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Sunday, May 26, 2013

Ode to Joseph Campbell


I have cried tears of joy thanks to Joseph Campbell.
       Before this particular event, tears always meant pain. Not that I’m complaining. Ever since I read that crying was good for a person, that we live longer because of releasing pain through tears, I have let them flow.
       The tears of joy sprang to my eyes while watching a video of Joseph Campbell explaining the Eastern theory of “lunar” and “solar” lines that run up our spine on the etheric level (Joseph Campbell and The Power Of Myth with Bill Moyers video). What he described was what I had experienced in connection with my daughter Jenny after she died following heart surgery.
       There were two sides to our relationship after Jenny died after open-heart surgery at two and a half years of age. On the one hand, I believed in spirit life after death and communicated with her often. I saw her in my inner vision, heard her voice on occasion, and others saw her spirit as well. So I wasn’t bitter. I knew that she was alive and well in spirit. 
       The other side of me was like a deranged grizzly bear mother whose cub had been taken away from her. I was furious at the world. I felt like getting a baseball bat and smashing everything in sight. I demanded the return of my daughter and hated this spiritual nonsense. Communicating through prayer and meditation with her spirit meant nothing to grizzly mother. She screamed for her physical child and was inconsolable if she couldn’t get her back.
       This is what Joseph Campbell was describing. He said the lunar side represents our physical and emotional existence. It was named lunar because the moon seems to appear and disappear the same way babies are born and people die. This side relates only to physical reality.
       The solar side represents the spirit side of our nature, the part of us that lives after death, that knows the body is only a temporary home for the soul. And then Campbell said the words that flipped me out, “These two sides can’t communicate with each other.” He drew a diagram on a board of two entwining lines going up the spine. These lines rotated around each other but did not touch. He said the spiritual line vibrated at a slightly higher rate than the physical line. 
       I jumped up from the couch in excitement. “That’s what I’ve been going through,” I cried out to the empty room. Someone understood and had an explanation for my craziness. What a relief! I didn’t understand why I was in so much pain from her death when I was able to communicate with her in spirit. It seemed like the emotional/physical side (grizzly bear mother) didn’t hear or see the same things my spiritual side did. I paced the room in excitement, tears of joy and gratitude streaming down my face.
       So thank you, Joseph Campbell. A blessing for you in spirit. You gave us a great gift through your work on mythology: the books and videos are your legacy to those hungry for your knowledge.
       Joseph Campbell died in 1987 at the age of 83. He left behind many books (The Power of Myth, Myths to Live By, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, The Masks of God) and countless videos (check with your library).

Anna Olson has written a chapbook about her experiences before and after her daughter Jenny died called Writing my Way to Recovery: A Tribute to Jennifer Lindy Olson, for sale at $8.00, postage included. For mailing details, email

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