The Hero Journey and the Archetypes of Change ~ Humanity Healing Network


Doctor Carl Jung, a Swedish psychiatrist who lived between 1875 and 1961, was the founder of Analytic Psychiatry.  This school of thought within the field of psychology, was the major contributor to a better, more integral understanding of human beings, the mechanics of our destiny, and  the interactions we have with our different dimensions of reality.

For Jung, our psyche is formed by the aggregation of patterns and human experiences inherited by our ancestors through the line of time.  While time seems linear, these inherited patterns are non-linear, and Jung gave them the name of  ”archetypes”.  Our central archetype contains all the symbols and experiences of reality that enable us to practice and interact with our immediate world.  These symbols are sensorial complements that connect thoughts to emotions and memories.  Together, they compose what we call Psychic Determinism.

Mankind, through its evolutionary process, has lost its natural contact with nature, which is the biggest symbol of connection with this planet.  Despite this present state of reality, there is nothing that can detach an incarnated human soul from the scope of experiences and lessons to be learned on this plane of existence.  The reason for this atavic link is an intrinsic relationship between all elements of nature, on a greater grid of life.  Once these sacred links were honored through ancient rites of passage, and ceremonies that celebrated the seasons of change and transformations.  These also resembled the rhythms and cycles of nature.

Nevertheless, we still feel the need to become whole again, and intrinsically connected with our origins and with the Oneness of Earth – to finally renew our true essence through reintegration.  According to Jung, the compelling feeling that drives us to the common human intention of reintegration with Nature patterns, and intimacy with its elements and beings, comes from an identity crisis that generally starts in the second half of life.  He called this life passage, or phase, the Individuation Process.  To represent this process, Joseph Campbell (1) developed the Myth of the Hero Journey, which is based upon the un-conscientious movement of our psyche that impels us toward self-development and self-realization, which ultimately is the liberation of our higher and central archetype, the SELF. The SELF intimately understands all possible scopes of experiences that induce us to abandon all the social facets of world interaction, and enter the introspective universe of inner realities.  According to Jungian analysis, the development of a human personality is both prospective and teleological, which means that it is the result of our expectations for the future, complemented by the experiences we developed from our past.  This development is accompanied by countless passages and elements, since we are constantly invited by our essence to change the gears in our lives, and even in our personal personas, because the roles we play in life are in a perpetual state of renewal and transformation.  To change means to let go of certain certainties, and enter the unknown territory of internal alchemical transformation.
In the Hero Journey, the traveler is a solitary being, because he has the control in his life and gets used to making hard decisions. He suffers, learns and renews himself many times – it is necessary for him to realize his path of reintegration with grace and serenity.  He is certain that the journey will be rewarded with the reaching of his personal goals, and with the ultimate reality of what it is, for the traveler, his Paradise.

The reality is that no one can grow while still attached to one’s comfort zone.  Without this shift, a soul cannot grow, cannot mature, and cannot travel through the dimensions of the inner world.  They will eventually enter a psychic stagnation, get sick, and disappear without even the slightest dawning of the first steps of self-realization.  The necessity for growth is inherent in human nature, and it demands internal and spiritual work.  We are called to constantly re-evaluate ourselves within the perspective of life, our interactions with others, the actualization of our internal timing, and our progress in practicing mindfulness and non-attachment.

What is important is that the path of self-realization allows us to live in a richer reality, with more joy and self-awareness.  The Hero Journey is the ultimate reality for the soul that is working to reintegrate and ascend.

(1) Joseph Campbell (1904 – 1987) American scholar versed in Mythology and Religion. He dedicated his life to a deep analyzes of Carl Jung’s theories about the Human Mind and Spirit.

Copyright 2013 Humanity Healing Network

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  1. Trackback: Understanding « How my heart speaks

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