Quotes from, The Rebirth of the Hero: Mythology as a Guide to Spiritual Transformation

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The modern world is facing unique challenges as technology and science reconfigure the structure of culture all over the globe. I think that new communication technologies allow a person to create and connect with niche communities in a way that was not possible before. These new communities, thanks to technologies, are breaking apart tradition community structures and histories. Jungian psychology fills a need to find meaning in life by highlighting the powerful connection we have to our mythic past. It addresses our rational need for personal experience by providing a framework and methods for understanding the wisdom within our own minds.

Screen Shot 2015-05-17 at 12.21.48 PMWe can create our own personal myths – something that helps us to find meaning in life. With all the culture, art and history that is available where do I place myself? As an American I have a limited cultural history. As a human being my past is overwhelming and possibly infinite.  Jungian psychology provides a method that allows me to navigate and build meaning from the infinite and place myself in this time and space.

 

Le Grice, Keiron (2013-03-26). The Rebirth of the Hero: Mythology as a Guide to Spiritual Transformation. Muswell Hill Press. Kindle Edition.

CHAPTER 1 Joseph Campbell and the Place of Myth in Modern Culture

  1. Joseph Campbell’s work provides one source of direction and guidance for our time. Campbell was one of the foremost authorities on mythology and without question its most successful advocate. (Kindle Locations 147-148).
  2. Campbell’s teachings are a response to the problems, challenges, and opportunities of our age. The primary source of his teaching is the treasure-house of wisdom contained in world mythology.(Kindle Locations 162-163).

Approaching Myths

  1. The word myth refers to the stories and sets of symbolic images that have informed human lives across the ages, shaping tribal societies, local cultures, and the world’s great civilizations alike. 2 Myths are stories that provide perspective and meaning to help individuals and cultures orient themselves to the requirements of living. They serve as a record of humanity’s spiritual heritage, and they have inspired all the great religions and cultural world views.(Kindle Locations 170-174).
  2. A myth is also distinguished from a fairytale , which is usually told primarily for entertainment, whereas myths purport to be true in some fundamental sense; properly understood, they have a spiritual and cosmological or existential significance. (Kindle Locations 206-208).
  3. We find ourselves living in the midst of a period of spiritual transformation in which, as Campbell stressed, the local cultures and enclosed mythologies pertaining to specific geographical regions have effectively dissolved as we have entered the global , planetary era. In response, we now need a global myth or narrative to provide life orientation. This has never happened before.(Kindle Locations 238-240)
  4. One purpose myth serves in human life, then, is to provide meaning. Such meaning, however, is deeper and more encompassing than merely intellectual understanding. It is, rather, a living meaning, relevant to the heart and to the spirit, as much as to the mind— to be conveyed through painting, dance, music, poetry, and literature , and not just through rational discourse and theories . As a culture, we are lacking a collective myth that can put us in touch with this deeper level of meaning, and we see the consequences reflected in all manner of social and psychological ills. “Meaninglessness,” Jung wrote in his autobiography, “inhibits the fullness of life and is therefore equivalent to illness.” (Kindle Locations 244-249).

Christianity and Science

  1. Myth is not merely primitive thinking; it comes from a deeper , unconscious source. This position marks an exceptionally important turn in the modern understanding of just what myth is, and how it originates.(Kindle Locations 315-316).
  2. Romanticism, by contrast, is concerned with the irrational interior world of the human psyche, feelings and instincts, the imagination and poetry and art, nature and her hidden depths, and with mystery and that which transcends reason. The Romantic tradition goes back to poets such as Blake, Wordsworth, and Shelley in Britain and Hölderlin in Germany, as well as German idealist and Romantic philosophers Goethe, Schelling, Schopenhauer, and Nietzsche. This tradition continues with the depth psychology of Freud and Jung. Campbell’s interpretation of myth, informed by depth psychology, also falls into this Romantic lineage.(Kindle Locations 319-323).
  3. Romantics are actually proposing that myth can reveal something that reason and science cannot. Myth can help illuminate the irrational givens of existence and the spiritual dimension of human experience in a way that rationality cannot. (Kindle Locations 326-327).
  4. As Campbell stressed, the dream might be construed as an expression of the individual’s own myth, just as the myth might be imagined as a shared dream of the culture.(Kindle Locations 399-400).
  5. Myth is not only to do with some historical past, either real or imagined, but is actively shaping our life experiences in the depths of each individual’s psyche. (Kindle Locations 420-421).

The Functions of Myth

  1. From Campbell’s study of world mythology, he identified four main functions of myth.(Kindle Locations 422-423).
  2. Our age, for all its technological sophistication, has become for many people what Campbell describes as a spiritual “wasteland”— a theme to which we will later return. (Kindle Locations 518-519).
  3. To move beyond the patterns of one’s culture, beyond the womb of society, is also to leave behind the accepted religious truths in the quest for one’s own spiritual experience.(Kindle Locations 573-575).

