Tag Archives: mythology

Get your Joseph Campbell here, and keep it coming!

Myths to Live By coverAs you may know, I’ve had the pleasure and privilege of serving as the managing editor of the Collected Works of Joseph Campbell since 1999. It’s been hard work, but it’s also been very satisfying — in the years that I’ve been at the JCF, we’ve produced fifteen books (closing in on thirty if you include the ebooks), over forty audio recordings and a really wonderful fifteen-hour video series. Of those books I was talking about, seven were brand new, posthumous titles — on three of which I was the titular editor. (You know. The guy on the title with the author.)

Now, the JCF is a not-for-profit, but it hasn’t been run the most such groups are. We’ve tried to the best of our ability to have the work pay our way. We don’t have an office, nor are there any employees — all of the work is done by a handful of independent contractors (like me) and volunteers. We’ve always taken donations, and sometimes we’ve had to be a little more forceful in our appeals due to a cash crunch, but there haven’t been any major donor campaigns, no chasing after grants, no bake sales.  The idea was not to let the tail wag the dog.

There comes a time, however, when a major capital expenditure is bound to come up. In the case of the JCF, we’ve been getting by on a jury-rigged website for about eight years. It’s never been perfect — but at this point, the plaster is falling off the walls. We’ve tried to find low- or no-cost ways to create the kind of vibrant, useful site that our associates need, but finally came to the realization that we needed to raise :gulp: $65,000 in order to make that happen.

So this is where I turn to you — I know that you’re shocked — and ask that you help us continue to fulfill our mission to “preserve, protect, and perpetuate the groundbreaking work of Joseph Campbell.”

Click here to go to our Fundrazr crowdfunding page.

And when you do, remember all of those books and audio and video I told you about?

Guess what! If you donate, you can choose some or all of those as our thank you!

funny little boy dressed as superhero on the coast

New Joseph Campbell ebook: Oriental Mythology

Oriental Mythology
Just wanted to pass along an announcement from Joseph Campbell Foundation about the formal release of Masks of God: Oriental Mythology, the newest ebook in the Collected Works of Joseph Campbell! It’s a project that we’ve been working on for more than a year, and are pleased to see come to fruition.

The ebook, the first release in a digital edition of the Masks of God series, explores the evolution of the myths of the Middle East and Asia from the dawn of history up until modern times, looking at how they have changed from country to country and millennium to millennium, and how they’ve remained the same.

The ebook is currently available only on the foundation’s website, JCF.org, as a thank you gift for donations of $9.99 and greater. Continue reading New Joseph Campbell ebook: Oriental Mythology

The Journey to Goddesses

Goddesses: Mysteries of the Feminine Divine by Joseph CampbellIt may surprise you to know that Joseph Campbell (1904–1987) has come out with a new book: Goddesses — Mysteries of the Feminine Divine. The story of how this book came to be is a testament both to the enduring power of the late American scholar’s work and of the power of the subject itself.

In 1980, Campbell and his editor, Robert Walter, were in the process of creating Campbell’s magnum opus: The Historical Atlas of World Mythology (a work Campbell sadly never completed). The book would be published by a new company that they were setting up for the purpose; Alfred van der Marck, the publisher with whom they were working, pointed out that you couldn’t have a publishing company with just one book, and so Campbell and Walter sat down and drew up a list of books that they felt should be part of this new venture.

The first book on the list was a book on a subject that Campbell’s friend and colleague Marija Gimbutas had brought to the academic fore: the study of the feminine divine in all of its historical and cultural forms. Continue reading The Journey to Goddesses

Christina's World – On Struggle and Story

Christina's World by Andrew Wyeth Andrew Wyeth (American, 1917-2009). Christina’s World, 1948. Tempera on gessoed panel. 32 1/4 x 47 3/4 in. (81.9 x 121.3 cm). Purchase. Courtesy of The Museum of Modern Art, New York. © Andrew Wyeth

I was talking with an author the other day. We were discussing cover art, and the subject of Andrew Wyeth’s iconic painting “Christina’s World” came up.

