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?
"Claiming Your Heroic Journey"
led by Sparrow Hart