Rain clouds tarped our typically sunny drive from San Diego to Phoenix last week. The charcoal gray sky with its spattering rain was the perfect backdrop as we listened to fascinating stories from our travel companion: the legendary mythologist Joseph Campbell.
Our six-hour trek home was consumed by Bill Moyers and his six-part series with Campbell called the The Power of Myth. Released in 1988, one year after Campbell’s death from complications of esophageal cancer, The Power of Myth is one of the most popular TV series in the history of public television. I had downloaded the audio series several months earlier and had not found the time to listen to them.
The first segment on the hero’s journey is one of my favorites. I’ve been studying the natural story pattern of the hero’s journey for the past seven years. I have been surprised that once I recognized its form that I found it everywhere in life. It is not only in the movies we watch and the books we read, but it provides a structure to everything from our routine daily activities to our epic quests.
“We’re not on our journey to save the world but to save ourselves. And in doing that you save the world.”
– Joseph Campbell
I have found that when you recognize the hero’s journey in your own life, you can appreciate how it works in the lives of your friends and family. You will experience it in the company you work for, the organizations you belong to, the places of worship you gather in, and the products and services that color your world. The hero’s journey will be especially pronounced in the movies you love, because these are stories that simply mirror life. Your life.
You can watch The Power of Myth series, or listen to the first segment here.
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Where has the hero’s journey guided your travels?