’There’s an interesting paper, The Shaman from Elko, in thefestschrift novel volume for Joseph Henderson, a psychiatrist in San Francisco. It’s an account of a woman in West Virginia, in the coal mining areas there, who in her late sixties had the dreadful feeling that she had lost life, that she had never lived life, that there had been a life for her that she had not lived.
And in the analysis they found one time when she was a little girl, about thirteen years old (that’s about the time for the experience), she was walking in the forest and she heard a strange music, a strange song. But she didn’t have in her culture the assistance to help her do something with that and so she lost it. And then throughout her life she had the feeling that she hadn’t lived her life... [I]f the individual does not follow the song he will die, he will really die.
This is a strange psychological thing.'
- Joseph Campbell.
Source: The Hero’s Journey: The World of Joseph Campbell, edited by Phil Cousineau, HarperSanFrancisco, 1999.
Image: Musica Solar by Remedios Varo.