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The Sun Magazine

Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

The Hero’s Journey

A Talk By Joseph Campbell

There comes a point, a threshold crossing, where everything that you’ve been taught is of no use to you whatsoever. This is the moment of dismemberment, of divestiture. It is symbolized in such mythological images as Jonah swallowed by the whale, the god Osiris torn to pieces, the crucifixion of Christ. The trip is going to take you, if it is really your trip, to the moment of decision: follow your way or follow the way of prudence. That is the breakthrough. And what follows are trials which become greater and greater and greater until you come down to an ultimate abyss, and the experience you were seeking.


The women of my life stand in a full circle around me, waiting for me to choose among them. The clothes and expression and posture of each woman recall a particularly intense moment in our lives together. I look into their eyes and see them pleading. This is my dream and my nightmare.


An orange can’t be too round. / At night milk is black. / The first wife remembers everything. / The tall perspire first.

Pennies From Grandma

I’ve been passing pennies on the sidewalk. There seem to be a lot, as if I’m not the only one who doesn’t bother anymore to lean down and pick them up. After all, what good’s a penny anymore? It’s enough to buy a memory. Every time I see one I think of my Grandma Bralley.


Life And Death

A cold rain beat on the canopy over the grave site. John pulled down the brim of the walking hat she’d gotten him on their ramblings through Ireland. Just before he stepped under the canopy, he glanced up at the sky and recalled when his father had died.

*NOTE: Original copies of this issue are no longer available. Unbound, laser-printed copies will be provided for print orders.

Readers Write


A book from childhood, a rainbow, a Grateful Dead show

Personal Stories By Our Readers ▸


Worse than war is fear of war.


More Quotations ▸
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