• STEVEN J DOYLE / AUSTRALIAN AUTHOR – INSPIRATIONAL BOOKS FOR TEENS AND YOUNG ADULTS
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The Hero's Journey

Philosopher Joseph Campbell revealed that myths and legends
from vastly different cultures and ancient civilisations from every
corner of the globe followed identical patterns and told a universal story.

The Hero’s Journey is ingrained in
the human psyche

Philosopher Joseph Campbell revealed that myths and legends from vastly different cultures and ancient civilisations from every corner of the globe followed identical patterns and told a universal story. This mythical structure profoundly influences many of today’s authors, filmmakers, and game designers.

In his book The Hero with A Thousand Faces, Joseph Campbell detailed every stage of The Hero’s Journey. These stages are metaphors for the trials and tribulations that lead to the transformations we undertake on our own journeys. The power of myths and stories can never be overestimated.

Based on Campbell’s work in Mystical Structure for Writers, Christopher Vogler produced a simplified 12 stage version. I’ve detailed the stages below. As you read through, you’ll find these stages apply to many of your favourite books and movies. I’ve added how I believe the stages apply to our everyday lives.


Stage 1: The Ordinary World
Most heroes begin their journey in their familiar homeworld, think Luke Skywalker at home on Tatooine.
In real life, this is you at home.

Stage 2: The Call to Adventure
The would-be hero is challenged. In The Hobbit, Gandalf calls on Bilbo Baggins.
This could be anything you want to achieve.

Stage 3: Refusing the call
The journey may be dangerous, so it’s natural to feel some hesitation. Our hero may need some persuasion to leave the familiar comforts of home. In myths and stories where the main character refuses the call, they remain stuck and suffer the consequences of their inaction until they face the challenge.
At first, a challenge can be daunting, but you’re determined to take it.

Stage 4: Meeting the mentor
The mentor gives the hero the knowledge and skills to survive the adventure and may also deliver the call to action.
This could be a coach, a teacher, or someone who inspires you.

Stage 5: Crossing the threshold
The Hero commits to the adventure and enters the special world.
You enter that competition, try out for a team or stand up for someone or something you believe in.

Stage 6: Tests, Allies, and Enemies

Out in the special world, our hero may face perilous roads and warriors, and if they’re lucky to find some allies.
You need to practise, learn about this new world, and overcome all sorts of challenges.

Stage 7: Approaching the Innermost Cave
Hardened and wiser from their ordeals, the hero approaches the innermost cave. The dragon’s lair or the enemy’s starship.
Maybe you’re about to make your first public performance or stand up to a bully.

Stage 8: The Ordeal
The hero faces their greatest challenge, typically a dragon or a dark warrior. In the process, they experience death and rebirth.
Death and rebirth are a metaphor for growth. Having faced a massive challenge you undergo a transformation, maybe from childhood to adolesce.

Stage 9: Seizing the Reward
The hero experiences the rewards of defying death.
The reward may be material and/or increased happiness and inner strength you receive from achieving a goal or standing up for something that you believe in.

Stage 10: The Road Back
Having seized the reward, the hero is ready to head home, but the adventure’s not over yet.
You’re ready to head back to your normal life with the rewards.

Stage 11: The Resurrection or Climax
Somehow the dark warrior survived the last battle. A final moment of death and rebirth, so the hero is pure when they re-enter the ordinary world.
Just when you’re feeling safe, another challenge presents. A test to see if you’ve mastered your new world.

Stage 12: Return with the Elixir
The hero returns with something to improve the ordinary world.
By rising to a challenge, you can inspire others to embark The Hero’s Journey.

Wanna join the team?