Wednesday, October 1, 2014

I give thanks to all the Myths for Joseph Campbell






The Mythic Image – Joseph Campbell (1974)

            Joseph Campbell is one of the seminal figures in comparative mythology and the study of human belief systems.  He helped create the field and wrote some of the most engaging and readable books about these topics.  In The Mythic Image, Joseph Campbell draws upon his life of learning to explore the commonalities and sources of over 5,000 years of mythology.
            This book is so dense, so full of ideas and thought-provoking insights, that it is impossible to summarize.  Mr. Campbell tackles all the major themes of human myth and explores the relationships which organized religion’s theologians carefully avoid mentioning.  Myth is a human construct created to help us make sense of the world around us, because so much of it is mysterious and seemingly far from the scope of our daily human lives.
            The great thing about this book is that it focuses on images and their meanings.  The book is full of great illustrations which help the reader to understand the themes explored.  Amazing stuff.  The visual image as a guide to myth is far older than the written word.  Symbols of all types are explained with great care, and this information allowed me to tie up many loose ends that float around in my brain.

So many things floating in my brain...

            Mythology arises through shared experience.  We are all born, live, and then we die.  Out myths and symbols help guide us through life to our resting place in death.  These can be very important things, but they tend to be overlooked in our current consumerist society.  Joseph Campbell is a great teacher and never hesitates to include seeming opposites, for they all come from the human experience.  This is a great book!

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