The Eternal Drama: The Inner Meaning of Greek Mythology


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Eternal Drama: Inner Meaning of Greek Mythology

CayleebrWinters Follow. Photograph by George Fafalis. The Credits page constitutes a continuation of the copyright page. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Edinger; edited by Deborah A. Includes bibliographical references and index.

Mythology, Greek—Psychological aspects. Wesley, Deborah A. M95E35 Illustrations 1. ZEUS 4. HADES 6. ARES 9. HERA May this book contribute to that goal.

Presented in the s as two series of lectures, one in New York City and one in California, the material shows the author mining the ore of Greek culture for the gold of psychological insight useful to modern individuals. In the almost twenty years since the lectures were presented, Dr. Both Jung and Edinger have sought new understanding of the deep layers of the human psyche by burrowing into wide-ranging cultural contexts. Our hope in bringing the lectures to a wider audience is that readers may be led into their own exploration and imaginative musing on the meanings in the old stories, seeking their own connections to them.

I want to thank Thornton Ladd, whose idea started this project, and who has been a creative collaborator from first to last—the book is really a joint venture. The volume owes much as well to my husband, David Wesley, who acted as my editorial mentor and assisted generously in the editorial work.

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The Eternal Drama: The Inner Meaning of Greek Mythology by Edward F. Edinger

I am also grateful to George Elder, who brought the material of the New York lectures to my attention and continued with encouragement and helpful editorial advice. Jung Institute of San Francisco preserved the material through all these years and provided the basis for this text. Deborah A. There are almost as many answers to this question as there are different human standpoints.

On the broadest level, we can say that a people sharing a system of religious belief has a common myth. In this sense, a myth expresses metaphysical truths and gives answers to the basic questions of life. What we see more commonly today are conceptions of mythology that differ according to the field of thought from which they arise.

Philosophers and theologians tend to think of it as primitive philosophy or religion. The historically oriented read the great stories as the half-forgotten deposit of historical happenings that are left in the folk mind in the form of myth. Anthropologists and sociologists see myths as describing changes in social structures.

For artists and poets, mythology is a treasury of images to be used in their craft, a common coin of the imagination for reminting into new forms. Although a case can be made for each of these conceptions, there is now an understanding of mythology that incorporates all these partial explanations and describes myth as it can be understood by the modern mind. This is the psychological view of C. Jung, which can be summarized by saying that mythology is the self-revelation of the archetypal psyche.

Jung conceived of the human psyche as consisting of two interpenetrating levels, the personal and the archetypal or transpersonal. The deeper, archetypal level does not have its source in personal experience, but is an innate psychological structure, present at birth and common to all human beings just as the physical structure of the body is. This inner structure is composed of the archetypes, universal patterns representing the typical experiences of mankind.

The archetypal level is revealed in religions, the arts, in the fruits of human creativity, and in dreams and visions. Jung suggests that mythology, too, arises from this nonpersonal layer of the human psyche. In the myths we. From this it can be seen that a knowledge of the mythological layers is instrumental in our becoming aware of the deep levels of the psyche. Jung recognized that mythological images give us ways of understanding the archetypal dimension. If the conscious mind does not contain such categories of understanding—religious concepts, mythological concepts—it will have no bridge to the deeper psychic layers.

In such a case, the conscious mind will either be totally alienated from its psychic depths or it will be identified with them. Without a conception of God, for example, we are apt to behave as though we were God ourselves. Of course, this would not be a conscious thought, but in behavior and reactivity the ego is likely to identify with the very thing that it has no way to conceive of—in this case, divinity. And the category of divinity—the gods—is what myths tell us about. Why should we study mythology? As we reflect on the mythological images, we are studying the facts of the psyche and trying to interpret them.

Some of these interpretations are fallible, of course, but the facts are not. The facts, the mythological images themselves, have a reality that transcends interpretation. As we consider the basic images of Greek mythology, we should ask what the particular images could mean in our own individual lives. It is important to read the myths psychologically, to connect them with living experience so that they are not just remote abstractions.

A specific technique can help to do that. With every myth, one can bring personal associations to each figure and image, just as in dealing with a dream. This is myself I am seeing here.

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Certainly the Greek myths and what was built on them— the science and philosophy and literature—form some of the basic roots of. Myths are not simply tales of happenings in the remote past but eternal dramas that are living themselves out repeatedly in our own personal lives and in what we see all around us. To be aware of this adds a dimension to existence that is usually reserved for the poets.

Drama 4 Kids The Greek Gods

To the extent that we can cultivate awareness of this transpersonal dimension, life is enlarged and broadened. Just as Moses is eternally bringing down the law and Jesus is forever being crucified and resurrected, so Heracles is eternally performing his labors, Perseus is still confronting Medusa, and Theseus is forever stalking the Minotaur. All these dramas are happening in us and around us constantly. They are eternal patterns of the way life happens below the surface, if only one can see it.

While myths can lead us to a comprehension of the larger dimensions of our being, an understanding of myths can teach us as well what we are not.

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Jung tells us: The libido that will not flow into life at the right time regresses to the mythical world of the archetypes, where it activates images which, since the remotest times, have expressed the non-human life of the gods, whether of the upper world or the lower. If this regression occurs in a young person, his own individual life is supplanted by the divine archetypal drama, which is all the more devastating for him because his conscious education provides him with no means of recognizing what is happening, and thus with no possibility of freeing himself from its fascination.

Herein lay the vital importance of myths: they explained to the bewildered human being what was going on in his unconscious and why he was held fast. You will never reach them, so turn back to your human avocations, holding the gods in fear and respect. Knowing that the gods exist makes one less likely to mistake oneself for a god.

In this way myths help tell the ego what it is not. By reflecting it, mythology enables us to get some grasp of the transpersonal dimension, which otherwise would be overwhelming in its raw primordial power. Where do myths come from? The psychological view is that they emerge progressively from the collective unconscious and gradually, by the collective endeavor of the race, are worked over and embodied in some durable form.

The Eternal Drama: The Inner Meaning of Greek Mythology The Eternal Drama: The Inner Meaning of Greek Mythology
The Eternal Drama: The Inner Meaning of Greek Mythology The Eternal Drama: The Inner Meaning of Greek Mythology
The Eternal Drama: The Inner Meaning of Greek Mythology The Eternal Drama: The Inner Meaning of Greek Mythology
The Eternal Drama: The Inner Meaning of Greek Mythology The Eternal Drama: The Inner Meaning of Greek Mythology
The Eternal Drama: The Inner Meaning of Greek Mythology The Eternal Drama: The Inner Meaning of Greek Mythology
The Eternal Drama: The Inner Meaning of Greek Mythology The Eternal Drama: The Inner Meaning of Greek Mythology
The Eternal Drama: The Inner Meaning of Greek Mythology The Eternal Drama: The Inner Meaning of Greek Mythology
The Eternal Drama: The Inner Meaning of Greek Mythology The Eternal Drama: The Inner Meaning of Greek Mythology
The Eternal Drama: The Inner Meaning of Greek Mythology

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