The Herojourney – An Exploration
I’ve spoken to hundreds, even thousands of people now, who are in the midst of an experience that has many names: Transformation, Awakening, Self-Realization to name a few.
If you are someone undergoing a process that feels like you have been turned inside-out, or have had to surrender almost everything near and dear, or feel as if you have suddenly found yourself in altogether unfamiliar surroundings in almost every way, even to the point of “losing your mind” (and finding your heart!) then I invite you to join me in exploring what I believe cannot only be called “awakening” but The Hero’s Journey – a term coined by Joseph Campbell, but an experience lived by a great many before us. This experience usually begins with an event taking place that causes the human being to question everything they thought they knew, and to search for real meaning in the day-to-day, no longer content with simply trying to survive. For these people, there comes a “call” to something deeper.
You can find evidence of this “journey” in almost every culture as told through the rich symbolism of myth, handed down through storytelling, and depicted in myriad ways for thousands of years – culture after tribe, divided even by land and sea, but recording near-identical experiences of someone rising from the mundane and the day-to-day pattern of A People to ask the larger questions, and – through often harrowing inward and outward events, and against all odds – finding the larger answers. Then, with great courage and commitment to a larger process, sharing that knowledge and living those truths by example that The Tribe might flourish, each living in harmony with the Self, with one another, and with all of life.
When I was made aware of the Hero’s Journey and began to study its basic structure, it was the first time – in a long time – that something was able to help me make sense of what was happening both within me, and around me. Hope washed over me, even though I was now aware of what I was being “called” to, and what may lie ahead…
But for the first time in nearly a decade, I felt supported.
Joseph Campbell, the American writer and lecturer, after extensive research of this archetypal “hero” pattern in his groundbreaking book “The Hero with a Thousand Faces”, gave the world a sort of “template” drawn from thousands of examples as symbolized through countless culture’s myths, of the various stages of what I believe is the process of becoming a conscious and perhaps “conscionable” human being. And, like many others believe, I think that this Hero’s Journey is no longer meant to happen to one in ten-thousand, but is a “global” calling, aimed at completely transforming our species into one that reflects the attributes all Masters who have walked the Hero’s Journey before us exemplified.
Below, Campbell describes the beginning stage of the journey, referring to that moment when a person understands the profound responsibility of accepting this calling, and in doing so, elicits the tremendous force of Love in myriad forms from every reach of the universe:
“For those who have not refused the call, the first encounter of the herojourney is with a protective figure… What such a figure represents is the benign, protecting power of destiny… a promise that the peace of paradise, which was known first within the mother womb, is not to be lost; that it supports the present and stands in the future as well as in the past…that though omnipotence may seem to be endangered by the threshold passages and life awakenings, protective power is always and ever present within or just behind the unfamiliar features of the world. One has only to know and trust and the ageless guardians will appear. Having responded to his/her own call, and continuing to follow courageously as the consequences unfold, the hero finds all the forces of the unconscious at his/her side. Mother Nature herself supports the mighty task. And in so far as the hero’s act coincides with that for which his society is ready, he seems to ride on the great rhythm of the historical process.”
To try to explain Joseph Campbell’s “hero journey” structure in simple terms is perhaps folly at best, but I can only say that I wish someone would have presented the fundamental concept of the monomyth to me much earlier in my life. And so, I hope that this abbreviated “layman’s terms” summary that I’ll be exploring in my next entry can supply a sort of context with which you might make sense of your present circumstances, and the world’s present circumstances, as well as provide a platform on which you can stand, newly aware that you are among Great company on this well-worn path… A little preview:
The Three Stages: Separation; Initiation, and Return.
In my next blog we’ll look at the stages in summary, and in future blogs, in depth.
I’ll end with a poem that reflects my own experience of this Herojourney, to perhaps remind you that you are not alone. You are Love, You are Loved! – Em
You Were Meant
All of This:
it is preparation for walking in the world
You have been found now,
and the running of many lifetimes
So as each layer of dust
is wiped clean from the surface
you have known
Let this Light become
your Speech & your Silence.
Let the grief
that has lived you,
Let the people
who love You,
Let the Earth shake,
the Stars burn
the Skies break
when You do:
as painful as this part is,
You were meant to know your Light.
‘You Were Meant’ – Em Claire ©2007 All Rights Reserved