Most of us love stories about heroes and their journeys. We are moved by their courage and willingness to stand tall against challenges and seemingly impossible odds to complete their quest. We marvel at their personal transformation and their ability to change the lives of others.
The Hero’s Journey is a common screenwriting formula made popular within the last 30 years by Christopher Vogel, an accomplished Hollywood film producer and writer. Vogel created a 7-page company memo, A Practical Guide to The Hero With a Thousand Faces, based on Joseph Campbell’s 1949 book, which Vogel later developed into his late 1990’s book, The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure For Writers. This structure (and other interpretations of the Hero’s Journey promulgated through Joseph Campbell’s work) is widely taught in writing and screenwriting classes and is commonly used in films and other narratives of all shapes, sizes and subjects.
Although Hollywood films that use the Hero Journey’s formula—and even Joseph Campbell’s work—are based on masculine principles such as control, domination, aggression, danger, and so on to provide contrast and the challenges needed for the current version of the Hero’s Journey, this formula works and often produces blockbusters because we can relate to every Hero’s Journey in some way in our ordinary everyday lives.
Feminine principles are returning to the planet, and even in Hollywood, some producers, directors and writers are trying to crack the feminine code to develop stories that will be more in tune with the truth of who we really are. They aren’t there yet, but if we look at Joseph Campbell’s work on which the Hero’s Journey is based, we can trace the typical steps of the Hero’s Journey based on mythology and understand why they offer clues to our own transcendence, individually and collectively.
We can also explore the elements of the Hero’s Journey to look at ourselves and use this knowledge to hear the call for evolution from our souls. In this way, we can better understand our own Hero’s Journeys and where these journeys can ultimately take us.
The Power of Myth and a Single Great Story
In The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Campbell, an American mythologist, writer and lecturer, introduced the concept of monomyth (one myth) which refers to the theory that sees all mythic narratives as variations of a single great story. Campbell found that a common pattern exists beneath the narrative elements of most great myths, regardless of their origin or time of creation.
As a strong believer in the psychic unity of mankind and its poetic expression through mythology, Campbell used the monomyth concept to express the idea that the whole of the human race can be seen as engaged in the effort of making the world “transparent to transcendence” — in other words, by making transcendence visible and achievable, or by making the unknown known.
He expressed this idea by showing that underneath the world of phenomena lays an eternal source which is constantly pouring its energies into the perceived world of time, duality, suffering, and ultimately death. The Hero’s Journey is the story of the man or woman who, through great trial and tribulation, reaches an experience of the eternal source and returns with gifts powerful enough to set their society free.
The basic structure of this single great story has remained relatively unchanged over time & includes three distinct stages in the journey:
Within these stages, there are basic steps the hero typically makes in completing his or her journey from beginning to end, which I have included below and abbreviated for clarity. You will likely see yourself having taken many of these steps in your own Hero’s Journeys. They are also analogous to some degree to the steps that are experienced on both planetary and personal ascension levels.
Steps along the Mythical Hero’s Journey
- The hero begins in a mundane situation of normality, from which some information is received that acts as a call to head off into the unknown.
- Often when the call is given, the hero first refuses to heed it. This may be from a sense of duty or obligation, fear, insecurity, a sense of inadequacy, or any of a range of reasons that work to hold the person in his or her current circumstances.
- Once the hero has committed to the quest, consciously or unconsciously, his teacher, guide or magical helper appears or becomes known to guide the hero in completing the quest.
- The hero actually crosses into the field of adventure, leaving the known limits of his or her world and ventures into an unknown realm, in which the rules and limits are not known.
- The hero enters the belly of the whale representing the final separation from the hero’s known world and self. By entering this stage, the hero shows willingness to undergo a metamorphosis.
- The hero undergoes a series of tests, tasks, or ordeals that he or she must undergo to begin his or her transformation. Often the person fails one or more of these tests.
- The hero experiences a love that has the power and significance of the all-powerful, all encompassing, unconditional love that a fortunate infant may experience with his or her mother. This is a very important step in the hero’s process.
- The hero faces temptations, often of a physical or pleasurable nature, that may lead him or her to abandon or stray from his or her quest.
- The hero must confront and be initiated by whatever holds the ultimate power in his or her life. This is the center point of the journey. All the previous steps have been moving into this place, all that follow will move out from it.
- The hero enjoys a period of rest, peace and fulfilment before the hero begins the return or final part of the journey.
- The ultimate boon is the achievement of the goal of the quest. It is what the hero went on the journey to get. All the previous steps serve to prepare and purify the hero 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.
- Having found bliss and enlightenment in the other world, the hero may not want to return to the ordinary world to bestow the boon onto his fellow man.
- Just as the hero may need teachers, guides and assistants to set out on the quest, oftentimes he or she must have powerful guides and rescuers to bring him or her back to everyday life, especially if the person has been wounded or weakened by the experience.
- The trick in returning is to retain the wisdom gained on the quest, to integrate that wisdom into a human life, and then figure out how to share the wisdom with the rest of the world.
- The hero achieves a balance between the material and spiritual. He or she has become comfortable and competent in both the inner and outer worlds.
- Mastery leads to freedom from the fear of death, which in turn is the freedom to live. This final step is sometimes referred to as living in the moment, neither anticipating the future nor regretting the past.
