What is the Joseph Campbell Outline of what defines a hero?

Who was Joseph Campbell? What is a myth? What does "Follow Your Bliss" mean? If you are new to the work of Joseph Campbell, this forum is a good place to start.

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Post by Cynthia » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am


Post by Guest » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

"The hero is the one who comes to participate in life courageously and decently, in the way of nature, not in the way of personal rancor, disappointment, or revenge."

"The hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself."

"To evolve out of this position of psychological immaturity to the courage of self-responsibility and assurance requires a death and resurrection. That's the basic motif of the universal hero's journey -- leaving one condition and finding the source of life to bring you fourth into a richer or mature condition."

A small sampling from: Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth with Bill Moyers
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Post by Barry » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

This is a short synopsis of the hero's journey from my recollection. If anyone cares to correct or add to it, be my guest.

The journey of the hero takes on several stages according to Campbell.

(note: of course this is an allegory of the soul's journey to enlightenment.)

The first stage is the call to adventure. A beckoning of the hero to leave his old condition and journey forth into new ways of being.

The second stage was the refusal of the call, putting the beckoning off, delaying because of inconvienience or not feeling worthy etc..

The third stage was to cross the threshold of adventure and enter a realm of amplified power. Of course here is where the guardians show up or monsters. We are to either to hone our cunning ability and overcome this adversary or become devoured and become a whimpy version of itself.

The fourth stage, the hero is swallowed into the unknown.(belly of the whale etc) this is where the dissolving of identity occurs and it comes in many disguises.It can come as depression or ingression or strong desires to get away from it all etc..

The fifth stage is the road of trials. This is the feeling of beginning to enter the desert, wilderness, sea, corresponding to the labtrinth of our own unconscious life. One is hurled into challenges that are unprepared for, yet finds the tools to survive.(magical helpers, supernatural allies, serendipitous events, etc...)

The sixth stage of the journey brings the hero to the deepest point of the cycle. There to be recognized by the Father/Creator, to achieve sacred marriage with the inner beloved of the soul, to enter upon the apotheosis or transformation.

The seventh stage was the magic flight back across the threshold with the boon intact so that, with it, one can restore the world.

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Post by Mike Simonds » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

sounds so much like the hero in Blake's classic epic poems of Milton and Jerusalem.

Los, the eternal Black Smith.

oh divine spirit sustain me on thy wings that i may awaken albion from his cold and dark repose...
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Post by bodhibliss » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

On 2002-10-07 22:47, Cynthia wrote:
Sorry, Cynthia - i just saw this, or i would have responded sooner - but around the time of your plea, a new Practical Campbell column was posted that touches on this question.

You'll find it by clicking the following URL:


It might not be in time to help: the urgency of your plea suggests a major class assignment - sounds like an essay - so I hope you found what you needed in time, and that the posts in this conversation proved helpful.

Keep on reading!

blessed be
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Post by Mark O. » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

Campbell reveals, not defines, the hero. He is descriptive, rather than prescriptive.