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In the past:

1912 – The frozen bodies of Robert Scott and his men are found on the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica.
1980 – The NASA space probe Voyager I makes its closest approach to Saturn and takes the first images of its rings.


So, for the explorers…

JOSEPH CAMPBELL: Now, there’s a fantastic example of something. The little Bushman groups, the whole life is one of great, great tension. The male and female sexes are, what we say, in a disciplined way, separate. The men have a certain field of concerns, their weapons and the poisons and the hunt and all that, and the women have a certain field of concern, bringing up the children, the nourishing of the children, and so forth and so on. Only in the dance do the two come together, and they come together this way. The women sit in a circle or a group, and they then become the center around which the men dance. And they control the dance and what goes on with the men through their own singing and beating of the thighs.

BILL MOYERS: What’s the significance of that, that the woman is controlling the dance?

JOSEPH CAMPBELL: Well, the woman is life, and the man is the servant of life, and during the course of this circling, circling, it’s a very tense style of movement the men have, suddenly one of them will pass out. He’s in trance now, and this is a description of an experience.

“When people sing. I dance. I enter the earth. I go in at a place like a place where people drink water. I travel a long way, very far. When I emerge, I am already climbing. I’m climbing threads. I climb one and leave it, then I climb another one. Then I leave it, and I climb another. When you arrive at God’s place, you make yourself small. You come in small to God’s place. You do what you have to do there. Then you return to where everyone is. You come and come and come and finally you enter your body again. All the people who have stayed behind are waiting for you. They fear you. You enter, enter the earth, and you return to enter the skin of your body. And you say A-a-i-i-e-e That is the sound of your return to your body. Then you begin to sing. The ntum-masters are there around. They take hold of your head and blow about the sides of your face. This is how you manage to be alive again. Friends, if they don’t do that to you, you die. You just die and are dead. Friends, this is what it does, this untum that I do, this untum here that I dance.”

This is an actual experience of transit from the earth through the realm of mythological images to God, or to the seat of power.

BILL MOYERS: It becomes something of the other mind of us.

JOSEPH CAMPBELL: It is exactly the other mind. And the way God is imaged, God is transcendent finally of anything like a name of God. As the Hindus say, “Beyond names and forms.” Beyond damarupan, beyond names and forms. “No tongue has soiled it, no word has reached it.”

The Power Of Myth, Joseph Campbell, Ch.3