Women, by Joseph Campbell (Hero with a Thousand Faces)
Today I bring you two parts, as per our usual agreement. We'll be covering The Meeting with the Goddess and Woman as The Temptress. There's a lot of incest, which I'll mostly gloss over because it's getting a little old hat.
I'm trying out a different system for writing these, one in which I actually take notes. Novel concept, yeah? I am going to experiment a bit with the formatting of this because I'm still not satisfied with my content yet. I don't think this was the best choice of books to tackle first, but here we are. So, onward.
No, the meeting with the goddess can generally go one of two ways, depending on hero. Those can basically be summed up as "well" and "poorly". There is a story of Actaeon, who comes upon the bathing goddess Diana. She turns him into a stag and his own friends and hunting dogs kill him. This we'll file under "poorly". Another time five sons of an Irish king go hunting, run out of water, come across a well-guarded by a hideous old woman. She'll give them water for a kiss, only Niall, the youngest, will, so he gets water and the Right to Rule. There's also a metaphor about ruling involved, but it's neither here nor there. We'll file this under "well".
The crux of the matter is the hero and how spiritually prepared they are for what Campbell calls a "mystical marriage" which is the ultimate conclusion to the hero's trials. Indeed, the trials should prepare the hero for being able to see the goddess as she is. That's not to say the goddess can't be seen by regular unprepared mortals, but they must disguise their form for one that the mortal can handle.
In these situations, the goddess represents the promise of perfection. Campbell went into some stuff about how we remember our mothers and such here, but I'm ignoring it. The woman, or goddess, he begins to use them interchangeably, also represent everything that can be known. This mystical marriage represents the hero's total mastery of life, each trial designed to give him mastery in another facet.
We're going to move into Woman as The Temptress. The basics of this subchapter are that, essentially, woman can turn from the symbol of ultimate accomplishment and mastery to the symbol of defeat when the ugliness of real life is seen and concentrated on. I honestly didn't find a whole lot of real value in this subchapter, it was a little all over the place. I have barely any notes from it. One little bit that I caught was that these tales, The Hero's Journey basically, was formatted in broad terms so that people of all "consciousness" levels could understand it and use it as a kind of road map for self-improvement.
These chapters had a lot of misogyny in them, which I didn't draw attention to because that's not really my focus here, it would take up most of the blog, and because so much of this is caged in mythology, it's hard to separate what he's saying from what's coming directly from myth, and in a study of myth, the accuracy of the myth is important.
I am looking at making some changes over at my patreon. I'm not entirely sure if I'll be able to deliver on all my promises, so I may revise it and just let all my patrons have access to the chapters ove the upcoming book. If you're interested in that, I am releasing a new chapter every two weeks. It's the very first rough draft with little to no editing as just kind of sneak peek at what's in store. Much of it will change as the editing process hasn't even begun yet. You can also nab the second and third chapters up there for free right now.