The Body of Myth: Mythology, Shamanic Trance, and the Sacred Geography of the Body

Overview

Long ago the ancestors of the Greeks, Romans, and Hindus were one people living on the Eurasian steppes. At the core of their religion was the "shamanic trance," a natural state but one in which consciousness achieves a profound level of inner awareness. Over the course of millennia, the Indo-Europeans divided and migrated into Europe and the Indian subcontinent. The knowledge of shamanic trance retreated from everyday awareness and was carried on in the form of myths and distilled into spiritual practices—most ...

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Overview

Long ago the ancestors of the Greeks, Romans, and Hindus were one people living on the Eurasian steppes. At the core of their religion was the "shamanic trance," a natural state but one in which consciousness achieves a profound level of inner awareness. Over the course of millennia, the Indo-Europeans divided and migrated into Europe and the Indian subcontinent. The knowledge of shamanic trance retreated from everyday awareness and was carried on in the form of myths and distilled into spiritual practices—most notably in the Indian tradition of yoga. J. Nigro Sansonese compares the myths of Greece as well as those of the Judeo-Christian tradition with the yogic practices of India and concludes that myths are esoteric descriptions of what occurs within the human body, especially the human nervous system, during trance. In this light, the myths provide a detailed map of the shamanic state of consciousness that is our natural heritage.

This book carries on from the works of Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell to show how the portrayal of consciousness embodied in myth can be extended to a reappraisal of the laws of physics; before they are descriptions of the world, these laws—like myths—are descriptions of the human nervous system.

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Editorial Reviews

Steve Larsen
". . . a fresh and innovative view. What Sansonese has discovered and very nicely documented, is the symbolic presence of the human organism in those least 'physical' of all events, myth and dream. Even the very attentive and sophisticated reader will marvel at the detail and subtlety Sansonese has brought to his investigation."
Gary P. Gillum
"Much like a musical composition by Claude Debussy, this is an impressionistic book, full of mythological and physiological allusions that affect the reader with "Eureka"-type discoveries. The book's organization is unorthodox, yet it succeeds in convincing the reader that there is definitely a physical connection between the human body and mythologies. Sansonese, who has practiced raja yoga for years and here shows how yoga can be used as an effective means of attaining a deeper self-consciousness, reveals himself to be a natural successor to Joseph Campbell and Carl Jung. Readers in public and academic libraries who appreciate and delight in the juxtaposition of science and religion, East and West, will especially enjoy this esoteric volume."
From the Publisher
". . . a fresh and innovative view. What Sansonese has discovered and very nicely documented, is the symbolic presence of the human organism in those least 'physical' of all events, myth and dream. Even the very attentive and sophisticated reader will marvel at the detail and subtlety Sansonese has brought to his investigation."

"Much like a musical composition by Claude Debussy, this is an impressionistic book, full of mythological and physiological allusions that affect the reader with "Eureka"-type discoveries. The book's organization is unorthodox, yet it succeeds in convincing the reader that there is definitely a physical connection between the human body and mythologies. Sansonese, who has practiced raja yoga for years and here shows how yoga can be used as an effective means of attaining a deeper self-consciousness, reveals himself to be a natural successor to Joseph Campbell and Carl Jung. Readers in public and academic libraries who appreciate and delight in the juxtaposition of science and religion, East and West, will especially enjoy this esoteric volume."

From the Publisher

"Much like a musical composition by Claude Debussy, this is an impressionistic book, full of mythological and physiological allusions that affect the reader with "Eureka"-type discoveries. The book's organization is unorthodox, yet it succeeds in convincing the reader that there is definitely a physical connection between the human body and mythologies. Sansonese, who has practiced raja yoga for years and here shows how yoga can be used as an effective means of attaining a deeper self-consciousness, reveals himself to be a natural successor to Joseph Campbell and Carl Jung. Readers in public and academic libraries who appreciate and delight in the juxtaposition of science and religion, East and West, will especially enjoy this esoteric volume."
Library Journal
Much like a musical composition by Claude Debussy, this is an impressionistic book, full of mythological and physiological allusions that affect the reader with ``Eureka''-type discoveries. The book's organization is unorthodox, yet it succeeds in convincing the reader that there is definitely a physical connection between the human body and mythologies. Sansonese, who has practiced raja yoga for years and here shows how yoga can be used as an effective means of attaining a deeper self-consciousness, reveals himself to be a natural successor to Joseph Campbell and Carl Jung. Readers in public and academic libraries who appreciate and delight in the juxtaposition of science and religion, East and West, will especially enjoy this esoteric volume.-Gary P. Gillum, Brigham Young Univ., Provo, Ut.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780892814091
  • Publisher: Inner Traditions/Bear & Company
  • Publication date: 6/28/1994
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

J. Nigro Sansonese teaches physics and mathematics and has practiced raja yoga for twenty years.  

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Table of Contents

List of Figures

Acknowledgments

Prologue

Introduction: Mythology Resurrected

PART ONE: TRANCE

1. The Sound of One Hand Clapping
2. Proprioception
3. Sublime Trance

PART TWO: MYTH

Indo-European Myth 
4. What is Myth
5. Greco-Roman Esoterism
6. Sisyphus and the Stone
7. Myth and Animals
8. Recapitulation
9. The Three Worlds 
    The First World
    • The Second World
    • The Third World 
    • Three-World Trance

10. The Number of the Beast
11. The Mantras of Myth
12. Sacred Geography
13. Sacred Architecture and Art
14. The Siege of Troy
15. The Crack in the Cosmic Egg
16. Dream, Death, Birth
17. The Mysteries of Eleusis
18. Jason and the Argonauts

Judeo-Christian Myth
19. Judeo-Christian Esoterism
20. The Myth of The Christ
21. Sin and Salvation

The Legacy of Myth 
22. Myth: The Historical Foundation of Western Learning

PART THREE: SCIENCE

Myth and Science
23. The Three ages of Man
24. On the Possibility of an A Priori Experience

Psychoscience
25. Master Mechanic Isaac Newton
26. Clerk Maxwell Waves Goodbye
27. Heisenberg Isn't Sure
28. Darwin and the Temple of Solomon

APPENDICES
Appendix A: Newton's Three Laws
Appendix B: Maxwell's Equations
Appendix C: Quantum Mechanics and Psychogeometry

Bibliography

Index

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