Power of Myth: Joseph Campbell: The First Storytellers

Joseph Campbell and The Power of Myth with Bill Moyers

a Winstar Fire Video

The First Storytellers:

-the myths are like messages in a bottle from one who has visited those shores before you, and now you are visiting those same shores.

-when you go from one stage of life to another, like retirement etc, you need to create a new life for yourself. Focus on doing life in this life rather than on focusing on what you’ll do in the next life.

-death is where myth originates from: there was something in a person, then that thing leaves them. Where did it go?

-oft killing an animal wasn’t slaughter, but a ritual act honoring how the animal was giving it’s life voluntarily to you; that the animal was meant for your well-being, that the animal’s spirit would go on existing dispute being killed. This myth serves to wipe out the guilt of the kiling, saying you are acting out nature.

-early hunting people oft saw the animal as superior to them, and they oft take home the personality of the animal as we see with the American Indians. The animals played roles in the myths, and people with those traits.

-a shaman was one with magical powers

-indians called animals, trees, stones, as “thou” rather than “it”. Do that, and you’ll feel a change in psychology entirely. In the newspaper, people defame each other by making them it rather than thou.

-the song of the bird is the expression of it’s soul; the web of the spider the expression of it’s beauty; the life of a human it’s expression.

-indians painted in caves, call them temple caves; a world of spiritual images.

-Cathedrals are oft seen as the mother womb of your spiritual life, where all the images are spiritual

-the indian caves have animals depicted in them, but the picture is secondary in importance to the meanings of the images; it’s the place that’s like a womb, the place from which life comes; the world with the sun shining is secondary to the world compared to the whom of the earth where the life begins and originates. It was said that inside the earth was the womb land from which the animals, or the deities, came. There in the caves the boys would learn to be not boys but men. It’s was where the boys would be through the rites of iniciation where they became no longer the mothers son, but the fathers son. These indian rites continue on today in places like Austrailia.

-a ritual is the enactment of a myth, participating in a ritual is participating in the enactment of a myth

-the indians would take the teeth out of a boy, etc., to try and make the boy go through a psychological change of becoming a new person, going from a boy to a man. Now the Catholic priest slaps the incite and that’s it. As for the girl, she goes from a girl to a woman with her first menstration. It happens by nature. Her iniciation ceremony is usually to sit there and consider what has happened to her. When a girl becomes a woman, she becomes a vehicle of life, identical with the gods. The boy doesn’t get this by nature, but must become a servant of something greater than himself, to society, while a woman is to herself.

-if you want a society without any rituals, read the New York Times. It has young men who don’t know how to behave. They behave like barbarians, belonging to nothing. Even in the catholic church, they have translated the language from the Latin, which takes you from your place, and into english where it’s homely and cozy. They’ve forgotten the function of a ritual: to pitch you out! Not to wrap you back in where you have been all the time!

-James Joyce “The Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man” shows what it’s like to grow up and become a man. the artists are the myth makers of our day.

-the Shamans were the quiviland to our modern day poets; they had an immense psychological experience and hence live in the spiritual realm. They experience dying and coming back to life, and deep dreams, or mystical encounters in the woods. They are persons who go from the normal world into that of the gifted. A priest is a functionary of a social sort, to carry on the ritual about a diety who preexisted him. A shaman rather teaches of his experience not a social ordination, and appoints himself rather than being appointed.

-the woman is life, and the man the servant of life. With the indigenous tribes, the woman orchestrate the dance, and the men act out the dance.

-the tribes also do meditations of out of body experiences to reach ‘the other mind’ (*Jehovah doesn’t ask such of us but outlaws such. The experience he offers is more intelligible and logical and understandable and tangible.)

-Book “Black Alp Speaks”

-the shaman would be psychoanalysts to help the people going through hard things to retain connection with diety, and give spiritual advisement.

-they say the central peak is everywhere, or the center of the universe, axis mundi, around which all revolve on the earth, where stillness is, where perhaps time is not. Jerusalem, Mexico City, Rome, etc, were symbolic of a center.

-Campbell speaks of how each human is a manifestation of the mystery of God