Lovely video on initiation with Joseph Campbell

posted by Eivind on March 31, 2012, at 2:00 pm

I want to share this video with you featuring Joseph Campbell speaking on initiation in tribal cultures.

It moved me to notice Joseph’s voice crack in an obvious display of emotion around 1:30. He describes the ritual in which a boy gets to defeat the larger-than-life personifications of a malevolent god. The god is really a man of the tribe, and he lets the boy win on purpose. He then takes off his mask and puts it on the boy. All of a sudden, the power which the boy has grown up fearing is his to wield. He has slain the dragon and taken its skin. He can do anything now. Protect the tribe in turn.

Joseph’s emotion resonates deeply with me because it reminds me of the beauty and importance of what is going on here. Every time I hear of initiation rites like these, I feel pangs in my heart and a yearning for what never was. Thankfully, it feels different now, having done trainings with the Mankind Project and others.