The Mythic Journey: The Meaning of Myth as a Guide for Life

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9780684869476: The Mythic Journey: The Meaning of Myth as a Guide for Life

Greek gods, Norse heroes, Polynesian tricksters, and Native American warriors -- they all have lessons to teach us.

Since the beginning of time, human beings have relied on myths, fairy tales, and fables to explain life's mysteries and to elucidate human nature. Bringing a fresh perspective to these age-old tales, Liz Greene and Juliet Sharman-Burke reveal how modern audiences on their own life journeys can find comfort and support in the legends and lore of the past.

The Mythic Journey explores the psychological themes of many mythical traditions, recounting stories from Greco-Roman, Hebraic, Egyptian, Celtic, Norse, and various Eastern civilizations. More than fifty myths are beautifully retold, and each is followed by a psychological overview explaining the application the story can have in our own lives. The tales are further brought to life with striking artwork by Peter Paul Rubens, Gustav Klimt, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, William Blake, and many more artists who found inspiration in these stories.

The Mythic Journey is a handbook to human life, guiding readers from the conflicts of family and childhood, through problems of love, intimacy, and ambition, and ultimately to the point when we must face our own mortality. We discover that true self-knowledge comes through facing life's challenges with courage and strength; that beauty, talent, power, and wealth bring their own forms of suffering; and that in the darkness of loneliness, failure, and loss, we have always discovered new light and new hope.

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Review:

"Myth is the original self-help psychology," according to authors Greene and Sharman-Burke. "For centuries human beings have used myths, fairytales and folklore to explain life's mysteries and make them bearable--from why the seasons change, through complex relationship issues, to the enigma of death." With this lofty purpose in mind, the authors organized this collection of myths according to the stages of human development. For example, part 1 is titled "In the Beginning" and takes us through the early lessons of life--"Parents and Children," "Siblings," and "The Family Inheritance." Follow-up sections include "Becoming an Individual," "Love and Relationships," "Position and Power," and finally "Rites of Passage."

The authors offer diverse myths beneath each heading. Within a section on "Leaving Home" we find the myths of Adam and Eve, The Buddha's Departure, and Peredur the Son of Evrawc (a Celtic myth about finding the courage to leave a mother). The research and storytelling are topnotch, but what makes this lavishly illustrated guidebook stand out is the commentary that follows each myth, which explains the advice and guidance within these age-old tales. The Mythic Journey is indeed a self-help book, as readers help themselves to the everlasting lessons these stories offer. --Gail Hudson

About the Author:

Liz Greene is the author of nineteen books, including the highly successful The Mythic Tarot. Her books have been translated into ten languages, and she gives seminars, workshops, and lectures throughout Europe and the United States. She currently lives in Zurich.

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