Varieties of Mythic Experience - Essays on Religion, Psyche and Culture

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We need a sense of myth for our individual and collective equilibrium. Sanity itself may be tied to having some kind of lively imagination so that one can feel the strange fantasies that continue to insist themselves into consciousness in both waking and dreaming states....

– from the Foreword by Robert Sardello

The essential paradox is this: Myth points to a baseline that can never be fully drawn; there exists no lowest layer for myth.

– from the Introduction by Glen Slater and Dennis Patrick Slattery

... rituals in fact do not require complementary myths to ’explain’ them, nor is ritual a ’re-enactment’ of myth, but that rituals speak eloquently in their own right.

– from Chapter 3, “Rambu Solo’: the Toraja Cult of the Dead and Embodied Imagination,” by Laura Grillo

A myth occurs when the objective reality confuses itself with a subjective reality. The myth is, so to speak, a montage, and montages can lie – but they can inspire as well. A myth can support either revolution or the status quo; it can provoke enthusiasm or repression.

– from Chapter 7, “How is Psychology a Mythology?” by Ginette Paris (Pacifica Institute)


Foreword by Robert Sardello

Introduction by Glen Slater and Dennis Patrick Slattery


1. The Myth of Biblical Monotheism by Christine Downing

2. The Heart of Hindu Mythos: Yogic Perspectives on Self-Realization by Patrick Mahaffey

Ritual and Symbol

3. Rambu Solo’: the Toraja Cult of the Dead and Embodied Imagination by Laura S. Grillo

4. Mandala of the Naropa Dakini: Archetypal and Psychological Commentary by V. Walter Odajnyk

Literature and Film

5. Oedipus at Colonus: Pilgrimage from Blight to Blessedness by Dennis Patrick Slattery

6. Aliens and Insects by Glen Slater

Psychology and Philosophy

7. How is Psychology a Mythology? by Ginette Paris

8. Légende-Image: The Word/Image Problem by David L. Miller

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About the author

As Pacifica continues to develop and more people are drawn to our programs, our learning community faces the challenge of keeping a place for soul in the midst of success and growth. In the daily activities on campus, we are coming to appreciate the custodial nature of this work. A thing of beauty calls for a measure of protection. We are stewards of a vision, an ideal which has selected us. Our purpose is to bring the creative depths of the human psyche into relationship with the citizens, the institutions, and the forces of nature that make up the world. In so doing, we consciously acknowledge the social landscape of which we are a part. We are committed to contributing back into this world an awareness of the unfolding richness of the human psyche. As institutional, academic, and political challenges converge, it is vital to the Pacifica vision that we reflect on and embody a larger sense of the needs of the planet.

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Body, Mind & Spirit / General
Social Science / Folklore & Mythology
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Gonzo journalist and literary roustabout Hunter S. Thompson flies with the angels—Hell’s Angels, that is—in this short work of nonfiction.
“California, Labor Day weekend . . . early, with ocean fog still in the streets, outlaw motorcyclists wearing chains, shades and greasy Levis roll out from damp garages, all-night diners and cast-off one-night pads in Frisco, Hollywood, Berdoo and East Oakland, heading for the Monterey peninsula, north of Big Sur. . . The Menace is loose again.”
Thus begins Hunter S. Thompson’s vivid account of his experiences with California’s most notorious motorcycle gang, the Hell’s Angels. In the mid-1960s, Thompson spent almost two years living with the controversial Angels, cycling up and down the coast, reveling in the anarchic spirit of their clan, and, as befits their name, raising hell. His book successfully captures a singular moment in American history, when the biker lifestyle was first defined, and when such countercultural movements were electrifying and horrifying America. Thompson, the creator of Gonzo journalism, writes with his usual bravado, energy, and brutal honesty, and with a nuanced and incisive eye; as The New Yorker pointed out, “For all its uninhibited and sardonic humor, Thompson’s book is a thoughtful piece of work.” As illuminating now as when originally published in 1967, Hell’s Angels is a gripping portrait, and the best account we have of the truth behind an American legend.

From the Hardcover edition.
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