The Hero’s Journey

As part of our Music Brand Narrative work, I recommend we begin with your Hero’s Journey.

What is the Hero’s Journey?

Joseph Campbell worked in the field of comparitive mythology and looked for the similarities. His studies resulted in what’s called the monomyth.

The monomyth is a universal story structure – a story template that takes a character through a sequence of stages.

The main character in the monomyth is the hero. Characters are archetypes – universal images and specific patterns of behaviour. The storyline of any great song, story, movie or art takes a Hero’s Journey. The archetype is something so universally relatable because it forms the fuel for what drives us in our lives – consciously or unconsciously.

Campbell outlined the stages of the monomyth in his book The Hero with a Thousand Faces.

Why is this journey relevant?

We each have our own mythology though most of us arent consciously connected to it. We catch glimpses of it when we are triggered by something outside of ourselves.

Scholars in the past viewed mythology as dreams of the collective psyche. To understand the symbolic meaning of a myth, you need to know the psychological undercurrent – the fun stuff – tensions, desires, secrets, dreams, drivers, fuel, agendas.

Campbell created his ground breaking Hero’s Journey process almost as a roadmap for humans.

The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.”Joseph Campbell

The 3 Main Stages of the Hero’s Journey

Following is Campbell’s structure and sequence for the hero’s journey.

Stage 1: Departure

The Call to Adventure. The hero departs from the ordinary world he knows to enter the unknown.

Campbell writes of this stage in The Hero with a Thousand Faces:

This first step of the mythological journey—which we have designated the “call to adventure”—signifies that destiny has summoned the hero and transferred his spiritual center of gravity from within the pale of his society to a zone unknown.

Stage 2: Initiation

The hero must faces a series of trials and tribulations – the dragon. This journey is not comfortable or safe. The hero is tested in everyway. Battles are fought and lost. The hero keeps moving through the journey and meets friends, allies, mentors, enemies and through initiation, starts to connect to him/herself through magic – the super nature.

Stage 3: Return

Having endured the trials and survived the hardships of the adventure, the hero returns home. But they is no longer the same. He or she is transformed. An alchemical change has taken place – inside and out. The path forward becomes clear and the hero makes peace, makes their choice and takes their action.

  • Step 1: The Ordinary World
  • Step 2: The Call to Adventure
  • Step 3: Cross the First Threshold
  • Step 4: Trials, Friends, and Foes
  • Step 5: Magical Mentor 
  • Step 6: Dragon’s Lair
  • Step 7: Moment of Despair
  • Step 8: Ultimate Treasure
  • Step 9: Homeward Bound
  • Step 10: Rebirth & The Champion’s Return

“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls.”- Joseph Campbell

Great books to read: