Sifting – Chapter 13: The Source of the Journey

This posting is part of a series on my book Sifting. If you have not read the previous postings, please visit the menu above (click on Sifting) for a chronological listing of any previous chapters. Thanks!  


Chapter 13: The Source of the Journey

Bob: I understand the call to adventure, the hero, the herald, and the refusal of the call. What’s the source of the hero’s journey? Where did all these ideas come from?

Sift: The hero’s journey is a highly summarized articulation of the collective wisdom of all those who came before you. Billions of people have lived and died on Earth. As these people learned to deal with the events and people they encountered during their lives, many felt a strong urge to share their wisdom with others, especially their direct descendants.

Throughout most of history, these ideas were passed on to others by word-of-mouth. Storytellers and artists created fairly tales, parables, poetry, and used various forms of artistic expression to share their wisdom. These ideas were eventually incorporated into our mythologies, customs, traditions, and religions. Mythologist Joseph Campbell originally articulated the hero’s journey, the call to adventure, the herald, and many of the other ideas we have discussed. Campbell dedicated his life to the study of all the great religions, mythologies, and other sources of collective wisdom in an effort to discover the common elements of these various sources. The hero’s journey articulates these common elements. The hero’s journey is a template for the journey we call life. It is, in effect, a road map for the journey from birth to death.

Bob: So the hero’s journey offers insights on how to live your life.

Sift: Yes, the hero’s journey addresses the stages you will likely pass through in life and the archetypes you will likely encounter.

Bob: Okay, so if I understand the hero’s journey, I’ll have a better chance of knowing what to expect in life and how to deal with it? What else do I need to know about the hero’s journey?

Sift: Bob, I encourage you to pursue your interest in the hero’s journey and learn about all the stages and archetypes; but you already know enough to begin getting back on track with your life. We can discuss any other relevant elements of the hero’s journey based on your curiosity and the specific questions you ask.

Bob: Okay, I’m curious about a few things. What really kept me from following my calling? And how can I begin pursuing my calling?

Sift: Those are excellent questions. If I understand you correctly, you want to know more about the obstacles that prevent people from pursuing their unique adventures in life? And you want to discuss some commonsense, practical steps you can take to begin pursuing your calling?

Bob: Yes.


End Chapter 13

Author’s Notes:

Main takeaway: The Hero’s Journey is an excellent source of wisdom/guidance for those who desire to joyfully and productively participate in life.   

  1. How can you use the hero’s journey template, describing the stages of life and archetypes you can expect to encounter in life, to improve your life?
  2. What is the value of knowing, or at least exploring, your calling in life?
  3. Can you think of some the archetypes you have encountered in your life (heralds, mentors, threshold guardians, etc.)?


 The entire book will eventually be posted on this blog. However, if you want a copy for yourself, or as a gift for a friend, you can find it at this link: Sifting

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