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Follow Your Bliss


My general formula for my students is “Follow your bliss.” Find where it is, and don’t be afraid to follow it.

–Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth, pp. 120, 149

This week I’ve been watching The Power of Myth, a six-part series of interviews between Bill Moyers and Joseph Campbell, an American professor of mythology, a writer and a wealth of knowledge of cultures, religion and the stories the two share.

Even through these mostly sit-down, face-to-face interviews interspersed with art and footage of tribes and cultures from across the world, Campbell takes us into a world outside the one we know.

It was this special, aired in 1988 (the year after Campbell’s death), when viewers caught on to the coined phrase “Follow Your Bliss.”

The idea is to follow whatever your passion is – and that it will lead you to others who share that passion with you.

But that’s not all we see in this series. What I love the most about it is Campbell’s assertion that cultures must be preserved. Their rituals and rites become a way for people all across this world to find a common ground and send the same message but do so in their own way.

It’s difficult to describe in words how powerful this series is, but I recommend you all add it to your Netflix Queue or order one of the few new and used copies available on Amazon right now. You certainly will not regret it.

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  • Lee February 24, 2008, 4:38 am

    I’ve seen parts of it, but it admittedly has been a long time… back to high school days. My mom was and has been advocating Joseph Campbell and “follow your bliss” to us for the last 15-20 years. She’s a fairly gung-ho Episcopal-Campbellist.

    By the time I was at Hendrix I was familiar enough with him to analyze a documentary in African Film class about indigenous beliefs in Madagascar through the lens of his four categories of myth (mystical, cosmological, sociological, pedagogical… boo-ya). It was a fun paper to write.

    I myself am no Campbell expert, but to expand on what you wrote a bit, I understand “follow your bliss” to mean listening to your inner voice so that it can guide you along the “seeker’s path” in your own way, following your own passion, and in doing this you will meet others who will help you on your journey and open further doors for you.

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