The Hero’s Journey
Had I understood Joseph Campbell’s monomyth of the ‘Hero’s Journey’ before I wrote ‘Waking The Monkey!’, it probably would have got in the way of my exploration of the path I was describing. It would have been impossible not to write with the thought of its structure in the back of my mind, and a feeling that I had to try and conform to it.
I had heard of Campbell of course, but had somehow managed to conflate him with James George Fraser of The Golden Bough fame from the previous century, who perhaps he might almost have been in a previous incarnation, researching, as he did, religious myths which would provide a background to the meta structure that Campbell describes.
Far better that I should only come to a detailed reading of the Hero’s Journey after I had understood it as playing out in the course of my own path.
I had gone seeking experience and adventure, though I didn’t really understand that. I was driven with a youthful exuberance. I had only heard what I believe may be the last Hunter/Garcia song ‘Days Between’ once or twice on low quality audience tapes and not properly grasped any of its power or import, but there is a line that well describes this. ‘There were days, there were days I know …. When all we ever wanted was to learn and love and grow’. Another line which I will leave for now also expressed the mood which described the ending of the Hundredth Monkey camps two years later.
But in 1995 I was impelled by an inner magnetism that sought to lock on to my path, though I knew not what that would be. The Fool stepping out on the journey of life, finding a quest, meeting wizards and guides, I step over the edge and fall out of favour into the abyss of my Rite of Passage. Not until it was all over and the dust had settled did I realise that I had gone through a transformative ritual experience that empowered me to put behind me my sense of diminishment in the face of the world and others more powerful than myself.
The journey has three parts. Firstly, the naïve initiate sets out on their journey, has preliminary adventures, meets guides, learns some of what they will need to know and then finds themselves adrift. The second part is the descent into Hell, in which the Hero faces their demons, is granted assistance by certain magical allies, makes what at first may be an abortive attempt at escape from Hell and then finally achieves it in the third part and is reunited with their guide having now become a Hero or Wizard also.
I was most excited to be interviewed about my book on The Hundredth Monkey Radio.net recently. Obviously the guys behind that have spent some time thinking about what the ‘Hundredth Monkey’ is, and how it could work.
My own view on the ‘Hundredth Monkey’ might be slightly different from what theirs would be. Certainly it was the case at the camps that agreement was sought in order to produce morphic fields which might imprint themselves on the collective psyche. There are always going to be problems with this in my view, although this was not a conclusion I reached until later on in the process.
What my own path taught me was that I needed to find the seed crystal of a deeper understanding within myself that went beyond collective memes but tapped into the mythic levels of our psyches and engaged with archetypal processes.
The future of our species must emerge from the ancestral and evolutionary roots. We cannot go somewhere that we are not designed and prepared to go by our past experience and genetic learning.
A caged tiger is an unfilled creature. We must accept that nature is wild, and that we too are wild creatures who should not be caged. We can enculture and focus our development in ways that tigers cannot because we have different neurological adaptations, but neither of us like cages.
But one advantage the tiger has, even when caged, is that it does not lose touch with its instincts the way that humans can be trapped into doing.
The purpose of the Rite of Passage is to awaken those instincts and consciousness while still remaining in the prepared vessel of the culture, to awaken to self empowerment and knowledge of oneself as a cosmic being, an agent of the Universe.
This is a thing much greater and more powerful than a milkwater consensus which de-claws the tiger. This is the ‘Awakening’ that we all hear so much about. All the mental knowledge that we acquire of the world is only preparation for the activation.
Nature, as Campbell was fond of saying, is a mystery, and terrifying. We can only truly become empowered and autonomous beings within it if we are willing to accept that mystery, and that terror. The tamed world of consensus makes us all lapdogs when we began as wolves.
I will briefly mention my friend Ishtar Babilu Dingir and her website as she, having recently read Waking The Monkey!, encouraged me to work on the sequels, which will expand on the arc of the Hero’s Journey.
Both her work and my eventual sequels will I believe demonstrate that the ‘New Age’ movement as we have come to know it has been diverted from the course on which it should have flowed had it been able to express its energies most fruitfully.
This too is a rite of passage, and humanity in all its diverse forms will be wiser for having walked through this darkness and then discerned the deception which we have been led into.
But we must continue pushing and seeking for a path through this. I have just read 'The Passing of the Grey Company' the chapter in 'The Return of the King' in which Aragorn leads his companions through the Paths of the Dead under the Haunted Mountain, the Dwimorberg. We must have the stern courage of Isildur's heir if we are to brave this passage.
The Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear: I must not fear. Fear is the mind killer. Fear is the little death which brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will allow it to pass over me and through me and when it has passed I will turn the Inner Eye to see its path. Where it has gone there will be nothing, only I will remain. (Frank Herbert, Dune)
You can purchase a paper or e-book version of my account of my shamanic rite of passage at The Hundredth Monkey Camp ‘Waking The Monkey! ~ Becoming the Hundredth Monkey’ (A Book for Spiritual Warriors) at