The Hero’s Journey

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What Is The Hero’s Journey?

Here’s to all the heroes out there making it happen. And to draw some inspiration from these brave souls, I’m diving into the mysterious Hero’s Journey. So for those of you who aren’t familiar with The Hero’s Journey, it is basically the hero myth story which was first brought to light by anthropologist Edward Burnett Tyler in 1871.

It describes what the actual journey of the hero is, which can be seen throughout history and is often translated through the arts such as in songs or movies. Think movies like Gladiator or 300. Or if you really want to to know who is a master at using The Hero’s Journey though motion pictures, look no further than Disney movies. I know, I know…I watch too many kids’ movies. But Walt Disney is truly excellent at creating inspiring movies based on this template.

Use As Your Template To Reach Your Goals and Freedom

So the reason I want to explore The Hero’s Journey is because we all need to step up and be heroes in our own lives often to become the person we strive to be and to reach our goals in life, whether these goals be financial goals, personal goals, physical goals, spiritual goals or mental goals.

The Hero’s Journey is there as a template for us to use for inspiration in our lives to get where we want to go in life, which often requires transformation. Because we can’t get different unless we do or become different, right?

So The Hero’s Journey can be used as the North Star for you to help find your way to the desired destination you are trying to travel to as a person.

Our Shining Hero Example

So there are many amazing people in history who have traveled this hero’s journey who are shining examples of what true heroism is. The biggest example for me personally is George Washington himself. George Washington traveled this journey and played such a significant role in winning our beautiful country’s independence and shaping our constitutional government.

George was one bad mama-jama, who is absolutely a true hero to all of us now basking in our freedom in this country thanks in large part (among many others) to his leadership.

Stages and Steps

So what is The Hero’s Journey then? In 1949, a man named Joseph Campbell expanded on The Hero’s Journey in his work titled The Hero With A Thousand Faces and more clearly defined the stages and steps of The Hero’s Journey.

The Hero’s Journey consists of 3 stages with multiple steps in each stage. The three stages are: Departure, Initiation and Return. So let’s dig deeper into each of these stages, so we can learn how to draw on our inner hero.

Departure

The Call To Adventure

The Call To Adventure is the first step and is a deep urging from that voice within us to go off on a quest into the unknown. Oooh the scary unknown that scares the living daylights out of us as human beings that we discussed in the prior blog and podcast Into The Unknown To Conquer Fear.

Refusal Of The Call

So the hero gets this call to adventure usually just living a normal life minding his or her own business in his or her own comfort zone, often living it up quite contently in old comfy land. After first trying to avoid the call, the hero finally does surrender to the call. Probably because it gets too loud and annoying to ignore, lol.

Meeting The Mentor

So after trying to resist the call, the hero is then often times nudged and shoved into departure by a spiritual mentor of some kind. This mentor will then help guide the hero on his or her journey. This mentor can even just be the little voice inside which is often the best inner guide in life. So this is not necessarily an external mentor depending on the specific journey.

Crossing The First Threshold

Now the hero enters into the the great, scary unknown and often now arrives in dangerous territory. So at this point, the hero is in unknown and risky territory, but he or she doesn’t back down.

Belly Of The Whale

Instead of backing down, the hero instead dives into the belly of the beast. This is the step where he or she commits to his or her metamorphosis. Despite all the odds and challenges being waged against the hero at this point, the hero is now all in. The belly of the whale oftentimes is the hero going inward with him or herself to find the answers needed, to reflect and transform.

This can almost be like a death of the old and a birth of the new. But the new is really just returning to the hero’s true self, who the hero somehow lost somewhere along the way.

Initiation

The Road Of Trials

The road of trials are tests that the hero must now conquer. The tests often come in threes, and the hero will often fail a couple of these tests at first. After all the hero is just a living, breathing human being who makes mistakes. No one is perfect, not even the admired hero.

Eventually the hero will learn his or her lessons and pass the tests to move onto the next step. The good news is the spiritual mentor is also still with the hero during the road of trials to help guide through.

