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Modern Myths

The Heroic Monomyth and Modern Gods

What does the heroic monomyth have to do with us today?

Jung and Campbell, and others who take the psychological approach to myth, see the heroic monomyth as a universal mirror of the individual human’s psychological journey through life from birth to individuation, or wholeness. The miraculous conception and birth of the hero speak to the awakening in our lives to the quest for Self and wholeness that lies ahead. The quest itself is the process by which the hero, representing the psychological voyager, is able to move beyond personal and historical limitations. The hero, sometimes after an initial refusal, accepts the call to adventure. This acceptance represents our own acceptance of the inner call to journey into the unknown in search of Self. As the mythical hero’s quest requires overcoming several archetypal barriers—the femme fatale, the monster in the path—the psychological voyager, too, must overcome neuroses, obsessions, and other roadblocks. The mythical hero’s descent into the Underworld becomes our “dark night of the soul,” our descent into the dark world of the unconscious to find a way to wholeness. The mythical hero’s return is our achievement of that wholeness.



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