The Current lifestyle
The comfort zone, where the Hero is used to being. His/Her life is usually redundant. We see his/her everyday current life. He/she may or may not like it, but he/she is ‘comfortable’ there.
The Summon of the Hero
Something stirs, shakes, threatens, entices or sparks in the ordinary world. The hero comfort zone is disrupted. It could be a problem or an opportunity. It could be dramatic or something as small as a phone call. It could be negative or positive.
The Reluctant Hero
The Hero may be eager (or pressured) to answer the call, but he/she feels some kind of resistance. Perhaps fear, especially fear of the unknown. Doubts. Feelings of inadequacy or insecurity.
One way or another, the Hero feels reluctant to leave his/her comfort zone.
The Hero comes across a person or thing or inspiration, etc, that gives her/him something she/he needs; perhaps an object, advice, confidence, training, etc. Getting this will dispel much of the fears, doubts and resistances she/he had in the previous stage, and give her/him the strength and courage to proceed despite any fears, that she/he may still harbor.
Breaking Through the Threshold
This is where the quest truly begins. The Hero either voluntarily start, or she/he is pushed along. But at this point, she/he leaves the familiar lifestyle and enter the unfamiliar. The unknown.
The Hero is out of his/her comfort zone. To make it worse, he/she is presented with increasingly difficult challenges and hurdles. They test him/her in a whole bunch of ways. The Hero must overcome each. Also, The Hero will find different characters that play the role of allies and those that play the role of enemies or villains. The allies will help the Hero prepare for the next challenge, and the enemies will toss challenges at him/her.
Approaching the Threat
This represents either an actual location that has danger in it, or an inner conflict the Hero have not yet faced until now. As the Hero approach, her/his fears and doubts resurface, the Hero must prepare to jump in. The Hero does so by gathering all her/his skills, insights, powers, etc that she/he have so far collected on this journey.
The Hero must face dangerous physical test or deep inner crisis to survive. This is where the Hero use the strengths she/he gathered
in the last step. But only through some form of ‘death’ can
the Hero, be re-born, experiencing a form of meta- physical resurrection that somehow gives her/him greater power and insights necessary to reach her/his journey’s end and fulfill her/his destiny. This is the step after which atonement, or at-one-ment, happens. In that the Hero finally abandons the self-generated split whereby he/she had initially, at the start, set up a ‘monster’ that he/she feared.
The has now achieved her/his goals or quest. The Hero may not have known it, but all the previous steps were there to prepare and purify her/him for this step. Once the Hero defeats the enemy or challenges and survived ‘death’, the Hero starts becoming a new person, the Hero is transformed into a new state. The Hero is stronger and has the prize (the new insights into Life, an object of great importance, new power, new relationship resolutions, etc).
But the Hero cannot rest here, there is still a danger of losing the treasure, the prize!
This is the reverse of the Call to Action, whereby fear and anticipation of danger is replaced with a feeling of acclaim, vindication, absolution or exoneration. The Hero is free of fear or guilt. The Hero needs to go back to the ordinary world, and at this point he/she still may need a push or some help. The Hero may need to choose between his/her own personal objective and that of a Higher Cause. Often, the return is simple. The hero, having captured the prize or treasure, has to escape back home, often being chased.
The Hero is tested once more, purified by one more sacrifice. This is the final battle. In this test, the trick is for the Hero to retain the wisdom gained along the journey, integrate that wisdom.
Return With The Elixir
Finally, the Hero returns home a to the Ordinary World as a changed person. The Hero will have grown as a person, learned many things, faced many fears and dangers and even death. But now the Hero looks forward to starting a new life. The Hero’s return home also activates the resolution for the story’s other players, such as elimination or neutralization of enemies, reward of allies, and end of doubt. The Hero, returns to where he/she started but things will never be the same again.
The New Beginning
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- Bernard Noel