The Hero`s Journey

The Hero’s Journey
• Joseph Campbell described the Hero’s Journey as
a circle – starting with the call to adventure [that
information that get’s the hero started on the
journey] and finishing with the Hero coming home
having saved the day [bringing the elixir or
magical item that brings peace].
• The next slide diagrams what that journey may
look like. Every hero does not go through
everything in the diagram, but it gived you a good
Hero’s Journey
Character Archetypes of the
Hero’s Journey
• Hero
– The one making the journey, facing the challenges, and attempting
to carry out the mission [even if reluctantly].
• Shadow
– Often the villain, but may simply be negative energy trying to
defeat the mission.
• Mentor
– Wise giver of guidance and advice.
• Threshold Guardian
– Tries to prevent hero from proceeding on the mission.
• Shapeshifter
– May be a helper or enemy or both. May literally change shape,
form and allegiance. [Ex. A bum on street with a sign, later learn
he’s an angel helping]
• Trickster
– May be hostile or helpful to the hero. Plays tricks, games, changes
the rules, etc… [Ex. Bugs Bunny]
• Herald
– Signals to the hero something important is about to happen or
points out the approach of significant people/events. [Ex. R2D2]
• Allies
– Assorted good guys/gals who assist hero on the journey.
Hero’s Journey Steps
• The Miraculous Birth
– Usually at the hero’s birth, there was some astronomical
sign [shooting star] or some other sign from the
heavens that the hero is special.
• The Ordinary World
– Hero lives in the everyday world, but there may be
something wrong or the hero may have some personal
longing, need, or other problem that is throwing his life
out of balance.
• Meeting with the mentor
– The hero comes into contact with a more
knowledgeable / experienced individual, who provides
spiritual, emotional, tactical, or philosophical guidance
as well as encouragement.
• Call to adventure
– Hero is called to move outside his/her ordinary life to
perform a mission or quest usually in response to some
crisis that has occurred or is impending. The call may
be issued by a mentor, a herald, or other character.
• Refusal of the call
– Uncertain of his/her abilities, the hero will most often
refuse the first call to adventure.
• Crossing the first threshold
– Hero leaves the ordinary world and enters the “special
world” of adventure. He/she may encounter threshold
guardians along the way; however, the hero has often
gained or realized he/she has some special powers to
overcome the guardians and enter.
• Tests, allies and enemies
– Arriving in the special world, the hero encounters a
succession of challenges and characters [some who help
(allies), some who hinder (trickster), some who may do
both (shapeshifter)]. Although the hero will make
mistakes, he/she will learn from those mistakes and
better harness his/her special powers.
• Approach to the innermost cave
– Having overcome the preliminary challenges and
obstacles, the hero must penetrate the most restricted
place of the quest [often entering Hell or some
symbolically similar place]. It is only here that the hero
may find the elixir (object/ person/knowledge hero is
searching for to solve the problem).
• Ordeal
– Within the innermost cave, the hero must face the
greatest obstacle [often a battle with the Shadow (often
a person but may be the hero facing his/her own fears)].
• Reward
– Using skills gleaned from the adventure, the hero
succeeds in obtaining the elixir. With the elixir, the hero
can now resolve the problem that drove him/her from
the ordinary world.
• The road back
– Hero must return to the ordinary world with the elixir; however,
the enemy may be in hot pursuit. At this point, the hero often
undergoes some death experience [literally dies or can be the death
of beliefs, wishes, dreams, or hopes].
• Resurrection
– The worthy hero is reborn [either physically or spiritually]. The
process of rebirth is a culmination of the hero’s transformation.
He/she has leaned from the challenges and is now a better, stronger
person. The hero makes it back alive to the ordinary world.
• Return with the elixir
– Once crossing back into the ordinary world, the hero provides the
elixir [person, object, etc…] that restores balance to the world.
Having died and been reborn, the hero is an older, wiser and better
person for having gone on the quest. Supernatural powers and
abilities gained in the “special world” are often lost in that world.

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