Mythology (Joseph Campbell)

Joseph campbell and the power of myth

Q1 2022

“Joseph Campbell was an American thinker, writer, anthropologist, and professor. Most people know him for his studies on the universe of mythology. His work is considered greatly important in this field. However, it’s also appreciated in the field of psychiatry. His studies were contemporary of those from other great thinkers and influential figures of the 20th century, such as Jiddu Krishnamurti and James Joyce. For this reason, several philosophical and thought currents inspired him.

Moreover, Campbell devoted his life and work to comparative mythology. His most relevant work is The Hero With a Thousand Faces. Nonetheless, he wrote many works that, to this day, many still consider a staple reading for anthropologists and therapists. In fact, his work has inspired many professionals from diverse fields, from  psychology to the world of cinema.”

“We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that’s waiting for us.” – Joseph Campbell

Myths — clues to the spiritual potentialities of human life; this was a revelation

“The Power of Myth is a book based on the conversations between mythologist Joseph Campbell and journalist Bill Moyers. Believe me, it is such an astounding book that gives you a thorough understanding of the intriguing elements of life such as life, death, love, marriage etc. and leaves you spellbound.

Profound wisdom in a nutshell

– Man should not submit to the powers from outside but command them
– Myth is a manifestation of symbolic energy
– The dream is an inexhaustible source of spiritual information about yourself
– Myth is the public dream, dream is the private myth
– The mystery of life is beyond all human conception
– World is based on duality
– Eternity isn’t even a long time. Eternity has nothing to do with time. Eternity is here — if you don’t get it here, you can’t get it anywhere
– Myths must be kept alive and the people who can keep them are artists
– Nature echoes in you, because you are nature
– Our true reality is in our identity and unity with all life
– A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself
– When we quit thinking primarily about our own self-preservation and ourselves. We undergo a truly heroic transformation of consciousness.
– Desire is the bait, death is the hook
– Follow your bliss — Find where it is, don’t be afraid to follow it
– The passage to fulfillment lies between the perils of desire and fear.
– Your life is the fruit of your own doing
– The greater life’s pain, the greater life’s reply
– The demon that you can swallow gives you its power.
– The images of myth are reflections of the spiritual potentialities of every one of us. Through contemplating these, we evoke their powers in our own lives.
– If my guiding divinity is brutal; my decisions will be brutal as well
– By expansion, your ego diminishes, your conscious expands.
I request you to absorb the content consciously to get the full essence of it.”

Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth Ep. 1 ‘The Hero’s Adventure’

Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth Ep. 2 ‘The Message of the Myth’

Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth Ep. 3 ‘The First Storytellers’

Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth Ep. 4 ‘Sacrifice and Bliss’

Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth Ep. 5 ‘Love and the Goddess’

Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth Ep. 6 ‘Masks of Eternity’

The hero’s journey

“Treasure, love, reward, approval, honor, status, freedom, survival … these are some of the many things we associate with the hero’s journey.

We don’t find the meaning of the hero’s journey in slaying the dragon or saving the princess—these are colorful metaphors and symbols for a more significant purpose.

Battling inner and outer demons, confronting bullies, and courting your ultimate mate symbolize a passage through the often-treacherous tunnel of self-discovery and individuation to mature adulthood.

At the end of each journey (if there is such an end), you’re different—sometimes visually, but always internally.

Today, let’s explore the meaning of the hero’s journey and see how it applies to psychological development and our ability to actualize more of our potential.

What is the Hero’s Journey?

Joseph Campbell was a curious mythologist. In the field of comparative mythology, most scholars invested their time exploring how one culture’s myths are different than another.

Instead of focusing on the many differences between cultural myths and religious stories, however, Campbell looked for the similarities. And his studies resulted in what’s called the monomyth.

The monomyth is a universal story structure. It’s a kind of story template that takes a character through a sequence of stages.

