Joseph Campbell's impressive work, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, delves into the myths and legends of cultures from across the world. Based on this extensive exploration he put forward 'The Hero's Journey' as a map of consciousness: a journey undertaken by all on a quest for greater understanding of who we are, our place in the world and what it is that we are to do.
I have revisited this work many times also noting the way others have expanded on and applied his theory of the mono-myth.
What makes this map so remarkable is that it can be applied to stories old and new, our personal stories and those that lie in the common domain. A Hero's Journey may take a lifetime or happen in an hour, a day or be a chapter in our lives.
The Australian Aborigines say that it takes a thousand voices to tell a single story. I think of this in terms of the experience of generations that come together in a great story. Such is the power of the world's great stories that they get told over and over again, each time appealing to a new generation and always reflecting the depth and wisdom handed down through the ages. When we reflect on these stories we find comfort, recognition and insight.
The Open Learning Community, having shares many stories that lie in the common domain, the invited regular attendees from our community to tell their stories. This has been absolutely amazing. The wealth of lives lived to the full, the challenges and upheavals overcome and the huge diversity to stories in our midst, commits us to listen deeply to the stories each of us has to tell.