The Hero’s Journey

“We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.”    – Joseph Campbell (author of The Hero with A Thousand Faces)

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joseph campbell on power of mythJoseph Campbell (1904-1987) was a scholar and mythologist of the 20th Century. He traveled the world studying the stories and spiritual beliefs of various cultures in order to convey a wide array of meaning about the nature of human experience.

Campbell was of the believe that myths, or stories that bear a sense of universal conscious buried within their narrative, were the key for humanity to gain the clues about one’s life experience. Through an understanding of the themes of myths across many cultures, Campbell was able to extract certain narrative patterns that described the journey of initiation that took an ordinary person into the role of a transcendent hero.

The “monomyth”, otherwise known as “The Hero’s Journey” is the course of time that an individual move through that leads to a spiritual and sometimes physical transformation. This narrative structure, powerfully explained in Campbell’s landmark work, “The Hero with A Thousand Faces,” has been studied by authors and screenwriters around the world, providing them powerful clues for their storytelling and character development. The Star Wars and Matrix film series relied on Campbell’s work significantly.

The basic idea behind “The Hero’s Journey” is a straightforward 3-part narrative system. First, the hero sets forth on a journey after heeding a call to adventure, leaving behind all that he or she has known before. Next, the hero is taken down into an abyss, whether that be a physical space, a metaphoric situation or an emotional experience (or all three). Within this abyss, the hero is tested. He or she experiences a sense of spiritual disintegration followed by rebirth. Finally, the hero is then awakened into a new being, and then returns home having mastered the world of mystery he or she has encountered.

monomyth structureFor students and clients of The Solo Travel Solution, the structure of the monomyth is one that naturally falls into place once one sets forth on a Solo Travel Journey. Having moved through where one is suffering in life and articulated a powerful and liberating Question, the “hero” is called to leave everything behind and follow the path where the Question leads them. This may be a trip around the world or jaunt to the city for an afternoon. Regardless, once the call to adventure is responded to, the structure of the monomyth comes into play.

What this means is that those who set forth upon a Solo Travel Journey will encounter many of the themes that Campbell described in his monomyth structure, once they set the intention to leave everything in their life behind (physically, mentally and spiritually). An ordinary person then becomes a “hero,” attracting to them the kind of teachings and tests that someone in a mythic story would.

In reality, these teachings and tests have come to actual Solo Travel Solution graduates in the following forms: losing keys at the airport, flights being cancelled, getting lost in foreign places, meeting former boyfriends they haven’t seen in decades while on the road, hearing their wedding song while taking a trip where they made a decision about divorce, being introduced to high level spiritual gurus and leaders while on the journey, getting used to an experience of total silence, unknowingly meeting the author of a book while being on line to purchase that very book, having mystical experiences in cemeteries, numerical patterns being repeated throughout various experiences on the journey, being locked out of hotel rooms, meeting impactful people while hiking in the woods and so on.

All of these experiences are “happy accidents” with multiple meanings. They test the Solo Traveler while they are out there alone on the journey. They can be seen as silly coincidences, or as meaningful metaphors that provide unblock the spirit and reveal hidden levels of wisdom to the Solo Traveler.

What’s important is not that Campbell’s monomyth makes itself manifest in a perfect manner. Rather, that the Solo Traveler is awakened to new emotional energies that open the door to wisdom and ecstasy. The Solo Traveler may experience a sense of personal disintegration and disorientation on the journey. This is normal. It means that things are working. It means that enlightenment is on the way.

joseph campbell smilingThe work of Joseph Campbell becomes a kind of narrative architecture that allows the Solo Traveler to understand what is happening to them while they are out there alone. It also helps them create meaning about their journey when they return home. Either way, the journey becomes a living experience of the monomyth, raising the spiritual vibration of the Solo Traveler, inviting spiritual wisdom to help them master situations in their lives that were once baffling, propelling them forward to start a revolution in their lives.

The journey becomes a private, personal initiation. It lets them experience themselves as a hero for a few days or even a few hours. This taste of one’s inner hero will take root in the subconscious and never be forgotten. The awakening will open the door of a spiritual reservoir that can be continually refreshed and drawn from — particularly if one returns to taking Solo Travel Journeys as a part of one’s lifestyle.

Campbell was often quoted as saying, “Follow Your Bliss.” He was also known to have said, “Where there’s pain, there’s life.” These two phrases are key to experience The Solo Travel Solution.

 

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