CHAPTER 2 Mythology: East and West

Distinctions Between Eastern and Western Mythology

  1. The spiritual emphasis of the East is not on the fulfillment or realization of the self, but on liberation from the self and the limitations of egoic existence.(Kindle Locations 665-666).
  2. In Jung’s view, Christianity has thus provided a kind of protective buttress, serving, through its rituals and moral codes, to fortify human ego-consciousness against any relapse to the natural state of preconscious instinctive life. Christianity has been instrumental in helping Western civilization leave behind the unconsciousness of the “primitive” world.(Kindle Locations 864-866).

Evolution and the Ego

  1. In myth, this process of separation from nature culminates in the hero’s fight with the dragon, which symbolizes the light of consciousness doing battle with the dark instinctual power of nature, as ego-consciousness struggled to be free from its prior state of unconsciousness and domination by the instincts. The emergence of the light of consciousness and the separation into opposites —sky and earth, male and female, light and dark— brought to an end the self-perpetuating unconscious cycle of existence, symbolized, Neumann suggests, by the uroborus, the self-consuming serpent, which eats its own tail. (Kindle Locations 882-886).
  2. What came to pass both with the emergence of Judaism and the birth of Greek philosophical speculation, therefore, seems to have met the needs of the reality of the evolving universe at that time, pressing the human mind to conceive of the universe and human nature in such a way as to foster its own differentiation from the cosmological matrix within which it is embedded. (Kindle Locations 923-926).
  3. The Holy Grail, a symbol of the culmination of spiritual realization, can only be attained , Campbell stressed, by the person who has lived his or her own life, not one who has followed the life path of another. To attain the Grail, that is, you must become who you are, realize your unique potentiality, become a type unto yourself. For no one else exactly like you has ever lived before, and no one exactly like you will ever live in the future. (Kindle Locations 952-955).

The Will to Power and the Übermensch

  1. Set against reason and morality, the repressed instincts can assume gargantuan proportions and can irrupt into consciousness or take possession of us.  Indeed, in large part, depth psychology has arisen because of this schism between human rational consciousness and its instinctual basis, in an attempt to bring the two into a more constructive and balanced relationship. (Kindle Locations 1100-1101).

Nihilism and Mythology

  1. Recalling the four functions of myth— metaphysical, cosmological, sociological, and psychological— what, we might ask, is the metaphysical basis for a myth or a religion at a time when science discloses a meaningless, arbitrary, material, and mechanistic universe? There is none. Metaphysics has effectively been wiped away. Regarding the cosmological function, a disenchanted, desacralized vision of things has taken hold in which there is apparently no spiritual meaning in anything, and in which we are adrift, without purpose or design, on a miniscule planet in the infinite nothingness of outer space. (Kindle Locations 1120-1124).
  2. The result, as we have seen, is that one now has to navigate one’s life transformations for oneself; there are no effective rites of passage to help us, no valid collective myths to guide and instruct. For the self-aware individual, all this creates an unavoidable problem: an existential crisis.(Kindle Locations 1131-1133).

Depth Psychology and the Archetypal Hero

  1. But if for you the old religious signs and symbols no longer have the authentic credibility they used to have, you are forced to find your own way through life, to find your own life meanings, your own personal myth. This is the person the work of Jung and Campbell addresses. (Kindle Locations 1143-1145).

In effect, the hero myth leads to the death and transfiguration of the ego.(Kindle Locations 1151-1152).

  1. The problematic consequences of the increasing autonomy of the individual self, coupled with the modern rejection of myth, are the psychological difficulties inherent in modern ego-consciousness: neurosis, psychotic breaks, schizophrenia— the whole field of psychopathology as well as the less defined, pervasive sense of angst or panic or meaninglessness that is often experienced in modern life. (Kindle Locations 1156-1159).
  2. For it is not, of course, that God, mythology, religion, and spirituality actually came to an end; rather, they were transformed, appearing thereafter in a different guise, to be encountered directly within the individual’s own psyche. (Kindle Locations 1181-1182).

The Coming Together of East and West, Ancient and Modern

  1. In the modern era, we are also experiencing a cross-fertilization of the Oriental and Occidental streams. These two streams represent, as it were, the two halves of the psyche.(Kindle Locations 1190-1192).
  2. Indeed , one could argue that we seem to have experienced a globalization of the psyche in step with the globalization of culture. (Kindle Locations 1229-1230). Contemporary creative mythology, in short, has access to and is informed by the whole spiritual-religious-mythic cultural heritage of the human species— an unprecedented development that marks our age as unique. (Kindle Locations 1235-1237).

CHAPTER 4 Creative Mythology and Individuation

The Creative Artist and Modern Myths

Throughout the arts, we now have unprecedented access to the creative products of millions of people around the world. Such creativity constitutes an eclectic, currently incoherent , mythological tapestry, reflecting the major cultural transformation of myth over the last few centuries.(Kindle Locations 1278-1280).

