How / what awakened your mythological mind?

Introducing people of all ages to mythology... in pre-college educational curricula, youth orgs, the media, etc. Share your knowledge, stories, unit and lesson plans, techniques, and more.

Moderators: Clemsy, Martin_Weyers, Cindy B.

Posts: 10
Joined: Sun Oct 16, 2005 2:41 am
Location: Marietta, Ga

Post by Transtar »

Hello, I'm new to these fourms, but i would like to share my story of how I came here, and hope others will share their own stories as well.

I have always been interested in reading, and when I was in grade school I LOVED greek/roman mythology...couldn't get enough of it actually, and i would always do a book report on one story or another. After a while I had read everything i could in my school library, then i started learning about catholosism ((went to catholic school)) and found many parrels in what the stories were saying. That started my intrest of seeing how different religions "fit" together.

Starting in about 6th grade and continuing into college I had pre-cognative dreams ((not the "I need to analyze the dream for the meaning" the "I had this EXACT discussion before" pre-cog)). I started to search for answers on why I was having these dreams. The catholoc school I was in offered no explinations, so i turned to alternative religions to se if I could find the answers. While never really getting involved in them I read extensivly about Wiccan, paganism, and druidism. After not reall finding anthing that fit, I just let it be, and studied science.

Now I am in my final college semester majoring in Chemical Engineering at another catholic school. Last semester I took a theology class about christian contemplative tradition (meditation). And I started to find answers, during this course we watched the bill moyers interview, and I became drawn to what Mr. Campbell had to say, so i started reading everything I could get my hands on... Finally, i have come here, I still don't have all the answers, but I am beginning to find the people who have questions that are similar to mine....and i finally found my way here.

I now find ties to the "common mythology" in just about everything now. Inclding martial arts, which i have been doing for 4 years now.

I hope to read about how other people have come to this point in their life.
- Bless

P.S. Please excuse any spelling errors, i have horrible grammer.

[moderator note: changed thread title]

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Mark O. on 2005-10-28 11:43 ]</font>

Posts: 3395
Joined: Fri May 31, 2002 12:45 am
Location: Kerala, the green country

Post by nandu »


Welcome to the forums and good question!

What started me off? an Indian, mythology was part of my life from early childhood. I grew up on the stories from Hindu Puranas, mainly those of Krishna.

As an only child, I was a voracious reader, and got into contact with Greek mythology early on. I still remember I was stunned by the similarities. Then there were the fairy tales: those musty old books with mildewed pages that I got from the local library. Also tales from the Arabian nights. I also remember one of the local children's magazines had tales from Scandinavian mythology: Thor and Freya and Loki...

Somehow, all the stories seemed to overlap, to merge into one another and then come apart like colours of a rainbow. I became interested in myth for myth's sake. Then during my early twenties, I discovered Campbell and Jung and decided this was what I was thinking all along.

Now in middle age, I am making fresh connections to all those age-old myths, discovering them afresh, with the help of my friends here on the forum.

And by the way, nice to meet another Chemical Engineer here! I never thought it possible.

Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavanthu

Posts: 724
Joined: Thu Sep 29, 2005 12:44 pm

Post by Raphael »


About 17- 18 years ago, I saw the Power of the Myth series on PBS and in around the same time I also read a book called "Entropy Into The Greenhouse World" by Jeremy Rifkin.

Then I went to sleep.

Last year about this time I woke up and have not slept since.

There was a thought placed into my mind.

Energy = God

Afterall even within God's energetic universe there must be laws that are boundaries, that can be observed.

Using the formula Myth = Math I set about to prove that the 10 Commandments were 'Energetic Laws'.

So I started looking at Relativity, Quantum and of course Entropy which is the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, the science of heat.

And once you pick up the trail of religion it invaribly leads you to myth and symbols, unless you have faith, in which case HIStory ends about 5000 years ago.

Transtar I am looking for people with enthusiasm (god within) to join me in a quest for truth and deeper understanding.
The ability to see similarities and patterns will serve you well.

