What is the Hero’s Journey?  Why do we go to the movies?  In every movie we find a protagonist or 2 that run into difficulties.  We become captured by the dilemma they find themselves.in. We are drawn into their story.  They along with some helpers have a challenge a struggle and they decide to take on the challenge.  Deciding to become the victor of your own journey is the basic premise of the Hero’s Journey. We go to the movies to live vicariously through the characters being a champion in their life.

As an example, during the Depression in the 1930’s when times were so tough, Hollywood was making movies and people went to the movies, often with very little money..  Shirley Temple movies were Big in the 1930’s because people found them hopeful and she was always able to make a bad situation better.  Shirley was the Hero in all her movies.  She gave people hope for a better time and portrayed the innocence of a child with a bright and giving Heart. Her kindness and goodness prevailed.

People went to the movies, because there own situation was bleak  and they wanted to see a person become the hero of their own life.  People go to the movies now to be entertained, but also to live vicariously through the character to see them become the hero of their own life. It helps us also feel like a victor through the experience, because we identify with the protagonist.

Joseph Campbell and The Hero’s Journey

Joseph Campbell – Author of the Hero’s Journey

I was introduced to the Hero’s journey a long time ago through the work of Joseph Campbell.      Joseph Campbell wrote The Power  of Myth and the Hero of a Thousand Faces among many other books.

Bill  Moyers did a number of interviews with Joseph Campbell.  Joseph Campbell answers the question, “ 05. Are movies fulfilling the role of creating our myths”  He has given new meaning to all stories since the beginning of time of how we as humans have used the myths to give our lives more meaning.   He’s also explained the deeper meaning to the stories of who we are.

When I was introduced to Joseph Campbell, he gave me another outlook of looking at the stories taught through religion.  He calls them Myths because they are so universal through all the religions and every culture. Movies give us insight into what it means to be the hero of our own life. He does a brilliant job of going through the many stories of many civilizations.  All the stories end up being the story of the Hero’s journey.  Will I jump out of what I know to jump into the unknown. In the beginning I didn’t really know what it meant in my own life.

What do I pretend not to know?

Growing up, I always felt that there was something I was to do that would be a contribution to others. At six years old that is just a feeling, but I felt it strongly.  Of course, I had no idea what that could be  or would be.  What I do now know is that when distressing times with obstacles have shown up, I have always chosen a more difficult path of facing up to the difficulty and  I hold myself accountable. My choice was to work through it to and come through it on the other side. I had chosen the path of the Hero’s journey without knowing it.

An example of this happened early in my marriage when we were kicked out of a group where I felt a lot of connection and purpose.  All of a sudden, my husband Jim and I were totally on our own feeling we no longer had any friends or community.  I  soon discovered through this distressing time that I needed to die or give up how I thought it was going to be to have something better.  It was a painful cathartic experience for me. It felt like a death to me.

At that time, I kept playing a song on an album I had, that sang about the seed needing to break  open to push through the earth so that it could grow.  That is how I felt.  I needed to break open to leave behind  the way I thought  things would be so that I could become more of my true authentic self. It was an awakening that changed the course of my life.  I didn’t need anyone else to give me validation.

So Why Don’t People Answer the Call to the Hero’s Journey?

We are all reluctant Heroes.  Many refuse the call, Campbell calls it the personal fears, he calls it the “Dragons”.  We feel we need supernatural aid to deal with what has happened to us.  These things look like, loss of a job, injury, a terrible diagnosis, divorce, a bankruptcy, a  betrayal of our belief system.  It often feels like a death and we don’t know how to come out of it.

It takes courage to overcome the blows we are dealt.  In my own life the blows and the determination to get up again and fight has happened many times. I needed to figure it out or  allow the Universe to guide me to answer that I didn’t know was there. What is worth dying for?  It feels like a death, because the ‘Old Self’ has to die for the ‘New Self’ to be able to live.  ‘Our Subby” takes direction from the Conscious self. .To have The Old Self  die is usually very hard.   The new self  can become the new Authentic Self,  a transformed self. A self to connect with others and with God., our divine self.

Joseph Campbell has said the snake that can not shed his skin will die.

It takes courage to Slay our Dragons

If one has the courage to slay the dragons in our life, the Best and Most Rewarding time comes after the struggle, We also develop more courage after we see what we are capable of.

We all live with our own Hero’s Journey.  When we make a decision to become the hero in our own life, we surrender and are no longer the victim in our life.  When there is no death, there is no transformation.  We are the ones to resurrect our own life.  There is a blessing in the death that lets you live a better life. It is not what happens to us but what we do with it that gives our life meaning,  The most rewarding time comes after the struggle.

As Joseph Campbell has said, “ Life has no meaning.  Each of us has meaning and we bring it to life.  It is a waste to be asking the question, when you are the answer.”


~Johanna Baker.