  1. It is the mythic function of modern art, then, to give new forms of expression to the universal truths of myth— a function admirably fulfilled, Campbell believed, by George Lucas’s Star Wars, which presents a new inflection, a new telling, of the archetypal themes of the myth of the hero.(Kindle Locations 1288-1290).
  2. Campbell’s work is concerned not merely with portraying the archetypes, but also with the process of psychospiritual transformation— a further expression of his essentially Romantic life philosophy.(Kindle Locations 1338-1339).

The Three Metamorphoses of the Spirit

  1. In describing the movement of the human spirit through three forms— camel, lion, and child— the parable essentially conforms to the Romantic pattern, culminating in the realization of what might be described as a condition of higher naturalness.(Kindle Locations 1351-1353).
  2. The insights of Nietzsche and Jung suggest that if the old god is indeed dead, a new god— the deeper Self, in Jungian terms, born as a “child” in the psyche of each of us— is emerging as a living center within. It is the individual’s challenge to consciously participate in this unfolding spiritual transformation, a process that is symbolically illuminated by the motifs of the mythic hero’s journey. (Kindle Locations 1433-1436).
  3. The adventure is one of spiritual transformation through the overcoming of the forces and powers of one’s own psyche; it is not to do with domination and conquest of the outer world.(Kindle Locations 1452-1453).

Reading Myth as Metaphor

  1. Myths arise from archetypes; they give form to the archetypal imagination. And myths symbolize the processes and dynamics of the archetypes in the psyche.(Kindle Locations 1507-1508).
  2. Myths arise from archetypes; they give form to the archetypal imagination. And myths symbolize the processes and dynamics of the archetypes in the psyche. Crucially, myths provide clues as to how to navigate particular aspects of the individuation process.(Kindle Locations 1507-1509).

Individuation, Archetypes, and the Persona

  1. The Self is the center and the totality of the whole psyche, the whole human being, whereas the ego is only the center of consciousness, the part of the psyche that we are familiar with and identify with. To individuate, the ego must face that which is normally excluded from awareness. It must face the dark half of the psyche, where the Self resides. It must come face to face with the unconscious.(Kindle Locations 1515-1518).
  2. If the shadow can be faced, the amorphous darkness of the unconscious can become differentiated into a multiplicity of distinct but interrelated archetypes. Of particular significance to individuation are the archetypes of the anima and animus. Indeed, these archetypes, representing one’s unconscious contrasexual qualities, serve as mediators between consciousness and the unconscious. They are psychological functions by which the rational ego can attune to the living reality of the unconscious and through which one might cultivate the capacity to discern and relate to the other archetypes, such as the trickster, the hero, the child, the spirit, the wise old man, and the great mother. Ultimately, each archetype might be seen to reflect a different aspect of the teleological intentions of the Self, which, according to Jung, is both the origin and the goal of individuation. (Kindle Locations 1535-1541).
  3. Another important aspect of the psyche is the persona, which is the face we show to the world, the part of us we would like others to see, how we would like to be seen— usually our positive, happy traits. (Kindle Locations 1542-1544).
  4. a “conflict of duties,” when you have to make a major life decision between option A and option B, and you just cannot choose. The decision is irreconcilable because the same amount of drive and energy is behind both options. This produces an absolute impasse, a standstill; life is suspended and you just cannot move forward. This forces the energy inwards, downwards. You just cannot carry on with your life until the decision is resolved. And it has to be resolved at a deeper level. (Kindle Locations 1554-1557).
  5. The destruction of the persona could also be triggered by a traumatic experience or a deep wounding, preventing you from maintaining your assumed posture towards the world and compromising your sense of rational control; or it could occur when your former life motivation is thwarted or no longer feels meaningful.(Kindle Locations 1558-1560).
  6. When the old persona, and the control of the ego, cannot be maintained, that is when individuation proper begins. (Kindle Locations 1560-1561).

Transformation and the Individual Way

  1. It is the psychological equivalent of the death-rebirth process in nature— the same process by which the caterpillar becomes a butterfly or the fruit of the tree falls from the branch and dies, impregnating the earth with new life. (Kindle Locations 1582-1584).
  2. Individuation is also specifically related to the archetype of the hero. Indeed, according to Jung, “the archetypal forms of the hero myth can be observed in almost any individuation process,” portraying both the solitary, individual nature of the journey and the death-rebirth process undergone by the ego. 28 The hero myth can thus serve as a model, a universal template, for individuation. (Kindle Locations 1613-1616).

The “I Am” Realization

Jung saw all forms of religion as expressions of individuation symbolism. Both Christ and the Buddha are symbols of the Self— the universal human being within us, the greater personality, representing the potential for the attainment of a realized psychological wholeness. (Kindle Locations 1632-1635).

