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The Power of Myth
by Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers


  • Myths are stories that express the wisdom of the human experience and point to the core mysteries of existence. They use symbolic imagery to convey truths about human life.

  • Myths from different cultures around the world share many common themes and patterns, indicating there are universal aspects of the human psyche and experience that transcend time and place.

  • The "hero's journey" is a fundamental mythic story where an individual leaves the familiar world, undergoes trials and adventures, gains insights, and returns transformed to share wisdom with the community. This pattern reflects the psychological journey to greater self-knowledge.

  • Myths provide guidance for navigating life's transitions and finding meaning. They address the challenges of growing up, finding one's place in society, confronting mortality, and discovering a deeper spiritual dimension to existence.

  • Myth and ritual historically helped traditional societies live in harmony with the mysteries of the cosmos and the wonder of the natural world. Modern society has largely lost this mythic grounding.

  • Love is a transformative force that can open the heart to compassion and the mystery of another person. Romantic love elevates the individual above social duties.

  • The images and stories of mythology provide "masks" through which we can experience the radiance of the divine source that underlies the universe. Myths point beyond themselves to this transcendent dimension.

  • The deepest spiritual realization is that you are one with the ultimate mystery, with "God," and eternity can be found here and now by experiencing the wonder and totality of the present moment.

In summary, Campbell portrays myths as repositories of ageless wisdom that can guide the individual to psychological wholeness and spiritual fulfillment, helping them find meaning and bliss in life. Myths point the way to transcending the limitations of the ego and connecting with the sacred unity of all existence.