The main character in the monomyth is the hero. The hero isn’t a person, but an archetype—a set of universal images combined with specific patterns of behavior. Think of a protagonist from your favorite film. He or she represents the hero. The storyline of the film enacted the hero’s journey. The Hero archetype resides in the psyche of every individual, which is one of the primary reasons we love hearing and watching stories.

Campbell began identifying the patterns of this monomyth. Over and over again, he was amazed to find this structure in the cultures he studied. He saw the same sequence in many religions including the stories of Gautama Buddha, Moses, and Jesus Christ.

Campbell outlined the stages of the monomyth in his classic book The Hero with a Thousand Faces (audiobook).

We might ask, why explore the Hero’s Journey? Sure, Hollywood uses it as their dominant story structure for its films (more on that later), but what relevance does it have for us as individuals?

Today, when we speak of “myth,” we refer to something that’s commonly believed, but untrue. Myth, for people like Campbell and Jung however, had a much deeper meaning.

Myths, for them, represent dreams of the collective psyche. That is, in understanding the symbolic meaning of a myth, you come to know the psychological undercurrent—including hidden motivations, tensions, and desires—of the people.

And because the hero’s journey represents a monomyth that we can observe in most, if not all, cultures, it represents a process that is relevant to the entire human family.

What is this process?

It’s the process of personal transformation from an innocent child into a mature adult.

The child is born into a set of rules and beliefs of a group of people. And through the child’s heroic efforts, he must break free from these conventions (transcend them) to discover him or herself.

In the process, the individual returns to his or her soul.”

If we think of the hero’s journey as a roadmap for self-development, it can hold a lot of value for us.

FINDING JOE | Full Movie | Deepak Chopra, Robin Sharma, Rashida Jones, Sir Ken Robinson

“The official full length version of FINDING JOE: A story about Joseph Campbell and The Hero’s Journey.

Starring: Deepak Chopra, Rashida Jones, Robin Sharma, Sir Ken Robinson, Mick Fleetwood, Brian Johnson, Robert Walter, Rebbecca Armstrong, Alan Cohen, Tony Hawk, Laird Hamilton, Gay Hendricks
In the early 20th century, while studying world mythology, Joseph Campbell discovered a pattern hidden in every story ever told and he called it “The Hero’s Journey”. A truly inspirational film, FINDING JOE takes us on the ultimate hero’s journey: the journey of self discovery.
As you slay dragons and uncover treasures, you just may find that the holy grail you seek is closer than you think. If you’ve seen this film then you know how much of an impact it could make in the world!”
A message from the Producer: “If you haven’t seen it then you are in for a treat! This is hope, courage and love all wrapped up in an 80 minute burrito of inspiration. I promise who ever you share this with thank you. Please share this with as many people as you can… the world needs this message now! With Maximum Love ~ Patrick Takaya Solomon”

minecraft end poem

I see the player you mean.


Yes. Take care. It has reached a higher level now. It can read our thoughts.

That doesn’t matter. It thinks we are part of the game.

I like this player. It played well. It did not give up.

It is reading our thoughts as though they were words on a screen.

That is how it chooses to imagine many things, when it is deep in the dream of a game.

Words make a wonderful interface. Very flexible. And less terrifying than staring at the reality behind the screen.

They used to hear voices. Before players could read. Back in the days when those who did not play called the players witches, and warlocks. And players dreamed they flew through the air, on sticks powered by demons.

What did this player dream?

This player dreamed of sunlight and trees. Of fire and water. It dreamed it created. And it dreamed it destroyed. It dreamed it hunted, and was hunted. It dreamed of shelter.

Hah, the original interface. A million years old, and it still works. But what true structure did this player create, in the reality behind the screen?

It worked, with a million others, to sculpt a true world in a fold of the [scrambled], and created a [scrambled] for [scrambled], in the [scrambled].

It cannot read that thought.

No. It has not yet achieved the highest level. That, it must achieve in the long dream of life, not the short dream of a game.

