The Hero’s Journey

"What lies behind us and what lies before us, is of little value beside what lies within us."

The Hero’s Journey: Twelve Archetypes for the Mastery of the Soul

“The aim of humanity is to evolve towards the perfection of its own nature and to reintegrate itself with its spiritual condition.” –  Rosicrucian Manuscript

FIRST LEVEL CLASS NINE
LESSON # 9 – 101 pages

The Hero's JourneyWelcome to The Hero’s Journey: Twelve Archetypes on the Human Journey for the Mastery of the Soul, an experiential workshop where you will discover the many Inner Voices at the foundation of your life, and how this reservoir of personalities can either retard or support you in your life’s journey. This workshop is based on deep, powerful wisdom hidden within the esoteric worlds of spirituality and modern day psychology that speaks about the journey of the Soul, and the victory of unification that comes during the process. This wisdom speaks not only of the archetypal path that each Soul takes in awakening to its true identity, but the ups and downs of the challenging process that we face along the way.

This journey is not unlike the journey that each of us makes in joining a Mystery School. When we began this series of Classes, our first discourse was “Awakening to the Mysteries.” It presented us with a doorway, symbolized by two columns through which each Initiate must pass as he moves from the world of the mundane into the world of the supernatural. In Harry Potter’s language it would be the world of the Muggles compared with the world of the Wizards, and thus this discourse focuses on the internal mechanisms of initiation, transformation and mastery.

The Hero’s Journey is well known within both the classical worlds of mythology as well as the modern science of psychology, and one of its best teachers is the late, great Joseph Campbell, who wrote The Hero with a Thousand Faces.  “The whole sense of the ubiquitous myth of the hero’s passage is that it shall serve as a general pattern for men and women, wherever they may stand along the scale. Therefore it is formulated in the broadest terms. The individual has only to discover his own position with reference to this general human formula and let it then assist him past his restricting walls. Who and where are his ogres? Those are reflections of the unsolved enigmas of his own humanity. What are his ideals?  Those are the symptoms of his grasp of life.”[1]

Campbell defines three distinct phases of the Hero’s Journey: the DEPARTURE from normal life as we face the Threshold that leads to the Otherworld; the JOURNEY of INITIATION in the Other World through which the Hero must travel, involving monsters, enemies, and a variety of tribulations, as well as spiritual Allies who aid him on his journey. Finally the RETURN of the Hero to the mundane world with a dramatically changed consciousness.

This last stage often presents the difficult challenge of translating his realizations and sharing them with his fellowman. Sometimes his new found wisdom exalts him to the level of a demi-god or a messiah. But just as frequently he becomes the object of persecution. Thus even the RETURN is not without its perils. The society he has returned to is not illuminated, and his challenge is to find a way to communicate it. “The hero has died as a modern man; but as eternal man – perfected, unspecific, universal man – he has been reborn. His second solemn task and deed therefore is to return then to us, transfigured, and teach the lesson he has learned of life renewed.”[2]

In Section One of this Class we address the archetypal pattern of the Hero Initiate, and the deeper structure of our personalities.  In Section Two we begin to take a look at the three states of the Child, the Adult and the Parent, and how these foundational pieces of our personalities are shaped by our parents. We address the imprinting of these early experiences to help you to discover whether these original personality programs are still working for you, and we examine what it means to have a healthy relationship, and what the dynamics of an unhealthy relationship look like.

Meeting your Shadow SelfIn Section Three we move still deeper into the Inner Architecture of our lives, addressing the many Sub-personalities that live within us all – archetypes like the Lover, the Warrior, the Rebel, the Protector, the Wounded Child, the Caretaker, the Artist, the Sexpot, the Judge and many others. In truth, many of these past life Selves hold tremendous gifts for us, and as we access and integrate them, they can add richly to the quality of our lives. Yet some of these personalities have become wounded in the process of war, loss, betrayal, misunderstandings or even death. Some of these various personalities may even dislike one another, or  may have entirely different agendas. Thus part of our primary purpose in this lifetime to become aware of these various selves and to integrate them harmoniously into our lives.

