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Virgin Birth

The next stage of the Cosmogonic Cycle is often called "The Virgin Birth".  In Joseph Campbell's Hero's Journey, the Cosmogonic is a spiritual reflection of the physical journey taken by the hero.  These stages are more often found out of order because they are often realized or discovered at different parts of the story.  In this case, the virgin birth is usually a discovery that there is something special or unique about the hero of the story.  A hidden truth that upon discovery explains why they were always meant to be the hero.   In the original Star Wars Trilogy, we follow the path of Luke as the hero, but in the end, it turns out to be Darth Vader that turns against the emperor and fulfils the prophecy of "balancing the force".  We have to go back to the prequels to see the clearest example of the virgin birth.  Darth Vader was born Anakin Skywalker.  When the Jedi found him, he and his mother were slaves to a trader on a planet at the edge of the gala
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Emergence from the Void

  The next phase of the Cosmogonic Cycle is called "Emergence from the Void".  This is the phase of the Hero's Journey that represents the cycle of rebirth that happens in our lives.  For the hero, there is an emergence from the depths to a new way of being, but for each of us, we relive this birth over and over as we are made new and mature through life.   I was watching the finale of The Mandalorian Season 2 last night.  If you want to watch the show and you have not gotten that far, stop reading now, "there be spoilers ahead"!  Generally, I assume that you have had enough time to catch up though.  At the very end, Luke shows up to take and train the child Grogu.  In the timeline of the movies this is after the Original Trilogy, but before the newest trilogy with Rey.  At this point, Luke has completed his journey, defeated the emperor, and he has emerged as something entirely new.  The winey teenager from the first movie is gone, for that matter, even the con

Journey to the World Navel

"He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same power with which he will bring everything under his control." - Philippians 3:21 In Joseph Campbell's work, there is a lesser-known section of the Hero's Journey called the Cosmogonic Cycle.  This is the spiritual aspect of a Hero's Journey, the place where their vision is enlarged and mysteries are revealed.  The first step in the Cosmogonic Cycle is called "The Journey to the World Navel".  This is where the hero journeys to the center of the world, or sometimes the center of themselves.  They explore the depths of something and learn something mystical, changing their perspective forever.   In The Lord of the Rings, the fellowship travels into the depths of the Mines of Moria.  They travel deep down into the center of the earth, the World Navel.  While there they learn the fate of the dwarves who dug too deep and uncovered something that destroyed th

The Ultimate Boon

The Ultimate Boon is the next stage of Joseph Campbell's model of The Hero's Journey. In this stage, the hero finally accomplishes what they set out to do. It is similar to the previous stage, apotheosis, in that the hero gains something of great value. However, apotheosis is often an inner knowing of a power that was already there, and the ultimate boon is the prize they sought from the beginning of their journey. There is usually a great challenge or a guardian that stands between the hero and the ultimate boon. In the original Star Wars trilogy, Luke had already survived the confrontation with his father, Darth Vader. He went through the apotheosis stage as he realized his true inner power as a Jedi, but that was not the ultimate boon. In order to gain peace for the empire, Emperor Palpatine had to be defeated. Often the guardian of the ultimate boon cannot be defeated with force or power, but it is a moral challenge that requires the hero to exercise the gifts they acquired

Apotheosis

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!" - 2 Corinthians 5:17 Joseph Campbell calls the next stage of the Hero's Journey the "Apotheosis".  This is the point in the story when the hero, after facing many trials, becomes something more.  It's not as simple as gaining strength or confidence, but often a recognition of something deeper and greater that had been dormant before.  In the original Star Wars trilogy, there is a point at which Luke knows that Vader is his father, but he finds the strength within to resist.  He becomes willing to sacrifice himself rather than fall to the dark side.  He finds a strength within that had been dormant before, and he is never the same after that realization.  You can see the change in his character most clearly at the beginning of "The Return of the Jedi" when he walks into Jabba the Hutt's lair with complete confidence, the whiney boy that he had been

Atonement with the Father

"No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing” - 2 Samuel 24:24b This week we continue our study of Joseph Campbell's Hero's Journey, with the stage he called "Atonement with the Father".  It is important to note that Campbell used symbolic language and this stage does not have anything to do with the men or fathers.  For the rest of this devotional, I will refer to this stage as "atonement with the ancestors".  In this stage, the hero has to confront the mistakes of their parents or ancestors.  This can take the form of avenging a parent figure or fixing their wrongs.  This is where the hero separates themselves from their ancestors, building above their legacy by building on or by building anew.  In the original Star Wars Trilogy Luke finds out that Darth Vader is his father.  After resisting the temptation to the dark side he succeeds in calling Darth Vader back to the good.  Together

Distracted by the Temptress

"Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” Matthew 16:23 The next stage of the Hero's Journey is often called "Woman as Temptress".  Similar to the last stage, the connection to the feminine is tenuous at best.  In this stage, the Hero is distracted by something that is not in line with their quest.  It is often the temptation of a physical, material, comfort, or carnal nature.  Let's look at a couple of examples. In the original Star Wars Trilogy, Luke and Han became distracted by Leia.  They swooned over her and fought with each other in an attempt to impress her.  On several occasions, this put them in serious danger.  In The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Frodo is tempted to give the ring to Gandalf, Galadriel, and even Sam.   In the story of Samson, he faced the Temptress in the form of Delilah who used his love for her to trick him over and ove