Mythology always fascinated me.
In fact, one of the better general education courses that I took was an introduction to comparative mythology, and I found it to be one of those classes that has stuck with my long after my degree was completed. (Part of this had to do with the fact that the professor was an AMAZING Iranian atheist, but that story is for another time.)
Through the ages, myths have been used to describe the unknown; a way to address the hows and whys of the world long before science was capable of giving us the answers…stories of creation, the gods, nature, and the cycle of life.
Myths also provide us with stories of heroes, and the common thread of the Hero’s Journey, as described by Joseph Campbell and others, can be seen in numerous different cultures all over the world. Interestingly, these similarities appear in cultures completely independently of one another, suggesting that these elements of the journey could be latent desires in all of us.
Though the elements of the “hero’s journey” differ depending on the scholar your are studying, all of these myths share a few common themes*:
The hero is called to adventure…and, often, resists. As well, the hero often is aided by a mentor, who will prepare them for the journey at hand.
The hero is tested. This involves numerous trials and tribulations, and often culminates in a “death” and “rebirth”. This is either literal or figurative, depending on the myth being discussed.
Here, the hero returns to the “real world”, often quite reluctantly, with the wisdom, knowledge, and master gained during the adventure.
Does this sound familiar?!
The truth is, we all are heroes, in one way or another. At some point we are all called into the real world, where we will be faced with trials, hardships and struggle. The hero’s journey is a manifestation of OUR journeys.
Mythology provides for explanation and entertainment, but, more importantly, mythological stories pave the way for introspection by leading us to ask:
“What is MY story?”
So, with that being said…
What is it you are currently struggling with, and how will that help you when you return from where you came? How can you see through your struggles as learning experiences that will aid you in the future and lead you to mastery?
Are you currently feeling the call to adventure, but actively resisting Why? What is holding you back? What are you afraid of?
Who can help you take that first step?
What is YOUR story?
*(NOTE: If you are a Star Wars fan, you will clearly see the elements of the Hero’s Journey, as George Lucas consulted EXTENSIVELY with Joseph Campbell during its creation.)