Monday, June 26, 2017

The Hero and Heroine’s Journey and the Journey of Re-enchantment

The path of transformation is what people often call the Hero’s Journey—it’s the quest to “find oneself.” This has traditionally been seen as a male process, popularized by Joseph Campbell. When asked if there was a female version, a Heroine’s Journey, Campbell was said to have responded with the idea that women “are already there” and don’t really need one. Let’s first look at the process as Campbell outlined it. There are 12 phases. 

1. Ordinary World
This is where the Hero exists as the story begins; it’s the safe, everyday life, where he is defined by culture, family, and deeds. 

2. Call To Adventure
The Hero's adventure begins when he receives a call to action, such as a direct threat to his safety, family, community, or way of life. It disrupts his comfort and presents a challenge or quest that must be undertaken.

3. Refusing the Call
The Hero may be eager to accept the quest, but he has doubts, second thoughts, or fears of inadequacy that need overcoming. If he refuses the call he may suffer somehow. 

4. Meeting the Mentor
Now comes a turning point; the Hero needs guidance and meets a mentor who gives him something he needs—an special object, insight, wise advice, or practical training that builds self-confidence. 

5. Crossing The Threshold
The Hero begins his quest, whether it be physical, spiritual or emotional. He crosses the threshold, entering an unfamiliar world. 

6. Tests, Allies, Enemies, Obstacles
Out of his comfort zone, the Hero confronted a difficult series of challenges that test him in a variety of ways. He must overcome each to move toward his goal. He may earn allies who help prepare him for greater ordeals yet to come. His skills and/or powers are tested.

7. Approaching the Inmost Cave
The inmost cave represents a terrible danger or inner conflict, which until now the Hero has not had to face. As the Hero approaches the cave he again encounters doubts and fears, may need time to reflect and integrate what’s happened so far, and make final preparations for taking the final leap into the unknown.

8. Ordeal
The Supreme Ordeal involves facing a deadly foe, physical test, or deep inner crisis that the Hero must survive, or so the Hero’s world will continue to exist. Only through some form of "death" can the Hero be reborn with greater powers or insight necessary to fulfill his destiny. This is the high point of the story, where everything he holds dear is put on the line. 

9. Reward 
After defeating the enemy, surviving death, and overcoming his greatest personal challenge, the Hero is transformed into a new state, emerging as a stronger person, often with a prize. The Reward may be: a power object, secret, great knowledge or insight, or reconciliation with an ally.

10. The Road Back
Now the Hero must return home with his reward but this time the anticipation of danger is replaced with that of acclaim, vindication, or exoneration. He must cross the threshold again back to the Ordinary World. Before he commits to the last stage of the journey he must choose between his own personal objective and that of a Higher Cause.

11. Resurrection
This final climax or battle represents something greater than the Hero's own existence. The outcome has far-reaching consequences to the lives of those he left behind. Ultimately the Hero succeeds, destroying his last blocks to total clarity and wisdom.

12. Return with the Elixir
The Hero returns home to his Ordinary World a changed man and now looks forward to starting a new life. His return—with proof of his journey—may bring hope and new perspective to those he left behind, or a solution to their problems. The Hero's doubters will be ostracized, his enemies punished and his allies rewarded.

Certainly women go through many similar stages in moving from the limited self to the fully integrated spiritual self, but they don’t do it alone; they often enlist a team and work with and for their loved ones. They speak truth to power and bring forth their masculine power to balance their feminine power.

But there is a newer idea of the mythology, described by Craig Chalquist, Ph.D.,
called The Journey of Re-enchantment—and it applies equally to both men and women.

It starts with a world of magic where dolls and plants speak to us and animals are magicians. Daydreams are real. As we get older we encounter disenchantment, forgetfulness, and adaptation; we learn to adapt to society’s right-brain world where birds stop bringing messages and imaginary friends go away. We try to be grown up. And we move into alienation from the magical. We almost forget it was ever there. Creativity gives way to adult “practicality.” 

Next we experience rupture and underworld descent. When we detach too long from the numinous, intuitive side of life, it summons us, through our own unconscious via negativity, stuckness, nightmares, or prolonged dissatisfaction. What we thought was normal turns inside out; nothing is as it seems. Life tells us, “You were made for more.” And so, we begin the first seeking where we ask the big questions and begin to study our existing worldview. 

The very act of sustained searching for a path brings renewed life and yearning and we experience the next stage of re-emergence, where there is a feeling of relief and vital energies flow again. We haven’t found the ultimate answer, so we keep looking and enter the next stage of more seeking. Now we find mentors, learn new truths, discard toxic people and situations, find new self-expression, and feel more upbeat.

In the next phase, we find the magic door. We pass a threshold and awaken to the richness of our own imagination. Life makes sense in a deep way. What was fragmented connects. The heart opens. Next, we learn to live in both worlds—moving between the physical and nonphysical realities and merging the two. In other words, we know how to balance left and right brain perception. As we become adept at this, we open the door for others; we mentor and teach others, become thought leaders, and examples for others. We share how we moved from innocence to disenchantment to re-enchantment and invite others to find their own path. We see life as truly magical.

I suggest you look at your own process of personal growth so far, and see how you have traversed these various stages.

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