Photograph – courtesy, the estate of Sue Vincent
(All Tarot Card Images – Rider-Waite Deck)
The Silent Eye’s October Explorations Zoom Talk
The Thousandth Face – breaking through from the ordinary
Jospeh Campbell’s book, ‘The Hero with a Thousand Faces’, sold over a million copies.
In it, using his knowledge of philosophy and psychology, Campbell describes how all human myths share a common fundamental structure, which he called the Monomyth.
Essentially ‘the hero’s adventure’ is summarised as:
The hero ventures forth from the world of the common day into a region of supernatural wonder. Fabulous forces are encountered and a decisive victory won. The hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow good fortune on his fellow man.
The ‘Mono-Myth’ describes a number of key stages or steps along the way:
The hero’s adventure begins in the ordinary world with a call to adventure…
The Hobbit – Bilbo seated outside his Hobbit Hole smoking a pipe in the morning light.
The Matrix – Neo’s mundane job in a tech company.
The Arthurian Mythos – The Knights seated around the Round Table in the hall of Camelot
Tarot Card – The Devil, In this instance,
represents the Egoic Nature.
…The hero sometimes refuses the call to adventure…
The Hobbit – Bilbo Refuses to have anything to do with adventures when first invited and then tells Gandalf that he ‘has got the wrong hobbit.
The Matrix – Neo follows the white rabbit but when following Morpheus’ instructions to avoid the Agents he fails to cross the abyss of the skyscraper and is captured.
The Biblical Myth of Jonah – The call from God in this instance is flatly refused by Jonah who tries to flee onboard a ship. After a number of negative events which the crew ascribe to Jonah he is thrown overboard to save the ship from further mishaps and swallowed by a whale which regurgitates him alive back at Ninevah.
Tarot Card – The Blasted Tower: The Egoic Nature
is penetrated by Higher Forces.
…He/she leaves the ordinary world after accepting the call to adventure…
The Hobbit – Bilbo’s empathy and compassion for the Dwarves, who have lost their home, prompts him to embark on the adventure.
The Matrix – When Neo contemplates running from Trinity she says ‘You’ve been down that road a hundred times before and it doesn’t lead anywhere.’ (paraphrase)
The Arthurian Mythos – The Knights follow the White Stag into the Enchanted Forest.
Tarot Card – The Fool: Penetrated Egoic Nature results in a ‘reckless fool’.
…With the help of a mentor, the hero will cross a guarded threshold, leading him to a supernatural world, where the familiar laws of the ordinary world no longer apply…
The Hobbit – Gandalf. The Matrix – Morpheus. The Bible Myths – God. The Arthurian Mythos – Merlin. Celtic Irish Myth – Mananan mac Lir.
Tarot Card – The Hermit: In a high place, which may well be interior,
holds aloft a light.
…There, the hero will embark upon a road of trials, tests, or temptations…
Indiana Jones – Take your pick!
The Irish Hero CuChulain – The Sword Bridge.
The Arthurian Mythos – Perilous Seat, Grail Questions. Combative Knights.
The Hobbit – Golem’s Riddles…
Myth of Christ – Jesus in the wilderness tested by Satan.
Tarot Card – Strength: An unarmed,
feminine character closes the mouth of the Lion.
…Mysterious allies sometimes assist…
In the Welsh myth of Culwch and Olwen, the hero Culwch is aided in his quest to find Olwen by a number of aged, wise animals.
Stag… Raven… Owl… Salmon…
These animals talk, guiding the hero to the next in turn until he is finally transported to the Other-World where his treasure awaits.
Tarot Card – The Star: The feminine figure
represents the planetary being of the earth.
…As the hero faces the ordeal, they encounter the greatest challenge of the journey…
The Hobbit – Slaying the Dragon…
The Matrix – Overcoming The Agents…
Culwch and Olwen – outwitting Olwen’s father, Ysbaddaden.
The Arthurian Mythos – The Green Knight.
Tarot Card – Death: although the ground is strewn with body parts a glorious sun rises on the horizon.
…Upon rising to this challenge, the hero receives a reward, or boon…
The Hobbit – The Trolls Treasure.
The Matrix – Freedom within the Matrix.
Culwch – marries Olwen, or is united with his Soul.
Arthurian Mythos – The Grail is achieved.
Tarot Card – The Chariot: The balanced psyche
moves forward without hindrance in the world.
…He/she returns to the ordinary world, empowered to act in a higher way…
Tarot Card – The Lovers: ‘open up and get out of the way.’
‘There were a few outstanding questions, including whether Campbell focused on the masculine and, if so, what would the feminine hero’s journey look like if it were different.
We were left with four leading questions to ponder:
What is being described?
How does each part of the Mono-Myth relate to one’s own story?
How do we know that the Quest has begun?
Why would we want to undertake this Journey?
An open invitation was extended to the group to join ‘The Hero’s Journey’, the Silent Eye’s next landscape workshop, at Castlerigg Stone Circle and its environs, Cumbria, UK, May 6-8, 2022.
This will be a personal journey related to each individual as the hero of their own life, shared in a communal environment with meals at local hostelries…’ – Recorder
…For three days Gwythyr-the-Bright journeyed
in the gullet of the Black Salmon of the Lake of Light.
On the third night, he came to a river valley
whose edges were forested with tall trees.
From root to crown, one half of the trees
in that forest were aflame while the other
half were green with leaves.
There were level meadows on both sides of the
river and on one bank grazed a flock of black
sheep with on the other a flock of white sheep.
When a white sheep bleated a black sheep would cross
the river and turn white and when a black sheep bleated
a white sheep would cross the river and turn black…
Crucible of the Sun: The Mabinogion Retold
By Stuart France
“I will dazzle like fire, hard and high, will flame the breaths of my desire; chief revealer of that which is uttered and that which is asked, tonight I make naked the word.”
Once upon a time we gathered around the flames of the hearth and listened to tales of long ago and far away. The stories grew in the telling, weaving ancient lore whose origins lie somewhere in a misty past with tales of high adventure, battles, magic and love. In Crucible of the Sun, this oral tradition is echoed in a unique and lyrical interpretation of tales from the Mabinogion, a collection of stories whose roots reach back into the depths of time, spanning the world and reflecting universal themes of myth and legend.
These tales capture a narrative deeply entwined through the history of the Celtic peoples of the British Isles, drawing on roots that are embedded in the heart of the land. In Crucible of the Sun the author retells these timeless stories in his own inimitable and eminently readable style. The author’s deep exploration of the human condition and the transitions between the inner worlds illuminate this retelling, casting a unique light on the symbolism hidden beyond the words, unravelling the complex skein of imagery and weaving a rich tapestry of magic.
‘The author’s creative and scholarly engagement with the material and enthusiasm for the original tales is evident throughout.’ The Welsh Books Council
‘I found it very inspiring!’ Philip Carr-Gomm, former Chosen Chief, Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids (O.B.O.D.)
Available worldwide via Amazon, in paperback and for Kindle.