Tuesday, October 4, 2016

The Twelve Phases of the Spiritual Heroes Journey

I felt inspired by several factors to engage in writing what the heroes journey might look like from a spiritual perspective.  The heroes journey is a fascinating explanation of the journey a person takes through life.  Though some view it as merely a narrative tool or a template for fictional writing, to me the heroes journey represents a reflection of real life, and the journey of the human soul to discover ultimate reality.  Given the reality of God and the reality of Christ resurrected and reigning in heaven, this is a look at the heroes journey from the factual representation of a believer's journey in the world to overcome evil, embrace the Christ, and expand the kingdom of God.

1. The Call to Adventure - the human finds life increasingly unlivable and is offered the call to spiritual adventure. But out of ego or pride rejects the call.
2. Fleeing the call / Spiritual death - fleeing the call, the adventurer becomes an inversion of himself, an anti-hero, a vagabond, spiraling into a cycle of repeating disasters, twisting downward to the final spiritual death. The death is total, crushing the ego, leaving the adventurer powerless.

3. Supernatural aid / Rebirth - At the bottom the adventurer calls out to the great supernatural being, and rebirth is established, the anti-hero becomes the adventurer.

4. The Road of Trials - for a period of many years the adventurer endures great trials and struggles, usually facing down powerful enemies, in great weakness, fighting pitch battles with little success. The road of trials helps the adventurer grow and mature.

5. Encounter with the Temptress - the adventurer encounters the temptress, a vestige of the old world he lived in.  The encounter with the temptress is an expression of old temptations threatening to end the journey in disaster; but the adventurer overcomes.

6. Union with the lover - Having overcome the tempter, the adventurer is united with his greatest love.

7. The full surrender to the Father - at the point of growing maturity the adventurer realizes that the supreme being must have all there is of him. The adventurer surrenders entirely to the new mission, completing the period of trials in total surrender and completed transformation.

8. Knight in Shining Armor - Having been united in love with his greatest love and fully matured to the point of surrender to the new spiritual reality, the adventurer is now the hero, a mature, seasoned warrior. He fights a series of pitch battles over the next years, assembling a force, winning significant victories, and expanding the kingdom.

9. Dark nights of the soul - Matched with the period of victories are interlocking dark midnights of the soul that continue to test and form the hero into the fullness of his spiritually transformed self, continuously building up the hero and advancing the mission.

10. The Seed Planter - the matured warrior is at work, building an army, assembling a movement, and planting seeds in the hearts of men, sharing his spiritual awakening with the world.

11. The Leader of Men - the matured warrior assembles a crack force of soldiers, pushing out into the world. The hero becomes the leader of a team, a structure that grows and multiplies. The spiritual transformation that took root in the hero spreads out to others, and finally near the end of this stage the vision is fully realized and the crop is harvested, the full results of victory are seen.

12. The Road Home - the aged warrior passes into the final phase of life, having reaped the harvest, he watches the movement grow beyond even him. As he ages he increasingly struggles with sickness & old age, and becomes an onlooker to his work, but no longer a participant. Finally near the end the victorious hero passes beyond the veil to the kingdom eternal and receives the full reward he has labored for. 

Will you be the hero of your journey, or will you be a self serving anti-hero?  Will you walk the road of the hero in your life, or exist as one sitting on the sidelines of their own story?  Ultimately it's up to you.  

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