We are all the heroes or heroines of our personal journey through life. Our purpose is to live that journey fully, learning and growing along the way, and fulfilling the life tasks that facilitate psychological growth, as we move through stages of life.
Where trauma keeps parts of us frozen in the past, the hero or heroine learns to recognise the personal myth or story we are living and is prepared to face the challenges that lead to our healing. CG Jung cultivated the idea that the stories of our lives can be mapped on archetypal stories expressed in myths, fairy tales and legends. Jung’s concept of individuation is a guide towards freeing ourselves from the past and becoming our authentic selves.
Mythologist Joseph Campbell popularised the universal pattern of the hero’s journey, in which the hero journeys into the underworld and confronts all manner of beast or dangers, or is required to complete seemingly impossible and dangerous tasks before they are able to return to the everyday world, bearing the gifts bestowed in their journey.
As a metaphor, the hero’s journey can guide us through our personal darkness, and identify what aspects of ourselves we need to develop or transform. It is through the courage to enter the darkness of our personal underworld, and accepting what is there with kindness and clear vision, that we dispel the dangers and release the gifts that come with healing transformation.
The healing journey requires us to know the truth of our suffering before we can transform, find our true path, and offer our gifts to the world. The work is hard, but worth it. It’s a good idea to have support from a therapist or wise friend who can accompany you, rather than tell you what to do.
If you’re interested in the hero’s journey, you can read about it in the Greek myths of Perseus (for heroes) and Psyche and Eros (for heroines). The myth of Persephone (see photo) is also relevant for the female underworld journey. Joseph Campbell wrote extensively about the hero’s journey. There’s also much on the internet about using a template for this journey in your art, writing or life path.
With you on the journey. – Violet