David Wilcock, a New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author (The Source Field Investigations), explores the Hero’s Journey, as described by Joseph Campbell, in depth in his latest book, The Synchronicity Key. He also makes a compelling correlation of the single great story with the precession of the equinoxes to show the hidden architecture within time that guides individuals and nations through a system of enlightenment, or in other words, to the experience of unity consciousness and planetary ascension.
The Ultimate Hero’s Journey
We are, of course, naturally wired to keep exploring life, to keep creating new experiences, to expand our horizons, and to discover more of who we are.
In truth, change is all there is and all real change comes from the heart space. This means that a Hero’s Journey is a journey of the heart, and as such, that the ultimate purpose of the Hero’s Journey is to remember who, what and why we are—so we can BE that and that and that and more.
Therefore, the ultimate Hero’s Journey is the journey that will return us to our original state of infinite consciousness before we ventured out to explore creation, and by so doing, to also lend a hand to others on the same quest in pure service to others, Law of One style—should we choose to follow this ultimate call of our souls when we hear it.
All Hero’s Journeys shake things up and move us out of our comfort zones and change the status quo. This is a good thing, because if we are honest with ourselves, wherever we are on our evolutionary journey of the soul, there is always an under-the- surface feeling that there is something fundamentally more to explore and experience, or that something is just not right…yet. This feeling is what propels us forward to discover how far we can go.
All Hero’s Journeys are well-worth the effort due to the transformation they offer to us each time we undertake one. This is especially true when we embark on the Ultimate Hero’s Journey to a return to infinite consciousness. Completion of this quest requires a choice and commitment to traverse the path of personal ascension with the assistance of ascended teacher(s) and a willingness to stay the course under their guidance until we complete this journey.
This is the reason that Hero’s Journeys exist—to prepare us for this ultimate journey.
Completion of this ultimate journey is why we exist and it is the sole quest of the soul.
It is a journey that will generate transformation beyond our wildest imagination and beyond the ability of our minds to comprehend.
The Heart’s Call to Adventure
The soul’s call to undertake this ultimate Hero’s Journey is felt by the heart. When felt by the heart, this call is undeniable.
How we respond to this call when we hear it and how we meet challenges during the journey, along with the pace with which we do this, is up to each of us.
Ultimately, it cannot be denied, although it may take many lifetimes to arrive at this point.
If we simply want to improve our lives, or if we are concerned about the external world, or if we want to personally ascend, or just have an inkling that we might want to, we must first do the internal work to change our perceptions, beliefs, attitudes and ways of thinking, being and doing. We must open our hearts and we must remember that the greatest gift we have and can give to ourselves and to others is our own self transformation.
If we want to personally ascend we must believe that it is possible, listen to the call of our souls through the song in our hearts, seek to understand what this journey requires, and then take appropriate steps to initiate our ultimate Hero’s Journey and ascension process.
Depending on what we choose when confronted with the undeniable call to create change or expansion in our lives, what we have created in our lives in the past, how open or resistant we are to change, and where we are before accepting this call in terms of our own personal soul evolution, this journey can be experienced in many different ways. The underlying pattern or structure to the Hero’s Journey can provide us with multiple opportunities for forward movement, reward and completion—as long as we keep going and don’t take the off ramps from the ascension highway when the going gets tough.
Mastery and Personal Ascension
The Hero’s Journey is cyclical, and due to the nature of its purpose, it may cause us to fluctuate between spiralling up and spiralling down experiences, while continuing to beckon us to complete the adventure until we have metaphorically gone through the death and rebirth or resurrection stages of the journey enough times to learn how to deal with our shadow and relinquish the personality or ego, thus mastering both our internal and external worlds.
As such, we are empowered to bring back what we have learned and share it with others.
These experiences, in which we make the unknown known, can be likened to personal ascension training moments that prepare us for the Ultimate Hero’s Journey and our eventual return to infinite consciousness through the path of personal ascension.
We may experience moments of indecision or fear as we cross certain thresholds to boldly face the challenges that will bring about the growth and expansion we truly desire. We will often make mistakes as part of our learning process.
However, as we successfully complete our Hero’s Journeys along the way to personal ascension, we will experience awe, excitement, passionate joy, and exhilarating expansion. These experiences will naturally build upon each other and completely transform our lives by assisting us in becoming more and more transcendent to pain and suffering generated by the ego-mind-personality construct, and by embodying a greater understanding about what love really is and how far the truth of love can take us — if we let it take us to its ultimate conclusion, which will propel us into even greater avenues of exploration and experience.
Each Hero’s Journey we successfully complete assists us in opening our hearts and dismantling the ego-mind-personality construct that holds us back from our return to infinite consciousness. This is represented in Joseph Campbell’s mythical structure of the Hero’s Journey by death and rebirth or resurrection.
It returns us to the truth of love which returns us to the truth of who, what and why we are.
As we start to fully grasp this, we can make the ultimate unknown known and we can make personal ascension not only real… but practical.
There is only one great story and one great hero wearing a thousand faces lovingly beckoning us to complete this story in order to create new ones that have never been told before.
This story is our story and it will be the greatest story ever told.
I look forward to seeing you on the other side!
∞ Read more articles, excerpts, meditations, exercises, etc. on The Rising Way, or join our Subscriber Area for in-depth Study Groups, Forums, Podcast, Videos and much more, on the topics of Practical Metaphysics & Personal Ascension. ∞
∞ Connect with a group of committed ascension students who have dedicated their hearts, lives and their entire being to making personal ascension real for anyone that chooses to make it a reality in their life. ∞