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The Hero's Journey is considered a classic story structure, coined by Joseph Campbell in 1949.
Considered a common template in many tales and lore that involves a hero who goes on a solo adventure, and in counters, a decisive crisis, and wins a victory, then comes home changed and transformed throw their experience.
Most consider the Hero's Journey mythology, most scholars invested their time exploring how one culture’s "myths" are different than another. But for indigenous people, these "myths" were much more than "myths" and were crucial to their spirituality and way of life.
All indigenous cultures around the world for centuries have held rites of passage, and some sort of initiations for their young people. Handed down from generation to generation these trials have gone by many names. In North America, various Indigenous nations refer to this spiritual practice as a "Vision Quest," in Australia, it is called a "Walk About" these traditions vary across cultures.
Traditionally the young men of the community are taken away from their mothers and communities by the elders' (men) out into the wilderness to test their skills and ability to be self-sufficient. Their ordeal creates a mental and physical shift from boyhood to manhood, an initiation.
Women would have their own rites of passage that were more tailored to their experience as a woman and their role in the community and family as a mother. The Hero's Journey is based on the male experience of a rites of passage. Due to the fact that women were revered and protected men would be the ones to go into the wilderness alone to hunt and trade.
Due to the nature of a vision quest and the power, it holds for one to really get in touch with themselves and to find their place in the world. It is a rites of passage, yet as adults, it is not the initiation into manhood in the traditional sense, therefore, being beneficial to men and women.
These rites of passage have been oversimplified to the hero's journey as a template for storytelling. People outside these cultures have seen these rites of passage ceremonies as a view into spirituality and the contemplative thinking of Indigenous cultures. But that perspective is all based in the mind and leaves out the biggest component of indigenous life, Spirituality.
Living an experiential life, Mind, Body, and Soul wasn't a concept for Indigenous cultures it was their way of life. The experiential part is the spiritual part. Spirit lives in us our bodies, not our minds. having these deep transformative experiences is how we access that part of our lives.
Indigenous ceremonies and rituals provided these experiences creating that important connection between the participant, the Creator, and Nature/our surroundings. As a rite of passage or vision quest by testing one's metal - survival skills and in the process one would gain maturity and a much deeper connection with nature, their ancestors, and the Creator. Most importantly, the visions that participants may receive during their quests are said to reveal great knowledge about their life.
I feel the lack of true understanding of these traditions has a lot to do with the situation of the world today. When communities and cultures fail to initiate their young people, then the world will. The most common initiations today are gangs, jails, military, and fraternities. They have their own agendas that have little to do with the individual's wellbeing or their spiritual connection.
Other things that have come to symbolize initiations are battling inner and outer demons, confronting bullies, having sex for the first time, coming to terms with your sexuality or orientation, or courting your ultimate mate all symbolize a passage through an often-treacherous tunnel of self-discovery and individuation to mature adulthood.
Right now in the search, for healing the most common deep profound initiations are plant medicine journeys and vision quests. If you are interested in learning more I am available to help you navigate away to make it happen, and create a plan incorporating preparation, and integration.