Archetypes of transformation
IN A NUTSHELL
The Hero’s Journey is an archetypal story pattern, common in ancient myths as well as modern day adventures. The concept of the Hero’s Journey was described by the curious mythologist Joseph Campbell in his book The Hero with a Thousand Faces, inspired by the pioneering work of C.G. Jung and then refined by many other authors after him.
From Moses to Star Wars, from Oedipus to The Matrix and from Buddha to The Lion king the Hero’s Journey - by running through a family of archetypal roles, stages and so designing the character's transformational arch - represents the foundation of millennia of storytelling.
THE POWER OF MYTH
What Joseph Campbell observed is that all stories consist of common structural elements of stages found universally in myths, fairy tales, dreams, novels and movies: then the Hero’s Journey was his all-embracing metaphor for the deep inner journey of transformation that heroes in every time and place seem to share, a path that leads them through great movements of call to adventure and separation through the symbolic passage of a threshold, initiation and tests, ordeal and death, resurrection and return: hence the monomyth.
The author 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 comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man".
THE STORY THAT SHAPES US
The Hero's Journey represent the most powerful experiential-metaphor of personal transformation and spiritual growth. Through it, “art, literature, myth and cult, philosophy, and ascetic disciplines are instruments to help the individual past his limiting horizons into spheres of ever-expanding realization (The Hero with a Thousand Faces).
Then why is it so important and how does it impact us?
Because our identity is a story. The one we have told ourselves so many times that we have ended up believing in it blindly. So, how to stop it and start believing we can actually change? Well, in order to change ourselves we first need to change that story. But that would require a stronger, shaking, transforming one.
Here lies the power of the Hero’s Journey.