The Road of Trials

The Dragon Bridge in Slovenia, symbolizing the Road of Trials on the Hero's Journey

The Dragon Bridge in Slovenia, symbolizing the Road of Trials on the Hero’s Journey

The great philosopher and religious historian Mircea Eliade speaks of the Rites of Initiation with respect to crossing the threshold from ordinary to sacred space, where transformation occurs. One must willingly submit to this Initiation to signify one’s readiness to undertake the heroic battles ahead. The “road of trials” is a sequence of tasks, tests or ordeals that one must undergo to undertake the heroic journey ahead, and is an idea that can be found in Joseph Campbell’s concept of the heroic monomyth.

In Depth Psychology, this portion of the journey refers to the point at which the supremacy of the ego is overcome and the process of individuation of the psyche can begin. That is, the facade of the ego world is no longer in charge – one is now coming to the realization that there is so much beyond the paltry world of the ego. One is beginning to understand that we must live from our souls.

“The original departure into the land of trials represented only the beginning of the long and really perilous path of initiatory conquests and moments of illumination. Dragons have now to be slain and surprising barriers passed — again, again, and again. Meanwhile there will be a multitude of preliminary victories, unretainable ecstasies and momentary glimpses of the wonderful land.”

Quoted from David Adams Leeming from his work, Mythology: The Voyage of the Hero