Myths come from the psyche and point back to the psyche

‎The poet and the mystic regard the imagery of a revelation as a fiction through which an insight into the depths of being—one’s own being and being generally — is conveyed anagogically. Sectarian theologians, on the other hand, hold hard to the literal readings of their narratives, and these hold traditions apart. The lives of three incarnations, Jesus, Kṛṣṇa, and Śākyamuni, will not be the same, yet as symbols pointing not to themselves, or to each other, but to the life beholding them, they are equivalent. To quote the monk Thomas Merton again: ‘One cannot apprehend a symbol unless one is able to awaken, in one’s own being, the spiritual resonances which respond to the symbol not only as sign but as ‘sacrament’ and ‘presence.’ The symbol is an object pointing to a subject. We are summoned to a deeper spiritual awareness, far beyond the level of subject and object.’

“Mythologies, in other words, mythologies and religions, are great poems and, when recognized as such, point infallibly through things and events to the ubiquity of a ‘presence’ or ‘eternity’ that is whole and entire in each. In this function all mythologies, all great poetries, and all mystic traditions are in accord; and where any such inspiriting vision remains effective in a civilization, everything and every creature within its range is alive. The first condition, therefore, that any mythology must fulfill if it is to render life to modern lives is that of cleansing the doors of perception to the wonder, at once terrible and fascinating, of ourselves and of the universe of which we are the ears and eyes and the mind. Whereas theologians, reading their revelations counterclockwise, so to say, point to references in the past (in Merton’s words: ‘to another point on the circumference’) and Utopians offer revelations only promissory of some desired future, mythologies, having sprung from the psyche, point back to the psyche (‘the center’): and anyone seriously turning within will, in fact, rediscover their references in himself.”

— Joseph Campbell, Myths to Live By

A reader and contributor on this blog shares the journey through her psyche to wholeness in which she uses Campbell and Jung’s work to understand her experience:

●  A heroines journey

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