Experiencing the Hero’s Journey
with Dr. Joseph Riggio
The basis of all the work I do exists in the liminal space between what I learned working with Roye Fraser and becoming a certified trainer of his Generative Imprint™ model and Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey model.
This liminal space is the threshold between being and becoming, and back to being again. However, this transformation isn’t random, it taps into your deep, primal, pre-cultural creative expression of self.
Joseph Campbell describes the transformational journey back to oneself as the Hero’s Journey, and points to countless mythologies of the world, recounted in every culture and language of the world, as the template for rediscovering this deep, primal, pre-cultural form of being.
The Hero’s Journey
The journey as several stages beginning with the Call to Adventure, and then onto …
- Meeting the Guide
- Threshold Guardians
- Crossing the Threshold
- Magic Helpers
- Receiving the Gift/Boon
- Return to the World
The Call to Adventure is established by the arrival of the Herald which may be a person or a life event, but in any case, something is triggered in the individual that is akin to a kind of longing, yearning, or what I like to think of as a “soul itch“ that needs to be scratched and attended to … or as Joseph Campbell tells us it will erupt in a crisis.
I’ve worked with enough private clients one-to-one and in small intimate groups doing intensive transformational work to have seen what Joseph Campbell speaks of … the eruption of crisis in a person’s life. Normally this shows up as a major change of some kind, one that has happened or one that is looming … financial disaster, personal relationships falling apart, business or career failure, a personal health crisis … it doesn’t much matter what it is for the individual it feels devastating and demands change.
After the crisis, it becomes impossible for you to return to the same life you had before without adapting in some meaningful way. The advantage of choosing the adventure when the herald appears is that it allows you to avoid the crisis, and to retain far more opportunity to make the transitions less traumatically from stage to stage of the journey Joseph Campbell tells us is present in all the perennial wisdom of the world.
Roye taught me how to elicit where someone is on the journey, and what phase of transition they were in …
- Before the arrival of the Herald awaiting the Call to Adventure
- Responding to the Call to Adventure or resisting/rejecting it and courting Crisis
- In need of a Guide to help them manage how they are responding to the Call
- Wrestling with the Threshold Guardians
- Crossing or having just crossed the Threshold
- Require a Magical Helper to offer them the Talisman they need to continue
- Engaging the Monsters and Demons
- Entering the Trial where they will, and must, confront themselves
- Receiving the Gift or Boon that creates wholeness within them
- Returning from the Adventure and at the Threshold
- Having just returned from the Adventure and needing to integrate it to move on from it
Each of these stages has a specific process of transition and must be completed in sequence to avoid or resolve the crisis of what the Hero’s Journey describes in detail … the process of becoming fully human.
Nietzsche’s DRAGON … and Beyond
Virtually everyone I’ve ever worked with has felt the pull to something more than they were experiencing when we began working together. There is a deep felt sense that we have an innate drive to fulfill, and we are either on track to achieve that or we’ve fallen prey to what Nietzsche calls the Dragon of Society (or Culture,) imposing a path of servitude and submission upon us, demanding we subsume ourselves to its demands.
Nietzsche points to those who live under the rule of the Dragon longing for nothing more than safety, security, and comfort as the ‘Herd’, which he detested. These individuals stick together, want to avoid all risks, and look to the Shepard (the Dragon) to give them direction, tell them what is true, and what to do about it.
Then there are stronger individuals he refers to as Camels who are willing to carry the burden of self-awareness and doing what it takes to awaken from the spell of the Dragon that imprisons them to a life stuck in the Herd. Camels actually increases the burden they carry by adding to the weight of knowledge and experience by seeking ways to become more awake … reading, learning, meeting with others along the journey that challenge and expand their own awareness, traveling and experiencing things that are unfamiliar and even uncomfortable. As the Camel carries an ever greater burden and seeks the solitude of the desert they become stronger, but also more dissatisfied with the illusion offered to them by the Dragon; they begin to realize there are no singular answers or truth and must make choices for themselves, they begin to live relative to the idea that by their will they bring into being the life they are living.
