The Power of Myth — New Class began Sept. 7, ends Oct. 12

Len Bowman again leads us through Joseph Campbell’s examination of the role of myth in our cultures and beliefs. Classes will be held on Thursdays from 7:00 p.m. — 8:30 p.m. for six sessions starting September 7. The class will be held in the sanctuary and is open to the public. A one-time $10 donation is requested for the course. A sign-up sheet is in the Gathering Area, but no preregistration is needed; simply pay at the door. For further information, contact Len Bowman at 443-286-3495.

Photo of Dr. Len BowmanDr. Len Bowman will moderate this six-week course that will focus on “The Power of Myth” — Bill Moyers interviews Joseph Campbell. Course participants will view and then discuss six interviews of mythologist Joseph Campbell with award-winning journalist Bill Moyers. Joseph Campbell was first and foremost a scholar of world mythological traditions. Yet his work has continued to resonate in the creative arts and in personal spiritual journeys. Among those who acknowledge a debt to him are George Lucas (Star Wars), Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead, and sculptor Isamu Noguchi. Campbell also recognized how closely mythology linked to psychological archetypes identified by C. G. Jung, so that the study of mythology can help people to recognize their “shadow”— hidden desires and possibilities that may be expressed in dreams and that may inspire creativity. 

Course Content

  1. The Hero’s Adventure (September 7): Hero types, hero deeds, Jesus Christ, the Buddha, movie heroes, Star Wars as a metaphor, an Iroquois story: the refusal of suitors, dragons, dreams and Jungian psychology, “follow your bliss,” consciousness in plants, Gaia, Chartres cathedral, spirituality vs. economics, emerging myths, “Earthrise” as a symbol.
  2. The Message of the Myth (September 14): Creation myths, transcending duality, pairs of opposites, God vs. Nature, sin, morality, participation in sorrow, the Gospel of Thomas, Old Time Religion, computers, religion as “software,” the story of Indra: “What a great boy am I!,” participation in society.
  3. The First Storytellers (September 21): Animal memories, harmonization with body and life-cycle, consciousness vs. its vehicle, killing for food, story: “The Buffalo’s Wife,” buffalo massacre, initiation ritual, rituals diminishing, crime increasing, artists, the Shaman, the center of the world.
  4. Sacrifice and Bliss (September 28) Chief Seattle, the sacred Earth, agricultural renewal, human sacrifice, sacrifice of the Mass, transcendence of death, story: “The Green Knight,” societal dictates vs. following bliss, “hidden hands” guiding life’s work.
  5. Love and the Goddess (October 5): The Troubadours, Eros, romantic love, Tristan, libido vs. credo, separation from love, Satan, loving your enemy, the Crucifixion as atonement, virgin birth, the story of Isis, Osiris and Horus, the Madonna, the Big Bang, the correlation between the earth or mother Goddess and images of fertility (the sacred feminine).
  6. Masks of Eternity (October 12): Identifying with the infinite, the circle as a symbol, clowns and masks, epiphanies and James Joyce, artistic arrest, the monstrous as sublime, the dance of Shiva, that which is beyond words.

(Summary from

Dr. Len Bowman, a member of the congregation, has taught philosophy and religion for over forty years, and he currently teaches in the Master of Liberal Arts program of Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Bowman’s undergraduate major is philosophy. He holds an M.A. in English Literature from the University of Detroit, and a Ph.D. in Religion and Literature from Fordham University. Among his teachers are Ewert Cousins, William Richardson, Thomas Berry, Wilfred Cantwell Smith, and Huston Smith.