This is #17 in the Crossing the Threshold series.
The Hero’s Journey
Now that we have a better understanding of the word myth we can return to The Hero’s Journey or Hero’s Myth without automatically thinking fable, falsehood, untrue story. We can now begin to see its cosmic pattern and perhaps by “looking along and through” as C.S. Lewis would say, connect the myth of the Hero’s Journey with the “true myth” of Jesus Christ.
In Chapter Two I used Christopher Vogler’s Twelve Stage version of The Hero’s Journey and we will return to that, but let me give you another formulation that may also prove to be insightful. In his book Mythology: The Voyage of the Hero, David Adams Leeming outlines the journey like this: 1. Miraculous conception and birth
2. Initiation of the hero-child
3. Withdrawal from family or community for meditation
4. Trial and quest
6. Descent into the Underworld
7. Resurrection and rebirth
8. Ascension, apotheosis, and atonement.
Oh does this sound familiar? If I had not revealed the source of this eight point list you could easily have thought “I know this story, it sounds very much like the one that’s been going around for well let’s see, two thousand years; the one about Jesus!” If you attend or have attended a liturgical church you probably recited either The Apostle’s Creed or the Nicene Creed, both are very early statements of the Christian faith and both include the essential outline of Christ’s life: miraculous conception and birth, trial and death, descent, resurrection, ascension, atonement. You see Joseph Campbell was wrong in one respect; the hero does not have one thousand faces he has one, and the Hero’s Journey that we find in all cultures at all times does not originate in the primordial past, it originates in eternity.
So let’s take a look at God’s Eternal Story in a fresh new “mythic” way by seeing it as The True Hero’s Journey.