1. The Call to Adventure

The hero starts in the ordinary world and gets a call, sometimes from another person, sometimes of the person’s own volition. In Homer‘s Odyssey, Odysseus is caught in the terrible winds of the angered god Poseidon and sent off to distant lands.

  1. Refusal of the Call

The hero may refuse to pay attention to the call from fear, indifference, from insecurity, from a sense of inadequacy. Luke Skywalker refuses Obi Wan’s call. It’s difficult. It takes work.

  1. Supernatural Aid

Cinderella had her fairy Godmother. Dorothy had Glenda, the good witch of the North. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be supernatural. It can be a parent or a grandparent or a friend giving a thought or aspiration.  It can be what we call miracles of coincidence where sometimes you’re saved from disaster seemingly miraculously.

Sometimes that supernatural aid is the resources within us.

  1. The Crossing Of The First Threshold

This is the point where the person actually crosses into the field of adventure, leaving the known limits of his or her world and venturing into an unknown and dangerous realm where there aren’t any rules and limits. Beyond the guardian is darkness, the unknown and danger; just as beyond the parental watch is danger to the infant.  You cross the threshold when you go off to college, join the services, or immigrate to another country.

5. The Belly of the Whale

It’s a common theme that appears not only in the Bible but in many other cultures as well. Remember Tom Thumb who was swallowed by a fish; the whale swallowed Pinocchio. The belly of the whale represents the final separation from the hero’s known world and self. By entering this stage, the person shows willingness to undergo a metamorphosis.

  1. The Road Of Trials

Once the hero accepts the call, the hero must face tasks and trial after trial  and may have to face them alone, or may have assistance. The Yellow Brick Road is obvious. The road of trials is a series of tests, tasks, or ordeals that the person must undergo to begin the transformation. Dragons have now to be slain, bad witches overcome, and surprising barriers passed – again, again, and again. A quitting smoker is plagued with withdrawal and cravings. A beginning speaker is plagued with stage fright.

  1. The Meeting With The Goddess

This is the point when the person experiences an unconditional love that a fortunate infant may have experienced with his or her mother. This is a very important step in the process and is often represented by the person finding the other person that he or she loves most completely.

  1. Woman As Temptress

This step is about those temptations that may lead the hero to abandon or stray from his or her quest, which does not necessarily have to be represented by a woman. Woman is a metaphor for the physical or material temptations of life, since the hero-knight was often tempted by lust from his spiritual journey. And he cannot acknowledge his own lust drives.

Throughout history men have refused to acknowledge their own faults and shortcomings and have conveniently attached them to someone else. And who is more convenient than the woman? The shining example is Eve in the creation myth.

The goddess that the man married has become a nag, a spendthrift. Women become the butt of men’s jokes. The marital problems are the fault of the spouse. But there is another side of the coin. The husband has transformed from Prince Charming into a big disappointment. He becomes lazy. He becomes a batterer. Men become the butt of women’s jokes.

  1. Atonement with the Parent

In this step the person must confront and be initiated by whatever holds the ultimate power in his or her life. In many myths and stories this is the father, or a father figure who has life and death power. In Harry Potter he meets the images of his dead parents.

  1. Apotheosis

It’s the elevation or exultation to the rank of a god. The hero is treated as almost divine. The audience, having been led to identify with the hero, experiences the brink-of-death feeling with the hero and then is relieved by hero’s return from death. In all the winning International speeches we feel with the speaker at the moment of realization.

  1. The Ultimate Boon

The ultimate boon is the achievement of the goal of the quest. It is what the person went on the journey to get. All the previous steps serve to prepare and purify the person for this step.  The scarecrow wanted intelligence, the lion wanted courage, and the tin woodman wanted compassion. Maybe we’ve conquered our base desires and passions like lust or greed or indifference. We quit smoking. We got through our Icebreaker. We won the battle with stage fright. Now we feel we can confront any challenge.

  1. Refusal of The Return

Having found bliss and enlightenment in the other world, the hero may not want to return to the ordinary world to bestow the boon onto his fellow man.  Even though we’ve discovered something we may have demons of doubts that have to be resolved. Our minds keep telling us there are other obstacles to be overcome. The person may one of those 40-year-olds that are still living at home.

  1. The Magic Flight

Sometimes the hero must escape with the boon, if it is something that the gods have been jealously guarding. Jack climbed the beanstalk and stole the giant’s treasures. Glenda, the good witch of the North gave Dorothy magic slippers; Obi Wan Kenobi gave Luke Skywalker the light saber; Dumbo had a feather.

  1. Rescue From Without

Heroes may need powerful guides and rescuers to bring them back to everyday life. More than likely, it’s an emotional wound. He she may succumb to recidivism or depression or negative attitudes. The mentor comes to the rescue.

  1. The Crossing of The Return Threshold

 The trick in returning is to retain the wisdom gained on the quest, to integrate that wisdom into our lives, and to share the wisdom with the rest of the world

  1. Master Of Two Worlds

For a human hero, it may mean achieving a balance between the material and spiritual. If the hero has had to reach inside to discover his inner resources he must still realize that there is an outer world to be lived. But you can live both worlds more fully now.

  1. Freedom To Live

Mastery leads to freedom from the fear of failure, which in turn is the freedom to live. This is sometimes referred to as living in the moment, neither anticipating the future nor regretting the past.


Men’s Mindfulness – The Hero’s Journey – King, Warrior, Magician, Lover Introduction

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