The Power of Myth Themes

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Cathedrals of the Mind

Joseph Campbell first invokes the image of a Cathedral when he describes the spiritual mysteries he senses in St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York. The mystery of the cross and the stained glass windows bring his consciousness to another level. Again, in his description of Chartres Cathedral, he says that the cathedral talks to him about the spiritual information of the world. He finds it a place for meditation, for just walking around and looking at beautiful things. He points out that most of what goes on in the medieval cathedral is out of sight and only the symbols are important—the crucifix, the altar, the images in the stained glass windows and the statues.

The images and symbols in the medieval cathedrals represent more than the particular religious order which erected them. For example, on the West Front at Chartres there is a...

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