Joseph Campbell, Thelemic Saint.
Joseph Campbell was a Child of Thelema if ever there was one. Born just days after the Advent of the Thelemic Age, and right before the revelation of the Law of Thelema, he was very much imbued with the Spirit of the New Aeon. Yet, like numerous others on our list of Saints, Campbell did not attain to the Gnosis and Communion of his Holy Bliss by clerical devices such as a routine of ceremonial invocation and formal meditation practices, but rather by an insatiable passion for, and incredibly focused analysis and understanding of, the underlying threads of all myths and religions across the globe.
He started out as a Roman Catholic but quickly became passionate about Native American mythology, Asian philosophy, and Hinduism. He was also an avid student of Jung — yet another Thelemic Saint. But he found great enlightenment in the fantastic works of James Joyce, whom Crowley regarded very highly. Campbell was also greatly impacted with the genius of Friedrich Nietzsche, whom he often quoted.
Joseph Campbell went on to write such great works as Hero with a Thousand Faces and The Masks of God, and was later featured in a video series by Bill Moyers called The Power of Myth. His most accomplished disciple was George Lucas, who found inspiration in his studies on comparative myth for his monumental series of science fiction films, which at their core are the saga of a lost soul emerging from the Abyss through sheer love.
Campbell left us with many great quotes. Here are just a few of those highly Thelemic gems:
“Every religion is true one way or another. It is true when understood metaphorically. But when it gets stuck in its own metaphors, interpreting them as facts, then you are in trouble.”
“Find a place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.”
“Participate joyfully in the sorrows of the world. We cannot cure the world of sorrows, but we can choose to live in joy.”
“God is a metaphor for that which trancends all levels of intellectual thought. It’s as simple as that.”
“I don’t have to have faith, I have experience.”
“It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life. Where you stumble, there lies your treasure.”
“Opportunities to find deeper powers within ourselves come when life seems most challenging.”
“Your sacred space is where you can find yourself again and again.”
…But perhaps his fondest saying was simply “Follow your Bliss”. What a wonderful way of saying “Do what thou wilt”! He once said: “Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.”
His profound genius is appreciated and will be remembered. Happy birthday to Joseph Campbell (Mar.26, 1904-Oct.30, 1987 E.V.).