Love the title! Perfect.
Thank you for this! 🙏 (yes, yes and yes)
Love the humor too:
”Coyote didn’t keep the Sun to himself in order to read in bed at night; he shared it with his community. Parzival wasn’t after the Grail so he could upgrade his coffee mug; his success on this quest healed King Amfortas and restored a blighted kingdom. Moses didn’t confront Pharaoh to secure power and riches, but to free his people.” -Stephen Gerringer
Needed this…it’s great! Laughter is much needed in the world these days!
And what Joseph Campbell says here:
“Maybe the Hero’s Journey isn’t just all about me…
It’s a cycle of departure, tests and ordeals, a realization of some kind. It may be great. It may be little. But it gives you the sense of realization. And then the return with your realization to the society that you left and somehow contributing to it. That’s the elixir boon.”
ZBS Media Interview with Joseph Campbell, 1971 (emphasis mine)
That emphasis on realization has always seemed to me to be a Big Part of these stories and these quests. Or Awareness…(regardless of individual or group journey)
Campbells quote evokes the idea that Realization or Awareness is as much a boon or in some cases The Boon the journeyer/s can bring back with them. And through experience on the journeys, awareness is gained.
But the challenge is “what to do with the gift given, attained or the “dawning of realization.” Of course one can choose to ignore the Awareness or Realization as well. Wry smile.
I sense the fear of the selfish hero is the idea he/she will use their quest to “lord it over the people” on their return. Force “their way.”
But if they do lord it over others erm they probably have failed the quest anyway.
It’s hard for me to imagine that every individual quest has the potential to create darkness and egotism in every character or person…but rather that it is the state of each person/character’s own mind and soul that makes a difference. (And the personal experiences which have informed their life.)
Of course a ring or rings of Power might complicate the journey.
Back to the return (with a good boon):?is the village ready? Is patience called for? Or will another Dawning happen in a collective way? Or a healing way?(i.e. The Parcival tale where only one question is required, the ripples take care of themselves and spread through the land?)
If all goes well, then they can return to the people of their community and bring something back in a beneficial way.
Even solitude can become an illusion when a deer walks in the yard or a Crow cries. There’s always some kind of communities around in nature too.
And maybe I’m wrong, but thought Joseph Campbell also hinted the path of bliss was a way to find one’s calling within society…just as evidenced by the history of his life you mentioned!
And when he went into the forest after wavering… Any Road came to him…Sarah Lawrence! So his journey led to a gift back to community and a larger community than just his scholarly one. Love that!
With a lot of focus on community/ties world wide today, it’s easy to see why there might be a tendency to cast away the “individual quest” in order to keep focus on “community,” “collaboration,” “cooperation.” (Even if the individual quest is for a good cause or helps community) Everyone has a role in the play.
And of course collaboration is both wonderful and necessary! But there also might be an advantage to not all going into the forest at the exact same spot at the exact same time.
I really appreciate your And/Both approach. And reminder of The Return, which proves the good hearted are not in it for glory! Sometimes it’s nice to have company on the journey. Sometimes the journey calls for more than one. Sometimes the call waits in solitude.
It’s all fascinating!
Thank you again, Stephen!