The Wasteland Scenario and the Renewal of Civilization

  1. Spengler to a point, but suggested that when a culture starts to stagnate and go into decline, the creative individual— the culture hero— accessing the creative springs in his or her own interior depths, can renew and reinvigorate the culture, helping to give birth to a new culture from the ashes of the old. (Kindle Locations 1718-1720).
  2. Campbell believed that the creative individual can bring a new flow of life to the wasteland of modernity, to reconnect the culture to the vital springs of life energy that reside in the unconscious. He sees this as the central sociological task of the hero. This wasteland scenario is the backdrop against which the modern individual’s life journey takes place. (Kindle Locations 1749-1752)

The Mythic Model of the Hero’s Journey

  1. There are three main phases in this model: separation, initiation, and return or incorporation. (Kindle Location 1768).
  2. Campbell slightly revises the meaning of some of these terms: he often refers to the separation stage as departure; initiation also means transformation; and the phase of incorporation or return is also described by Campbell as a stage of communication, referring to the labor of incorporating the insights and transformative experiences from the second phase back into everyday life by communicating these to others. As we saw previously, the creative artist has an experience or a vision or an insight that then has to be communicated through his or her art or craft to the wider culture. This is the essence of creative mythology, in which a new myth is shaped by the artist treating the old mythic motifs in new ways relevant to the unique demands of modern life.
    (Kindle Locations 1775-1781).

A Note on Gender

The aim of the hero’s journey is to bring together masculine and feminine— to effect a hieros gamos, a sacred marriage of the “masculine” conscious ego with the “feminine” unconscious. This process is also described in alchemy, as Jung has shown, as the union of Sol and Luna, Adam and Eve, king and queen. During individuation this is a challenge to be faced by men and women alike. (Kindle Locations 1794-1798).

The Beginning of the Journey

  1. Campbell believes the hero can break through the limiting patterns of the social order to directly access the wellsprings of life, and in so doing can bring renewed vitality to a decaying culture, take the culture in new directions, bringing a new flow of life energy to the wasteland. (Kindle Locations 1867-1869).
  2. Consequently, the repressed unconscious is where the source of life power now is. A spiritual wasteland in a civilization arises because the flow of life power and passion for life has been cut off and is not available to us in our conscious experience. (Kindle Locations 1881-1883).
  3. Jung said that the first appearance of the Self is always a defeat for the ego, for it is often through a demoralizing defeat or failure that the ego is awoken to the greater reality of the psyche. (Kindle Locations 1908-1909).
  4. When contemplating the relevance of this model to your own life, it is important to keep in mind that the hero’s journey is not a strictly linear model. Although it obviously takes place in linear sequence through time, the nature of the journey is essentially cyclical. (Kindle Locations 1931-1933).

The Call to Adventure

  1. The key motif in these kinds of examples is that through an unintentional deed or seemingly innocuous incident the hero is thrust into an adventure not consciously willed. The call to adventure is in the form of an accident, a blunder, a seemingly chance occurrence, or an error. (Kindle Locations 1962-1964).
  2. The experience of losing one’s way, even if it appears undesirable or traumatic, is an essential aspect of the journey of psychospiritual development, reflecting the estrangement and divergence of the conscious ego from the deeper will of the Self. The attempt to find one’s way again, to get back on the “proper way,” thus constitutes the ego’s alignment with the larger psyche and the will of the Self. (Kindle Locations 1973-1976).

Call as Spiritual Awakening

The experience of the mystical awakening is a radically transforming call to adventure in which one’s perception and understanding of the nature of oneself and reality is utterly and irrevocably altered. (Kindle Locations 2010-2011).

The Actualization of Destiny

  1. James Hillman calls this the “acorn theory”: the kernel of what we are, and what we have the potential to become, is there from the start, just as the pattern of the oak tree is present from the first within the acorn. (Kindle Locations 2136-2137).
  2. There are several reasons someone might refuse the call to adventure. The first is rationalization, which means dismissing the call as unworkable, irrational, impractical. Following the call to adventure can often seem crazy from the standpoint of common sense, or economic sense. (Kindle Locations 2175-2177).
  3. In order to realize the Christ within, which in Jungian terms means becoming a unique manifestation of the universal Self in your particular culture at a particular time of history, you will inevitably, unavoidably, upset people. (Kindle Locations 2195-2197).
  4. If you are not able or willing to face your fears, you cannot meet the archetypal challenge of the hero, and you might well spend your life avoiding your deeper wishes and ignoring your highest possibilities as a result.(Kindle Locations 2215-2216).
  5. The condition of total impasse drives energy inwards stimulating deep psychological transformation. (Kindle Locations 2224-2225).
  6. If you have money in abundance, it is easy to act on desires and thus be “possessed” by them. The psychology of the refusal of the call is bound up with the ego. The ego is built upon the self-preservation instinct; it is a psychological expression of this instinct. (Kindle Locations 2280-2282).
  7. It is important, then, to have your life adventure while you still can, to discharge your life energy in the direction it is intended to go so the energy is not locked up inside you. The essence of this theme is again captured in The Gospel of Thomas: “if you bring forth what is within you, what is within you will save you; if you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.” (Kindle Locations 2311-2315).