Read some of my posts, there is usually an element of science, the message is green and you would be getting in on the ground floor.
There are not many people evidently making the connections I have.
Many of my assertions cannot be researched because I am the only one making these specific connections.
Am I mad or am I possessed?
Read the posts and you decide.
Start with this one... ... 2&forum=27


Thus the primordial Law of Thermodynamics says...
God can be neither created or destroyed, he can only be transformed into other forms of God. However there is a penalty for making vain graven images and it is called Entropy.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Raphael on 2005-10-16 15:45 ]</font>

Posts: 10
Joined: Sun Oct 16, 2005 2:41 am
Location: Marietta, Ga

Post by Transtar »

Wow, another chemical engineer ((know of any job oppurtunities? <IMG SRC="/forum/images/smiles/icon_razz.gif">))....And Raph...I would say you're quite sane... I have pondered those same questions in my own mind...Alot of times I ponder these things at lunch and never fully develop them, or just forget about them when i'm in class ((I should reall write them down))... one of the pitfalls I came across is that matter strives to be of greater entropy (chaos). Just something I have hit while working on that subject...I'll post more thoughts later when I finish homework..

Thank you all for sharing, and i hope to hear from more people too. <IMG SRC="/forum/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif">

Posts: 9
Joined: Thu May 30, 2002 1:08 am

Post by LivvySidhe »

Hi Transtar,
Seems like a good topic to hazard a first post, so here goes. I'm having a difficult time coming up with a straightforward answer, though. For me the "mythological mind" seems to be second nature. Symbol has always been inexorably intertwined with the way I veiw the world. I grew up in a house with an amazing library, and honestly can't remember a time when mythical images were not a central part of my imaginary life. My dad had a set of encylopedias called "Man, Myth, and Magic," and I poured over them every chance I got. We had a long peice of PVC pipe in the backyard. I remember distinctly using it to "row" my two-seater swing, pretending I was Charon ferrying souls across the river Styx. I also tied a tire to a tree, got on my bike and jousted with that same pipe, imagining myself Sir Lancelot. I've always been abstracted, obsessed with metaphor. By junior high I was passionate about theatre, poetry, role-playing games. My favorite? Why, "Changeling: The Dreaming," of course! I still have a particular fondness for Celtic myth. I discovered Joe in high school. I started with _Myths to Live By_ and was immediatley sold. Along with my father's library, I was heir to my mother's mysticism. Tarot, I Ching, yoga, meditation were all just part of the environment growing up. So in that sense I've always had a mythological bent.

In another sense, though, I credit Professor Hicks for my awakening. I took a creative writing class with her, and was immediatley awed by her brillance (and Campbell fixation!). In my own peculiar way, I was commiting the Error of the Found Truth. In my case I wasn't attached to any particular dogma, but a harmful unconscious assumption of my very own. For me avoidance and escapism are easy traps to fall into (MBTI = INFP, Ennagram 4). At that point in my life I was so enmeshed in past pain, I wasn't present in my own life. Somehow I felt it was mundane, hurtful, not worth the effort. There was this mythic pure pristine realm I was forever trying to reach, forgetting that it's _here_. Professor Hicks inspired me, nurtured my emerging poetic voice, but she stubbornly resisted all my efforts to make a guru of her. She kept returning me to my life, my truth. At 23 it's so much easier for me to see the ordinariness of the numinous than it was at 18. That's due to her in no small measure. She taught me the Return. She reminded me to "chop water, carry wood." She wouldn't become just another unobtainable abstract ideal. Instead she made me take responsibility for being the hero of my own story. Now I work in a research lab, making bricks. When she heard about that, she said it's the most symbolically appropriate thing she'd ever heard, and it's quite true. I'm working on grounding, on building foundations. I'm not in school at present (my partner is mentally ill, so I'm working full-time to give her a break while her meds get more stable,) but I'll be majoring in mythology. I'm actually writing the novel I only dreamed about before. I feel like my life is my own, and not just my dreams.

