The Call, The Ordeal, The Road Back – The Hero’s/Heroine’s Journey

The Call, The Ordeal, The Road Back – The Hero’s/Heroine’s Journey


Myths and archetypes. They have always fascinated me.

The Hero’s Journey.

Liz Gilbert and Oprah talked this week on Super Soul Sunday, about the calling that everyone (yes everyone) gets to embark on their own Hero’s journey, and how women have no female role models to emulate.

Through the ages, the Hero’s have all been men; leaving us women home, waiting, keeping the home fires burning, and having the babies; so you can imagine, that leaves us no female hero’s for us to follow..
Think Luke Skywalker, Odysseus, Harry Potter.

I feel that less and less. the older I get. I know brave, dynamic woman who are on their own Hero’s Journey. I know I’m in the midst of mine. You could say I’m a late bloomer.
I stayed in REFUSAL OF THE CALL for twenty years, lost in the game, so I have a lot of catching up to do.
I’d say I’m in the thick of it right now, TESTS, ALLIES AND ENEMIES (see list below.)
I’d better get cracking’

I think that we are starting to see heroic female role models on the bigger stage; I’m thinking Malala Yousafzai in real life, and Katniss Everdeen in literature and on the big screen.

Inside popular culture, we can document our paths for the girls and women who follow, so that we leave a legacy behind for them: The Heroine’s Journey.

The Hero’s Journey Outline
The Hero’s Journey is a pattern of narrative identified by the American scholar Joseph Campbell that appears in drama, storytelling, myth, religious ritual, and psychological development. It describes the typical adventure of the archetype known as The Hero, the person who goes out and achieves great deeds on behalf of the group, tribe, or civilization.

Its stages are:
1. THE ORDINARY WORLD. The hero, uneasy, uncomfortable or unaware, is introduced sympathetically so the audience can identify with the situation or dilemma. The hero is shown against a background of environment, heredity, and personal history. Some kind of polarity in the hero’s life is pulling in different directions and causing stress.

  1. THE CALL TO ADVENTURE. Something shakes up the situation, either from external pressures or from something rising up from deep within, so the hero must face the beginnings of change.

  2. REFUSAL OF THE CALL. The hero feels the fear of the unknown and tries to turn away from the adventure, however briefly. Alternately, another character may express the uncertainty and danger ahead.

  3. MEETING WITH THE MENTOR. The hero comes across a seasoned traveler of the worlds who gives him or her training, equipment, or advice that will help on the journey. Or the hero reaches within to a source of courage and wisdom.

  4. CROSSING THE THRESHOLD. At the end of Act One, the hero commits to leaving the Ordinary World and entering a new region or condition with unfamiliar rules and values.

  5. TESTS, ALLIES AND ENEMIES. The hero is tested and sorts out allegiances in the Special World.

  6. APPROACH. The hero and newfound allies prepare for the major challenge in the Special world.

  7. THE ORDEAL. Near the middle of the story, the hero enters a central space in the Special World and confronts death or faces his or her greatest fear. Out of the moment of death comes a new life.

  8. THE REWARD. The hero takes possession of the treasure won by facing death. There may be celebration, but there is also danger of losing the treasure again.

  9. THE ROAD BACK. About three-fourths of the way through the story, the hero is driven to complete the adventure, leaving the Special World to be sure the treasure is brought home. Often a chase scene signals the urgency and danger of the mission.

  10. THE RESURRECTION. At the climax, the hero is severely tested once more on the threshold of home. He or she is purified by a last sacrifice, another moment of death and rebirth, but on a higher and more complete level. By the hero’s action, the polarities that were in conflict at the beginning are finally resolved.

  11. RETURN WITH THE ELIXIR. The hero returns home or continues the journey, bearing some element of the treasure that has the power to transform the world as the hero has been transformed.

What do you think? Does this resonate? Ladies, where are you in your journey, right now?


  • bwcarey says:

    great way to lay out the story, but your right, female hero’s were never encouraged, they were take for granted, ask mother, but the one thing to remember, is the women who make it, the mothers who raise children against the odds, Joan of Arc, Madonna, the world is being led by the instinct of women, as they seem to be overtaking men all over the world, i’m a man, i can’t understand why they waited so long, great post, blessings

    • jbertolus says:

      Thank you so much. Although I believe in right timing and all that, I have to agree with you. what’s taken us so long! The time is now.

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