You can find an excellent discussion of Chris Vogler’s version of the hero’s journey — along with an explanation of each stage of this spiral – here.



  1. Stasis – The hero is shown in their version of the “ordinary” world. Often they are stuck. They are usually discontent…or if they are content, it’s for the wrong reasons. They need to change in order to reach their full potential.

  2. Call to adventure – The hero receives an invitation to an adventure that promises a reward, and will ultimately change them, hopefully for the better. Sometimes it’s the hero saying “I need a change,” and sometimes it’s the universe telling them that they need to change.

  3. Refusal of the call – The hero considers whether to accept the invitation or not. Sometimes they jump at the chance, sometimes they have to be dragged kicking and screaming. Either way, even if it only lasts a second, there should be a moment where the hero looks back at where they came from and reflects on the consequences of moving forward.

  4. Meeting the mentor – Like Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars: Ep. IV – A New Hope, the hero receives help, guidance, advice, or supernatural aid from someone who has been on this kind of journey before.

  5. Crossing the threshold – The hero enters a strange, special world in which everything is upside-down and backwards. Things aren’t what they seem, wondrous sites are beheld, and danger lurks around every corner.

  6. Tests, allies, and enemies – The hero meets entities along the way who either help or hinder them on their quest. They face trials, and are tested to see if they are worthy of the reward they seek.

  7. Approach to the inmost cave – The hero begins their descent into the “belly of the whale,” the place where they will be forced to undergo the most change. By choosing to enter this abyss, the hero proves their willingness to let go of their old, un-evolved identity.

  8. The ordeal in the abyss; facing the shadow self – The hero has made it to their greatest challenge. If they are willing to let their old identity die and embrace who they need to be (often figurative, but sometimes a literal death and rebirth), they are victorious. Often a hero will face an antagonist that is a shadow of themselves. In A New Hope this is Darth Vader, Luke’s father, and the man whom Luke said he aspired to be. At other times, the hero themselves is the obstacle. Regardless of who or what it is, this antagonist has immense power that the hero must face.

  9. Apotheosis – Literally meaning “the elevation of someone to divine status,” the hero achieves a greater understanding thanks to their trials. This is the moment they ascend to that higher plane of existence—not only can they not go back to who they once were, they wouldn’t want to. It’s this understanding that gives them the key they need, and the resolve, to face the toughest part of their adventure.

  10. The ultimate boon – This is the treasure the hero came to seek. Everything they have gone through up to this point has purified them so that they are worthy enough to claim their reward.

  11. Refusal of the return – Just as in the beginning of their journey, the hero needs a moment of reflection on the necessity to return to the world they came from, and what they’re leaving behind. Sometimes they don’t even want to return (why would anyone want to leave Narnia?), but ultimately they must.

  12. The road back home – The trick here is for the hero to return with their new special knowledge intact, and figure out how they’re going to integrate it into their new life.

  13. Master of two worlds – This is the synthesis of who the hero was before they began their journey, and who they have become. The hero is comfortable with their new balance, having resolved both their external quest and their inner fulfillment.

  14. Return with special knowledge – The hero is now ready to share their special knowledge with the rest of the world. They may even become a mentor for a new hero who must begin their own journey.

Book credit: The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers by Christopher Vogler

Image credit: The Hero’s Journey Spiral © 2019 by Thea Cooke is licensed under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International.

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