For years, Joseph Campbell celebrated his birthday (March 26th) at Esalen. To explain why, he would tell of Carl Jung’s wondering, “What myth am I living by?”— and when he realized that he didn’t know, writing “I took it upon myself to get to know ‘my’ myth, and I regarded this as the task of tasks.” “That’s what a birthday is for,” Campbell would conclude, “and what Esalen is about.” In March 1988, five months after Campbell’s death, several of his friends again gathered at Esalen for “Campbell Week” — a tradition that has endured. Eventually these festivities were dubbed “A Mythological ToolBox” to acknowledge that familiarity with Campbell is not needed to retool the myths that shape one’s life — though a sense of humor certainly helps.
During this week together, we’ll recall dreams and rekindle visions using such mythmaking tools as drums and dance, music and song, masks, medicine bags, and altars. Our mix of individual, small-group, and collective activities will provide opportunities for both reflection and expression. Who were you? What mise-en-scènes inspire your biographical saga? What treasures have you banished to the basement or secreted in the attic? Who are you? What’s displayed in your home or dangling from your rearview mirror? Who do you aspire to be? What face do you envision in the mirror? What remains on your bucket list? If you dare to revision yourself, then join our springtime rituals of rebirth. Please bring a meaningful but expendable totem and an unsung story or evocative song. For more information, visit www.jcf.org.
Recommended reading: Campbell, Myths to Live By, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, and The Power of Myth.