These Sub-personalities make up the Inner Architecture of who we are, and at a still deeper level there are other Voices that are part of our own past lives. These many Selves have been created during the long and convoluted journeys we have all made as we have incarnated in multiple lifetimes, and in multiple places. And while we may sense or feel them as a inclination towards a particular kind of food, house, furniture style, or an attraction to the creative arts, the healing arts, or to the arts of warfare, most of us do not know quite where these inclinations source from. So through the process of becoming aware of these Voices and letting them breathe, we regain access to their power and  make it our own.  We are an amalgamation of all that we have experienced and integrating and healing these parts of ourselves into one unified whole is part of the journey of Mastery. This is the path of Osiris or of Jesus, whose many dismembered parts were brought back together by his loving wife Isis. Then through the power of love, the god-man or Initiate is resurrected and gains power over both the living and the dead.  As we heal the personalities that need healing, we dissolve the fears, phobias and the resistances that have plagued us all our lives, and we come one step closer to unified Mastery.

THE HERO’S JOURNEY
Twelve Archetypes of the Human Journey

Table of Contents

Introduction
Table of Contents
SECTION ONE:
The Archetypal Path of the Hero’s Journey
Finding the Path of the Hero in Your Own Life
SECTION TWO:
The Basic Archetypes
The Parent, the Child and the Adult
My Inner Family
Healthy and Unhealthy Relationship Dynamics
Telling Your Life Like a Novel
The Bubble Exercise
Naming Your Romantic Relationships
SECTION THREE:
Journey of Mastery
Twelve Phases of the Life Journey
The Sub-Personalities of the Ego
Preparation, Initiation, Mastery
The Heavy Weight Personalities
Voice Dialogue
Be the Hero in Your Own Movie
SECTION FOUR:
Integrating Past Life Personalities
Diagrams: Architecture of the Soul
Soul Integration
New Lifetime

The Archetypal Path of The Hero’s Journey

King Arthur as the HeroThe archetype of the Hero or the Heroine has been powerfully portrayed in many films, books, myths and legends, for it is the archetypal story of the Soul on its journey to enlightenment. In fairy tales the winning of the prize catapults the hero or the heroine into love, happiness, nobility and wealth. In myth the hero’s prize is larger, for it often involves the crossing over into a deeper realm of realization where he or she, comes in contact with the Higher Forces of the self, and of God realization. This transformational journey then gives our hero the opportunity to return to the mundane world and share his realizations with his fellow man. This archetype can be seen in the journeys of Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed and Moses, all of whom provided spiritual road maps for others to follow, based on their own realizations and experiences.

The many steps along this path of moving from the mundane world of everyday life, into the Other World and back again can be clearly seen in many famous stories from our past, that today have survived largely because of their vast symbolic and universal appeal. We may not know at a conscious level why the story of King Arthur and the Holy Grail, or David and Goliath, or Snow Wife, Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty continue to echo down through the corridors of time, but it is because each one of these myths or stories embodies symbolic elements of our own inner quest for enlightenment and our return to the place of ultimate joy.  Some of these stories are clearly tales of the Prodigal Son, yet that tale is a parable that applies to each of us: we leave the safety of our Father or our Mother’s house, venture into the world of the unknown, are wounded, challenged, win and lose the many battles that life presents to us, and ultimately we return to the place where we once started, wiser and more enlightened that when we left.

During this class we will be discussing the various parts of these myths and legends, and the many forms they have taken as this archetype has come down to us through time. In many cases we will examine Heroes or Heroines who hear the call of Destiny and resist it, and yet are swept away by the Higher Forces of change and awakening.  In other cases our Hero or Heroine goes in pursuit of his or her adventure, not realizing that in order to claim their new life, they must die to their old way of being. This is the path of the Initiate – the “twice born” who has traveled to the Other Side and experience the Inner Realms, and returned to tell the story.  He holds insights that common mortals do not know, and thus he has returned as the Way Shower.

Joseph Campbell, the famous historian and mythologist, writes in The Hero with a Thousand Faces: “This first stage of the mythological journey… signifies that destiny has summoned the hero and transferred his spiritual center of gravity from within the pale of his society to a zone unknown. This fateful region of both treasure and danger may be various represented: as a distant land, a forest, a kingdom underground, beneath the waves, or above the sky, a secret island, a lofty mountain or a profound dream state; but it is always a place of strangely fluid and polymorphous beings, unimaginable torments, superhuman deeds, and impossible delights.”[1]

PERSEUS AND LUKE SKYWALKER

Perseus and AndromedaLet’s start with the story of Perseus, the famous Greek Hero whose adventures have most recently been portrayed in the movie CLASH OF THE TITANS.  As our story opens, Perseus seems to be living a normal life in the mundane world. In this case, his is the world of fishermen and peasants. While it is not without its difficulties, these are the common challenges we all face – finding food, shelter, making a living, and protecting the group of people he calls family.  He is not recognized for the Hero he is to become, although he has hints of it from time to time and feels the call of something much greater. Like Luke Sky-Walker in the STAR WARS saga, his human family is not his real family. He has been adopted by the human world, yet he does not really belong to it. He lives apart inside himself, hoping and dreaming of something greater. And when he is most alone, he yearns for a destiny that he only suspects is his, yet he does not know what he yearns for.

