Category: Joseph Campbell

My First Featured Article on Beliefnet!

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I'm so Excited!  My article is featured!

  Screenshot

This is truly a first for me, and I was so excited, I had to share with everyone! 

I've been writing for a website called Beliefnet.com for the past few months — a milestone in itself because I've been wanting to write for them for years! 

Why? They feature ALL beliefs from the all major religions, and then some. 

But today is the first time I've been featured on their front page!  The very first of their 4 rotating banners, and with my name just there beneath it!  (Until Monday, July 21st anyway…) 

As someone who's been a ghostwriter for many years, I feel like I've finally stepped out into the sun.  Aaaaaah!  I am fairly certain it has something to do with my lovely friend, Trish Kusal Wilson, who allowed me to use her photographs.  The glory is all the sweeter when it's shared!

It's also a subject that I've never felt quite brave enough to write about, since it's such a touchy one for so many people: prayer — but I've attempted to translate it into something that intellectuals, naturalists and realists might be able to relate to.  See if you can, and let me know.  If nothing else, click to see Trish's glorious photos

I partly began writing for Beliefnet because I thought it would be a good way to connect with an audience that could understand and appreciate the podcast I co-host on Unity Online Radio, called "Pop Conscious: Where Pop Culture & Spirituality Unite!"  It is exactly my ministry style, actually, as I study to one day become a fully ordained Unity minister — rejecting no one and nothing in the world, just using it all to be more understanding, more positive and creative and help make the world a happier place.

Here are links to check it all out, if you wanna!  And if you know anyone who'd make a good radio guest or interview subject while talking about entertainment and enlightenment, please get in touch!

LINKS:

Learn more or contact me at MalaynaDawn.com!

 

Goddesses of Business – Female Archetypes for Professional Roles

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By Malayna Dawn

P5270033 As women in business, we aren’t always lucky enough to have role models to follow. But if we look back to the ancient world, we can find that many mythologies included ideal feminine concepts that were not restricted to the care of home and family.

The psychologist Carl Jung (1875-1961) used familiar symbols as models for patterns of behavior or personality traits called “archetypes”. We have many archetypes at work within us, helping us to fulfill our various roles in life. There are numerous images to choose from, but for representations of ideally powerful women, goddesses are probably the best. 

(Photo of Athena at the Vatican Museum taken by Malayna Dawn)

Listed below is a sampling of goddess archetypes we can apply to the business world.  Whether we recognize these qualities in ourselves already, or long to possess them, perhaps with these archetypes as guidance, their traits can become part of our working personas.

Athena/Minerva

Athena was the Greek goddess of wisdom, war, the arts, industry, justice and skill. Her mother was Metis, goddess of wisdom, but she emerged fully grown out of her father Zeus' head.  Her Roman counterpart was Minerva, goddess of wisdom, medicine, the arts, dyeing, science, trade, and war. She was also credited with the invention of numbers and musical instruments.

The Athena/Minerva archetype speaks to women’s ability to multi-task.  The Athena-type’s well-rounded education allows them to communicate well with men and earn their respect, which can be very useful in business.


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Being a Shaman – for self and others

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Devil-dancers-sri-lanka-435x279 
Image from Lankapura.com

The word “shaman” may bring to your mind images of medicine men in colorful outfits, dancing around a fire to the beat of tribal drums, much like the image of Sri Lankan devil mask dancers, above.  And you’d be right, though you’d be getting only part of the picture.

The REASON they do all of that is to get past our attachment to the “real” world and connect to our inner workings–to help us travel the landscape of our hearts and souls and make us whole in mind, body and spirit

Now for you and me, their performance probably would not work. This is because they’re not speaking our cultural or symbolic language.  To do that, they’d have to tap into our religious and spiritual beliefs, our cultural upbringing and the images we see in our dreams. 

Wikipedia describes shaman as “intermediaries or messengers between the human world and the spirit worlds… Shamans are said to treat illness by mending the soul…[which] restores the physical body of the individual to balance and wholeness.” They also said “Cultural anthropology approaches shamanism as an integral part of the study of culture, belief, and practice.”

So who are the shaman of our modern Western culture?  Who guides us through the realm of dreams, symbols, metaphor and stories to help us make choices in our lives?  Joseph Campbell said it’s the artists—painters, poets, singers, dancers, actors, directors, comedians, etc.  They take inspiration, which is a message from the spirit world, and communicate it in a language we understand.  And when they really get it right, it not only entertains, but touches our hearts and inspires us.  (Of course, that’s not always their goal.)

 Joseph-campbellHeroes-CmyssArchetypes

Joseph Campbell and Caroline Myss both have said that in today’s world, it is up to us to find our own way through our spiritual landscape.  We have to be responsible for the well-being of our own souls. In other words, we need to become our own shaman.

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Economy and Environment Conspire to Change us for the Better

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It seems to me that the environment and the economy are conspiring to force us to change…for the better.

An ethnography professor studying the effects of You Tube on society says that people are reaching out for connection and community, but because we’ve all become such individualists, it is increasingly difficult to find.

