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The Gathering

Theme for 55th gathering, Spring 2021

"The Hero's Journey"

The Hero's Journey is a classic story structure that's shared  worldwide. Coined by Joseph Campbell in his popular book, A Hero With a thousand Faces,  refers to a wide-ranging category of tales in which a character follows a calling, faces conflict, and ultimately triumphs over adversity and returns home transformed. Characters such as Luke Skywalker, Harry Potter, Neo, Katniss, and  Frodo…follow this classic tale of the Hero’s Journey.

The Hero’s Journey is a classic story  from around the world, depicting the transformational experience. The Hero is not a person , rather an archetype representing the qualities and behaviors of a mortal. The journey reveals the process of  personal transformation  from an innocent child into a mature adult. Campbell outlined 12 stages of the journey, yet for our purposes here, I will  name the basic stages. For further  information, read: The Hero With A Thousand Faces, by Joseph Campbell.

First, is the call to adventure, followed by ordeals and finally the return. The story of Odysseus is a classic representation of the Hero’s Journey. He is first called to go fight in the Trojan War, followed by the ordeals where he faces; the Cyclops, the Sirens( the forces that tempt a man to stray from his mission) , encounters with the monsters Scylla and Charybdis and punishment by Zeus to name a few.  Finally Odysseys returns home to Ithaca and his beloved- Penelope. These ordeals are metaphors for  external  and  the ever present internal challenges in a man’s life.  The internal ordeals are the primary challenges for modern man to face  and overcome. The Hero’s Journey is a fundamental aspect of the Men’s Movement and the work we must embrace in order to bring forth our full mature, masculine birthright. 

For many men the numbing pressures of work,  isolation and the wounding  impact of family and societal shame, leave them  unable to hear or acknowledge the call to adventure.  It is when following the call to adventure that allies and mentors  show up and  reveal to the hero the necessary tools, inspiration, and guidance they need to engage in  the call to adventure.

For many  men when they are faced with the ordeals of their life, including their  personal shadow,  few have the internal or external support  to face the challenges with courage, grace and  power. This has left many men today in a state that Robert Bly called,  soft men who are life preserving, yet lack the power to be life generating. Without answering the call to adventure, the benefits of the  welcoming home and integrating the transformational experiences into their lives  is often absent. This leaves many  men  feeling lost, isolated, and lacking aliveness. Using the structure of the Hero’s Journey,  is  a powerful format  for any man to track his personal journey towards maturity.

Are you clear about  your calling- your purpose,  that which brings meaning to your life? How do you handle  challenges in your life? Do you know and own your shadow? Do you have mentors that you use when faced with ordeals? Where in your life and relationships have you settled? What transformation are you seeking? Have you been welcomed home?

Pre-Gathering Workshop, 

"Claiming Your Heroic Journey"

led by Sparrow Hart

Sparrow Hart, founder of Circles of Air and Stone, began exploring nature and wilderness in 1971 with a 5-month solo pilgrimage through the Cascades and Canadian Rockies, and he undertook his first vision quest in 1980. Over the last 38 years he has led over 180 small-group vision quests and undertaken over 35 quests of his own. He’s the author of Letters to the River: A Guide to a Dream Worth Living and The Vision Quest, A Guide’s Training Manual. In addition, he’s considered a leader in the field of men’s awareness and emotional growth, having created the Mythic Warrior Training and the Men’s Wisdom Council -- two men’s programs that have run for over 25 years – and he’s a frequent workshop leader in the United States and Mexico.

Sparrow believes that living your dreams and coming into your own path and authenticity can’t happen until the wounds of childhood are healed. Those wounds must be addressed and dealt with before our souls can flower and flourish, and we can begin to move forward. Over 3-1/2 decades Sparrow has become an authority in this important and necessary work, developing process and practices that “join heaven and earth” – that bring the uplifting insights of the transcendent spiritual traditions to bear on the nitty-gritty conditions of the lives we have to lead today. 

Sparrow Hart has worked in and explored the wildernesses and the wilderness of the human soul. He’s led over one-hundred eighty 11-day vision quests and undertaken over 35 quests of his own. He’s met bears, mountain lions, rattlesnakes and, most importantly, himself.





Letters to the River places the struggles and crises we currently face — personal, ecological, and spiritual — within the context of a mythic and heroic journey. In doing so, it forms a bridge between the left side and the right — the practical, daily life we can neither ignore or avoid, and the enchanted, shimmering world reported by sages and shamans throughout the millennia,..     
Sparrow Hart – sparrow@together.net  www.questforvision.com  802-387-6624