of A Joseph Campbell Companion: Reflections on the Art of Living, edited by Diane…

Truth or Consequences

All that you touch You Change. All that you Change Changes you. The only lasting truth Is Change. God Is Change. This is the central verse of Earthseed, a religion promoted by the teenage protagonist of Octavia E. Butler’s 1993…

There and Back Again

The theme for July at JCF is Community, a term that draws all sorts of positive, warm and fuzzy projections today. In its broadest sense, a community is a social group with interests in common. Nevertheless, in his description of…

At the Party: My Selves and Sundries

From Correspondence: 1927 – 1987 (The Collected Works of Joseph Campbell): [Barbara Morgan (July 8, 1900 – August 17, 1992) was an American photographer best known for her depictions of modern dancers. She was a cofounder of the photography magazine…

Releasing the Dreamings

  When I was in graduate school studying mythology, I volunteered in the archives that housed Joseph Campbell’s papers. My job was to create high-resolution scans of Campbell’s personal photos—baby pictures, childhood, youth, adulthood, snapshots from his later years. Sitting…

In the Company of Coyote

When I lived on a mesa in northern New Mexico, one summer night I left every window open so the starlit, indigo air could cool the house after a long, hot day. It seemed like I had barely fallen asleep…

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