Half of the purpose of every Hero’s Journey is to go down into the depths of your Soul. To unleash your True Self and work your way towards being the best and highest version of you that you can possibly be.
And all of this can’t be fully achieved until you begin to make the effort to Return to the very place that you started from.
“But, Mark, how can that possibly be?” Is probably what you’re asking right now, “What’s the point in Returning to the place we started from?”
This is a good question. It doesn’t make any sense to Return to the exact same place that you began your quest from. You’ve grown and changed dramatically. You’re the Hero now; not the scared and timid creature that answered the Call to Adventure long ago.
So, now is definitely the time to take another bold step, the time to try something that you may have always wanted to do. Because when you do so, you will likely discover that it’s exactly the helping hand you need to ground you back into reality.
Hello, Spiritual Seekers, and welcome to another Hero’s Journey episode of Think Spiritual podcasts. As always, I’m your host, Mark.
Today it’s time to explore Step 14 of Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey – Rescue from Without. Now, maybe some of you are wondering what that means. Rescue from Without…without what?
To understand what this Step of the Journey is referring to, we have to go all the way back to Step 4 of the Hero’s Journey – Crossing the First Threshold.
As novitiates or, perhaps, as padawans we either voluntarily crossed that first threshold into the Belly of the Whale or we were thrust or pushed or forced over the line if we were reluctant Heroes.
That threshold was the boundary between the Ordinary World and the Special World and that Special World could be referred to as With-In.
So, the Hero’s Journey is, most often, a Journey With-In your Self, but at some point we must begin our Return Journey. Our Magic Flight will bring us to the Return Threshold that stands between the Special World and the Ordinary World – something that is outside or With-Out of your Self – or perhaps we could say that it is without yourself – your True Self does not exist there yet.
And very, very often, we need help to cross that Return Threshold.
Just like we had Supernatural Aid at the beginning of our Journey, we will now have some Rescue from Without to guide us or to pull us across the upcoming Return Threshold.
As I said, the Hero’s Journey is most often a spiritual Journey within one’s Self. It’s necessary to take this Journey because so many of us struggle with physical existence due to societal programming. We don’t know who we are or what we’re capable of. We have our identities wrapped up in other people or careers or ideologies or religions or in a specific gender role or any host of other things.
So, we Journey down into the soul, into the spirit, into the Shadow, into the Eros, into the Feminine. We find our Self, we find our strength, we find things we love the most and then we begin to manifest our True Self, our strength and the things we love into our Reality.
However, as I said at the very beginning of this episode, this is only half of the purpose of the Hero’s Journey. The complete purpose of the Journey is for us to be whole. We need to be comfortable in the depths of the Soul and within the physical Body – or we could say within the Mundane of everyday existence.
This is why this Return stage of the Journey is so difficult. It’s not as much fun and it requires more resolve and responsibility than we tend to want to have.
And this is also why we have to have that Rescue from Without or perhaps we could refer to it as “Natural Aid”. Just like Supernatural Aid was something that was outside of our normal experience and unfamiliar to us, Natural Aid is something that may be very familiar to us.
It could be something that you used to do long, long ago and you have almost forgotten how much you loved it.
It could be something that you’ve always wanted to do and were never brave enough to try.
It could be a person that you’ve always wanted to spend more time with.
It could be a complete stranger that you share a bond with.
Any or all of these things – and/or a dozen other things I haven’t thought of – could very well be your Rescue from Without.
As for proper movie examples of Rescue from Without, I have very few to bring to your attention. As I’ve often brought up during these Return Stage Hero’s Journey episodes, there simply aren’t many proper Return Journeys portrayed on screen – or at least not too many that I’m aware of.
My go-to examples are always the point in The Shallows where Nancy Adams is pulled to shore by her taxi-driver, Carlos.
And in Kung Fu Panda III when Po’s biological father shows up at the Valley of Peace in order to guide Po back to the panda village.
Now, by strict storytelling terms and by not focusing on a particular character’s Hero’s Journey, I then have almost unlimited examples of Rescue from Without. I don’t like taking the storytelling path as it’s not my focus for this series, but for the sake of example I will do so today.
And one of the most obvious cases is the original 1977 film: Star Wars: A New Hope. It’s during the final action scene of the movie where Luke Skywalker is flying his X-Wing Fighter down the Death Star trench. Darth Vader is moments away from shooting him down when out of nowhere, Han Solo and the Millenium Falcon dive in and save the day.
That my Dear Listeners is definitely some unexpected Rescue from Without.
However, as I said, it’s not an example I like to use as it has nothing to do with character arc. As I’ve talked about in previous episodes of this podcast, Luke Skywalker never reaches this stage of his personal Hero’s Journey.
I, however, am another matter entirely.
Although I’ve recently been accused of talking about myself too much in this Hero’s Journey series, I am going to do so once again. Why change something I’ve done pretty much since Episode 1?
My purpose in sharing my personal experiences is to provide you, Dear Watchers and Listeners, with Real World Hero’s Journey examples. This entire series is for naught if I am unable to prove to you that the Hero’s Journey is something you can genuinely live.
You see, my personal Rescue from Without came in the form of weight-lifting.
Alright, let me explain:
I’ve said numerous times in various episodes that it’s very easy for me to live in the depths of my soul. It’s where I prefer to be most of the time. Living in the real world – living a day to day existence – is certainly not my favourite thing.
However, the lessons I’ve been learning of late have been teaching me how important holistic living is – and what I mean by holistic is that I need to take care of my mind, emotions, spirit – what could all be called parts of the soul – and I need to take care of my body as well.
One is not more important than the other. If the Soul suffers, the Body suffers. If the Body suffers, the Soul suffers.
So, the Body is my Ordinary World. I’ve never been a master of that world. I’ve never bothered to take care of my body for the sake of taking care of it.
But this is me. This is where and how I dwell in this physical realm. This body will deplete and die. This body will suffer pain and injury and possibly even disease.
And some of that potential suffering is preventable. I can actually do something to alleviate unnecessary suffering.
So, for me, weight-lifting was the “Natural Aid” or the Rescue from Without that I needed. Weight-lifting will propel me further towards the goal of being a Master of Two Worlds.
That is the purpose of any Rescue from Without. When you’ve changed so much on your Spiritual Journey, how can you simply Return to the same physical existence that you’ve always led?
There has to be something new. Something to ground you to the physical and be a driver of even greater change. And not only of change. This Rescue from Without will stabilize and sustain you as you move ever closer to Crossing the Return Threshold.
But that, my Dear Watchers and Listeners, will have to wait for the next Hero’s Journey episode of Think Spiritual Podcasts.
Thank you very much for listening and/or watching today, please like, share, comment, criticize and subscribe. Every little hand you reach down to me helps me to continue to reach my hand down to you so we can continue this Journey together.
I have been your host, Mark, this has been another somewhat abbreviated episode of exploring Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey – as I’ve said, this Return Journey stage is very difficult to talk about as there are very, very few examples to provide.
So, yes, this has been a talk about Rescue from Without – Step 14 of Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey – and I know that if you continue the Journey to become the best version of You that you can be, that there will be help coming to pull you through those last few steps of the way. Because you have been changing your Self and you have been changing your world and anyone who knows you will see it happening.
You have all the weapons and knowledge you need within you.
I will see you on the next episode of Think Spiritual Podcasts.