Existentialism, Sin, and the Dark Side

  1. This type of ego-consciousness does not trust instinct. It questions everything, analyzes, seeks ever more fundamental causes and reasons, forms endless associations between ideas— in short consciousness becomes stuck in thinking, set against the dynamism of instinct. One becomes divided against oneself. (Kindle Locations 2341-2343).
  2. Properly understood, however, this situation is not intrinsically pathological but a symptom of a stage of psychospiritual transformation that might be passed through en route to a fuller, more deeply meaningful life in service of the Self. (Kindle Locations 2361-2362).

State Power, the Herd, and Mechanical Man

  1. The new forces of mechanization and computerized technology, on the one hand, and the political-economic power of global corporations, on the other, pose a grave threat to the integrity and freedom of the individual, as many commentators have stressed. (Kindle Locations 2392-2394).
  2. It is important to keep in mind when you are reading myths, or watching movies with mythic themes, that to interpret the myth psychologically you need to see the myth or the entire film, including all the cast of characters and everything that happens, as expressions of your psyche. (Kindle Locations 2442-2444).

CHAPTER 6 Beyond the Threshold and Through the Opposites

Supernatural Aid

  1. Obviously, the appeal for aid is not something that can be intentionally willed. It comes over you spontaneously when, and only when, you are at the point of surrender. (Kindle Locations 2481-2482).
  2. The wise old man represents the principle of spiritual wisdom that can guide the inexperienced ego on its transformative journey. Sometimes the guide takes on the form of a spiritual guru who has the aspiring yogi or apprentice perform seemingly ridiculous, pointless tasks. (Kindle Locations 2496-2498)
  3. Nature unconsciously strives for your individuation and supports you on your task, even as it simultaneously resists. This is the paradox. (Kindle Locations 2527-2528).
  4. For Jung, supernatural aid came in the form of powerful dreams, visions, and synchronicities, or was mediated through his spirit guide, Philemon. Campbell speaks of “invisible hands” coming to your aid when you are following your bliss, powers working behind the scenes to assist you on your adventure. (Kindle Locations 2538-2540).

The Guardian of the Threshold

  1. Sooner or later, one will hit the limits of one’s own ego, and find oneself facing an obstacle that one is not able to overcome. After the initial joy of spiritual awakening, the emergence of such obstacles might take one by surprise, and be experienced as a sobering defeat that is difficult to understand. (Kindle Locations 2554-2556).
  2. The fourth part of the departure or separation phase Campbell calls the crossing of the first threshold. (Kindle Locations 2602-2603).
  3. During individuation, however, all the complexes in the psyche become amplified and intensified, such that they cannot be ignored. (Kindle Locations 2654-2655).
  4. In the moment of “grave peril” when the “One becomes Two,” the original unity of the psyche is torn asunder such that the ego becomes radically detached from the rest of the psyche, cast adrift in the unconscious, and you can find yourself in a potentially terrifying existential crisis and a dangerous psychological condition. This amounts to a threshold crossing from the natural state of human existence to a condition of profound alienation when the old psychological structure collapses and disintegrates, as a prelude, ideally, to the formation of a new, higher unity during the work of individuation. (Kindle Locations 2666-2670).
  5. The primary emotion accompanying the onset of this experience is that of dread, which is explored in the work of Kierkegaard. (Kindle Locations 2672-2673).
  6. Dread can be characterized by an intense combination of claustrophobia and agoraphobia. (Kindle Locations 2675-2676).
  7. The only constructive way out of the dread or nausea felt by the alienated consciousness is for the old ego to be destroyed as a prelude to a rebirth into a deeper identity. (Kindle Locations 2688-2689).
  8. As Nietzsche observed, “He who fights with monsters should be careful lest he become a monster; if you stare into the abyss for too long, the abyss stares back at you.” (Kindle Locations 2698-2699).

The Belly of the Whale

  1. Sometimes, if the hero cannot proceed voluntarily across the threshold of adventure, the unconscious will assume control, and the hero will be taken, against his or her conscious choosing, into an experience of the depths. (Kindle Locations 2713-2715).
  2. This passage leads one between pairs of opposites: good and evil, light and dark, consciousness and the unconscious, male and female, reason and instinct. (Kindle Locations 2752-2753).
  3. This intense crushing pressure is characteristic of the process of deep psychological transformation. (Kindle Locations 2761-2762).
  4. What we are doing here, to reiterate, is trying to discern within an extraverted heroic adventure the inner significance of what is taking place. By interpreting myths in this way, we are looking for the psychospiritual implications of the physical acts of heroism, in trials and battles, and in episodes of high adventure and danger portrayed in myth. (Kindle Locations 2800-2802).
  5. However, because myths are expressions of the imagination, shaped by the archetypal dynamics of the psyche, myths, like archetypes, apply to many different levels of human experience such that physical adventures have their inner, psychological correlates. (Kindle Locations 2803-2805).
  6. You must learn to control your emotions and instincts yourself, develop confidence in your own judgment, trust your deeper sense of what is happening. (Kindle Locations 2818-2819).

