Show Notes

We all go through stages and phases in life. We all experience adventure, hardship, challenge and growth. One of my most favourite ways of viewing the stages in each of our lives is seeing it through the eyes of what Joseph Campbell describes as ‘The Hero’s Journey’.  In this week’s Self Love Quicky I share a brief overview of what this journey looks like and how you can see your own life cycles with you at the centre of it… the main star… the hero!

In its basic form, The Hero’s Journey follows the archetype called The Hero on his journey to achieve great deeds. All the different points on his journey is what creates the framework. The journey is divided into three parts:

  1. Departure
  2. Initiation
  3. Return

This is a similar pattern to that of the Three Act Structure (The Setup, the Confrontation and the Resolution). However, while the Three Act Structure focus on plot points, the focus in The Hero’s Journey lies on the stages the Hero goes through.
That brings us to the 12 different stages The Hero’s Journey is divided into:

  1. The Ordinary World
  2. The Call to Adventure
  3. Refusal of the Call
  4. Meeting with the Mentor
  5. Crossing the Threshold to the Special World
  6. Tests, Allies and Enemies
  7. Approach to the Innermost Cave
  8. The Ordeal
  9. The Reward
  10. The Road Back
  11. The Resurrection
  12. Return with the Elixir

All of these stages are divided into the three parts I mentioned above. The first part, the Departure, include the following stages:

  • The Ordinary World
  • The Call to Adventure
  • Refusal of the Call
  • Meeting with the Mentor
  • Crossing the Threshold to the Special World

The second part, the Initiation, include the following stages:

  • Tests, Allies and Enemies
  • Approach to the Innermost Cave
  • The Ordeal
  • The Reward

The third part, the Return, include the following stages:

  • The Road Back
  • The Resurrection
  • Return with the Elixir

The hero’s journey is a common narrative archetype, or story template, that involves a hero who goes on an adventure, learns a lesson, wins a victory with that newfound knowledge, and then returns home transformed.

In The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Joseph Campbell, a professor of literature at Sarah Lawrence College, unpacks his theory that all mythological narratives share the same basic structure. He refers to this structure as the “monomyth,” or hero’s journey. Campbell summarizes it like this:

“A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.”


If you would like to see an animated graphic of The Hero’s Journey click here.

If you would like to see a graphic of the 12 steps in the cycle of the Hero click here.

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