Then, without warning destiny strikes. It often arrives in the shape of disaster, the sudden onset of misfortune, and our hero is suddenly thrust into a world where he loses everything. For Perseus and Luke Skywalker, this loss is personal.  He loses his family, his home and his means to make a living, and he is thrust into the jaws of destruction.  In Luke’s case, it is the evil Empire who is hunting for androids. For Perseus it is the anger of Hades against rebellious Greeks who are toppling a statue of Zeus, and take down his family’s ship in the process, drowning everyone except Perseus. The Lord of the Underworld, whether Darth Vader or the god Hades, strikes back, and suddenly the safe peaceful world of his childhood is ripped asunder.

GUARDIAN OF THE THRESHOLD

Wizard and Guardian at the thresholdThis is where Providence steps in. For Luke it is in the form of a mentor, Obi wan Ken-obi. For Cinderella it is in the form of a Fairy Godmother.  For Snow White it is the rescue by the seven dwarfs.  For Perseus it is in the form of the loyal Greeks who take him back to their city of Argos, where he meets Io, the mysterious female guide who knows his true origins and tells him his destiny. Yet the appearance of a supernatural teacher, friend or ally does not always come at the beginning of our Hero’s travail, or if it does come, it is sometimes ignored or unrecognized. Take for example the story of the foolish young knight Percival who finds the Grail Castle early in his career, but does not have the wisdom to ask the right questions to the wounded Fisher King.

Joseph Campbell calls this mysterious figure the Guardian of the Threshold who stands at the entrance to the zone of magnified power. In fairy takes it often takes the form of a diminutive figure like an animal (the Frog Prince), a fairy (Peter Pan’s Tinkerbell), a hermit or a wizard (Gandalf in Lord of the Rings), yet within the ancient Mystery Schools this role belonged to Thoth, the god of wisdom, or to Anubis, the Opener of the Ways. They led the initiate forward, and it was their counsel, like Gandalf’s that steers our hero forward.

In some historical or spiritual accounts like the story of Joan of Arc, it is an encounter with a divine presence – the Archangel Michael or the Virgin Mary who has come to answer a prayer or assign a mission. We see this even in the story of Moses, who is visited by a burning bush, who claims to be the “Most High God,” and assigns the reluctant hero a mission that will take him the rest of his life to complete. While many times the Guardian of the Threshold is a male, in earlier centuries the manifestation of the Divine Feminine often appeared as a benevolent deity or rescuer, reflected in the Fairy Godmother stories. This can even be seen in the Egyptian Book of the Dead, where Hathor, the goddess of milk and honey, appears from the sycamore tree (a symbol of the Tree of Life) to offer the wandering Soul a cup of water. This is oddly reminiscent of the later quest for the Holy Grail that will heal the king and quench the thirst of the kingdom. “Having responded to the call, and continuing to follow courageously as the consequences unfold, the hero finds all the forces of the unconscious at his side.  Mother Nature herself supports his mighty task…”[2]

Joseph Campbell writes: “Such custodians bound the world in the four directions… standing for the limits of the hero’s present sphere or life horizon. Beyond them is darkness, the unknown, and danger; just as beyond the parental watch is danger to the infant and beyond the protection of his society, danger to the member of the tribe. The usual person is more than content, he is even proud to remain within the indicated bounds, and popular belief gives him every reason to fear so much as the first step into the unexplored.”[3] Yet the hero steps forward and takes the plunge, moving beyond the established boundaries of his world in the first step towards his true destiny.  Thus Luke Sky Walker travels with his mentor to another planet in his first steps to free the Princess Leah from the forces of darkness. Perseus, once arriving in Argos, realizes that the Princess Andromeda will be sacrificed to Hades or the city destroyed, if someone does not act. And thus our Hero moves progressively closer to becoming the man he is destined to become…




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[1] Joseph Campbell, The Hero with A Thousand Faces, (New Jersey: Princeton, 1973), p. 58.

[2] Campbell, p. 72.

[3] Campbell, pp. 77-78.

 


[1] Joseph Campbell, The Hero with A Thousand Faces (New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1973), p. 121.

[2] Campbell, p. 20.

Tricia McCannon: Mysteries Expert

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