The Call to Adventure

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(2/12 of the Heroic Journey)

8 Voices of the Call
Receiving the Call
Crisis as a Call
The Mystery of the Call


“Everyone has inside of her a piece of good news. The good news is that you don’t know how great you can be!”Anne Frank

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 begins in a scene of imperfection.

The heroine’s Call to Adventure is therefore associated with shattering the illusion. She may be called by external greater forces, or by her own curiosity, a deep longing or an irresistible temptation to break the rules. The heroine’s Call can also come from the realisation that she is caught up in some kind of domestic imprisonment.

The hero may be called by the realisation of the imperfection in his Ordinary World and the urge to do something about it. He might hear about a horrible event that he has the power to end or prevent. Or he may be sent out by a benign or malignant force to accomplish a heroic mission. His Call is usually connected to a greater achievement with far reaching implications for his people.

The masculine version of the Heroic Journey is driven by male principles, such as controlling danger, physical strength, and claiming external power. It is associated with the creative process.

The feminine version of the Heroic Journey is driven primarily by female principles, such as accessing inner resources, emotional sensitivity, and claiming internal power. This has associations with the healing process.

In everyday life our approach towards the Heroic Journey has relied primarily on the male principles of control, power and external achievements for many generations. This approach is supported by our cultural norms and the heritage of our patriarchal civilisation.

However, the results are becoming increasingly unsustainable. Without the female values of inner strength, health and wholeness we are producing heroes and heroines who have the external appearance of power but who lack integrity.

Our Heroic Journey strives to include both aspects, masculine and feminine. The Call to Adventure can come in many different forms, no matter whether you are a heroine or a hero.


8 Voices of the Call

“A blunder – apparently the merest chance – reveals an unsuspected world, and the individual is drawn into a relationship with forces that are not rightly understood.”Joseph Campbell

Our current manmade world attempts to claim a superior position without acknowledging this natural balance. We have cut ourselves off from our own internal subjective experience (feminine principle) and celebrate only external objective facts (masculine principle). As a result we are struggling at every level, collectively as well as individually.

In everyday life the Call to Adventure may not always be clear because it comes in the disguise of mundane events that happen in the Ordinary World. It can literally look or sound like almost anything. This is because it is totally subjective.

We can decipher the Call to Adventure (CTA) by listening to the distinct voices of the eight Faculties of our Consciousness:

1 – Will: The CTA comes in the form of an intention, a want or a willingness. You may experience a strong determination to make a difference in your Ordinary World.

2 – Soul: The CTA can come in the form an inner knowing of a deep truth, a yearning to connect with a kindred spirit, to reveal a deeper meaning or develop your true voice. It can also come in the form of an identity crisis.

3 – Inspiration: The CTA comes in the form of an innovative idea, revelation or insight. This may be accompanied by the realisation that your Ordinary World is no longer fulfilling your needs.

4 – Intuition: Here the CTA often comes in the form of a combination of an external opportunity, or a piece of information, and a hunch to follow it up.

5 – Imagination: The CTA is received in the form of a dream or a vision, which promises to be beneficial and make a significant difference to the current Ordinary World.

6 – Instinct: The CTA shouts loud in the form of an emotional crisis or an intense desire longing for fulfilment. It may also grumble in the form of persistent irritability, resentment, frustration and other negative feelings.

7 – Intellect: The CTA presents itself as a rational argument to follow a certain plan using a reasonable strategy, e.g. to build a business or pursue a particular career.

8 – Body: The CTA can happen in the form of a physical crisis, such as an illness, accident or misfortune. It may make itself known through any unexpected positive or negative event demanding attention.

In everyday life the Call to Adventure is of course usually a combination of several Faculties. At some people it shouts, to others it whispers. It can sound friendly and exciting, or it may come across as fierce and scary.


Receiving the Call

“A woman’s quest is to become a fully integrated, balanced and whole human being.Maureen Murdock

The Hero’s Journey is usually interpreted as a ‘coming of age’ story. In other words, it is a metaphor representing the natural human transition from childhood to adulthood. Once the hero has made it through the challenges of his personal rite of passage he takes his place within the tribal structures.

The Heroine’s Journey is associated with expanding self-knowledge and developing inner wisdom. It is not so much about fulfilling an external role but about nurturing personal growth. The heroine provides strength for the tribal structure from within.

Understanding these metaphorical meanings helps us realise that neither the masculine nor the feminine version of the journey are gender specific. Growing from childhood into adulthood is a human experience we all hope to share.

The masculine external part of the journey is relatively straight forward. Under normal circumstances it happens of its own accord. The feminine internal part seems a little more difficult. It demands our personal willingness and engagement. But it is only difficult because we are not in the habit of respecting this part.