The environment has been encouraging us to grow our own vegetables, ride our bicycles, use solar power, and recycle. And the economy may be forcing us to do this by sharing expenses and resources by moving in with family members or friends.

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Thoughts on Themes of AVATAR

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I was fortunate enough to see the film AVATAR with an insightful chick from India, who explained to me at intermission (we have those in Sri Lankan movie theaters) that the word “avatar” still has spiritual meaning to people in India, and therefore when they’re referring to the movie, they might differentiate it by pronouncing it with an American accent!  

 

The definition for them is “The incarnation of a Hindu deity, especially Vishnu, in human or animal form.” She pointed out that Vishnu’s avatar is Krishna and both are blue.  And also that the Na’vi had tails, much like the monkey god, Hanuman. 

 

She also mentioned that the word “Na’vi” sounds like the Hindi word for “new” and she wondered how the Na’vi language was developed, so I found an explanation for her on Wikipedia.

 

The name PANDORA

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Spiritual Metaphors 4 Life ~ Hero’s Journey

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Life is like a heroic journey. You are the hero of your own life story. There are always challenges and monsters, but there are helpers and guides too. After we cross into the unknown, we find that we have more inside us then we realized. Then we return home from our spiritual adventure to find that we have changed and we bring something new to old circumstances. Herosjourney 

The heroic life is living the individual adventure.
~ Joseph Campbell

Synchronicity, Symbolism & Giant Stone People

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I recently experienced one of those moments when it seems that a glimpse of the grand design is revealed, even if only for a second, in seemingly insignificant ways. It happens to me every now and then, and yet it still surprises and excites me, and inspires me to believe that there is a purpose and a synchronicity in operation beyond what I am able to see and understand.

I was at the doctor’s office, and since I expected to wait for over an hour if not two, I brought some books to read that can be expected to have a fair amount of overlap.  “Man and His Symbols”—an exploration of Carl Jung’s work with the subconscious, and “The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers”—which is based on Joseph Campbell’s study of the Hero's Journey in “Hero with a Thousand Faces”.

Jung’s colleague, ML von Franz, explained that the Self is often symbolized by stone—perhaps because they are complete, unchanging and lasting. “Many people cannot refrain from picking up stones of a slightly unusual color or shape and keeping them, without knowing why they do this. It is as if the stones held a living mystery that fascinates them. Men have collected stones since the beginning of time….”

Buddha-galVihara She says that this is why practically all civilizations have the urge to erect stone monuments to local saints or heroes, on the site of important or religious events, or to express an otherwise inexpressible experience. From the alchemist’s Philosopher’s Stone to the Ka’aba in Mecca, from huge stone Buddhas to Mount Rushmore, people are moved to create and identify with stone monuments.

Then I read in The Writer’s Journey: “the Statue of Liberty is a recurring symbol of the immigrant dream, a lighthouse beckoning the newcomer… The Statue of Liberty, a gift from the people of France to the people of America , is a colossal example of the ancient practice of sending statues of gods and goddesses from a founding city to its colonies to connect them by a psychic thread, a religious tie. …”

More giant stone people!

This particular passage I was reading was a mythical analysis of the film “Titanic” and the ideas of the time in which it was set. Moments later, as I pondered the synchronicity of the ideas, I could hear Celine Dion singing the theme from Titanic over the waiting room TV. Weird!

Or is it just that I was in that moment, at the right place, at the right time, and I was open to all that it could bring? I think perhaps I was.

Written exclusively for symbolicthemes.com

Why “Symbolic Themes”?

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A friend of mine once asked me “Why Symbolic Themes?”

I told him that it’s how my mind works. I see thematic patterns in the symbols around me, and I use it to guide me through life. But I’ve just found further justification for my choice of blog names in a book called “Man and His Symbols” edited by eminent psychologist, Carl Jung.

It’s a book that explains Jung’s philosophy in laypeople’s terms so that non-academics can play along at home. Basically, Jung believed that our subconscious communicates with us in the language of symbols and archetypes that have appealed to people throughout history. He also believed that by paying attention to our dreams, and our responses to the symbols we encounter around us, we can interpret the intuitive guidance we have within us.

Here’s the quote that made me think I was on the right track with the name for this blog that I had already chosen, years ago:

“…the great writers are able to transcend the differences of time and place and express themes that are universal. We respond because these themes are fundamentally symbolic.”

I love to talk about those universal similarities that transcend time and place! (And I aspire to be a great writer someday too). All great artists transcend time and place when their work touches something in their audience that resonates within them.

What led me to read "Man and His Symbols" was a quest to find where my work and chosen area of study fits in the world. I found some Masters Degree courses in Transpersonal Psychology, and though I can't take them the way I want to right now, I found that Jung is at the bottom of it all. So I decided to educate myself. Many of his ideas are already so familiar to me, but I learned them from people who built upon his work, like Joseph Campbell and Carolyn Myss

Here’s the description from the back of MY book, Echoes Across Time:

Backofbook

“Mara is a woman on a mission… to follow the unraveling trail of meaning behind her symbolic dreams while trying to save her best friend from self-destruction.

