Joseph Campbell’s 17 Stages of the Hero’s Journey



Joseph Campbell describes the journey hero’s take in stories, but I believe that we all can learn something from these stages. I hold this belief because we all should be the hero in our own lives and if we are the hero’s in our own lives we will eventually experience the following 17 stages of the Hero’s Journey:

  1. The Call to Adventure – Hero receives calling to the unknown
  2. Refusal of the Call – Obligations or fear prevent hero from starting the journey
  3. Supernatural Aid – Magical helper appears or becomes known
  4. Crossing the First Threshold – Hero leaves its known world and ventures into the unknown
  5. Belly of the Whale – Final stage of the separation from the known world
  6. The Road of Trials – Hero must pass a series of test to begin the transformation
  7. Meeting with the Goddess/Love – Hero experiences unconditional love
  8. Temptation – Hero face temptation that will distract from ultimate quest
  9. Atonement with the Hero’s Father – Hero must confront the person that holds ultimate power in their life
  10. Peace and Fulfillment Before the Hero’s Return – Hero moves to a state of divine knowledge (usually through some form of death)
  11. The Ultimate Boon – Achievement of goal
  12. Refusal of the Return – Having found bliss and enlightenment in the other world, hero may be reluctant to return
  13. Magic Flight – Sometimes the hero has to escape with the boon
  14. Rescue from Without – Sometimes the hero needs a rescuer 
  15. Return – Retain wisdom gained on quest and the hero integrates wisdom in human society by sharing wisdom with the world
  16. Master of Two Worlds – Hero achieves balance between the material and spiritual (inner and outer world)
  17. Freedom to Live – Freedom from fear of death, causing hero to live in the moment and no concern for the future or regrets of the past


Do you agree that these stages are relavent in real life and not just in fictional stories?

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9 responses to “Joseph Campbell’s 17 Stages of the Hero’s Journey”

  1. harris30 says :

    Reblogged this on write your novel in a year and commented:
    This is a great visual image of the Hero’s Journey for writers. Good to keep and use throughout the course.

  2. robert says :

    I started my journey back in 2001. Still couple of years to go. It is an amazing journey with a price to pay. This is portion of my eliksir to the humanity.

  3. Dr. Rosie Kuhn says :

    Hi David, I’m writing a book called Spiritual Immersion: Taking the Plunge. Campbell’s Hero’s Journey has been beckoning me to use the stages as place holders for writing about this immersion and emergence process. I so agree with you that the Hero’s journey is as relevant as ever. This journey is required for each of us.

    Thanks a bunch for making this accessible, again! Blessings and gratitude – Dr. Rosie

  4. Hou Heihei says :

    Hi David, I just love the way you have described each stage of Joseph

    Campbells Heros Journey in the diagram. As I have been lucky enough to have

    come across your Website, I commend you for your work.

    All the Best

  5. Nessa Helyanwe says :

    Thanks for having this up! I am going to use this while i plan for the book I am writing now, and will repost this on my blog because i feel that it is a vital tool for writing! Thanks!

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