We live in a culture that assumes we can get away with maturing and growing only our external masculine attributes while neglecting our internal feminine aspects. This is obviously not working. The result is that we have huge amounts of external material information and a lack of internal non-material wisdom.

The external part of receiving the Call is simply to register that it happened. The internal part of receiving the Call is to listen, without making any assumptions or immediately jumping into action. When you receive the Call in that way it is much easier to actually hear it and interpret it correctly, especially if it comes in the form of a crisis.


Crisis as a Call

“Once presented with a Call to Adventure, she can no longer remain indefinitely in the comfort of the Ordinary World.”Christopher Vogler

In everyday life the Call to Adventure is a signal to take command of our own life and rise to personal challenges. It is an opportunity to activate our dormant potential and develop into a more mature version of ourselves.

Becoming a proper heroine or hero requires growing into maturity. In this context the Call to Adventure is comparable with receiving an invitation to join a course or an apprenticeship. When you receive the Call you know it is an opportunity to get on the training program at the ‘University of Real Life’.

It is not uncommon that the Call shows up in the form of a crisis. As far as I understand there are three main reasons for this:

1 – A crisis is an event that gets noticed. Negative events literally stand out like a sore thumb. A crisis is a sudden, acute and unexpected negative event, so it gets a lot of immediate attention.

2 – A crisis often happens as a result of an accumulation of information that has been ignored. When we keep ignoring negative signals – for example in the context of unhealthy lifestyle habits – something eventually snaps.

3 – A crisis offers an opportunity to experience life on the edge. It can teach us things we wouldn’t normally choose to explore.

A crisis is like the universe is yelling at you, “Here’s your Call to Adventure! Your turn NOW! Get on with it!” It is intense and abrupt. It snaps you out of whatever you were doing before. It catapults you into a different space.

You have probably heard of the phenomenon of having superhuman strength under extreme circumstances. Perhaps you have even experienced it yourself. Crisis is always an extreme situation. It can awaken heroic qualities within you.

The Call to Adventure is often perceived as a challenge, directly or indirectly, externally or internally. It questions the existing status quo either by showing up its imperfections or by suggesting improvement or both. This can be experienced as uncomfortable.


The Mystery of the Call

“The journey starts with the main character questioning authority.”Victoria Lynn Schmidt

The way we perceive the Heroic Journey in its totality is inseparably linked to our view of ourselves, our world and our options within our environment. Once you are able to see your life as a natural progression – and the Heroic Journey as part of the human maturing process – it becomes much easier to embrace it.

The Heroic Journey can be interpreted as a form of training. The sequence of the curriculum may be generic but the contents are always highly individual. It is tailored to the personal capacity and needs of the trainee in heroism.

Sometimes there seems to be no Call to Adventure even though the heroine or hero feels ready.

How can that be?

Is that even possible?

The answer is, not really!

If you are under the impression that you are not receiving a Call, or you don’t know what to interpret as a Call, or what certain events in your current situation might mean – you are not alone.

The Call to Adventure is mysterious by nature. You cannot know for sure how to interpret it, even if you think you know.

The Heroic Journey is a voyage, and your current Ordinary World is the point of departure. Your destination is your Extraordinary World, a place already in existence within you in its dormant potential form.

The initial Call is literally a stirring within your Consciousness, trying to arouse your natural spirit of adventure. It may be an irresistible urge or only a vague inkling. Either way the mystery will only be unravelled in the process of the journey.

As heroic travellers we carry our Call with us. It becomes part of our indispensable luggage – just like our Ordinary World. It begins with a question or an idea, and those can change along the way.

The Call may have to be renewed every now and again. The questions may become more profound – or simpler, the mystery more puzzling – or clearer.

In any case the Call is about questions that emerge from your current Ordinary World. In some cases it’s one big and blazing question. Sometimes the big question has to be pieced together out of many smaller ones.

What is your current burning question?

What do you need to heal, or create?


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Comments 2

  1. Post
    Veronika Bond

    Muito obrigada Ana pelo comentário.
    É tão importante e inspirador para nós saber que a jornada heróica está a ajudar.

    Até o próximo passo – um abraço grande

  2. Ana Alpande

    Li este artigo na hora certa. Estou a passar por uma crise e perceber a forma as várias facetas da nossa consciência podem apresentar a crise e a solução da crise de forma diferente realmente ajudou-me. Agarrei num papel e caneta e escrevi a minha crise sob a prespectiva das 8 vozes. Foi libertador. Consegui em poucas palavras exprimir o que me levariam páginas. E consegui perceber como o meu problema é mais amplo do que ao início eu julgava ser.

    Muito muito obrigada. Aguardo ansiosa a próxima newsletter e agradeço muito estar mais uma vez em “sintonia” com o vosso trabalho.

    Muito amor e que continuem a ser inpirados pela vida.
    Com amor

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