Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

Living Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming


  • David A. Leeming
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27771-9_434-4

Mythologist Joseph Campbell has demonstrated that when we consider heroes and their myths comparatively, we discover a universal hero myth that speaks to us all and addresses our common need to move forward psychologically as individuals and as a species. “The Hero,” writes Campbell, “is the man or woman who has been able to battle past his personal and local historical limitations to the generally valid, normally human forms” (1949/1972, pp. 19–20). The hero does not stand for the status quo; he or she breaks new ground. The striving hero is our cultural and collective psyche out on the edges of knowledge and existence.

Taking a word coined by James Joyce, Campbell calls the archetypal hero the “monomyth.” The hero of the monomyth, our representative of self, the totality of our individual and collective unconscious and conscious psyches, passes in his “adventures” through a series of transformative thresholds, which are representative of the psychic and, to an extent, the physical...


Mother Earth Dark Night Divine Essence Burning Bush Hero Journey 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of ConnecticutStorrsUSA