Archive | The Journey

Supernatural Aid or Guide

Joseph Campbell, the remarkable mythologist and author of The Hero with a Thousand Faces, uncovered basic patterns, structures and stages that are common to mythologies across time and culture, forming what he terms the Monomyth. The Calling is the opening of the myth, followed by the Initiation or Journey. Having answered “The Calling,” the hero […]

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Crossing the First Threshold

In this section of what Joseph Campbell refers to as the “monomyth,” or the hero’s journey, one finally enters into the field of unpredictable adventure, leaving behind the known parameters of one’s own world and exploring the unknown and dangerous realm, where rules and limits one has known no longer apply. Frequently, this stage is […]

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The Belly of the Whale

In the metaphorical language of mythologist Joseph Campbell’s Hero Cycle (or Monomyth), the hero’s journey moves from the comfort of the known world into the frightening and dangerous unknown through an unprecedented crisis; using Western mythology, he likens it to Jonah being swallowed by a whale. The entrance into the belly of the whale represents […]

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Heroes in Contemporary Mythology

Aragon, the conquering hero who survives perilous journeys to reclaim the throne of Men, in The Lord of the Rings trilogy . . . Luke Skywalker, who rises from a lowly farmer on a backwater planet to become a Jedi Master who saves the galaxy in Star Wars . . . Neo, a “nobody” living […]

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Alexander the Great

Honor and glory being the traits most valued by the ancient Greeks, it is no surprise then that the most successful military leader of the ancient world, Alexander the Great, would sleep with a copy of Homer’s Iliad under his pillow before going into battle. Inheriting the kingdom from his father Philip, Alexander, the King […]

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The Road of Trials

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 […]

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The Trials of Heracles

Heracles (Hercules, in Latin) is considered by many to be the greatest of all Greek mythological heroes. The son of Zeus and a mortal woman, he is hated by the goddess Herra, the wife of Zeus. Her attempt to kill him as an infant is thwarted when he strangles the poisonous snakes she places in […]

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Siegfried and the Dragon

One of the greatest heroes in Norse mythology is Siegfried, and perhaps the greatest telling of his story is in Richard Wagner’s “The Ring of the Nibelung” opera. Siegfried is the grandson of Wotan, the King of the Gods, who had decreed that only a hero of pure heart, who knew no fear, could forge […]

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