Using the Hero’s Journey as a mudmap for your life

Joseph Campbell suggested that life is a series of Hero’s Journeys.  

Each journey starts with a change in circumstances.  Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz get stuck in a tornado and ends up on Oz.  Luke Skywalker finds a droid with a message.  Campbell called such events ‘departures’ as in some manner they separate the hero from life as it used to be.

After the tornado Dorothy is separated from everyone and everything she knows

Campbell noted that in real life, such departures are happening all the time.  Early in life we are separated from home to start school.  With each grade we are again separated from those who we know.  We leave school to go to work or further studies.  More departures.

Throughout life each departure separates us from our familiar surroundings.

We find ourselves in a foreign place.  We are unsure of what to do.  Each departure tests us.  Are we up to the challenge or will we refuse it?

Below is just a short list of some of possible life ‘departures’.

  • moving school, town or city;
  • starting or ending a relationship;
  • starting or losing a job;
  • changes at work like a new manager or difficult colleague;
  • starting or losing a business;
  • starting a relationship or experiencing the end of one;
  • experiencing an infidelity;
  • becoming a parent;
  • having your youngest child leave home;
  • being gay or bisexual or transgender;
  • having a loved one become ill or incapacitated;
  • an accident that affects you physically or emotionally;
  • an event that leaves you permanently disabled; or
  • losing a loved one.

Some ‘departures’ may be wanted.  Some may come as a complete shock.  Whichever it is, we will experience a separation from life as we knew it.  We are no longer quite so sure what to do, where to go or even where to begin.

SEPARATIONS begin early in life

SEPARATIONS are happening all the time


SEPARATIONS push us into the unfamiliar













Sometimes we find ourselves in completely foreign situations with little idea of what to do.

Fictional stories are simply reminders of what happens in real life.  

Jake Sully finds himself on a foreign and deadly planet

Sister Maria discovers life in the Nunnery can be a foreign place.













What are the stages of the Hero’s Journey?


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