Part spiritual adventure, part feminist fairy tale, this modern-day myth takes you through a mystical series of events from America to India, and on to Sri Lanka spanning four generations.

Along the way it offers metaphorical explanations for simple mysteries of our lives that make up our identities. From seemingly inexplicable friendships to exotic mixed ancestry, Mara finds the purpose behind it all. Ultimately the tale offers insight into how each of our souls has at least one connection that echoes across time.”

So though I chose the name Symbolic Themes for my work years ago, and wrote a book based on the things that fascinate me, I’m feeling pretty good about myself because without really knowing it, I have fallen very nicely within the framework of Jungian thinking! I may even be channeling Carl Gustav Jung himself! 

Economy and Environment Conspire to Change Us for the Better

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It seems to me that the environment and the economy are conspiring to force us to change…for the better.

One man from Hong Kong told me the air has been so clear lately…because so many factories have closed down in China.

An ethnography professor studying the effects of You Tube on society (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TPAO-lZ4_hU) says that people are reaching out for connection and community, but that we’ve all become such individuals, it is increasingly difficult to find.

The environment has been encouraging us to grow our own vegetables, ride our bicycles, use solar power, and recycle. And the economy may be forcing us to do this by sharing expenses and resources by moving in with family members or friends.

Our choice of Barack Obama as our new president shows that we as a nation (and as a global village, if all the Obama parties thrown in Sri Lanka are any indication) feel the old ways no longer serve us and we’re ready to step together into a new era.

As humans, we generally resist change. We don’t love it. It scares us. We like routine…at least until it bores us. But we can learn from the popularity of “What the Bleep” and “The Secret” that we affect our reality, and the world around us, with our thoughts and our choices. So let’s not move forward with fear, but with the excitement of someone about to embark upon an exciting journey.

Let’s see the economic shift as a way to bring us together, and to be creative about finding more meaningful, connected and sustainable ways of accomplishing our goals.

Let’s see the environment as a beloved part of us that we must learn to nurture and appreciate again, like our own inner child.

Let’s make “Follow Your Bliss”– Joseph Campbell’s advice after years of studying the world’s religions and mythologies—the basis for our choices. And where our bliss truly comes from may be overlooked sources such as an abundance of time, connections with people, and a return to the earth and environment (whether that means going to the park or the beach, starting a garden, or camping in a foreign landscape).

Another thing we can do as we move into this new phase is to really consider the cliche “making the world a better place” with our every move. We can buy products that were made ethically, and environmentally, that support indigenous communities or give a portion to charity. We can take volunteer vacations that help improve others’ horizons while expanding our own.

As the New Year approaches, perhaps we can make our resolutions about taking less and giving more, appreciating all that we’ve got and all that we can share, and making conscious choices that support our ideals, thereby creating a 2009 that we can all be proud of.

May your new year be one of abundance, joy and pure bliss!

Multicultural Wedding Ceremony

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NExJohnChris

I caught a re-run of Northern Exposure as I ate my Sri Lankan rice and curry lunch the other day, and fell in love once again with whoever it was who wrote the lines for Chris.

Played by John Corbett, Chris was the local philosopher, DJ and mail-order minister and I wanted to be like him. Well, I can maybe claim 2 of the 3, since I like to philosophize on comparitive beliefs and I've married a handful of couples.

This wedding ceremony was so cool, I had to track it down online to share. I'd be happy to perform this ceremony for anybody, if you're interested. Here it is:

Marriage, it's a hard term to define. Especially for me–I've ducked it like root canal. Still there's no denying the fact that marriage ranks right up there with birth and death as one of the three biggies  in the human safari. It's the only one though that we'll celebrate with a conscious awareness. Very few of your remember your arrivaland even fewer will attend your own funeral.

You pick a society, any society, Zuni, Nudembo, Pennsylvania Dutch. What's the one thing they all have in common? Marriage. It's like a cultural hand-rail. It links folks to the past and guides them to the future. That's not all though. Marriage is the union of disparate elements. Male and female. Yin and Yang. Proton and Electron. What are we talking about here? Nothing less than the very tension that binds the universe. You see, when we look at marriage, people, we're looking at creation itself.

"I am the sky," says the Hindu bridegroom to the bride. "You are the earth. We are sky and earth united. You are my husband. You are my wife. My feet shall run because of you. My feet shall dance because of you. My heart shall beat because of you. My eyes shall see because of you. My mind shall think because of you and I shall love because of you. Now are you guys cool with that? Then kiss.

Credit and thanks go to the following:

The "Our Wedding" episode of Northern Exposure - Episode 3.22, Original Air Date(1): May 11, 1992 • Production Number: 77524
Written by(
1): Diane Frolov and Andrew SchneiderDirected by(1): Nick Marck

Diane and Andrew, you are my new best friends. Though many of my closest friends are fictional, it's good to remember and acknowledge the real people behind them.

Part of that is known as the Eskimo Love Song, should you care to reference it.

My guess is that my new best friends are fans of Joseph Campbell, as I am. Oh how I love the Joseph Campbell!