It goes something like this: when the mythic spiral of time turned its beaded head and understood what was going on, it snapped. All<br>these years I had been sleeping in the mind of the snake, June. I have to tell<br>this to someone. - Joy Harjo

Posts: 724
Joined: Thu Sep 29, 2005 12:44 pm

Post by Raphael »

On 2005-10-16 18:02, Transtar wrote:
....And Raph...I would say you're quite sane... I have pondered those same questions in my own mind...Alot of times I ponder these things at lunch and never fully develop them, or just forget about them when i'm in class ((I should reall write them down))... one of the pitfalls I came across is that matter strives to be of greater entropy (chaos). Just something I have hit while working on that subject...I'll post more thoughts later when I finish homework..
Hello Transtar,

I also would have thoughts and would forget or neglect them, not writing them down.
But do not worry one day they will all come pouring out.
If you are interested in how entropy presents itself in myth go to this thread Transtar.
Tell me what you think and feel.
It is important we start feeling words.
I feel my sanity Transtar. ... 0&forum=27



ENERGY = GOD ... Share Him is the Message...<br>God can be neither created nor destroyed; he can only be transformed into other forms of God. However there is a penalty for committing sin, for transforming God and it is called Entropy.

Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Oct 27, 2005 4:37 pm

Post by Lugh »

Well I guess this is a good place to place my first post. Like the rest of you I read alot when I was young, (In fact I still do). Well when I was young, I got onto a science fiction and fantsy kick, no 'Bobbsey Twins' or 'Hardy boys' for me. The book I most remember affecting me was 'The Neverending Story' (It was the first book I stayed up all night reading). As I got older I continued to read 'fantastic literature'. When I was about 12 my Father gave me a couple of old Analogs and IASFM's, which I devoured. It was soon after this we did a Mythology unit in school, I fell in love with Greek Mythlogoy. Then at the end of the unit my teacher (Mrs MacCormack I can't thank you enough)gave me a couple of books of Myth including 'Bulfinch's Mythology' It was later that I moved to another school, where I decided to do a paper on mythology, I was while doing this paper that I got copy of "The Power Of Myth," A couple of years pass I move to a place with a bigger libary and I remembered that book, so I decided to see if Mr. Campbell had written any more, and well that led me here

Posts: 425
Joined: Fri May 02, 2003 5:00 am
Location: San Antonio

Post by A J »

During the late 80's I was developing an interest in Jungian psychology, especially the archetypes, and came across Campbell from that direction. My first books were "The Masks of God" series. My daughter caught the Power of Myth series on TV and phoned me, and I watched the rest of them, then ordered the tapes. I was teaching an AP English class, and began using The Hero with a Thousand Faces there.(I also used a very helpful text called Sequel: A Handbook for the Critical Analysis of Literature by Richard Guches, as well). Later, during the 90's, I revised that program for my night classes (special classes for potential drop-outs), and used mythology lessons and The Hero Cycle as the connector for the whole term, since these students had difficulty seeing relationships and making connections. I began by having the students watch Star Wars 4-6 as homework. Then we studied the cycle, read a shortened version of Oedipus, and compared the individuals, Luke and Oedipus, using Campbell's and Guches' ideas as the means of comparison. That set things up for the rest of the literature for the term. My students were continually telling me about how the Hero Cycle related to the movies they were seeing when they went to the theaters. I really felt like I was following my bliss during those days!



<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: A J on 2005-10-27 14:50 ]</font>

Posts: 88
Joined: Wed Dec 08, 2004 10:09 am
Location: Petaluma, California

Post by RavenHeart »

I enjoyed reflecting on this question. Thank you, Transtar, for starting this thread.

I had a wonderful teacher as a first grader, who taught a multi-age class with second graders in it. As a seven year old, I noticed that the older second graders who were "advanced" readers got to read a couple of comic-book like readers with stories about gods and goddesses and great heroes. I have never seen them since, but I seem to recall that they were published by a British publishing house.

I longed to read those texts, and after asking my teacher, she let me read them also. I was amazed, took them home and read both voraciously until I had just about memorized them. Only years later did I find that those stories were taken from Roman mythology. The title page of my book was torn off when I first got it, so I never knew what they were while reading them in my primary school years. Regardless, to this day, when I imagine the Greek or Roman pantheon, those earliest images in those comics come to mind.

