Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Weekly quote: Joseph Campbell

“Opportunities
To find deeper powers
Within ourselves
Come when life
Seems most challenging.” – Joseph Campbell, 1904-1987, A Joseph Campbell Companion


“Successful marriage
Is leading innovative lives together,
Being open, non-programmed.
It’s a free fall: how you handle
Each new thing as it comes along.” 


“A bit of advice
Given to a young Native American
At the time of his initiation:
As you go the way of life,
You will see a great chasm
Jump
It is not as wide as you think.” 


“Whether presented in the vast, almost oceanic images of the Orient, in the vigorous narratives of the Greeks, or in the majestic legends of the Bible, the adventure of the hero normally follows the pattern of the nuclear unit above described: a separation from the world, a penetration to some source of power, and a life-enhancing return.” – Hero with a Thousand Faces


            “‘And now each one,’ we are told, ‘went the way upon which he had decided, and they set out into the forest at one point and another, there where they saw it to be the thickest’…; so that each, entering of his own volition, leaving behind the known good company and table of Arthur's towered court, would experience the unknown pathless forest in his own heroic way.
            Today the walls and towers of the culture-world that then were in the building are dissolving; and whereas heroes then could set forth of their own will from the known to the unknown, we today, willy-nilly, must enter the forest…: and, like it or not, the pathless way is the only way now before us.
            But of course, on the other hand, for those who can still contrive to live within the fold of a traditional mythology of some kind, protection is still afforded against the dangers of an individual life; and for many the possibility of adhering in this way to established formulas is a birthright they rightly cherish, since it will contribute meaning and nobility to their unadventured lives, from birth to marriage and its duties and, with the gradual failure of powers, a peaceful passage of the last gate. For, as the psalmist sings, ‘Steadfast love surrounds him who trusts in the Lord’; and to those for whom such protection seems a prospect worthy of all sacrifice, an orthodox mythology will afford both the patterns and the sentiments of a lifetime of good repute.
            However, by those to whom such living would be not life, but anticipated death, the circumvallating mountains that to others appear to be of stone are recognized as the mist of dream, and precisely between their God and Devil, heaven and hell, white and black, the man of heart walks through. Out beyond those walls, in the uncharted forest night, where the terrible wind of God blows directly on the questing undefended soul, tangled ways may lead to madness. They may also lead, however, as one of the greatest poets of the Middle Ages tells, to ‘all those things that go to make heaven and earth.’" – Creative Mythology

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