The work of Dennis Patrick Slattery is a treasure trove of resources for Campbell scholars and enthusiasts of myth. Slattery’s work can be accessed here:
Myths help us to keep in touch with inward forces. They tell us of powers of psyche to be recognized and integrated into our lives, powers common to the human spirit from the beginning.
—Joseph Campbell, Myths to Live By
Myths, like dreams, are living symbols. They serve each of us individually and collectively as guides to aid us in harmonizing our interior world with the surrounding landscape we inhabit. They also serve us on a personal level as ordering and organizing principles whose aim is to offer our lives a sense of coherence, not perfection.
In our lifelong search for meaning, mythology offers up images and stories that incite our imagination and lead us to an understanding of life’s tapestry. Through various modes of expression, such as writing, drawing, painting, sculpting, and other creative outlets, we can pursue our personal mythology as a journey of self-discovery. The wisdom of the ages can illuminate and offer to our personal and collective current crises, new ways of thinking about and integrating them in our lives.
What, then, could be more important to a fulfilled life than exploring the personal and collective myths that inform our daily existence? I have spent over half a century enjoying such an exploration and I invite you to join me in furthering your own journey.
The portals I have found most fruitful in such excavating have included classics of literature and poetry, cultural studies, the depth psychology of C.G. Jung, the archetypal psychology of James Hillman, as well as the mythology of Joseph Campbell and others. In recent years I have added the study of deep creativity and most recently co-authored a volume on this rich subject.
All of these disciplines have been in the service of what I call Explorations in Mythopoetics—by which I mean how we make and shape our myth daily through the narratives we live by, the values that guide us, the images and ideas that attract us and the areas of learning that excite us.
Through the publication of over thirty books that I have authored, co-authored, edited or co-edited—as well as hundreds of articles and book reviews in journals, newspapers, books and on-line venues—I have given shape to many of my ideas on this subject. Through the dozens of workshops, writing retreats, and presentations in the United States, Canada, Ireland, Italy and Switzerland, I continue to explore the relationship of narrative, mythology, and the shaping of personal identity more deeply.
But what are these arenas of exploration in service of? I think that their fundamental goals include: a deepening of self-consciousness; cultivation of a coherent life of meaning; compassion for the suffering and struggles of others; a deepening practice of contemplation and meditation to enrich one’s spiritual life; and a further understanding of the mysteries and miracles of the human imagination.
I invite you to explore my writings and future plans as well as to consider joining me in one of my programs that will allow you to explore your own myth, including an awareness of the webbing that relates all of us to one another and to the suffering earth that yearns for our constructive intervention to restore her exhausted body.
I thank you in advance for your interest and attention to my life projects.
—Dennis Patrick Slattery, Ph.D.