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Joseph Campbell's Stages of the Hero's Journey
Transcript of Joseph Campbell's Stages of the Hero's Journey
The Call to Adventure
The call to adventure is the point in a person's life when they are first given notice that everything is going to change, whether they know it or not.
Refusal of the Call
Often when the call is given, the future hero refuses to follow 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.
Answering the Call
Ultimately, the hero finds motivation to answer the call.
Once the hero has committed to the quest, consciously or unconsciously, his or her guide and magical helper appears, or becomes known.
A specific character who helps the hero understand a life situation or provides the hero with special training.
A special item that has special significance to the hero.
The hero is aided on this quest by an assortment of individuals whose personalities are often at odds with each other.
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 or her world and venturing into an unknown and dangerous realm where the rules and limits are not known.
People, beings or situations that block passage across the threshold of adventure
They have two functions:
Protect the hero from journeys he is unprepared for
Point the way for the hero to begin his journey
Initiation/ Road of Trials
The road of trials is a series of tests, tasks, or ordeals that the hero must undergo to begin the transformation. Often the person fails at one or more of these tests, which often occur in threes.
If the hero continuously fails, he will have to start the journey all over, since he is apparently not yet ready to go through the necessary pains to grow into something new.
The hero will battle physically or mentally with someone who is a close relative or friend.
The Belly of the Whale
The belly of the whale represents the final separation from the hero's known world and self. It is sometimes described as the person's lowest point, but it is actually the point when the person is between or 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 their willingness to undergo a metamorphosis, to die to him or herself.
Night or Sea Journey
The hero’s travels take him to far-away and unknown lands. Often these journeys take place at night or at sea. These journeys may be forced upon the hero.
The hero is forced to battle some kind of monster. Sometimes, this struggle is with the hero’s inner-demons.
The hero is injured and thought to be dead. Or the hero mistakenly believes that someone close to him is dead.
The hero suffers an injury in which he loses a limb or the use of another body part.
The meeting with the goddess represents the point in the adventure when the person 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. It is also known as the "hieros gamos", or sacred marriage, the union of opposites, and may take place entirely within the person. This is a very important step in the process and is often represented by the person finding the other person that he or she loves most completely. 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.
Our hero is kidnapped or someone close to the hero is taken away.
The Hero creates a special emotional bond with another character.
This union may take place entirely within the hero.
In the other words, the hero begins to see himself in a non-dualistic way.
Atonement with the Father
In this step the hero must confront and be initiated by whatever holds the ultimate power in his life.
In many myths and stories this is the father, or a father figure who has power over life and death.
This is the center point of the journey. All the previous steps have been moving into this place, all that follows will move out from it.
For the transformation to take place, the hero (as he previously was) must be “killed” so that the new self can come into being.
Sometimes this killing is literal, and the earthly journey for that character is either over or moves into a different realm.
The apotheosize is to deify.
(or to make into a god)
The Ultimate Boon
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.
Refusal to Return
This is much like the refusal to start the journey, but now the hero wonders if “roots” and “home” are necessary or is concerned how he will now fit in his previous surroundings
Sometimes the hero must escape with the boon, if it is something that the gods have been jealously guarding.
It can be just as adventurous and dangerous returning from the journey as it was to go on it.
Rescue From Without
Just as the hero may need guides and assistants to set out on the quest, often times he or she must have powerful guides and rescuers to bring them back to everyday life, especially if the person has been wounded or weakened by the experience.
The Crossing of the Return Threshold
The trick in returning is to retain the wisdom gained on the quest, to integrate that wisdom into a human life, and then maybe figure out how to share the wisdom with the rest of the world. This is usually extremely difficult, especially when others find this new wisdom dangerous to their current lives.
Master of Two Worlds
This step is usually represented by a transcendental hero like Jesus or Buddha.
Freedom to Live
Mastery leads to freedom from the fear of death, which in turn is the freedom to live.
This sometimes referred to as living in the moment, neither anticipating the future nor regretting the past.
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.