Wednesday, January 15, 2014
The definitive work of Professor Joseph Campbell was his mapping of the “monomyth,” that single, common theme that shapes seemingly unconnected legends and myths from throughout human history around the globe. Because of Campbell, it has come to be known as “The Hero’s Journey” by name; it involves a man’s quest in which he reluctantly envisions, then pursues, and inevitably realizes his destiny. (I would say Luke Skywalker is the easiest understood modern example of this, which is no accident because George Lucas had Campbell and his Hero’s Journey very much in mind when writing the Star Wars story decades ago.) Campbell shared his findings with the world in 1949 with the publication of his book The Hero with a Thousand Faces, but he never did author a book that did the same for the females of myth and legend.
Until now, kind of.
Safron Rossi, Ph.D., curator of collections at OPUS Archives and Research Center, the repository of Campbell’s work, did the legwork to compile this brand new book Goddesses: Mysteries of the Feminine Divine. She dug and sifted through decades-old manuscripts, lectures, papers, notes, and other documents and recordings to compile the mass of research that Campbell undertook and presented between 1972 and 1986. It is she in 2014 who publishes it under a single title for the first time, making her a sort of heroine herself.
I have a stack of books to get through, but I’ll read this before long. As the late John Priede used to say, “I will add it to my bookshelf.”