CHAPTER 7 Dual Threats: The Empire of the Ego and the Beast Within

  1. During the second phase of the hero’s adventure, that of initiation and transformation, one has to overcome the dominance and control of the old ego. (Kindle Locations 2843-2844).
  2. The ego is created by a conditioned “no” response, which separates us from the flow of life, and from aspects of the psyche and reality that we do not like, do not wish to experience, and do not identify with. To individuate, to move towards wholeness, we must also experience the negative side of life, the shadow side of the psyche. (Kindle Locations 2846-2848).
  3. The psychological equivalent of the “no” response is resistance and repression. This resistance must be undone; the negativity, fear, and pain behind the repression must be experienced and subsumed within the newly emerging psychological totality. This is a process that occurs again and again. (Kindle Locations 2849-2851). Muswell Hill Press.
  4. I think we are at a moment in our evolution, collectively, where the ego has reached or is nearing an endpoint in its development. The ego is the vehicle for self-reflective consciousness, but it is also in some sense an accidental by-product of the emergence of this consciousness. It has become an alienated ego that needs to learn to serve the greater being from which it emerged. The ego is not an end in itself but a function of the deeper psyche. (Kindle Locations 2853-2856).

The Double Bind of Consciousness

  1. Spiritual realization requires an unconditional acceptance of life as it is, but this acceptance cannot be willed or engineered. The ego in its very nature is the antithesis of this state of acceptance. (Kindle Locations 2925-2926).
  2. Meditation, contemplation, prayer, and any spiritual discipline are, of course, all quite the opposite of the childlike playful spirit and unconditional affirmation of life that is the desired goal. (Kindle Locations 2935-2937).
  3. As you follow your passion in the world, you might well activate deep reservoirs of psychological energy previously dormant in the unconscious. The released energy becomes the agent of psychological transformation. The two elements go hand in hand: the inner journey of transformation and the outer vocation or life calling. (Kindle Locations 2951-2953).
  4. The way to transformation, as the old alchemists realized, is through the despised and rejected aspects of ourselves symbolized by discarded waste products, feces, trash. (Kindle Locations 2975-2976).

The Relationship Between the Ego and the Unconscious

  1. The first response is evident in those tragic cases of the schizophrenic dissolution of the personality. The individual, subject to the sudden influx of desires and fears from the unconscious, is utterly terrorized by them, becoming panic stricken and losing all control. (Kindle Locations 3020-3022).
  2. Individuation requires moving forward into your own future, not reverting to past achievements and ways of life. Through individuation you are bringing forth something new and unique. (Kindle Locations 3065-3066).
  3. The optimum path, therefore— the fourth type of response— is a critical engagement with the unconscious such that consciousness maintains its integrity and its position even against the onslaught of desires and fears from the unconscious. (Kindle Locations 3081-3083).
  4. Among many different spiritual paths, at least two markedly different overall approaches may be identified: the first, which we have focused on here, might be loosely characterized as Romantic, affirming the Will, the instincts, and the passions, while seeking to transform them; the second approach draws on Eastern perspectives, especially Buddhism, and emphasizes the development of a meditative consciousness that stands outside of the passions. (Kindle Locations 3108-3111).

The Descent into the Underworld

  1. In mythic terms, the irruption of the unconscious into conscious awareness is suggested by the motif of the “descent into the underworld.” The underworld signifies the “inferno of the passions” lurking beneath the ordinary threshold of consciousness. (Kindle Locations 3137-3139).
  2. According to Jung, the imagination first conceives of this instinctual power as a cold-blooded reptile or dragon. During the course of individuation, there follows a progressive evolution in this animal imagery, from reptiles to birds and then to warm-blooded mammals. As the instinctual power of the unconscious emerges into consciousness, and is controlled and transformed, it becomes ever more civilized, tamed, moving nearer to the human state. (Kindle Locations 3282-3285).

Transformation and Purification in Alchemy

  1. The alchemists draw interchangeably on imagery of water and fire to represent the destructive, purifying, and transformative action of the unconscious on the conscious ego. (Kindle Locations 3289-3290).
  2. The hero’s journey constitutes a “road of trials,” rightly described as a “razor-edged path”— it is dangerous and uncertain, ever poised on the brink, always hanging precariously in the balance. (Kindle Locations 3317-3318).
  3. The aim, rather, is to preserve the precious spark of conscious selfhood, while activating and transforming the Dionysian power locked away in the unconscious. (Kindle Locations 3333-3334).
  4. If we do not give expression to the creative power within us, it will possess us in negative form as instinct (eaten by the lion). (Kindle Locations 3371-3372).
  5. The encounter with the nature-power of the unconscious can also have positive effects, providing not only a sense of empowerment for a difficult life path or the resources to fulfill some momentous life destiny, but also furnishing the individual with psychic abilities, foreknowledge, and the sense of being able to influence reality from a deeper psychological level. (Kindle Locations 3397-3399).
  6. “The demon that you can swallow gives you its power,” as Campbell put it. (Kindle Locations 3408-3409).