Does it know that we love it? That the universe is kind?

Sometimes, through the noise of its thoughts, it hears the universe, yes.

But there are times it is sad, in the long dream. It creates worlds that have no summer, and it shivers under a black sun, and it takes its sad creation for reality.

To cure it of sorrow would destroy it. The sorrow is part of its own private task. We cannot interfere.

Sometimes when they are deep in dreams, I want to tell them, they are building true worlds in reality. Sometimes I want to tell them of their importance to the universe. Sometimes, when they have not made a true connection in a while, I want to help them to speak the word they fear.

It reads our thoughts.

Sometimes I do not care. Sometimes I wish to tell them, this world you take for truth is merely [scrambled] and [scrambled], I wish to tell them that they are [scrambled] in the [scrambled]. They see so little of reality, in their long dream.

And yet they play the game.

But it would be so easy to tell them…

Too strong for this dream. To tell them how to live is to prevent them living.

I will not tell the player how to live.

The player is growing restless.

I will tell the player a story.

But not the truth.

No. A story that contains the truth safely, in a cage of words. Not the naked truth that can burn over any distance.

Give it a body, again.

Yes. Player…

Use its name.

PLAYERNAME. Player of games.


Take a breath, now. Take another. Feel air in your lungs. Let your limbs return. Yes, move your fingers. Have a body again, under gravity, in air. Respawn in the long dream. There you are. Your body touching the universe again at every point, as though you were separate things. As though we were separate things.

Who are we? Once we were called the spirit of the mountain. Father sun, mother moon. Ancestral spirits, animal spirits. Jinn. Ghosts. The green man. Then gods, demons. Angels. Poltergeists. Aliens, extraterrestrials. Leptons, quarks. The words change. We do not change.

We are the universe. We are everything you think isn’t you. You are looking at us now, through your skin and your eyes. And why does the universe touch your skin, and throw light on you? To see you, player. To know you. And to be known. I shall tell you a story.

Once upon a time, there was a player.

The player was you, PLAYERNAME.

Sometimes it thought itself human, on the thin crust of a spinning globe of molten rock. The ball of molten rock circled a ball of blazing gas that was three hundred and thirty thousand times more massive than it. They were so far apart that light took eight minutes to cross the gap. The light was information from a star, and it could burn your skin from a hundred and fifty million kilometres away.

Sometimes the player dreamed it was a miner, on the surface of a world that was flat, and infinite. The sun was a square of white. The days were short; there was much to do; and death was a temporary inconvenience.

Sometimes the player dreamed it was lost in a story.

Sometimes the player dreamed it was other things, in other places. Sometimes these dreams were disturbing. Sometimes very beautiful indeed. Sometimes the player woke from one dream into another, then woke from that into a third.

Sometimes the player dreamed it watched words on a screen.

Let’s go back.

The atoms of the player were scattered in the grass, in the rivers, in the air, in the ground. A woman gathered the atoms; she drank and ate and inhaled; and the woman assembled the player, in her body.

And the player awoke, from the warm, dark world of its mother’s body, into the long dream.

And the player was a new story, never told before, written in letters of DNA. And the player was a new program, never run before, generated by a sourcecode a billion years old. And the player was a new human, never alive before, made from nothing but milk and love.

You are the player. The story. The program. The human. Made from nothing but milk and love.

Let’s go further back.

The seven billion billion billion atoms of the player’s body were created, long before this game, in the heart of a star. So the player, too, is information from a star. And the player moves through a story, which is a forest of information planted by a man called Julian, on a flat, infinite world created by a man called Markus, that exists inside a small, private world created by the player, who inhabits a universe created by…

Shush. Sometimes the player created a small, private world that was soft and warm and simple. Sometimes hard, and cold, and complicated. Sometimes it built a model of the universe in its head; flecks of energy, moving through vast empty spaces. Sometimes it called those flecks “electrons” and “protons”.

