The hero/ines journey revisited

Joseph Campbell – the power of myth and the hero/ines Journey:

The Power of Myth was the first book I devoured when I started my acting classes at the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute in Los Angeles. There was a list of recommended books to get and looking back now, I can say that this one was the! essential read.


Hardtfeld _The power of myth

Joseph Campbell

Joseph Campbell was a 20th-century mythologist who compared religions and myths of the world and noticed a common thread. Filmmakers like e.g. George Lucas used this universal story structure as a base for his stories. 

The Hero/ine’s Journey has been a fundamental guideline for screenwriting in the film industry ever since. 

 He drew connections between the philosophies and mythic narratives of cultures worldwide, discovering a common thread that resonates universally.:

Campbell’s insight was that beneath the diverse stories we tell, there is a fundamental narrative that speaks to all of us, regardless of our origins. This narrative, which he termed the “hero’s journey,” lies at the heart of our shared human experience.

There are uncountable versions of hero stories from every culture. However, it wasn’t until Joseph Campbell came along that many realized how they all seemed to interlock, essentially telling the same story:
A simplified rendition of the hero’s journey involves someone starting in their familiar, protected world, and receiving a call to adventure. This call is marked by a vision, a quest, and it forms the core of the hero’s story. The hero faces trials, encounters various challenges and adversaries, meets those who harm and those who aid, and confronts closed doors.

Entering the cave you fear to enter

On the hero’s journey, one must face dragons, be they real or symbolic. These challenges arise as the hero ventures towards the innermost cave, where the most pivotal crisis awaits, and where the hero’s true self is unveiled. 

This culminating moment is one of triumph and glory, but it is not the journey’s conclusion:

After facing the challenges, the hero’s path leads them back to their community, ready to share their transformative story, woven with adventures, featuring heroes, villains, gods, goddesses, knights, and mythical beings.

Interestingly, they are mirrors reflecting our inner landscapes, springing forth from the depths of our own souls.

With a discerning eye, you’ll find the pattern in numerous stories, be it Star Wars, The Matrix, Harry Potter, or the tale of The Ugly Duckling: Each of these is a timeless narrative following the hero’s odyssey.


At the heart of storytelling lies a profound lesson. Characters step into the shadows of the unknown, facing their innermost selves. Here lies a deep connection between confronting fear and gaining a soulful enrichment — a hidden power of immense value. These are the crucible moments, where humans approach what seems like the brink of despair, only to emerge stronger, redeemed, and ultimately, elevated.
We call them heroes.

Imagine if we could distill all these stories into a single map, a universal guide for all of us. 

Because deep down, every human being shares a common thread. Whether we’re navigating through a grand external conflict like World War II or an internal battle, the essence of the journey remains unaltered. In truth, we’re not disconnected from the characters we meet in our tales, whether they grace the screen or the pages of a novel — because they are us. It’s a shared odyssey that binds us all.

The hero’s journey mirrors the journey of life:

 The hero’s journey beautifully mirrors the trajectory of our lives: We enter this world, navigate the trials of childhood and adolescence, strive to find our footing as adults, embark on adventures, grapple with inner conflicts,.



hardtfeld - the hero on its journey

As the years pass, we age, and eventually, we bid farewell to this earthly existence. Yet, within this finite period, we yearn for something more. A purpose that resonates with our very being. It need not be grand or showy, but it must hold profound significance for us.

It’s the journey from the mundane to the extraordinary. It’s a transition from shadow to “enlightenment”. It’s the profound shift from a life that lacks fulillment to one that overflows with it, earned by surmounting challenges that once seemed insurmountable. If we confront our fears, conquer our inner demons, and cross the threshold, symbolising our arrival, we ultimately, transform into heroes.

Mythology should be regarded for what it truly is—a metaphor for our human existence.

Joseph Campbell believed they are narratives about the psyche,- what Carl Jung referred to as the self. Jung termed these encapsulated stories or mythologies “Archetypes”.

Discover the Archetypes representing your center stage in your personal and business life:

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Dazed and confused equates to stagnant entropy.

In a world obsessed with instant gratification, bombarded by constant media, and advertisements, many inadvertently disconnect from their innermost selves. They overlook the mythical realm that dwells within each person, housing their fervent passions, innate gifts, exceptional talents, and exclusive modes of self-expression. This is their soul—a boundless source of potential and endless possibilities.

Examining every hero’s journey reveals a common theme: 

The hero confronts the realisation that the world they believed to be real is nothing more than an illusion.

In the much-debated and influential film “The Matrix,” the central character, Neo, finds himself ensnared within an elaborate illusion, woven from the prevailing norms and beliefs of society. Deep within, he sensed a profound longing to break free from this mirage. It was this yearning that propelled him to opt for the red pill, a choice that unraveled a fresh reality before him. This newfound world unveiled the reservoir of untapped potential within him.

The call to adventure:

There exists a cosmic summons, urging us to venture beyond the boundaries of our accustomed reality. This call lingers, insistent, until we heed its presence. It might arrive with a tender touch or a powerful jolt, contingent upon our depth of perception.

Life’s trials, like the abrupt loss of a job, the fracture of a marriage, or financial upheaval, often come cloaked in the garb of crisis. While these challenges may initially bring distress, they bear the potential to reveal hidden facets of our being, propelling us towards profound personal growth.

