The hero myth pattern studies were popularized by Joseph Campbell, who was influenced by Carl Jung’s view of myth. In his 1949 work, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Joseph Campbell described the basic narrative pattern as follows: “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 returns home from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.”
The archetypal Journey could be organized in several ways, including division into three acts: Departure, Initiation and Return. In the departure part of the narrative, the hero lives in the “ordinary world” and receives “a call” to start its heroic journey. The hero is reluctant to follow the call but is helped by a “mentor” figure. The initiation sections begin with the hero “crossing the first threshold” to the “unknown world” or the “enchanted forest”, where it faces tasks and trials. The hero finally reaches “the innermost cave”, where it must undergo “the ordeal” where it overcomes the main obstacle, receiving “the gifts of the Goddess”. In the return section, the hero crosses “the second threshold” between the “two worlds”, returning to the “ordinary world” with its gifts. The hero itself is transformed by the journey and gains wisdom over both worlds. (after Wikipedia)
The “heroic journey” is the process of personal transformation from an unconscious child into a mature adult. “The hero’s main feat is to overcome the monster of darkness: it is the long-hoped-for and expected triumph of consciousness over the unconscious.” (Carl Jung) If we think of it as a road-map for self-development, it could hold a lot of value for each of us.
We are a heroic species in the darkest part of its journey, trying to understand who we are, to find our authenticity, to forge our gifts. And then to will return home. We are not “astray from Nature”: We are Life itself groping for its next step forward. We are one of Life’s heroes, in one of its most defining bifurcation point. We are on a heroic journey, reaching our innermost cave, facing our ordeal. We are just trying to find a way home in our darkest moment.
The human species started its Heroic Journey around six millions years ago when we departed from our animal ancestors. It was a true separation, a truly “first threshold” that we crossed. We dared to follow our unique allurements. The Cosmic Dynamic allured us to break up with the predetermination of the animal world and follow our inner-calling to become conscious of ourselves. The Universe wants to become through us conscious by itself. Through us, Mother Earth wants to bring joy and love to all her children. This is the only reason for us to be. This is the only endeavor that is meaningful for us in the long run. Now we are facing our “ordeal”: it is the time to choose who we want to become, to forge our true nature as a species and return home.
We courageously crossed the first threshold into the unknown world. We lived into the enchanted forest, where we faced a lot of trials. Now we finally are reaching our innermost cave. If we will overcome our main obstacles gaining the gifts of the Goddess, we will be able to master the two worlds (a synthesis between human civilization and Nature). We’ll return home from which we were separated before with our true gifts. We will be able to give our home a new life, bringing it love. This is our destiny as a species, hidden in our myths and legends and fostered by our intuitions, aspirations and inner-callings.
Our lives could be much better understood if we perceive them through the hero’s journey frame. The story tells us that the hero adventures on a spiritual journey, crossing the first threshold into the enchanted forest, in searching for the “elixir of life”. After slaying the dragon, using magical devices and following secret clues, it will find it. Our real hero will discover that the “thing” for which she traveled beyond the seven seas in order to find it, is nothing else than her own inner gift. Joyfully, she will understand that all its journey she developed its true gifts, she forged her authenticity. She discovers that the treasure is nowhere else than inside her. The real hero will discover that the journey itself transformed her, making her more humane, more empathic, more able to manage the ambiguity of life, more able to appreciate the wonder of life. What the hero brings to humanity is its new human quality, its higher level of consciousness, its more adequate perspective toward Reality. The true heroes of humankind, from their spiritual journeys, brought us new perspectives that opened new developmental cycles. Informed by their new stories, we have built new civilizations!
Refusal of the spiritual adventure converts it into its negative. Walled in boredom, in meaningless work, in the “labyrinth of life”, the wasted hero loses the power of significant affirmative action and becomes a victim to be saved. His flowering world becomes a wasteland of dry stones and his life feels meaningless – even though, like King Minos, he may through titanic effort succeed in building an empire. Whatever house he builds, it will be a house of death that separates him from his true nature. A labyrinth of cyclopean walls that hide from him the true meaning of his life. All he can do is to await the gradual approach of his disintegration. (after Joseph Campbell)
Those who want to be the Life’s step further have to take their heroic journey seriously. We could become the pioneers who will open the Fourth Frontier, a whole new world of possibility and evolution for human species. We have to be the new heroes of humanity! What the true heroes bring to humanity is their new human quality, their higher level of consciousness, their more adequate perspective toward the world around. The true heroes of humankind, from their spiritual journeys, brought us new visions that opened new developmental cycles. Informed by these visions, we have built new civilizations!