Occidental Mythology

 

Occidental MythologyPrinceton: Princeton University Press, Bollingen Series, XVII, 1973.

Occidental Mythology, to say it coarsely, renders the murder culture eventually comprehensive. It is Joseph Campbell’s merit to have unveiled Isis a second time, after her first veil was torn by Helena Blavatsky …

It all started with a murder, the Murder of the Goddess, and it became the mold of all the murders perpetrated thereafter. And he, the scholar, politely talks about ambivalence and inversion for explaining that the basic symbols of the Bible address a pictorial message to the heart that exactly reverses the verbal message addressed to the brain, and that this nervous discord inhabits both Christianity and Islam as well as Judaism, since they too share in the legacy of the Old Testament. We do have a constant rhetoric in the Bible that uses the word ‘love’ like a strange kind of balm for the wounds torn by violence and the patriarchal fear of the female. Continue reading

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The Hero with a Thousand Faces

 

The Hero with a Thousand FacesPrinceton: Princeton University Press, Bollingen Series, XVII, 1973

The Hero with a Thousand Faces is one of Joseph Campbell’s best books. It contains much of the other books, but when it comes to presenting the material, this book really is well-edited. The headers are comprehensive and the book in its overall makeup addresses not only scholars but also a young and always-young audience as it has a significant contact with present-day reality.

We are now once again in the midst of a Hero Cult, and Campbell has to be credited with the merit to have shown the negative sides of this patriarchy-related phenomenon and its many undesirable consequences. Contrary to the proponents of the cult of hero modeling, Campbell makes it all clear that, by following this idea, you miss your soul entirely. In the meantime, he is not the only one who is saying that. We are going to see further down in the review of Care of the Soul (1994) by Thomas Moore, that there are more authors now being alert to warn us about the dangers of hero modeling, and perfectionism, as these are symptoms of both individual and cultural narcissism. Continue reading

The Chalice and the Blade

 

The Chalice and the BladeOur History, Our Future, San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1995.

Riane Eisler revealed in this fascinating book that we were stuck in some kind of neurotic scientism by upholding the age-old dichotomy of matriarchal-patriarchal when we describe evolutionary changes, and that in reality we are dealing with a partnership paradigm versus a dominator paradigm, the first coming close to the idea of matriarchy, the latter more or less synonymous with patriarchy.

The merit of Eisler’s approach to social history is that we can get away from extreme positions: there never was a really pure matriarchy or a really pure patriarchy in human history. When we look, for example, at the mythology of highly patriarchal tribes, such as the ancient Hebrews, we find matriarchal elements, and in highly matriarchal tribal cultures, such as the Trobriands in Papua New Guinea, we find patriarchal elements. Continue reading