In the hero journey, the adventurer leaves his environment and sets out into the unknown, he finds magical helpers along the way, sometimes in the form of people, sometimes animals. He either succumbs to the unknown or, having found his help, he crosses the threshold into the realm of adventure, the magical journey. On that journey, he will face a series of increasingly threatening and disturbing tests and trials. He will fall into a dark place, and he will either emerge from that place or he will not. He is, writes Campbell, come into the areas of the unconscious that have been avoided or repressed. He will face them or they will destroy him. These hurdles represent all of the possibilities of his or her life.
If and when he emerges, he will have found himself, discovered his voice, his style, his purpose. He returns to his community to share what he has learned, to give what is needed and what he has to give. Campbell has been a powerful influence on me, and I have always understood that his use of the word "hero" does not refer to nobility but to a willingness to search. In my experience, I left my world and set out into the unknown, I found magical helpers along the way, often in the form of animals – Orson, Rose, Izzy, Rocky, Simon – and I fell into a dark and threatening place, coming to terms with the areas of my unconscious that had been repressed. They did nearly destroy me, but they did not. Now, having found my love and my partner, I have returned to community and am working to offer what I have to give and what may be needed. By writing, photography, teaching and blogging.
I am aware that I am coming towards the end of this journey, coming to a place I believe will define the rest of my life, in a community I do not intend to leave. I will be forever altered and shape by the hero journey, my past, present and future. The purpose of the journey is to know and face who you are. Bedlam Farm was my unknown place my own notion of wilderness. There, I found joy and fulfillment, and also darkness and challenge. The hero journey is one of the oldest stories in the world, it is not a fairy tale by one of our most enduring myths, because many of us want to know who we are and what we have to offer to the world. In our culture of fear and alarm, this journey is rare and difficult. We are so encumbered by fear and obligation and the false notions of security that would stop any hero journey in it's tracks. For me, the journey begins by finding my own idea of security, my own notion of truth. And following it for as long and far as I can.