Sometimes it called them “planets” and “stars”.

Sometimes it believed it was in a universe that was made of energy that was made of offs and ons; zeros and ones; lines of code. Sometimes it believed it was playing a game. Sometimes it believed it was reading words on a screen.

You are the player, reading words…

Shush… Sometimes the player read lines of code on a screen. Decoded them into words; decoded words into meaning; decoded meaning into feelings, emotions, theories, ideas, and the player started to breathe faster and deeper and realised it was alive, it was alive, those thousand deaths had not been real, the player was alive

You. You. You are alive.

and sometimes the player believed the universe had spoken to it through the sunlight that came through the shuffling leaves of the summer trees

and sometimes the player believed the universe had spoken to it through the light that fell from the crisp night sky of winter, where a fleck of light in the corner of the player’s eye might be a star a million times as massive as the sun, boiling its planets to plasma in order to be visible for a moment to the player, walking home at the far side of the universe, suddenly smelling food, almost at the familiar door, about to dream again

and sometimes the player believed the universe had spoken to it through the zeros and ones, through the electricity of the world, through the scrolling words on a screen at the end of a dream

and the universe said I love you

and the universe said you have played the game well

and the universe said everything you need is within you

and the universe said you are stronger than you know

and the universe said you are the daylight

and the universe said you are the night

and the universe said the darkness you fight is within you

and the universe said the light you seek is within you

and the universe said you are not alone

and the universe said you are not separate from every other thing

and the universe said you are the universe tasting itself, talking to itself, reading its own code

and the universe said I love you because you are love.

And the game was over and the player woke up from the dream. And the player began a new dream. And the player dreamed again, dreamed better. And the player was the universe. And the player was love.

You are the player.

Wake up.

lila the divine dance of life

“Letting ego take a back seat in our approach to life can keep us from falling into an emotional rut. What does it all mean I, Me, Mine? Who am I? and where am I going? The big questions of life are always there lurking in the back of the mind. Let’s take a glimpse at the bigger picture from the Vedic perspective of creation, the beginning of time and bring it into the present moment of where we, as co-creators of the universe, are right now. Ananda Coomaraswamy traces lila’s roots, which he contends “must be related with lelay, ‘to flare’, ‘flicker’ or ‘flame’ implying that Lila is the source for the state of spontaneous combustion.

The Divine Lila is equated with Gods playful dalliance in creation; The spontaneous combustion of manifested reality, cyclic patterns of expansion and contraction, unveiling the universe through the echoes of the Cosmic Divine. This is the beginning of ‘burning’ desire and the birth of the Ego Self, “I” is our divine right. Within the desire field of Ego, we also begin to co-create and make life manifest. 

Historically the name Lila was derived from several different sources. It was used as the short form of Delilah, a Hebrew name meaning “lovelorn” and “seductive.” As a Sanskrit name, Lila was the name of a queen who was enlightened by Saraswati, the Hindu goddess of knowledge. Suffice to say that from the ancient Rishis observance, ‘Lila’ is all but a play, a theatrical creation of life through the historical ages and we are the actors co-creating with the director. Whether it be a play of love or war our reality is created by the echoes of choice and free will.  After all what is war about, but misplaced ego. Power and greed are fierce ego driven concepts that also exist within our field of desire.

Right now, the Age of Technology is the Lila sometimes coined as, The Age of Aquarius which signifies the unfoldment of a new wave of consciousness. This is bringing our individuality to the forefront of collective consciousness and through the digital networks of information, the deepest and profound issues of life surface and become known. Our awareness is what allows us to be part of the whole matrix of society and be whole unto ourselves. Unlike the Age of Pisces, an epoch lasting over 2000 years, where society was dominated by hierarchical power and religion, we now seek to find our own source of values to live by. We not only question authority openly but also feel free to expose and challenge ourselves to bring out the truth in any situation.