Ages five through eight are critical times in a young person's life, I believe, for the psyche’s absorption of mythical material. It's an age when the mind is still comfortable with archetypal powers and magical consciousness as a living reality, and yet one has also an understanding of language with which to fully grasp most stories. It's as though, at that age, the mind can understand a story and be transformed by the real power through it, without being too involved in the social/political world, or too much in the conceptual/empirical world (at least for a Western thinker).

Lucky for me, Star Wars came out within a year after reading those Roman mythology books, and it galvanized my mythical consciousness. Its effect on my mind was like a cold water bath for a newly forged iron blade. It hit me so hard, at all levels. I could not fathom a world without a living mythology as it's cultural life-blood. My thirty-five year old friend—who was once a neighbor down the street I grew up on—was also seven or eight when he first witnessed Star Wars. Today, he actually today practices and lives by a religion of his own based on The Force. I cannot think of a better example to illustrate the potential power of mythology, conveyed with a certain force, on a child. (Lucas, if you’re out there, “it worked!”)

Fantasy fiction and role-playing games made a powerful impression on me before I hit my teens. Books such as Lloyd Alexander's Prydain series and his First Two Lives of Lucas Kasha (based on a sufi teaching story) transported me, and primed me for further explorations into mythic literature. Dungeons and Dragons was for me almost a way of taking a shamanistic journey into the archetypal world. As a teen, I immersed myself in the archetypal world so much that I was only dimly here, in the world of human society. I was practically sociopathic through my teens. Eventually, though, I had to come down to earth.

Today as a teacher it's easy to spot the kids who, like I did, postpone their entry into the world of social responsibility, and relationship with the real, human world—full of contradictions and grit—and remain in the ideal world of Good and Evil, absolutes, and the lucid patterns found there.

Finally, it didn't hurt to have a family member—my aunt—who was a sculptor, Jungian, and Arthurian Scholar. She had attended some of Campbell's seminars at Esalen and, as she was childless until my adolescence and loved me as one of her own, she surrounded me with mythical and archetypal images, and exposed me to the mythical world as a living reality. For me, having an intelligent and sensitive, conscious adult validate the archetypal world made all the difference. When in doubt as a youth, I could just remember my aunt and find a sanctuary in her way of seeing and working in the world.

After I turned five, we moved away and I only saw her once a year, on the holidays.

Once when I was fifteen or sixteen, I walked past her in my grandparents’ kitchen. She picked up a copy of Time Magazine that had printed on its cover in large letters, "Who is God?"

She turned it’s cover toward me and asked me boldly, "Who is God? Tell me: Who is God?"

I looked at her blankly and hoped that she would pull it away as a joke. But she continued to stare at me, waiting.

"'Who is God?'" she asked again, this time to herself. "'I don't know, but She's black,'" she answered.

I chuckled and smiled, but she frowned at once, and squinted bitterly.

"Why is that funny??"

I never forgot that meeting.


You asked us to look at what “awakened our mythological minds.” Looking at it now, however, the "awakening" for me has really been an opposite journey: I have lived in an almost womb-like world of archetypes and dream-images since I was born, so for me, "waking" means to enter into this world: the world of humanity, suffering, imperfection, and living in and through my body. For me, the journey has been a matter of fully incarnating. The mythological mind never slept.

It's so fascinating to learn of the myriad ways we come together to study myth, symbol, and art. And I also love the different levels that we resonate with and relate to—sometimes all in the same thread—getting totally different things from a symbol, image, or post. But that is precisely why mythology is even more of a living language than a language of only concepts. Our understanding of each symbol rises from the reflection in that living mirror deep within each of us.

Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Jul 19, 2006 7:43 am
Location: Tarzana, CA

Post by swbrooks »

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: swbrooks on 2006-12-13 16:36 ]</font>

Posts: 654
Joined: Sat Mar 04, 2006 1:13 am
Location: Oklahoma, USA

Post by creekmary »

"Awakening the mythological mind." The part that sees and feels more than what is literal and material? I guess growing up so isolated out in the country with no other references than nature and stories about supernatural and having it presented and accepted as normal and equally "real".