The Meeting With The Goddess

Ok so I freaking love goddesses so this step was very intriguing to me! After the hero finally passes his or her tests, the hero now gets what he or she needs from this meeting with the goddess step to help the hero in the future. What the hero gets in this step depends on the specific and unique journey of the particular hero.

The Woman As Temptress

The trouble is not over yet despite the prior lovely goddess step. Because in the woman as temptress step, the hero is now heavily tempted by things which are often pleasurable or physical in nature. The hero must be very careful in this step. If he or she falls into the temptation(s), it will lead to the hero abandoning or straying from his or her quest. So this is a highly risky and dangerous stage because the last thing anyone wants is for the hero to give up on the journey!

I mean imagine if for example George Washington would have succumbed to temptation and surrendered in the battles for our country’s independence in order to get warmth, food and comfort for him and his soldiers. If he wouldn’t have passed this temptation, we’d all be bowing to a king or queen in America right now. No thanks.

So in this step, the temptress doesn’t necessarily have to be an actual woman. It can be a woman or a man, but it can also take many other forms such as greed, addiction or toxic relationships. You name it. If it’s not great for you in the longer journey but may feel great in the moment, it is a temptation that the hero must overcome to keep moving forward toward success.

Atonement With The Father/Abyss.

So after passing temptation, the hero now must confront that which holds the ultimate power over the hero. Again this doesn’t have to be a male even though it’s called atonement with the father/abyss. This is just someone or something with great power.

This is the mid-point for the hero on his journey and consists of the hero’s ego self shattering, so that his or her true self can shine brightly through. Like Rhianna sings, “shine bright like a diamond!”

Apotheosis

Now armed with great understanding, authenticity and wisdom, the hero is ready to go into full out beast mode and make this thing happen. So everyone better watch out now! The hero is wide awake and fully committed to his journey. In other words, he or she is ready to take care of business at all costs.

The Ultimate Boon

In this final step of initiation, the hero finally achieves the goal he or she set out to achieve on the journey. All of the prior steps have prepared the hero to kick butt and succeed.

Return

Refusal Of The Return

Now having conquered and accomplished the quest the hero set out to achieve, the hero is now on cloud 9 for making that thing happen against all odds, trials, tests, fear and temptations. The hero now doesn’t really want to return to the regular old world to share his or her gifts with the rest of the world.

But as Voltaire said “With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility” though. Still the hero kind of resists this responsibility at the beginning of the return stage of his journey.

The Magic Flight

During the magic flight, the hero begins to return to society or back to the normal. This step often has many twists and turns the hero must still maneuver.

Rescue From Without

Finally in this step, the hero will get guides and assistants to help bring him or her back to everyday life. By now the hero is pretty battered and downright exhausted, so these guides could not come at a better time of the journey to help the hero return home.

The Crossing Of The Return Threshold

So now the hero must retain all the hard earned wisdom and understanding he has learned on his or her dangerous, adventurous and wild journey. The hero must figure out now how to share this wisdom with the rest of humanity, which is part of the hero’s mission.

Master of Two Worlds

In this step, the hero has found balance between the material and spiritual worlds and can now master both in his or her everyday life. This is where the hero finds the true ability to detach from things like anxiety, fear and even ambition.

This is where the hero masters living in the present moment and rolling with whatever punches are brought his or her way in every day life, armed with all the beautiful lessons learned from The Hero’s Journey.

Freedom To Live

Now complete freedom. This is ultimately freedom from fear of death, which in turn gives the hero the complete freedom to live wholeheartedly and in the present moment without expectation or regret. This is absolute independence.

The hero can now live his or her life free with the absolute knowledge that he or she can conquer anything that comes his or her way in life!

Our Overall Lesson

So now that you know The Hero’s Journey, let this journey guide you to your own freedom and destination in this world.

As George Washington said, “the harder the conflict, the greater the triumph.”

Getting to your ultimate destination isn’t an easy journey, but it is definitely a worthwhile one. A great triumph in deed.

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