ilteris kaplan blog

Hero's Journey

December 25, 2023

I was reading cross and the machine on Substack this morning which then resonated with the episodes I have been watching by Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth on youtube. It is good to park them here for reference.

Cross and the Machine

Especially the passage from Kingsnorth’s article:

`"...He continues: “My most strongly-held belief is this: that our modern crisis is not economic, political, scientific or technological, and that no ‘answers’ to it will be found in those spheres. I believe that we are living through a deep spiritual crisis; perhaps even a spiritual war. My interest these days is what this means."`

To summarize:

The main theme of the article revolves around Paul Kingsnorth’s personal journey from atheism to Orthodox Christianity, exploring his experiences with various belief systems along the way.

Before turning to Christianity, Paul explores Buddhism and witchcraft. He delves into his experiences with Zen Buddhism and his time as a priest of the witch gods.

Paul describes his conversion to Christianity as a profound and unexplainable experience. He feels a sense of truth and authenticity in Christianity that aligns better with his experiences than secular materialism.

Paul Kingsnorth is baptized into the Romanian Orthodox Church. He appreciates the ancient traditions, living saints, and the mystical aspects of Orthodox Christianity.

Paul sees Christianity as a counterbalance to the rebellion against everything in the modern world—rootlessness, cultural erosion, and the rejection of sacred values. He suggests that a return to the sacred center is essential for healing.

The article conveys the idea that true freedom comes from giving up one’s will and following God’s path. Paul reflects on the importance of humility, love, and adherence to the teachings of Christ in the face of contemporary challenges.

Hero’s Journey

In Joseph Campbell’s [The Power of Myth] case, the main focus of the conversation is an exploration of the classic hero cycle, discussing consistent hero patterns in literature, real life, and even in Star Wars films. Joseph Campbell encourages viewers to view parts of their own lives as heroic journeys.

Joseph Campbell emphasizes that there is a typical hero sequence of actions found in stories from different cultures and historical periods. The hero with a thousand faces represents a universal pattern of a hero’s journey.

Campbell explains that the hero’s adventure involves departure, fulfillment, and return. The hero undergoes trials and revelations, and consciousness is transformed through these experiences.

The encounter with monsters represents a stage in early-culture heroes shaping their world. It symbolizes overcoming challenges and transforming the environment.

Campbell suggests that meditation, intentional thinking, and exposure to spiritual contexts, like myths, can elevate consciousness. Holding onto mantras or meditation themes helps maintain a higher level of awareness.

Campbell believes that myths serve to bring individuals into a level of consciousness that is spiritual. He encourages people to recognize and hold onto higher levels of consciousness in their everyday lives.

Campbell suggests that new myths must reflect the global society, emphasizing the unity of humanity rather than divisions. He points to the Earth seen from space as a symbol for the potential new mythology.

The photograph symbolizes a united Earth without national or state divisions. Campbell sees it as a potential symbol for the new mythology celebrating the interconnectedness of humanity.

Campbell describes nirvana as a psychological state of mind, not a physical place like heaven. It is the condition that arises when one is not compelled by desire, fear, or social commitments, allowing them to hold their center and act from a higher level of consciousness.

In summary, Joseph Campbell advises that the hero’s journey is a personal and transformative quest that, when undertaken to save oneself, has the power to influence and vitalize the world. The emphasis is on discovering one’s true nature and living a conscious and fulfilling life.

Written by Ilteris Kaplan who still lives and works in New York. Twitter