Jonathan Young Press Release

Jonathan Young Press Release

Seminar Dates and Formats
     Joseph Campbell[2]
     Site Map[3]


Storyteller, psychologist, author, poet Jonathan Young will be
visiting the area lecturing on the wisdom of mythic stories and
promoting his book: SAGA: Best New Writings on Mythology, an anthology
of exceptional depth with contributions by James Hillman, Thomas
Moore, Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Toni Morrison, Ursula Le Guin,
Robert Bly, and Marion Woodman among others. SAGA has been hailed
as an important contribution to myth and ritual studies by reviewers.

Young studied the uses of myth in psychotherapy with Rollo May
and the role of the search for meaning in human development with
Victor Frankl. But his most important teacher was Joseph Campbell,
who he assisted at many seminars for a number of years. Following
the death of the distinguished mythologist, Young founded the
Joseph Campbell Archives and Library at the Pacifica Graduate
Institute in Santa Barbara. But Young does not just “get
by” on Campbell’s coat tails. He is a well-respected authority
on myth and fairy tales within the academic field of myth and
ritual studies and is a popular speaker and workshop leader specializing
in the archetypal and psychological dimensions of fairy tales.

Young is a sought after lecturer because of his gift and great
love for telling stories and giving talks on matters of the soul.
A captivating speaker, he meticulously weaves his way through
myth and magic. “Whether simple parables or complex tales
from ancient myths, every scene is a collection of images we can
study for spiritual significance,” Young explains.

It was perhaps his destiny to become a storyteller. His father,
who worked with crusading evangelist Billy Graham, loved stories.
In their world travels, Young’s parents instilled the love of
mythic stories in their children. “I heard the Arabian Nights
in Baghdad, stories of the Buddha in India and Japan, The Little
Mermaid in Denmark, the Pied Piper in Hamlin.”

His father’s travels to visit missionaries had an unexpected impact
on Young. “I went with him to visit missionaries throughout
the Middle East, India, and Asia. I’m sure these travels were
meant to show me the truth of my father’s religious views. But
it had a somewhat reverse impact on me as I could see the grandeur
and the ritual and the temples. It was evident that there was
an abundance of the divine present in the belief systems of other

Young maintains that there is more than just a good tale in our
myths and fairy tales. “I believe that all those fairy tales
and beloved stories were sacred to begin with,” he observes.
“And as they have been passed along from generation to generation,
the spiritual bits have been lost and the stories that remain
do so because they were good yarns.

“All stories,” he contends, “have symbolic meaning,
hidden wisdom that illuminates the soul’s yearnings to go home
to its beloved. For example, I believe that Cinderella’s going
to the ball in the palace filled with lights was not good sociology-making
a good marriage, upward mobility and all that stuff. I believe
that the palace was the sacred realm. ”

“Mythology allows us to reconnect with a dimension beyond
ordinary time. In this moment of history, consumer values dominate
the media. Ancient stories give us a chance to visit with the
eternal characters involved with primal adventures. This can provide
perspectives that go beyond trendy concerns with possessions and

Young takes mythology and teaches its practical application to
everyday living. “Stories teach us how to pay attention to
everything that happens in life and to perceive the options available.
One’s least honored attribute may come to the rescue on some fateful
day when circumstances require that very quality,” he observes.

Dr. Young spends about 150 days per year travelling-reading in
bookstores, speaking at spiritual gatherings, literary and story-telling
festivals, and academic conferences.

Marion Woodman says, “Jonathan Young’s sensibilities touch
into the yearning of the contemporary soul. He shows us how the
guiding characters in stories can take us into another place —
where we are given a special image, a symbol — that brings everything
together. That’s what we need for healing, a moment when we are
whole — intellect, soul, imagination, body, and emotion. His
work is about recognizing the true longings of the soul — and
the wisdom that comes out of being an eternal presence in a temporal
body. His passion and clarity open the reader to exciting new
insights. ”


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