Everything that has a beginning has an end

Posts tagged “Joseph Campbell

You will see the pain and horror, but you will see the beauty too.

This is a repost of Dr Catherine Svehla’s latest entry in her mythology blog that challenges us to embrace the whole experience of life.

Listen to her 30min presentation of the Blackfoot myth of the Buffalo Dance here

Life-affirming mythologies

“Life isn’t meant to be happy. That’s not what it’s about. Ah, the damage that is caused by that attitude. All life is sorrowful. Sorrow is the essence of life. But can you handle it? Are you affirmative enough in your relationship to life to say ‘yea’ no matter what happens?”        

                                                                                                                                                      —Joseph Campbell

 

Buffalo Dance by Robert Bissett

 

One of the functions of mythology is to help us establish our relationship to life, to provide the context and meaning for experiences of all sorts. I’ve been thinking about this a lot this week. Bombs are falling in the Middle East and almost 300 people died in a plane crash. We’re treating children who want into the United States as criminals and arguing over who deserves health care. Here in California, we’re facing severe drought conditions. Times are tough and everyone knows it and we deal with it and carry on, etc.

But sometimes the pain of the world breaks through. Then what?

What’s your world view, your perspective, your myth, about the suffering in the world? Is suffering real? Does it matter? Can we get rid of it if we try hard enough? According to Campbell, a life-affirming mythology is one that makes room for both the joy and sorrow in life and treats them both as inevitable.  In this week’s program I tell a Blackfoot myth about the buffalo that Campbell often used as one example of a life-affirming mythology. It provides a way for people to accept all of it—death and killing and the fact that life feeds on life— and find beauty, sacredness, and connection.

A few years ago I heard author and poet Deena Metzger read some of her work in the space that is now the RFJT Listening Lounge. Metzger speaks directly to killing and suffering of many types and someone in the audience asked her how she could go so deeply into those experiences and come out whole. Part of her answer still rings in my ears. You have to look very closely at every thing she said, and not turn away. You will see the pain and horror, but you will see the beauty too.

We have many opportunities to get close to the reality of death as it happens all around us. Do we dare? Do we dare to feel it?

Enjoy the story.

The painting is “Buffalo Dance”  by Robert Bissett, who has an interesting website about art and painting in addition to his wonderful work. Check it out.

 
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The Archetype of The Apocalypse

A presentation by Craig Chalquist entitled – Conscious Apocalypse, Outliving Our Ruling Institutions.
Dr Chalquist explores what it means to live in the archetype of the apocalypse and how to do so with what he calls more consciousness.

He reviews the current collapse of governmental, religious and financial institutions along with the catastrophic disruption of the cycles of the natural world; the experiences of apocalyptic events in past history, the unique phases that historically emerge, and the reasons why they occur. All of which now leads to a systemic breakdown of all structures at all levels and the choice to then find a way to re-align with the new post-apocalyptic time and place or the choice to die with the old way that has passed.

Dr Chalquist then touches on the images of renewal, the images and stories of a new mythology, what it means to let go of old institutions, and how to embrace the voices of the disenfranchised who were excluded from the vanishing culture.

If we can make it to that phase, then, as he quotes from Linda Buzzell, “The redesign of every sector of society to be compatible with the rest of nature and nature’s laws is the Great Work of our era.”

Chalquist ends his presentation with a quote from Jung’s Red Book, from Philemon’s Prophecy

“The earth became green and fruitful again from the blood of the sacrifice, flowers sprouted, the waves crashed into the sand, a silver cloud lies at the foot of the mountain…The stones speak and the grass whispers.”

(H/T Carolyn Baker)


The Soul’s High and Low Adventure

I think we’re miserable partly because we have only one god, and that’s economics. Economics is a slave-driver. No one has free time; no one has any leisure. The whole culture is under terrible pressure and fraught with worry. It’s hard to get out of that box. That’s the dominant situation all over the world.”  – James Hillman in response to this question – – – “Goethe…remarked that our greatest happiness lies in practicing a talent that we were meant to use. Are we so miserable, as a culture, because we’re dissociated from our inborn talents, our soul’s code?”

We have a seeded self that begins to germinate at birth. Our true goal in life is to become that self.

There’s an African proverb: “When death finds you, may it find you alive.” Alive means living your own damn life, not the life that your parents wanted, or the life some cultural group or political party wanted, but the life that your own soul wants to live. That’s the way to evaluate whether you are an authentic person or not.

Spirit in mythology and traditional cosmology is connected to fire and air, and it rises. Soul is connected to water and earth, and it descends. When we rise with spirit, we get peak experiences and those overviews of life that include moments of freedom. Soul goes the opposite way. Water runs down. The earth has gravity and pulls us to it. The soul wants us to grow down and become deep like a river. When people talk about “connection,” they’re really talking about soul. The real connections are not surface connections. You can have many friends on Facebook, but your real friends are those who know and support your deep self and will remind you when you’re losing touch with your own soul.

What is often missing in modern mass culture is this depth of connection. When you see a culture dividing into simplistic polarities — which is all of our politics nowadays and most of our religion — what’s going on is a loss of soul. People who are in touch with their soul know what they’re supposed to be doing in the world and what their way of contributing to life is, in the same way that people know what music they love and what food they enjoy — not just life-sustaining food, but food that has flavor, that makes you feel nourished, even inspired.

The U.S. has become mired in spiritual materialism. People are substituting material accomplishments or possessions for the things the soul loves, such as music and meaningful speech. The soul even loves suffering when the suffering produces realization. In a mass effort to find superficial comforts and avoid suffering, the whole culture has lost soul.”  – Michael Meade