An understanding that all things are connected, that there are spirits in the woods and that animals can "talk" if you let them and understand the way that they try to speak (with stories that they sometimes literally speak words. But I think that would be more a function of a mental communion that translates itself into words. I have had that with animals. I once had an animal friend, a dog, I asked him if he wanted to wait for me to go to the library or run in the park. He pushed past me to completely block the library steps and looked toward the park and then walked that way, looking behind at me to make sure I wasn't dense and understood. We went to the park. That kind of communion I think could translate into words in your mind. I have another story about woods spirits communicating in their own special, equally forceful and effective little way, another story another day.)

I'm not sure when an understanding of archetypes and symbols emerged. Long enough that I don't remember. An understanding that the subconscious mind, or whatever you want to call it, is connected to another plane that the conscious mind doesn't necessarily want to hear, so that the subconscious mind has to kind of go round-about to get its point across and communicate discreetly in symbols and so forth.

Reading stories that make your imagination run. Teaching you to live someplace beside the here and now.



<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: creekmary on 2006-12-12 12:42 ]</font>

Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Mar 15, 2011 2:25 pm

Post by tbeusse »

I've always been a fan of mythology.

When I was a kid, my mother exposed me to Shakespeare (she was an English teacher.) Reading descriptions of "Apollonian" people and "Cyclopean" monsters confused me. I asked my mom what those words meant and she told me they were from Greek mythology.

The rest, if you'll pardon the pun, is history. I read about Greek mythology rabidly when I was younger. I eventually broadened my reading to Norse, Celtic, Arabic, and Asian mythologies as well. In middle school I started reading about folklore; monsters and urban legends and such.

But if I had to choose one moment in my life that drove me onwards to understanding and pursuing the study of story, it was after I went to see Star Wars: Episode III.

I was crushed. It was a terrible film. I felt betrayed, violated. I was depressed, looking back I know it sounds silly but I was. The original Star Wars had always been the unassailable standard of measure for quality in my mind, Episode III fell far short.

I got home from the movie theater and sat down at my television. I put in my DVD of Star Wars: A New Hope, and I actually cried. To this day, I'm a little embarassed by it. There was no comparison between it and the trash that Lucas threw up on the screen that night. Everything fell into place; the hero, the mentor, the trials and tests, seizing the sword, the triumphant return. It was beautiful.

I promised myself that I would never EVER fall into the dark hole George Lucas did. I wanted to understand the fundamental aspects of storytelling to such a degree that they would become second nature.

And here I am, pursuing an English degree with aspirations of moving out of state for a master's in mythology.

Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Jun 19, 2011 9:59 pm

Post by AmandaonMaui »

I can remember way back to before I was 5 years old, when I went to the tiny room at the church for Sunday school or Wednesday night classes with the other children my age. I can even remember the little paper cut outs of Jesus and the apostles being stuck to the felt board. I didn't really get that what was being taught was supposed to be super important, and I just thought they were telling us stories about some guys who lived a long time ago. It didn't really resonate as the images were so different from our world today. I also thought it was weird that some people could take down a city wall just by walking around it with trumpets.
Yet, at some point under peer pressure and pressure from the authorities in my life (parents, church officials, social norms) I did the thing you were supposed to do. I went to the altar, said I'd take Jesus into my life, and that was that.
I went to church, and church camp every summer, until I was 18. I started really losing my connection to it all thought around 15 years old. The hypocrisy of the other teens, the not fitting in, the going to a larger school for some time with students who followed non-Judeo-Christian religions all shifted my brain to actually think about what I was doing and why I was doing it.
When I was 18 and had a job I used it as an escape from church. I made sure I worked on Wednesday nights, and I would go through the motions as little as I had to so I wouldn't be noticed at church on Sundays. I went through my goth and punk stages during this time too, so it did make people take some notice that i was different, but I tried to say that I was still a Christian and was just expressing myself differently.
After graduation I moved across the country and started "living in sin" with my male partner. When I started college I took a Psychology 100 course, and in that class (I was 20 at the time) I saw a clip of Joseph Campbell in The Power of Myth.
I found out that one of my new friends had the whole series, and we watched parts of it at her home.
This began my thinking about mythologies, and about my own journey in life.
I stopped thinking about it for some time while I was having trouble with my second partner, but now that all of that is over I have been able to focus on myself again. I even saw "Finding Joe" at the film festival.
I'm reopening my thought processing on all of this, and so here I am.