Not that we wanted to use that piece, but we wanted to evoke the same feeling.

What’s so evocative about “Christina’s World”? Well, I’m not an image person so much as a story person, and for me, it’s the central figure’s determination, her yearning.

The actual Christina — the model for the body (though not the head) in the painting* — was a paraplegic who refused to use a wheelchair; she moved around the farm that she and her brother lived on solely through the use of her arms.

Why were we discussing this? Well, obviously, its an incredibly evocative image. More to the point, Nicole Sykes, the author I’m working with, was born with cerebral palsy. Speech is a challenge for her. She has partial control over her left hand, but doesn’t use her right. Her mobility is provided by a motorized wheel chair. She speaks — and writes — by tapping a large keypad with the back of her left fist; speech is synthesized in Stephen Hawking-like bursts.

And she’s written a memoir. A funny memoir. Continue reading Christina's World – On Struggle and Story

Christina’s World – On Struggle and Story

Christina's World by Andrew Wyeth Andrew Wyeth (American, 1917-2009). Christina’s World, 1948. Tempera on gessoed panel. 32 1/4 x 47 3/4 in. (81.9 x 121.3 cm). Purchase. Courtesy of The Museum of Modern Art, New York. © Andrew Wyeth

I was talking with an author the other day. We were discussing cover art, and the subject of Andrew Wyeth’s iconic painting “Christina’s World” came up.

Not that we wanted to use that piece, but we wanted to evoke the same feeling.

What’s so evocative about “Christina’s World”? Well, I’m not an image person so much as a story person, and for me, it’s the central figure’s determination, her yearning.

The actual Christina — the model for the body (though not the head) in the painting* — was a paraplegic who refused to use a wheelchair; she moved around the farm that she and her brother lived on solely through the use of her arms.

Why were we discussing this? Well, obviously, its an incredibly evocative image. More to the point, Nicole Sykes, the author I’m working with, was born with cerebral palsy. Speech is a challenge for her. She has partial control over her left hand, but doesn’t use her right. Her mobility is provided by a motorized wheel chair. She speaks — and writes — by tapping a large keypad with the back of her left fist; speech is synthesized in Stephen Hawking-like bursts.

And she’s written a memoir. A funny memoir. Continue reading Christina’s World – On Struggle and Story

At Play in the Fields of the Lord: Stillpoint to release Gods & Games

Stillpoint is proud to announce the signing of David L. Miller’s classic title, Gods & Games: Toward a Theology of Play. A deeply thoughtful, deeply irreverent look at the mythology of play, Gods and Games ties together Joseph Campbell’s approach to myth and religion with Johan Huizinga’s view of our species as Homo ludens — “Man the Game-player” — which suggests that play is a central aspect of the human spirit and human culture.

Publishers Weekly called Gods and Games “a comprehensive and clear review…. loaded with quotations both pertinent and entertaining that may be eye-openers both to traditional religionists and readers who may never have thought about play in a philosophical or religious sense.”

Stillpoint Digital Press will release Gods and Games this August in ebook form (ePub and .mobi/Kindle). It will be available initially at Stillpoint’s own online store.

David L. Miller is the Watson-Ledden Professor of Religion, Emeritus, at Syracuse University and is a retired core faculty member at Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara. He has served as a long-term member of the board of Joseph Campbell Foundation. Since 1963, Dr. Miller has worked at the intersections of religions and mythologies, literature and literary theory, and depth psychology.

At Play in the Fields of the Lord: Stillpoint to release Gods & Games

Stillpoint is proud to announce the signing of David L. Miller’s classic title, Gods & Games: Toward a Theology of Play. A deeply thoughtful, deeply irreverent look at the mythology of play, Gods and Games ties together Joseph Campbell’s approach to myth and religion with Johan Huizinga’s view of our species as Homo ludens — “Man the Game-player” — which suggests that play is a central aspect of the human spirit and human culture.