A beautiful dichotomy exists within the universal Divine Lila. It combines the polarities of negative and positive energies, Shiva and Shakti, Krishna and Rada, all symbolic of divine energy of opposites that exist in union. And apart from the extreme picture of world events, the rich the poor, the ravaged the blessed we are all part of this creation. We exist to play our role, we are all part of the plan and that ‘now’ is the time for ego to take a back seat, listen to our inner voice of compassion and allow ourselves to become part of the bigger picture. When we acknowledge the ‘I’ self as the nucleus of the bigger picture it expands to resonate within us individually. Our natural role and connection to the web of life becomes more obvious. Let the spontaneous flow of life the ‘Divine Lila’ be our guiding light!”

arrow of god – cyne

[Verse 1: Akin Yai]
Twice in a blue moon, I might stumble cross thoughts like
What’s the meaning of life, it triggers foresight
Bein able to see in lost clarity, does
The money we make define prosperity, was
Situations quite complex like this
In ancient times of kings and goddess Isis
I hold my throne alone, livin history still
Feel the relevance of those in the history gone
It’s a body and mind but not soul, cause born
Is other worldy kinds that god molds for one
I do believe in bein after this shit (shit)
Whether you righteous or a misfit
Intrigued by the hereafter, avoid the fear factor
Capture the fact that self will be here after
Celebrate life and death in the same vein
And those that are gone I mourn but it’s from pain
Live and let die, some thoughts I been thinking bout
Not fascinated by death but just hear me out
Live and let die, see you in the whirlwind
Grandmother, see you soon when my world end

[Verse 2: Akin Yai]
Do you believe in him? Is he alive and well?
Heaven and hell debated as my mind dwelled
Into a place numb, from which I came from
Return the innocence, now we can play dumb
See I ain’t like y’all (why?) I don’t read much
Biblical words ain’t shit, fuck Jesus
I just live now, perhaps regret later
Don’t call me atheist, I do believe that God’s greater
But is it in you, or is it in me
Or maybe just he, defines celebrity
It’s sorta like telepathy the way God move me
Wit hands on my soul, I’m bold but not unruly
I sacrifice life an’, pay the right price to
Live free now, God let me be now
It’s a cold world, some people need heat
Just give me space and a beat and I’ll find retreat
Say, it’s a cold world, and people need heat
But give me space and a beat and I’ll find retreat
Believe in the after life, there ain’t nothin wrong wit that
Cuz that we exist is fact, and fact which is truth that lack
Lies, live life, life life
Say life is a beautiful thing, or maybe pain is the feel we bring
Just live life

[Verse 3: Akin Yai]
I’m touched by the Arrow of God, that left scars
I’m praisin the atmosphere, respect Mars
Cuz, we all connect beyond the laws of science
Akin is the product of two beautiful migrants
The new world makin ends meet a lifetime
Love and experience the reason why I write rhymes
So I put my all in, ’til my sky falls
Crush my head, I’m dead when I write y’all
Believin it now, my God’s not oblivion
My God is the omnipresent being in ya city and
We dial long beyond the bounds of language
Perhaps that’s the reason why some face still full of anguish
Believe in my aim, my God, and my destiny
I dodge and weave ’til the game of life get the best of me
Believe in my aim, my God, and my destiny
I dodge and weave ’til the game of life get the best of me
Come on y’all

[Outro: Bill Moyers Speaking with Joseph Campbell]
In classic Christian doctrine the material world is to be despised, and life is to be redeemed in the hereafter, in heaven, where our rewards come. But you say that if you affirm that which you deplore, you are affirming the very world which is our eternity at the moment…?

That’s what I would say. Eternity isn’t some later time. Eternity isn’t a long time. Eternity has nothing to do with time! Eternity is that dimension of here and now which thinking and time cuts out. This is it (Moyers: This is it!). If you don’t get it here, you won’t get it anywhere. And the experience of eternity right here and now is the function of life