The Power of Myth

On 03/02/2012, in Media, Mythology, Society, by admin

The Power of Myth is a book and six part television documentary originally broadcast on PBS in 1988 as Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth. The documentary comprises six one-hour conversations between mythologist Joseph Campbell(1904–1987) and journalist Bill Moyers.

The interviews in the first 5 episodes were filmed at George Lucas‘s Skywalker Ranch in California, with the 6th interview conducted at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, during the final two summers of Campbell’s life (the series was broadcast on television a year after his death). In these discussions, Campbell presents his ideas about comparative mythology and the ongoing role of myth in human society. These talks include excerpts from Campbell’s seminal work The Hero with a Thousand Faces.

The documentary, Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth has six episodes:

  • Episode 1: The Hero’s Adventure (first broadcast June 21, 1988 on PBS)

About Campbell, hero types, hero deeds, Jesus Christ, the Buddha, movie heroes, Star Wars as a metaphor, an Iroquoisstory: the refusal of suitors, dragons, dreams and Jungian psychology, “follow your bliss,” consciousness in plants, Gaia,Chartres cathedral, spirituality vs. economics, emerging myths, “Earthrise” as a symbol.

  • Episode 2: The Message of the Myth (first broadcast June 22, 1988 on PBS)

Creation myths, transcending duality, pairs of opposites, God vs. Nature, sin, morality, participation in sorrow, the Gospel of Thomas, Old Time Religion, computers, religion as “software,” the story of Indra: “What a great boy am I!,” participation in society.

  • Episode 3: The First Storytellers (first broadcast June 23, 1988 on PBS)

Animal memories, harmonization with body and life-cycle, consciousness vs. its vehicle, killing for food, story: “The Buffalo’s Wife,” buffalo massacre, initiation ritual, rituals diminishing, crime increasing, artists, the Shaman, the center of the world.

  • Episode 4: Sacrifice and Bliss (first broadcast June 24, 1988 on PBS)

Chief Seattle, the sacred Earth, agricultural renewal, human sacrifice, sacrifice of the Mass, transcendence of death, story: “The Green Knight,” societal dictates vs. following bliss, “hidden hands” guiding life’s work.

  • Episode 5: Love and the Goddess (first broadcast June 25, 1988 on PBS)

The TroubadoursEros, romantic love, Tristan, libido vs. credo, separation from love, Satan, loving your enemy, the Crucifixion as atonement, virgin birth, the story ofIsisOsiris and Horusthe Madonna, the Big Bang, the correlation between the earth or mother Goddess and images of fertility (the sacred feminine).

  • Episode 6: Masks of Eternity (first broadcast June 26, 1988 on PBS)

Identifying with the infinite, the circle as a symbol, clowns and masks, epiphanies and James Joyce, artistic arrest, the monstrous as sublime, the dance of Shiva, that which is beyond words.

 

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