JOSEPH CAMPBELL AND THE POWER OF MYTH WITH BILL MOYERS

The Classic Returns! The Entire Series airs over two Saturdays – 8/11 & 8/18

9.1 NMPBS:
Part 1 – Saturday, 8/11 at 12:00 – 4:00 pm
Part 2 – Saturday, 8/18 at 12:00 – 4:00 pm

In 1988, Bill Moyers’ THE POWER OF MYTH debuted on PBS. This 6-part series of conversations with renowned scholar Joseph Campbell (taped at George Lucas’ Skywalker Ranch in CA) explored the enduring, universal themes expressed in mankind’s oldest stories and examined their relevance for the modern world. Far from being lifeless, timeworn tales, Campbell told viewers, the ancient myths remain “clues to the spiritual potentialities of human life.” The series became a sought-after classic.

Part 1 (#101-103) –
Saturday, 8/11 at 12:00 – 4:00 pm

101 – Campbell discusses how the concept of the hero has infiltrated all cultures around the world, and has been a consistent cultural theme for centuries. He goes on to illuminate how all the hero stories are tied together, and reflect the same underlying structure. Campbell uses a number of diverse examples, starting with Moses and the exodus before moving on to Native American mythology and even today’s Star Wars films. He challenges everyone to see the presence of a heroic journey in his or her life. The

Message of the Myth – 102 – Campbell compares creation myths from around the world, pointing out the unifying themes and symbols. Moyers and Campbell examine the myriad number of ways in which the power of mythology transcends religion and takes us to the center of our being. Campbell brings to light the similarities in most creation stories, and notes that most religions simply bring out new ways to cloak the old myths. As the hour closes, he expounds on these myths, urging viewers to have the experience of bliss – “here and now.”

The First Storytellers – 103 – In this episode, Moyers and Campbell examine the creation of ritual behavior and the need of humans to propagate the recorded story, whether it is orally, through artwork, or elsewhere. Campbell also discusses the rebirth of life through the rituals of the early humans and their connection with nature. As the episode closes, he paints a picture of a central mountain inside each one of us that connects us to our creator, bringing us into the concept of eternity while here on Earth.

Part 2 (#104-106) –
Saturday, 8/18 at 12:00 – 4:00 pm

Sacrifice and Bliss – 104 – Examining the role of sacrifice in mythology, Campbell explains how going through the sacrificial myth provides a rebirth of our own consciousness, whether it is associated with Buddha, Christ, or other religious figures. This episode also includes the discussion of Campbell’s famous phrase, “Marriage is an ordeal” — marriage in terms of sacrificing to the relationship, and moves on to the sacrifice of motherhood. He stresses the need for every one of us to find our sacred place in the midst of today’s fast-paced, technological world.

Love and the Goddess – 105 – Campbell examines the thirteenth century emergence of romantic love as an ideal. He explains how the troubadours created the notion of a person-to-person relationship, where you find love in another soul, and how this has superseded other forms of love, such as Eros and agape. Campbell notes how the notion of the Goddess has changed over the centuries — the suppression of the great mother archetype, and how, no matter how she is oppressed, seems to always resurface in a mythological form (goddess of fertility, virgin birth, etc.) as new religions and social constructs emerge.

The Masks of Eternity – 106 – For this final hour, Moyers and Campbell move from George Lucas’ Skywalker Ranch to New York’s American Museum of Natural History, the birthplace of Campbell’s deep interest in mythology. They discuss the notion of God in its many forms, and the connection of circles as a metaphor to explain the divine. Campbell provides challenging insights into the concept of God, religion and eternity as revealed in Christian teachings and the beliefs of Buddhists, Navajo Indians, Schopenhauer, Jung and others.

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