The Inner Child

  1. During individuation, the child is brought back into relationship with the conscious ego to assume a place at the center of the new personality. (Kindle Locations 3445-3446).
  2. In its positive aspect, the child suggests continual creativity, spiritual freedom, and playfulness, as in the final metamorphosis of Nietzsche’s parable in which the child represents “innocence and a new beginning,” and “a wheel moving out of its own center.” (Kindle Locations 3458-3460).
  3. Individuation requires the sacrifice of the natural instinctual state of being, the death of our animal nature, the sacrifice even of our ordinary humanness that we might realize a state of higher-than-human godlikeness, and realize our inherent divinity. For this to take place consciousness has to become detached both from the instincts and from the old structure of the personality. (Kindle Locations 3465-3468).
  4. The human being is realizing a greater identity, becoming something other, evolving, transforming. (Kindle Locations 3473-3474).
  5. The imagination can become your guide even when rational understanding fails you. (Kindle Locations 3475-3476).

chapter 8; The Encounter with the Goddess and the Sacred Marriage

  1. The transition from the shadow to the Self, in Jungian terms, takes place through the anima and animus. (Kindle Locations 3483-3484).
  2. Before it is engaged with during individuation, an unconsciously functioning animus can often manifest as a lack of critical discernment and the tendency to accept and espouse all manner of unedifying preconceived opinions and assertions that have not been subjected to critical reflection, but that nevertheless masquerade as wisdom. (Kindle Locations 3493-3496).
  3. Jung’s model of the psyche there are four psychological types or functions: sensation (relating to the given facts of your life circumstance), thinking (relating to rational analysis and reasoning), feeling (an emotional evaluation of how you feel about something), and intuition (apprehending the hidden significance and unfolding possibilities or meaning of experience). The ego tends to utilize two of the functions in its approach to life, a dominant function and an auxiliary one. (Kindle Locations 3512-3515).
  4. The anima is the source of emotional wisdom and intuitive guidance that must be coupled with the faculty of rational-critical evaluation to guide the hero on his or her journey through the unconscious. (Kindle Locations 3532-3534).

The Goddess as the Great Mother

  1. The Great Mother goddess simultaneously nurtures and destroys, nourishes and annihilates. Individual ego-consciousness is born from the Great Mother’s womb and sustained by her, but her negative aspect is that of the dark goddess, the Terrible Mother, who threatens the integrity of the conscious personality and the independence and ongoing development of the ego. (Kindle Locations 3542-3544).
  2. As we have seen, on the journey to psychological wholeness there is a period of dangerous transition when one’s old personal willpower is rendered impotent and the structure of the ego collapses. (Kindle Locations 3560-3562).
  3. Before the anima and animus are integrated during individuation, a significant quota of psychological energy and emotion often remain bound up with an internalized image of an ideal partner, or an idealized life situation or a romanticized image of what we believe life should be like. Attachment to these images prevents us from giving ourselves fully to the moment at hand— we are, in effect, kept a prisoner of our own feelings, unable to fully participate in the world. (Kindle Locations 3738-3741).
  4. Although one cannot overcome the attachment to such images by an act of will, one must consistently wrestle psychological energy free from the anima by wholeheartedly committing to the reality of the living moment.(Kindle Locations 3746-3748).
  5. It is through the heart that the “head” principle (rational ego consciousness) and the “belly” principle (the instinctual power of the archetypal unconscious) can be brought into relationship, and the conflict between reason and instinct can be healed. (Kindle Locations 3784-3786).

Paradise Found?

  1. Another form of distraction and temptation that arises during individuation is suggested by the idea that the hero and the traveling party happen across a spurious paradise— a motif also explored in The Odyssey. (Kindle Locations 3787-3789).
  2. This condition amounts to a spiritual forgetfulness, a warning of the dangers of seemingly blissful pleasure to the individuation process. These seemingly paradisiacal states of being occur frequently throughout individuation. They represent the urge to give yourself away totally to some feeling, to some part of your psyche that is not your true self and center. Amidst the suffering of individuation the lure of the promise of immediate happiness can prove too great to resist. (Kindle Locations 3792-3795).
  3. You are always more than any particular image or idea of what you are, or any particular complex or archetype. The Self is the total psyche, and it is also the central point, from which all the archetypes can find expression in a dynamic balance. (Kindle Locations 3868-3869).

