Rise to the new Challenge

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  One of the most important books of my childhood was Jim Knopf und Lukas der Lokomotivführer by the German author Michael Ende. The story was originally published in two volumes and is a wonderful illustration of the Heroic Journey. There is a brief Wikipedia article in English under the title Jim Button and Luke the Engine Driver. One of …

Refusal of the Gifts

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  This stage of the Heroic Journey is probably the most confusing one of all. Having come this far – after negotiating Threshold Guardians, fighting fierce battles, and discovering treasure – why would any heroine or hero in their right mind refuse the gift? Here are three possible answers: – The return to the Ordinary World seems too daunting. – …

Discovering Treasure

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  In 1998 I hit on a goldmine in my creative work. I had been writing morning pages for over a year, and I had been working on my first book. It was a fantasy story containing lessons about the creative process. Before finishing my book I realised that I didn’t yet understand the creative process as much as I …

Entering the Void

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  When I entered ‘the void’ many years ago I thought I was going to die. I was in a very dysfunctional relationship at the time. The man I was with suffered from suicidal depression, and I’d assumed I could rescue him from himself. He kept making up stories about what was happening to him. He would believe his own …

Departure

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  Departure, at last. The journey can begin. In a world of instant gratification we have become increasingly used to rushing straight to our goals. Our heroism is reduced to an act of will. We expect to bring home the booty via a path with a proven track record. A sprinkling of adrenaline is added to give a sense of …

Preparing for the Journey

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  Preparing for the Heroic Journey is notoriously difficult because you are per definition venturing into the unknown. How can we prepare for something we don’t know? On the other hand, we may safely assume that when the Call to Adventure lands in our imaginary inbox, everything that has happened before in life has prepared us for precisely this moment. …

The Call to Adventure

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  The first move towards the Heroic Journey happens when the main protagonist of the story receives a Call to Adventure. In the narrative of mythology the sequence varies dependent on the gender of the main character. Even the starting conditions are different. The heroine’s Ordinary World is often the illusion of a perfect world, while the hero’s journey usually …

The Ordinary World

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  I have lived in various countries from an early age. What is regarded as ‘ordinary’ in one culture can be very strange or ‘extraordinary’ in another. Ordinary is what seems mundane, what is common, and what happens on a regular basis. The Ordinary World is what we are used to. Within each country there are sub-cultures, and each sub-culture …