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Books for adults/Resource

The Hero’s Quest and the Cycles of Nature: An Ecological Interpretation of World Mythology

Location: McFarland Publishers

Date of Publication: October 13, 2016

Author: Rachel McCoppin

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This examination of the heroic journey in world mythology casts the protagonist as a personification of nature–a “botanical hero” one might say–who begins the quest in a metaphorical seed-like state, then sprouts into a period of verdant strength. But the hero must face a mythic underworld where he or she contends with mortality and sacrifice–embracing death as a part of life. For centuries, humans have sought superiority over nature, yet the botanical hero finds nothing is lost by recognizing that one is merely a part of nature. Instead, a cyclical promise of continuous life is realized, in which no element fully disappears, and the hero’s message is not to dwell on death.

Chapter 1: From Seeds and Sprouts to Branching Out
Chapter 2: Caves and the Underworld
Chapter 3: Death and Sacrifice
Chapter 4: Natural Apotheosis and the Resurrection of the Botanical Hero
Chapter Notes