Publishers Weekly called Gods and Games “a comprehensive and clear review…. loaded with quotations both pertinent and entertaining that may be eye-openers both to traditional religionists and readers who may never have thought about play in a philosophical or religious sense.”

Stillpoint Digital Press will release Gods and Games this August in ebook form (ePub and .mobi/Kindle). It will be available initially at Stillpoint’s own online store.

David L. Miller is the Watson-Ledden Professor of Religion, Emeritus, at Syracuse University and is a retired core faculty member at Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara. He has served as a long-term member of the board of Joseph Campbell Foundation. Since 1963, Dr. Miller has worked at the intersections of religions and mythologies, literature and literary theory, and depth psychology.

New Audiobook: A Favorite Son now available!

A Favorite Son by Uvi Poznansky

A new Stillpoint Digital audiobook came out today!

A Favorite Son, one of two titles that I’ve been producing for author Uvi Poznansky, was released on Audible.com today; it’ll be available on Amazon and on iTunes over the next couple of days.

A Favorite Son is the wonderful re-imagining of the the biblical story of Jacob (Yonkle) and Esau (Esav). Here’s an extract that Uvi posted on her blog:

Are You Jealous?

“Are you jealous?” I tease him. “I can’t believe it!”

To which he roars, “You do nothing, you! You cook, you hide. Coward! Aha, coward you!”

He takes one step forward; I take two back. The arrows slung over his shoulder clink against each other. It is a steely, menacing sound. With one blow of his hand, he smacks down the canvas; and, on the double, the entire tent is flattened into a lopsided mess, collapsing upon itself; its pegs flying clear out, bouncing over and over, over the soft sand.

He gets in my face; we are standing nose to nose. The moment I have dreaded all my life is suddenly upon me, and there is no way to withdraw. I have to face him, which forces me to examine him closely.

This excerpt, in Yankle’s voice, captures the beginning of a dialog between him and his twin brother Esav, who is coming back from a day of hunt utterly famished, and tested to the limit of his wits by the smell of the lentil stew. Here is this snippet in audio:




Yonkle and Esav

 

Available in the following formats:

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Inauguration Weekend: Ritual and Renewal

Here’s a thought that first occurred to me on the third weekend of January four years ago, and that feels all the truer to me now:

I love that presidential inaugurations now take place the day after MLK Day. Not only does it make for a lovely four-day weekend for some schools, but we have created a secular ritual of loss and rebirth that satisfies my mythically-oriented but ultimately agnostic soul.

Think about it: every third Monday of January, we here in the US celebrate the life of man who called to the better angels of our nature, and who died in the struggle to get our nation to live out its creed—that all men are created equal. Every Martin Luther King Day, I listen to King’s speeches—the “I have a dream” behemoth, the “I have seen the Promised Land; I may not get there with you” Pisgah sight—and they fill me with both great hope and a great sense of loss. I cry. Every damned time. It’s pathetic. Only it’s not.

Then, every fourth year, on the third Tuesday in January, we indulge in the audacity of our on-going revolution, an exercise that embraces the idea that not only are we all one nation together (whatever our differences), but that we can, will, and do work continuously to make ours a more perfect union. Continue reading Inauguration Weekend: Ritual and Renewal

The End Approacheth… and Recedeth: Apocalypse as Myth

La Mojarra Inscription - Mayan Long Count Date

The world is coming to an end.

Perhaps it will be on this year’s winter solstice, when the Mayan calendar says that the current pictun or aeon will end, and the universe will be obliterated and reconstituted– as it is supposed to have been seven thousand years or so ago. (Like Hindus, Buddhists, and many physicists, the Mayans believed that history moved in cycles rather than a straight line.)

Or perhaps it will be in five billion or so years, when the sun goes nova, burning the earth to a crisp.

Or perhaps it will be some other form of metaphysical or manmade apocalypse.

What is certain is that the idea of apocalypse — the myth of the word’s end — exercises a real, enduring power over the human imagination. Not a year goes by when some would-be prophet or other begins counting down to doomsday. Continue reading The End Approacheth… and Recedeth: Apocalypse as Myth