Those who recover from the imposition of the Dragon by refusing its command, “Thou Shalt” awakens the Lion within themselves. They begin to replace all the countless instances of hearing and responding to the command “Thou Shalt” with the self directed choice, “I Will” thereby declaring themselves to have agency in their lives. Of course the Dragon wants nothing to do with the declaration of the Lion’s “I Will” so they refute the Lion by their own declaration that all that is has already been before the Lion appeared. When the Lion is fully awakened this is when they begin to roar back what Nietzsche refers to as “the Sacred ‘No’!” The Lion has now refuted all the values that came before and were imposed by the Dragon … they have fully realized themselves.
When the Will of the Lion is fully present for the individual they have again become the Child, but not in a childish kind of way, they will have a childlike demeanor instead. They will have dropped the burdens of convention and customs of society and culture that limit them. The Nietzschean Child chooses their own destining, exhibiting a remarkable sense of play and liberation to act in relation to their intent, exercising their own personal values in their lives without needing or wanting to impose those values upon others … they have uttered the “the Sacred YES!” to all there is and embrace life as it comes to them.
Making A Life Affirming Choice
Nietzsche speaks to the idea that the Child who utters the “Sacred YES” is life affirming, and Roye endlessly reconfirmed this as the basis of the work he did, and the work he taught to me as the Generative Imprint™ model I learned with him. When I superimposed this learning with the work of Joseph Campbell’s mythological orientation to the experience of becoming fully human the idea and model of the MythoSelf Process was what emerged in wholeform for me (I wrote about this process and my own journey in detail in my book “Experiencing the Hero’s Journey” (http://amzn.to/1pLiAwJ).)
My clients usually arrive at some point in their Camel Phase. They aware they have been called to the Adventure, and maybe are quite a way along in their own Hero’s Journey. They are seeking a Guide and/or the Magic Helper that will create the possibility they need to move into the Lion Phase and onto the Child Phase as Nietzsche lays out the journey in his Thus Spoke Zarathustra, a philosophy of the journey to becoming fully human (in Campbell’s terms).
The MythoSelf Process is designed to elicit exactly where someone is on their journey, to meet them there, and to provide what they need to take the next steps from wherever they are to complete the cycle and return to a life-affirming childlike state of being. The mechanism that provides the main transformational process to accomplish the completion of the journey they’ve been called to or begun, is based on hypnotic storytelling using a somasemantic model of transformational communication that is unique to the MythoSelf Process.
What’s often most interesting to me is that my client’s know intuitively that they can no longer exist as they’ve been, despite seldom knowing what that means, why or what to do instead. When we meet it become evident to them what the experience of choosing for life is like, because we begin from establishing a life affirming state to explore this option through, and almost immediately establish the somasemantic position form which that is not only possible for them, but effortless and persistently present. This position I call their “State of Perfection” contains the kernel of truth that defines the deep, primal, pre-cultural form of being that yearns to be acknowledged, freed and fully realized.
This the art of becoming fully human, and each time I, and other MythoSelf™ Facilitators and Trainers, work with clients facilitating the MythoSelf Process we are confirming the possibility of refuting the Dragon, releasing our Lion’s Will and re-engaging the world as the Child we’ve begun to remember before any imposition, corruption, or compromise.
Each time we hear from our clients, “OMG, it’s so fast and easy, is this real?” we know that they are ready and able to complete the journey they’ve begun, and while we continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with them as they proceed, they realize the journey they are on has always been their own to choose, and now they are able to sense what had remained unseen and unheard for too long.
Joseph Riggio, Ph.D.
Architect & Designer of the MythoSelf Process and SomaSemantics
P.S.: When you are ready to fully awaken reach out and we can discuss the journey you are on …