Joseph Campbell's impressive work, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, delves into the myths and legends of cultures from across the world. Based on this extensive exploration he put forward 'The Hero's Journey' as a map of consciousness: a journey undertaken by all on a quest for greater understanding of who we are, our place in the world and what it is that we are to do.
I have revisited this work many times also noting the way others have expanded on and applied his theory of the mono-myth.
What makes this map so remarkable is that it can be applied to stories old and new, our personal stories and those that lie in the common domain. A Hero's Journey may take a lifetime or happen in an hour, a day or be a chapter in our lives.
The Australian Aborigines say that it takes a thousand voices to tell a single story. I think of this in terms of the experience of generations that come together in a great story. Such is the power of the world's great stories that they get told over and over again, each time appealing to a new generation and always reflecting the depth and wisdom handed down through the ages. When we reflect on these stories we find comfort, recognition and insight.
So many people in our community and in our region have led extraordinary lives: many overcame immense hardships to successfully raise families while for others the battle was deeply personal and often private. These experiences are directly linked to happenings in society, even global events, immigration, migration as well as evolving collective consciousness. In 2017 we invited those willing to share their stories at the Open Learning Community.
This has been a absolutely amazing experience for both the teller and the audience. Jean gently guides the teller in what starts out as an interview, then becomes a dialogue and then a personal release. Those present commit to deep listening holding the teller in a sacred space of compassion and non-judgement. What has become apparent is the diversity and richness of the stories in our midst, but also our oneness: the degree to which everyone's story is everyone's story.
Do contact us if you have a personal story to share.