“A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.”
— Joseph Campbell
What makes a hero? Someone who is willing to do the right thing no matter what the cost to himself? How do we find the hero within? Go deeper. Go deeper.
I grew up on myths and stories. From an early age I was a pretty voracious reader and what I loved to read most were myths and legends. I went through every book of those I could find and could never get enough. I also loved comic books particularly super-hero ones. Makes sense, what are they but modern mythology? When I discovered both the tarot with the Fool’s journey through the major arcana and then Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey I fell in love with both concepts. They both talk about the arc of the hero and how he leaves the familiar (parents, home) and enters the unknown, encounters several dangers, and returns home with something (possession, power, bride, wisdom) he did not have before. We’re all familiar with the arc. (If not, see Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, Star Wars, Alice in Wonderland, The Hobbit and many others and note the similarities)
What makes the hero go on the journey in the first place? Once he does depart what keeps him on the path? Well I can only talk about what I know. So many times in my life I have left the familiar behind, doing such things as joining religious cults, hitch-hiking cross countries and travelling to a different country to get married that I became very familiar with what I called ‘rabbit-hole time’. When i reflect on those times, the biggest thing that stands out is that I was curious, Something caught my attention and I jumped for it. Somehow I believed that even if I was not happy with the outcome, the adventure would be worthwhile. Before today, I would have called that foolishness tho today it was brought to my attention what it really was. A leap of faith. I have had faith in the universe and in the guiding force behind the universe and it has never failed me. Even the hard lessons were not as hard as they could have been. Having the love and support of my family has helped a lot there as well.
To be continued…
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Gazing at the Hero Within and Without by G A Rosenberg