8 Steps of the Hero’s Journey

The spiritual journey could be explained or understood in so many ways, as the great religious traditions of the world have outlined how to progress along the path and complete one’s life destiny.  While not exactly the Christian path of death/resurrection and transformation into new life, most of us have experienced the hero’s journey.

The 8 Steps of the Hero’s Journey:

  1. The call
  2. The threshold
  3. The challenges
  4. The abyss
  5. The transformation
  6. The revelation
  7. The atonement
  8. The return

1. THE CALL

  • Invites adventure, offers the opportunity to face the unknown, and gain something of physical or spiritual value
  • The hero is naturally obscure or of mysterious origin and is superior in some regard, but not invincible and may choose or be dragged into journey
  • The Call or The Quest
    a) Something is taken from us (quest to reclaim)
    b) sense of something lacking (quest to find what’s missing)
    c) need to save or restore honor (quest to claim honor)
    d) something is not permitted by members of society (quest to win rights)

2. THE THRESHOLD

  • “Jumping off point” for the adventure
  • Interface between the known and unknown
  • Encounter beings or situations that block the passage. These “guardians” protect us when we are unprepared for the journey and later step aside and point the way
  • Encounter companions who assist, direct, guide, mentor

Initiation and Transformation

3. THE CHALLENGES

  • Hero faces unclear path
  • The way is beset with danger, temptation, and loneliness
  • Hero matures
  • Temptations try to pull hero away from path with fear, doubt, and distraction
  • Challenges strike the hero’s greatest weakness

4. THE ABYSS

  • The greatest challenge that must be faced alone
  • Possible that the challenge beats the hero. If the hero does not try again, life is left unfulfilled

5. THE TRANSFORMATION

  • Hero has conquered the Abyss; transformation is complete
  • Final step is a moment of death and rebirth (i.e., descent into darkness)

a) fear must die to make way for courage
b) ignorance must die to make way for courage
c) dependency/irresponsibility must die for independence/power

6. THE REVELATION

  • Sudden dramatic change in the way the hero views life and the hero realizes the attained goal is symbolic (i.e., the newfound maturity is more important than the ring, cup, fleece, etc.)
  • Occurs during or after Abyss

7. THE ATONEMENT

  • Hero is “at-one” with new self
  • Incorporates the changes caused from the journey and is fully “reborn”
  • Imbalance is corrected, until the next call

The Return

8. THE RETURN

  • The final stage of the journey is return to everyday life
  • Hero discovers new gift
  • Essence of the return is to begin contributing to society (but not always)
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