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Joseph Campbell: An Evolved Aries

Today March 26 is the birthday of the hugely influential scholar of the world’s mythologies Joseph Campbell. He was born on 26 March 1904 at 7:25 pm, New York. Here’s a riff on him excerpted from my book Signs of the Zodiac: Clothing of the Self.
Campbell is a great example of an evolved Aries. An inspirational teacher, scholar and writer, he was well versed in art, literature and the perennial philosophy, but was especially learned in the world’s myths, legends and fairy tales. Through prodigious research into these areas, [his yoga he once declared was underlining sentences], he purportedly discovered a mono-myth, the hero’s journey, which he argued in his seminal work, The Hero With A Thousand Faces, forms the core of all mythology. Here, in outline, is that quintessentially Arien motif: 
“A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.”
Immature Ariens forget the last bit. They fight for self-centred glory alone, whereas more evolved types dedicate the fruits of their victory to the greater whole, thereby covering themselves in even greater glory.
For Campbell, the hero’s journey is intrinsically an individual one. “Each enters the forest at a path that he himself has chosen, where it is darkest and there is no path. If there is a path it is someone else’s path, and you are not on the adventure.” 
Of his own hero’s journey he writes: ‘How teach again .. what has been taught correctly and incorrectly a thousand times throughout the millenniums of mankind’s prudent folly? That is the hero’s ultimate difficult task. How [to] render back into light world language the speech defying pronouncements of the dark? Many failures attest to the difficulties of this life affirmative threshold.’
And further speaking of his own process: “Working out of your own discovery, out of your own realization, who’s going to want it? Well, you may be surprised. It’s a very difficult decision to make, to do this thing that is an experiment, the creation, bringing forth of a form that was never brought forth before. Now I found it in writing sentences. You can write that sentence in a way that you would have written it last year. Or you can write it in the way of an exquisite nuance that is writing in your mind now. But that takes a lot of waiting for the right word to come.” 
Impatient Ariens note the last sentence.
To demonstrate what sentences of ‘exquisite nuance’ he is capable of, consider this passage: “The modern hero, the modern individual who dares to heed the call and seek the mansion of that presence with whom is our whole destiny to be atoned, cannot, indeed must not, wait for his community to cast off its slough of pride, fear, rationalized avarice, and sanctified misunderstanding. “Live,” Nietzche says, “as though the day were here.” It is not society that is to guide and save the creative hero, but precisely the reverse. And so everyone of us shares the supreme ordeal – carries the cross of the redeemer – not in the bright moments of his tribe’s great victories, but in the silences of his personal despair.”  
Campbell displayed his Arien nature too in his personality and teaching style. That style involved turning thinking into an adventure and enlivening his lectures by issuing challenges such as this favourite: “Are you going to live the myth or is the myth going to live you?” His first editor described him as ‘energetic, sound and full of life’, while Michael Murphy, co-founder of the influential Californian personal growth center, Esalen, said of him: “for more than twenty years Joseph breathed new life into Esalen. [We] came away from his seminars like people from revival meetings, inspired by Galahad, Kali or Hermes, rather than visions of hellfire. No one brought their audiences to their feet like he did. No one in Esalen’s history joined enthusiasm, scholarship, and wisdom so fully.” He won the hearts and minds of students at the all women Sarah Lawrence College too, and later in his career those of film directors Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and George Miller, the Australian director of Mad Max. In the modern vernacular, you could say he turned people on!
His patented response to the disenchantment of modern life was to find your life’s true passion and follow it, or as he famously put it, ‘follow your bliss’. “By bliss I mean the deep sense of being in it, and doing what the push is out of your own existence – it may not be fun, but it’s your bliss and there’s bliss behind pain too. You follow that and doors will open where there were no doors before, where you would not have thought there were going to be doors, and where there wouldn’t be a door for anybody else .. When you have the un-mistakable experience of the aha! then you know you’re riding on the mystery”.

One thought on “Joseph Campbell: An Evolved Aries

  1. hi Varij are copies of your book for sale? ☺🌱☘🍀🏡☄🌟

    On Mon, Mar 26, 2018, 2:18 AM Byron Bay Astrologer Varij wrote:

    > Varij posted: “Today March 26 is the birthday of the hugely influential > scholar of the world’s mythologies Joseph Campbell. He was born on 26 March > 1904 at 7:25 pm, New York. Here’s a riff on him excerpted from my book > Signs of the Zodiac: Clothing of the Self. Campbell” >


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