For Joseph Campbell, the study of myth was the exploration of the possibilities of consciousness. His lifetime of scholarship was nothing less than the search for the Holy Grail of radiant living. The dialog between Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers that became The Power of Myth was an event that changed many lives. It is more than a presentation of fascinating stories from all over the world. It is a vision of a rich inner life available to anyone willing to go on the initiatory adventures.
Joseph Campbell was born in 1904 in a suburb of New York City. His childhood was strongly Irish Catholic. This heritage led to an earnest immersion in the rituals and symbols of the church, including becoming an altar boy. His interest in mythology began at age seven when he saw the Indians in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show in Madison Square Garden. Campbell developed an intense fascination with Native American lore that ultimately led to vast learning. His boyhood was spent studying the Indian exhibits at the American Museum of Natural History and reading all the books he could find on Native Americans, including advanced anthropological reports.
Campbell graduated from Canterbury School in New Milford, Connecticut in 1921. On a crossing of the North Atlantic in 1924, he met Jiddu Krishnamurti, not yet the great world teacher of the Theosophists. This friendship led to a deep interest in the traditions of India. Campbell received his B.A. in English from Columbia University in 1925. He completed his M.A. in Medieval Literature in 1926 with a thesis on The Dolorous Stroke, the origin of the Wasteland symbolism in the Grail legends. His advisor was Roger Loomis, a leading Arthurian scholar.