- Myths are public dreams. Dreams are private myths. By finding your own dream and following it through, it will lead you to the myth world in which you live. The passage is from dream, to vision, to the gods [...] and they are you. All the gods, all the hells, all the heavens are within you. The God is in YOU. It is not something that happened somewhere else a long time ago. It's in you. This is the truth of Truths. This is what the gods and myths are all about. So find them in yourself and take them into yourself and you will be awakened in your mythology and in your life. Joseph Campbell, Ph.D. (1904-1987) US American mythologist, expert in comparative mythology and comparative religion, The Vitality of Myth, 15 Lecture I.1.5, recorded 1974, released (cassette)1996 and (CD) 2002
Tree with apotropaion eyes, Pigeon Valley
near Uçhisar, Cappadocia, Turkey, January 2008
- Myth makes a connection between our waking consciousness and the mystery of the universe. It gives us a map or picture of the universe and allows us to see ourselves in relationship to nature, as when we speak of Father Sky and Mother Earth. It supports and validates a certain social and moral order.
The Ten Commandments being given to Moses by God on Mount Sinai is an example of this. Lastly, it helps us pass through and deal with the various stages of life from birth to death. The first function of mythology is to sanctify the place you are in. Joseph Campbell, Ph.D. (1904-1987) US American mythologist, expert in comparative mythology and comparative religion, Reflections on the Art of Living, Harper Perennial, 12. May 1995
- There are of course differences between the numerous mythologies and religions of mankind, but this is a book about similarities. And once these mythologies of human and collective development, focused on the hero, are understood, the differences will be found to be much less great than is popularly and politically supposed. My hope is that a comparative elucidation of these mythological stories, which have endured for thousands of years, may contribute to those forces that are working in the present world for unification, not in the name of some Ecclesiastical or political empire, but in the sense of human mutual understanding. As we are told in the [Vedas, source unknown], truth is one. The sages speak of it by many names. Joseph Campbell, Ph.D. (1904-1987) US American mythologist, expert in comparative mythology and comparative religion, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Princeton University Press, 1949 and 1968, 3rd edition compiled by the Joe Campbell Foundation, July 2008
- For, as a broad view of the field [of mythology] immediately shows, in every well-established culture realm to which a new system of thought and civilization comes, it is received creatively, not inertly. A sensitive, complex process of selection, adaptation, and development brings the new forms into contact with their approximate analogues or homologues in the native inheritance, and in certain instances – notably in Egypt, Crete, the Indus valley, and a little later, the Far East – prodigious forces of indigenous productivity are released in native style, but on the level of the new stage. In other words, although its culture stage at any given period may be shown to have been derived, as an effect of alien influences, the particular style of each of the great domains can no less surely be shown to be indigenous. And so it is that a scholar largely concerned with native forms will tend to argue for local, stylistic originality, whereas one attentive rather to the broadly flung evidence of diffused techniques, artifacts, and mythological motifs will be inclined to lime out a single culture history of mankind, characterized by well-defined general stages, though rendered by way of no less well-defined local styles.
- It is one thing to analyze the genesis and subsequent diffusion of the fundamental heritage of all high civilizations whatsoever;
- another to mark the genesis, maturation, and demise of the several local mythological styles;
- and a third to measure the force of each local style in the context of the unitary history of mankind.
A total science of mythology must give attention, as far as possible, to all three. Joseph Campbell, Ph.D. (1904-1987) US American mythologist, expert in comparative mythology and comparative religion, Creative Mythology. The Masks of God, Volume 4, Oriental mythology, S. 48, Penguin Books, New York, paperback 1. January 1991