More with Joseph Campbell

When I posted my introductory piece on Joseph Campbell on the 14th February, I was tight on time.  So it was pretty brief, as a piece.

But I was amazed at the number of people who read that Post; clearly this man Campbell has reached out to many across the world.  Plus there was this comment from Michelle, better known as Dogkisses.

What a wonderful man! My hero. I cried when he passed on. He is the first person who reached me in my mid-twenties.

A friend of mine introduced me to “The Power of Myth,” and gave me a video series, which is so old now the VHS won’t play. Bill Moyers (I think I have that name right) interviewed him in the series.

The last book I had about him was, “Radio Interviews with Joseph Campbell.” I gave it to my teenage son. He loved it so much, but his girlfriend said reading that book made him act differently. I laughed and said thank goodness. He said the book disappeared. I wondered how. She said it made him not want to work full time. He was only barely seventeen, and I was trying to get him to take a different path in life.

The world would be a better place if everyone could appreciate what Joseph Campbell said and for the great work he did in his life.

Thank you. A very nice way to start a hectic Monday.

And in reply to me thanking DK for her comment and offering her the chance to guest post on Learning from Dogs, this further comment,

I certainly look forward to the future posts.

I’m having a hard time with my memory and mental fatigue lately. I would have to re-read myself to be able to write about what I learned from Joseph Campbell, which actually might help me and I know I would enjoy it.

I’ve been turning back for the past few months, looking back to when I stood on more solid ground spiritually. Hearing Joseph Campbell again would certainly help me remember that time in my life, because I was reading his work. I have daily quotes from him that come to my Google reader.

Thank you for the invitation and I am truly honored that you ask. I can do some reading and see if my brain gives me anything to share.


So this Post today is for Michelle.

One thought on “More with Joseph Campbell

  1. Hello Paul,

    I feel rather speechless. First, I’d like to say thank you for sharing Joseph Campbell with us.

    Personally, I’d like to thank you for helping me remember this man and his work. Watching the video, I realized that I still love him and recalled why I ever did in the first place.

    It is a love that comes from hearing what feels so true to me, so right on and completely liberating –opening a door to the experience of being alive.

    I guess I’m not speechless after all! I hope you don’t mind if I share what has come to me, just as I write here today.

    I abandoned most everything that had been part of a spiritual life to me when my son was struck with an illness, particularly one that the only treatment I was informed of causes other diseases and conditions.

    Everything I believed in and how I understood the meaning of life, I thought for a long while, must be hogwash. It all seemed so unfair. So not right.

    With time, I’ve seen that whatever is so is so. I must work with what I have and if illnesses are my beasts to fight then I will, though not without a tear. My dad once said, “Warriors cry too.”

    In truth, I couldn’t abandon what I had learned all those years ago when my mind was like a sponge. I was lucky to be introduced to Joseph Campbell. The same person introduced my son and I to camping. A great combination! What I learned is a part of who I am, even if I did give away my long cherished books.

    The summer I waited on my son to get medical help, while he wandered aimlessly on downtown streets, was one of the hardest times I’ve ever seen. When I wasn’t searching for him and taking him and his dog food and water, I sat in my shaded mountain yard and chiseled out of oak a mask. He is, “The Crying Man,” with a natural tear falling from one of his eyes. He rests in the corner as I write, a bit hidden, but I can see him. He was shaped and formed from the sadness in my heart. He holds and represents that sadness.

    After your post, I saw the connection between what I thought I’d forgotten about Joseph Campbell and my having carved the symbol of sadness.

    I remembered the masks I used to collect, a few of which I have packed away. Mostly I collected images of different masks and thought one day I might craft my own, then came The Crying Man.

    I’d also forgotten about a play I’d written years back and saw again the connection to my earlier studies of Campbell. (Communications with Dreamwalker also helped stir these memories)

    The play is a healing ceremony. The healers are the “allies.” The allies are emotions. The drum is in the center with a fire-keeper who drums up the allies. I sketched and colored each emotion a mask.

    Later, after my son finally got help, I became depressed. I went to the local hospital and asked for help. During the interview about why I wanted help, I told them about my play. They had asked what I did on my own for “treatment.” I told them I wrote and drew masks.

    They put me on a floor where I didn’t belong. A doctor said, “But you told us you made masks. When anyone says that word (masks) we automatically put them on this floor.”

    I explained to her that the masks represent human emotions and that we can use each one for healing, even the ones we associate as being negative, such as anger and sadness. She agreed I was on the wrong unit, but rather suspiciously.

    About this particular video clip, I’m left wondering how I can kiss that serpent like the Priestess of the serpent shrine did in the film he mentions.

    She had to go up, “in order to bring rain,” and kiss the serpent three times on the nose.

    He says she did this because, “The past must be killed so that there can be future.”

    I’m wondering now what that serpent represents to me. The past? The times when I allowed a great separation to happen.

    I believe the “bliss” Campbell so often speaks of is lost to us when we detach or become disconnected from our families and/or communities, society and ultimately, from ourselves?

    Again, thank you for sharing, helping me remember and for your great work on this blog.

    Michelle, a.k.a. dogkisses 🙂

    PS Dogs always know how to follow their bliss.


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