The Chinese symbol for crisis encapsulates both: danger and opportunity.

From surviving to thriving

In mythology, death symbolises a profound transformation, a shift in one’s existence. A metaphorical death, where something must perish for something new to thrive. 

The snake is unable to shed its skin and faces inevitable demise.

The key to embracing these moments of death and transformation lies in acknowledging that it signifies the end of an outdated form, one that has exhausted its purpose. This demise paves the way for a rebirth, a fresh beginning imbued with renewed meaning, making life even richer and more meaningful.


As we grow as individuals, we learn the art of embracing these cycles of death and rebirth. It’s in these experiences that we find our proofs—proofs of our resilience, our capacity to transcend even the darkest chapters of our lives.

Ultimately, it’s not the events themselves that define us, but rather how we choose to navigate and grow from them.

Following one’s bliss is not about pursuing hedonistic pleasures or selfishness. It’s about listening to the call of your inner spirit and embracing the possibilities of the present moment. It’s about engaging in activities that make time seem to fly by because of the joy and absorption they bring. Combining this with skills and talents is key for a thriving life.

Discovering one’s bliss involves introspection and asking questions such as: 

  •  What am I passionate about? 
  •  What activities make time fly by? 
  • What set me apart as a child, even if it made me different from others? 

This exploration can lead to the door of your bliss. In essence, following your bliss means finding and embracing what truly inspires and fulfills you, even if it means charting a unique course that defies convention.

Engage in activities that bring you happiness and fulfillment. 

Following your dreams and doing what you love doesn’t always guarantee immediate financial success, but it leads to a personal fulfillment that’s invaluable.

Many of history’s exceptional inventors, visionary business leaders, and pioneering scientists were motivated not primarily by financial gain, but by an unwavering passion and a profound sense of purpose. It’s about discovering that one thing that strikes a chord deep within you, something you feel you MUST pursue.

Ask yourself: What would you do if money was not an issue?



Taking that first step towards your passion can be intimidating, especially when faced with uncertainty and fear of failure and the opinions and judgments of others can be a major obstacle in pursuing one’s bliss. 

Overcoming this fear is a crucial step in the journey toward fulfillment and authenticity.

The caged bird that sings – symbolizes the freedom and authenticity that comes with embracing one’s true calling.

When you decide to answer the call, embracing the challenges of this awakened existence, you tap into unparalleled power. Yet, many are hesitant to confront this power – until there comes a point of no return.

Leaving the uncomfortable comfort zone:

Each time we choose to face our fears, our comfort zone expands, and what once seemed daunting becomes more manageable. It is crucial for our personal growth and empowerment.


Slaying the dragon?

Campbell’s notion of slaying dragons serves as a powerful metaphor for facing the inner challenges and obstacles that pepper our life’s journey. Instead of evading these challenges, the courageous choice is to draw nearer to them, enabling us to perceive them in their true light. Through this, we gradually diminish the dominion these fears exert over us.

This concept of projecting our internal struggles onto external adversaries, such as dragons, delves into the realms of psychology. It proposes that the battles we engage with in our external world often mirror the skirmishes within our hearts and minds.

The only way out is through.

Indeed, when faced with challenges, it’s entirely natural to feel fear. However, true courage manifests in the act of pushing through that fear. It’s crucial to remember that feeling scared is a valid emotion; it should never serve as a barrier to taking action. Have you witnessed in your own life how certain things show up again and again until resolved? 

Breakdown before breakthrough:

Battling our inner demons and triumphing over life’s challenges is a transformative journey. It empowers us to confront fear, grow beyond its limits, and ultimately seize control over it. It’s worth noting that some of life’s most rewarding moments often emerge on the other side of a struggle.

In essence, each setback or challenge is akin to half of a larger picture, waiting for a stroke of higher awareness to complete it. By infusing our difficulties with a deeper level of understanding, we gain a more comprehensive perspective that aids us in mastering them.

Drinking tea with your dragon: Once you enter the cave – you realise it has been your living room.

Hardtfeld: drinking tea with the dragon

Image of woman drinking tea with her dragon  – generated with AI ©Hardtfeld

The true essence of the hero’s journey

 This Cycle of life lies not in conquering external dragons or acquiring material rewards, but in the inner transformation and the tales we bring back to ignite inspiration in others. This journey is an ongoing cycle of development, wisdom, and giving back. 

Embracing the dragon and its cave as part of your journey implies the inherent wisdom of truly loving yourself:

Sitting with your pain, not escaping it, accepting to integrate your shadows and embrace them as the seeds for your evolution, allowing your gifts to shine.

Happy life, happy death.

As we approach our deathbeds, regrets don’t come from the risks we took, the opportunities we seized, or the times we looked silly. They stem from the risks we didn’t take, and the opportunities we missed. It’s the choices we didn’t make that fill our hearts with regret.

Find what makes you feel alive in the morning, what makes you feel like you can conquer anything. 

Find what brings you transcendence – the act or process of rising above or going beyond your ordinary limits, experiences, or boundaries. It often implies surpassing the usual or typical state to achieve a higher or more advanced level of understanding, awareness, or existence. that goes beyond the physical or material world. Moving beyond personal limitations, fears, or prejudices to attain a greater level of self-awareness, wisdom, or emotional well-being, discovering your personal state of awe.



My aim is to help you
rise in love with yourself again.




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