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The Hero’s Journey A Campbellian look at the metaphorical path to personal transformation.

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Presentation on theme: "The Hero’s Journey A Campbellian look at the metaphorical path to personal transformation."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Hero’s Journey A Campbellian look at the metaphorical path to personal transformation.


3 Have you ever contemplated what makes a great story?
How is it that humankind has generated so many great stories throughout history? Why does the reader feel aligned with the heroes of these stories in such a way that the stories go beyond the printed word and impact our own lives back here in the “real world”?

4 While many people believe that myths are stories that are ‘untrue” or even “lies,” in fact, resonant mythologies are metaphors that provide us with symbols of a life we long to experience. To read a myth literally is to miss its higher truth. Mythological narratives may or may not be based in fact. Myths that are temporal will cease to inspire over time and will die out. The perennial myths, however, are those which persevere and project a timeless truth which points the way to our ultimate destiny. To pursue this destiny is The Hero’s Journey.

5 A Campbellian Analysis of the Hero’s Journey
There are three major phases to great stories in mythology based on Joseph Campbell’s work and documented in The Hero with a Thousand Faces.


7 The Call to Adventure 2. Refusal to the Call
The call to adventure is the point in a person’s life when something important happens that sends the person in a new direction. It can be an opportunity, an accident, a gift, a decision, a dream, a new piece of information – any number of things – but the end result is that life changes whether the person wants it to or not. 2. Refusal to the Call Often when the call is is given, the future hero refuses to heed it. The future hero might be afraid or feel he can’t leave responsibilities or might not feel strong enough to start an adventure.

8 4. The Crossing of the First Threshold
3. Supernatural Aid Once the hero has committed to the quest, consciously or unconsciously, his guide and magical helper appears or becomes known. The helper does not have to be human. 4. The Crossing of the First Threshold This is the point where the person actually crosses into the field of adventure, leaving the known limits of his world and venturing into an unknown and dangerous realm where the rules and limits are not known.

9 5. The Belly of the Whale The belly of the whale represents the final separation from the hero’s known world and self. This is the point when the person is transitioning between worlds and selves. The experiences that will shape the new world and self will begin shortly or may be beginning with this experience which is often symbolized by something dark, unknown and frightening. By entering this stage, the person shows his willingness to undergo a metamorphosis.


11 The Meeting with the Goddess
The Road of Trials The road of trials is a series of tests, tasks, or ordeals that the person must undergo as part of becoming a hero. Often the person fails one or more of these tests. The Meeting with the Goddess After surviving the road of trials, the hero may experience a great love. In many stories it is a romantic love, or it may be the warm, heart-filling love we feel for friends or family. It may also be a feeling of divine love. Either way, the hero gains strength and a wonderful feeling of well-being from the experience. In many classical myths and stories, the great love is represented by a goddess figure.

12 The Temptation At one level, this step is about those temptations that may lead the hero to abandon or stray from his quest, which as with the Meeting with a Goddess does not necessarily have to be represented by a woman. Often, this step is about the revulsion that the male hero may feel about his own earthy nature, and the subsequent attachment or projection of that revulsion to women. Woman is a metaphor for the physical or material temptations of life, since the hero-knight was often tempted by lust from his spiritual journey.

13 Atonement with the Father
In this step, the person must confront and be initiated by whatever holds the ultimate power in his life. In many myths and stories this is the father or father figure who has life and death power. In others, it is the biggest obstacle, the fiercest monster, or the most terrifying conflict. This is the center point of the journey. Although this step is frequently symbolized by an encounter with a male, it does not have to be male; just someone or something with incredible power.

14 Apotheosis After facing and surviving the great power in his life, the hero may have an experience of oneness and beauty of the universe. For some heroes, it is like being in heaven. of course if the hero did not survive the encounter with the great power in his life, he may actually be in heaven This step is a period of rest, peace and fulfillment before the hero begins the return.

15 The Ultimate Boon The ultimate boon is the achievement of the goal or quest. It was 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, or a plant that supplies immortality, or the holy grail.


17 Refusal of the Return The Magic Flight
Sometimes, when the adventure has been a glorious or very satufying one, the hero refuses to come back to normal life. If the hero is concerned that his message will not be heard, he may also refuse to return. The Magic Flight Sometimes the hero must steal the boon and make a daring escape. It can be just as adventurous and dangerous returning from the journey as it was to begin it.

18 Rescue from Without Just as the hero may need guides and assistants to set out on the quest, oftentimes, he must have powerful guides and assistants to bring him back to everyday life, especially if the hero has been wounded or weakened by the experience. Or perhaps the hero doesn’t realize that it is time to return, that he can return, or that others may need the boon.

19 The Crossing of the Return Threshold
The hero crosses a threshold to return just as when the adventure began. The hero’s task at this point is to remember what was learned during the quest and to use it to make life better for himself and others. This is usually extremely difficult. This the point at which many stories en, “And they lived happily ever after.” The implication is that the hero goes on to live a good and productive life, but we don’t usually get too many details on just how that happens.

20 Master of Two Worlds At this point, the hero has learned how to be comfortable with the everyday world and the world of adventure. The hero is comfortable with himself and with the rest of the world too. For a human hero, this may mean achiveing a balance between the material and the spiritual. 6. 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.

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