Hero/Heroine

(see also Knight, Warrior)

Many of the gods of the world’s ancient religions began their lives as heroes capable of great feats of strength or skill. The Hero is also a classic figure in ancient Greek and Roman literature, often portrayed as one who must confront an increasingly difficult path of obstacles in order to birth his manhood. Today this archetype holds a dominant position in the social mind as an icon of both male and female power, from the Superheroes of comic books, such as Superman and Wonder Woman, to television and countless movies and popular novels. In the classic Hero’s Journey, defined by Joseph Campbell and others, an individual goes on a journey of initiation to awaken an inner knowing or spiritual power. The Self emerges as the Hero faces physical and internal obstacles, confronting the survival fears that would compromise his journey of empowerment and conquering the forces arrayed against him. The Hero then returns to the tribe with something of great value to all.

From a shadow perspective, the Hero can become empowered through the disempowerment of others. The manner in which the Hero uses his physical power is a reflection of the spirit of the Hero, represented through authentic acts of heroism.