Most people know of the hero’s journey. Joseph Campbell made it famous, when he discovered that mythological stories from all over the world have a similar inner build-up: There is always a hero in the story who leaves his regular life with a mission to change the status quo. After many adventures, trials and coming into contact with the divine, the hero returns home as a new person. There are mostly male heroes in those stories.
What most people DON’T realize is that the hero’s journey is much much older than the mythological stories found in the written classical mythology. It truly dates back to the Neolithic Age. Keep reading
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Experts in the field have long speculated that folk tales contain information on the social organizations and belief systems of our European ancestors. What anthropologists find in prehistoric times are predominantly matriarchal values. They ensure that nature’s life-sustaining assets are distributed in a just way to ensure everybody’s survival. In the eyes of the creators of our folk tales, planning and managing assets were essential skills to ensure the survival of their communities.
"Fairy tale heroines and heroes are walking in alignment with the cosmic order. Goals of personal individuation and the heroism popular today are unimportant to them. They strive to integrate all the creative energies into their lives and they do not rest until balance is restored, if needed. This is when the alchemy between humans and the divine can happen, when humans become the representatives of the goddess again." Excerpt from "The True Hero's Journey in Fairy Tales and Stone Circles"
According to neurologist Dr. Gerhard Hüther, when a fairy tale is told from memory, more so than when it is read, something important happens in the brain of the listener. The safety of a storytelling setting activates the emotional centers and substances are produced which promote the building of new connections between nerve cells. The fairy tales promote the enhancement of compassion, as well as the abilities to form better relationships, to overcome obstacles and to give hope. When things get dark and dangerous in the tale, but are told in a cozy storytelling setting, there can be a learning effect of a new “virtual” situation. However, it is of the utmost importance that the darkness and the danger are followed by a happy ending. The resolution then ensures the listener, who has started to identify with the story, that the actions were not meaningless after all. Therefore, Hüther claims storytelling of “Märchen” to be the highest form of teaching, since the suspense and the action of the tale are felt yet are not happening in reality.
Excerpt from my book "The True Hero’s Journey in Fairy Tales and Stone Circles"
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