Atonement with the Father

  1. In terms of individuation, the father principle here reflects the old order, the established authority, the tried-and-tested truth, which the son, representing the individuating ego, must go beyond if he is to realize his own unique individuality, and— to read the Oedipus incest fantasy on a spiritual level— achieve psychospiritual union with the Great Mother. (Kindle Locations 3892-3894).
  2. Le Grice, Keiron (2013-03-26). The Rebirth of the Hero: Mythology as a Guide to Spiritual Transformation (Kindle Locations 3882-3883). Muswell Hill Press. Kindle Edition. The Self does not reflect society’s moral code but one’s own deep authority, or perhaps even the universe’s moral code and order, which one can try to attune to. (Kindle Locations 3910-3911).The Self, let us remember, represents both the center and totality of the whole psyche, and potentially is an expression of the totality of the cosmos. (Kindle Locations 3929-3930).

Apotheosis, Sophia, and the Hieros Gamos

  1. The term apotheosis means “becoming divine”; it refers to the transformation of the human into the divine. One symbol of apotheosis is the hermaphrodite, indicating the spiritual union of male and female. (Kindle Locations 3938-3940).
  2. The feminine principle is to be transformed from the demonic, primitive, and threatening form of Medusa (the lower anima, as it were) to the immanent spirituality of Sophia (the higher anima).
  3. Le Grice, Keiron (2013-03-26). The Rebirth of the Hero: Mythology as a Guide to Spiritual Transformation (Kindle Locations 3956-3957). Muswell Hill Press. Kindle Edition.

Wholeness, Centering, and the Opposites

  1. Both the inner union of the opposites and the realization of this new center within the psyche are suggested by the symbolism of geometrically designed sacred drawings known as mandalas. These symbolic drawings, Jung suggests, are depictions of the state of the Self, representing the fourfold nature of the psyche organized around a central point. (Kindle Locations 4011-4014).
  2. One form of the return phase is the magic flight, portrayed as the hero taking flight from pursuers and guardians of the treasure. (Kindle Locations 4054-4055).
  3. Another theme of the return phase, an alternative to the magic flight, is that of rescue from without. (Kindle Locations 4071-4072).
  4. Ultimately, the rescue does not happen just once but many times, as one moves through an alternating pattern of engaging the unconscious and activity in the world. (Kindle Locations 4078-4079).
  5. The challenge is to repeatedly release one’s hold on the blissful attainment that one has found and commit oneself to the everyday reality of the world. (Kindle Locations 4087-4088).
  6. But the wholeness of the psyche demands an embrace of the littleness and pettiness of life too. Again, one is not just a hero; one is other things besides: a husband or wife, a father or mother, a son or daughter, with a profession, with personal commitments and ambitions, and so forth. (Kindle Locations 4113-4115).

Communication: Sharing the Boon

  1. The boon, gold, the treasure— that which is brought back out of the depths— can sometimes, Campbell warns, just turn to ashes if the culture is not ready to receive the message. (Kindle Locations 4131-4132).
  2. One of the main responsibilities of the return and communication phase is drawing on one’s own insights and experiences to help others. (Kindle Locations 4149-4150).
  3. The meaning of the symbols has to be “amplified” or elaborated anew so that the religious teachings remain vital and relevant. (Kindle Locations 4165-4166).
  4. All the different religions are being exposed to ideas from other traditions and cultures, which is helping to revitalize them. The individual, bringing diverse insights together in search of his or her own life meaning and personal myth, is the vehicle for any such revitalization. (Kindle Locations 4176-4177).
  5. In terms of personal experience, as one enters more fully into this transformation the visceral intensity of desire subsides, to be replaced by a way of being that one might describe as earnest play, purposeful play. (Kindle Locations 4205-4207).

Freedom and the Transcendence of Self-will

  1. Individuation also brings a freedom from the limiting influences of the external world. The more one is able to attune to one’s own inner authority, the less one is adversely affected by external influences. (Kindle Locations 4221-4223)
  2. Stripped of self-will, on the mystical path the spiritual hero enters into a condition of absolute unification with the spirit. (Kindle Location 4261).
  3. To undertake one’s own individuation is simultaneously to participate in the transformation of the entire planetary consciousness.(Kindle Locations 4267-4268).
  4. At the anticipated end of the hero’s spiritual journey, the heroic struggle subsides, having served its purpose. In psychological terms, the power locked up in instinct has been confronted, integrated, overcome; the latent power of one’s destiny has been realized in actuality, in the events of life. (Kindle Locations 4274-4276).
  5. In this royal union lies the ideal consequence of the epic voyage of the hero through the wonderland of the unconscious: the mystic marriage of the opposites, the liberation of the slumbering spirit of nature, and the intersection of the eternal and the temporal in the unio mystica, which, according to Jung, is tantamount to a union of the individual with “the eternal Ground of all empirical being.” (Kindle Locations 4299-4302).

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