This week I was struck by the image of the Hero’s Journey and how closely it follows the experience of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage. If you are new to the Master Key Experience, or even just checking out my blog, this might be a new concept for you. Don’t worry, it will become clear as this blog post unfolds.
A few weeks ago, I decided to explore the Master Key Experience (MKE) in the context of a pilgrimage. you can see the entire post here, but for now I will just go back to the definition of a pilgrimage:
A pilgrimage is a journey, often into an unknown or foreign place, where a person goes in search of new or expanded meaning about their self, others, nature, or a higher good, through the experience. It can lead to a personal transformation, after which the pilgrim returns to their daily life. Wikipedia
Wow, that ALSO sounds a lot like the Hero’s Journey!
THE Hero’s JourneY
But I guess I need to start at the beginning. The Hero’s Journey is a framework described by Joseph Campbell. He wrote a book: “The Hero with a Thousand Faces.” His work has influenced countless authors, screenwriters, and other storytellers. Perhaps his most famous influence was with George Lucas, with the Star Wars saga (you may have heard of that). Campbell explored different ancient civilizations and found that their myths, stories, and explanations of life – were all the same! All these groups of people that had no contact with each other, and still they had the same stories. Further, he theorizes, all stories are the same. Every story is ‘The Hero’s Journey’ and follows the same structure. This is the story we are all drawn to, especially when we can relate to the Hero, because he is just a regular guy or gal like we are.
Here is the structure:
I will briefly run through it, then describe how this relates to the topic at hand: the pilgrimage of the Camino and the pilgrimage of the Master Key Experience.
The Hero (could it be you?) is going about his or her life when he/she receives the Call to Adventure. Maybe he’s looking for an adventure, but many times he is not; and he becomes the reluctant hero. He is called by a Herald (a friend, stranger, or a circumstance) and may refuse at first, but something pushes or pulls him toward the adventure (possibly through Supernatural Aid). He crosses the Threshold from the world of the Known to the world of the Unknown. This is the Beginning of Transformation. Along his journey he meets with Obstacles, Challenges and Temptations. Luckily he meets Helpers and Mentors, and perhaps a bit more Supernatural Aid. At some point, he reaches his most difficult challenge, the Abyss. At this point he has a Revelation, and Transformation. Following his Revelation, there is Atonement. Atonement can mean reparation for a wrong or sin. But Mark J of the MKE has a different perspective. He calls it ‘At-one-ment‘ – where we become our true self. Then the Hero Returns to the World of the Known. He is, however, changed. He can share his new gifts with the world, he can go on another Journey and seek new wisdom and adventure! It is, after all, a cycle.
Great, so now you are an expert in the framework of the Hero’s Journey! Don’t worry, there is no test at the end of this blog post. (or is there?)
Hero’s Journey and the Camino
Now let’s explore the Hero’s Journey of the Pilgrim on the Way of Saint James (Camino de Santiago). Most pilgrims I know have an interesting story as to how they learned of the Camino, or how they felt ‘called’ to go on pilgrimage. Sometimes the Herald is a friend who tells you about it (my case), some people stumbled on the movie “The Way” which is a fictional account of the Camino. Whatever the triggering event, most of us then feel compelled to go. There are many Helpers and Mentors, both leading up to the pilgrimage as well as during your walk. I joined my local chapter of the Canadian Company of Pilgrims. Plus I learned from many other pilgrims as I walked.
I would say the Threshold from the Known to the Unknown comes when you board that airplane toward the start of your Camino. Some might say it starts sooner, others later, like when you arrive at the start point. For me that was St Jean Pied de Port, in France. There are actually many places to start the Camino, but this is a very popular starting point. In St Jean, I met up with my pilgrim group from Edmonton (home), and we started to form our Pilgrim Family (more about that in another post), and meet people who became our Helpers and Mentors.
Next come the Obstacles, Challenges, and Temptations. On the Camino, that is right away, as the path from St Jean Pied de Port immediately goes straight up, turning into the first mountain traverse, crossing the Pyrenees Mountains. And there are two more mountain ranges and many, many hills to climb during the remainder of the pilgrimage. There are other challenges as well, often physical challenges with blisters or injuries, mental challenges with negative thoughts. And there is inevitably an Abyss, your lowest point, when you have doubts that you can even complete the journey.
Let’s not forget about Supernatural Aid. There is something we call the ‘Camino Magic’ which seems abundant on the Camino – inexplicable things happen to make your journey possible – all the time. ‘The Camino Provides’ is another phrase you frequently hear, and everyone has a story about how they have been positively affected.
BUT, if you persevere, you WILL arrive at the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela, where can gather your gifts (a certificate of completion). There you will celebrate your achievement. But the Return to the World of the Known comes once you arrive at your home. You will have transformed. Where will that transformation lead? How will you share your gifts and enrich the lives of others? You do have to reconcile yourself with this new self-image, as you are now a Hero!
Hero’s Journey and the Master Key Experience
Isn’t that great? Now let’s look at how the Master Key Experience (MKE) fits into the Hero’s Journey.
First, you hear the call of the Herald to join the MKE. This could be a friend, or an email, as it was for me. I was intrigued, and drawn to it, much as I was to the Camino. The Threshold for MKE could be when you fill in that application and pay ONE DOLLAR to find out more. Or it could be your first webinar, when you find out just what you will be doing for the next 6 months!
Mentors and Helpers come in the form of the guides, staff, Mark, Davene, and Lori. And the members of your ‘tribe’ or mastermind group, and perhaps you have help from outside the MKE as well.
Just like Camino Magic, I believe there is Master Key Magic – Supernatural Aid! Recently I have been blessed to join an amazing group of MKE-ers on a Marco Polo group, and we have the best thought-provoking conversations there. I hear examples of MKE magic frequently, and often have epiphanies of my own.
And yes, there are Obstacles, Challenges, and Temptations in the MKE also. One benefit of walking the Camino is the opportunity to unplug from the daily responsibilities of everyday life. With the MKE, you have to find a way to fit in the webinars and the homework, and the daily habits – alongside your other responsibilities. This can certainly be a challenge. And then there is the obstacle of your old blueprint, that negative thinking habit. Everyone has many distractions and temptations to deal with.
BUT, if you persevere, you WILL arrive at your Future Self, Transformed. There you will celebrate your achievement. And how will you experience the return to the World of the Known? You will have transformed. Where will that transformation lead? How will you share your gifts and enrich the lives of others?
I was just reading this morning and came across this:
What He (God) wants is that you should make the most of yourself, for yourself, and for others; and you can help others more by making the most of yourself than in any other way. Wallace Wattles, The Science of Getting Rich
Whatever your Hero’s Journey consists of, answer the Call, enjoy the Adventure, persist and persevere.
*If you want to learn more about the Hero’s Journey or the Master Key Experience, go to this page to learn more.
Buen Camino, fellow peregrinos!
I love the comparison of the hero’s journey and pilgrimage!
Thanks Connie, it certainly fits.
Aloha, Arlene! After reading and commenting on your next blog post, I decided to backtrack one week, and am glad I did! Terrific overview of the hero’s journey and the comparison with the Camino pilgrimage is equally well done! Also very glad you are one of the MKE virtual retreat Marco Polo superstars! 🙂
Thanks Loren, nice to hear from you.