I am currently reading The Power of Myth, a book featuring an interview with Joseph Campbell by Bill Moyer. This book is full of inspiring text and it sparks up the imagination time and time again. Campbell speaks a lot about artists and poets functioning to keep myth alive through the constant use of symbol and metaphor. According to Campbell, myths bring meaning to life and they are the stories through which we understand and interpret the world.
Here are a couple of excerpts:
Myth must be kept alive. The people who can keep it alive are artists of one kind or another. The function of the artist is the mythologization of the environment and the world….The mythmakers of earlier days were the counterparts of our artists.
The cathedral, the castle, and the cottage – you goto any of the areas of high civilization, and you will see the same – the temple, the palace, and the town. They are different generating centers, but in so far as this is one civilization, they are all operating in the same symbolic field….The symbolic field is based on the experience of people in a particular community, at that particular time and place. Myths are so intimately bound to the culture, time, and place that unless the symbols, the metaphors, are kept alive by constant recreation through the arts, the life just slips away from them.
He further states that “we have lost the art in our society of thinking in images…there is more reality in an image than a word.”
Symbolic fields, generating centers, thinking in images – got it?
- Investigate the symbolic field of your community.
- Support local generating centers (like Kent Bellows Mentoring Program).
- Think in images whenever possible (I like to use tarot card type images in my mind or mini looping stories that symbolize ideas and experiences).
- Report back.