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  • Writer's pictureErika Murphy

Mythology: The Crown Jewel of the Soul

If the path before you is clear, you're probably on someone else's. ~ Joseph Campbell



Mythologist and scholar Joseph Campbell codified a map of human transformation that is true across cultures and time periods. Known as the Hero's Journey or the Monomyth, this guide offers us a way to experience our lives through the lens of ancient symbols and follow the path of our soul. As Campbell himself explains, "myths are clues to the spiritual potentialities of human life."


The events that spark these potentialities are innate to Campbell's stages of the Hero's Journey: departure, initiation, and return. Our "departure" marks a moment of transition in which we enter into a realm of the unknown. We might experience this due to a life event such an an illness, a marriage, changing jobs, or a divorce. The "initiation" phase marks the challenges that we face and the inner resources we develop to move through this space of uncertainty. The "return" marks a new sense of stability that is now infused with the gifts of wisdom that have come from our experiences.


Using the Hero's Journey as a map allows us to experience our lives as sacred, shifting from the mind's understanding of an ordinary, everyday world into a world imbued with the transcendent. Facing challenges as opportunities for spiritual growth reframes human experience. It rejects the idea of challenges as punishments from God, suffering to be endured and forgotten, or the whim of fate. Each experience — whether the mind labels it as small or large, negative or positive — is an important part of our growth.


A practice of mindfulness allows us to develop presence and compassion, listening and watching for the grace in each moment, expanding our awareness to encompass more truth. We move away from a search for "meaning" — an intellectual exercise of the mind — and move into what Campbell calls the "rapture of being alive," which arrives when "our life experiences on the purely physical plane...have resonances within our innermost being and reality."


The spiritual journey requires great attention and intention. Countless stories, fairy tales, scriptures, movies, and books echo this path, inviting us to reflect on our own lives. Campbell assures us that the effort is well worth the reward, citing myth and symbol as tools that pave the way to insights beyond the ordinary mind. "Myths" Campbell tells us, "inspire the realization of the possibility of your perfection, the fullness of your strength, and the bringing of solar light into the world...Myths are infinite in their revelation."


For videos and books on Joseph Campbell and the Hero's Journey, visit our resources page.


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Now is the Time


Now is the time to know

That all that you do is sacred.


Now, why not consider

a lasting truce with yourself and God?


Now is the time to understand

that all your ideas of right and wrong

were just a child’s training wheels

to be laid aside

When you can finally live

with veracity

and love.


Hafiz is a divine envoy

whom the Beloved

has written a holy message upon.


My dear, please tell me,

why do you still

throw sticks at your heart

and God?


What is it in that sweet voice inside

that incites you to fear?


Now is the time for the world to know

that every thought and action is sacred.


That this is the time

for you to deeply compute the impossibility

that there is anything

but Grace.


Now is the season to know

that everything you do

is sacred.


Hafiz in The Gift, translated by Daniel Ladinsky

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