In addition to believing in the power of magick (Christ turned water to wine, for goodness sake) I also believe we have the power to summon spirits. Now, let me be clear: Once summoned, these spirits don’t sit at our tables and eat roast beef. They typically don’t even knock things down. Some mediums claim that they can summon spirits who do such things, but I have never had such experiences.
Instead, when we summon a spirit in good faith—meaning with no ill intent—we can channel the energy of that spirit to learn, to teach, and to understand. For instance, as I traveled to Atlanta in June (2006) to attend a conference sponsored by the Mythic Imagination Institute called “Mythic Journeys 2006,” I found myself summoning the spirit of Joseph Campbell to me.
As I drove, I listened to a good chunk of an audio book entitled, The Wisdom of Joseph Campbell. It was good to hear Joseph’s voice. I felt like he was speaking directly to me, calling me to use my powers as a writer, teacher, and mythographer to follow his path and help others to live within mythic systems that are life-sustaining and meaningful.
Today, after spending so many days of my professional life studying Campbell’s life and work, I feel like I know him personally. I also feel that it is somehow my task to share and explain many of his insights for so many kindred spirits who are thirsting for new—or, ironically and simultaneously—tremendously old approaches to life, ritual, worship, and spirituality. As I drove, then, I found myself rapidly dialing into some of the old concepts and being introduced to some new and enlightening ones.
It is important to note that I began my study of Campbell years ago with Hero with a Thousand Faces and that The Wisdom of Joseph Campbell consists of a series of interviews with Joe during his twilight years. Therefore, I was struck by the alpha and omega effect, you might say, of his thought process…how his notions from early in his career had been developed and refined.
One of his points from Wisdom involves a powerful point about money. He argues, “The individual who takes a job in order to live—for the money or something like that—has turned himself into a slave. He is a money slave. You might say ‘work’ begins when you don’t like what you’re doing. I heard a little formula way, way back: ‘Make your hobby your source of income.’ Then there is no such thing as work and there’s no such thing as getting tired.”
On this point, Joe and I are surely kindred spirits. Like Joe, I have stayed on my particular and eccentric course in life. I’ve basically done just want I wanted to do…even as others said, “An English degree? What are you going to do with an English degree, bag groceries? Hahahahaha….”
It took a lot of courage and a lot of ignoring of people who thought they knew what was best for me. Campbell says taking this route is always difficult, at first “because who the hell wants you to be doing just what you want to do? They all have a lot of plans for you, but you can make it happen and then there is no such thing as work.”
That's it for now...