Joseph Campbell Campbell developed his idea of heroes and how they operate in cultures built on work he did as an anthropologist. He published his book, The Hero with a Thousand Faces which explained the idea that numerous myths from different times and regions seem to share a fundamental structure and stages.
Hero’s Journey, or Monomyth “The standard path of the mythological adventure of the hero is a magnification of the formula represented in the rites of passage: separation—initiation—return: which might be named the nuclear unit of the monomyth. A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.”
The Hero’s Journey or Monomyth The hero is separated from his/her familiar world, undergoes initiation and transformation, and then returns to his/her familiar world.
The Hero’s Journey The journey is usually divided into 3 major parts, with many stages in each part.
3 Main Stages I. Departure II. Initiation III. Return
On every journey, there are challenges the hero must face. These challenges progress in difficulty, forcing the hero to face both emotional and physical danger.
The Road of Trials By meeting these challenges successfully the hero builds maturity, skill, and confidence.
The Road of Trials Two types of heroic deeds: 1. The Physical Deed: The hero performs a courageous act in battle or saves lives. 2. The Spiritual Deed: The hero learns to experience the supernormal range of human spiritual life and then comes back with a message.
The meeting with the goddess The meeting with the goddess represents the point in the adventure when the person experiences an unconditional love. Although Campbell symbolizes this step as a meeting with a goddess, unconditional love and /or self unification does not have to be represented by a woman.
Temptation The hero is tempted to leave his journey by someone or something
The Atonement After the hero has been transformed, he/she achieves atonement.
The Atonement Atonement means incorporating the changes caused by the journey into the hero’s life, causing him/her to be completely “reborn” and at harmony with life and the world.
The Ultimate Boon The ultimate boon is the achievement of the goal of the quest. It is what the person went on the journey to get. All the previous steps serve to prepare and purify the person for this step, since in many myths the boon is something transcendent like the elixir of life itself, or a plant that supplies immortality, or the holy grail.
The Return The hero now faces the final stage of his/her journey: the return to everyday life.
The Return Usually, upon return, the hero discovers a gift that has been bestowed upon him/her in order to better contribute to society.
Master of Two Worlds For a human hero, it may mean achieving a balance between the material and spiritual. The person has become comfortable and competent in both the inner and outer worlds.
Freedom to Live Mastery leads to freedom from the fear of death, which in turn is the freedom to live. This is sometimes referred to as living in the moment, neither anticipating the future nor regretting the past.