AT ASHEVILLE ACADEMY, WE USE JOSEPH CAMPBELL’S HERO’S JOURNEY AS A FRAMEWORK TO HELP CELEBRATE YOUR CHILD’S ACHIEVEMENTS. YOUR CHILD IS THEIR OWN HERO ON AN ADVENTURE FILLED WITH EMOTIONS, FACING DIFFICULT AND CHALLENGING SITUATIONS, AND THEY COME OUT OF IT BETTER PREPARED TO FACE AND SOLVE PROBLEMS, AND READY TO THRIVE IN THEIR NEW WORLD.
‘OUR PHASE SYSTEM CONTAINS SIX PHASES, EACH BUILDING UPON ONE ANOTHER.
THE CALL TO ADVENTURE
is the first phase of the Hero’s Journey. The Hero is faced with the invitation to step away from their every day, known, life and prepare for their heroic journey. Some of you may have already been through this as you left home for a wilderness program, and while you may have celebrated success in that journey, your time here starts the next cycle of your adventure.
Once called into adventure, the hero’s starting point is called the Threshold. The threshold represents the point between the hero’s ordinary world and the special world of adventure. Once across the threshold, the hero encounters a different set of rules, people, and way of being. Because the special world is unknown, it can be experienced as a place of challenge and danger. While crossing the threshold can be frightening, there are always guardians and helpers to aid in the journey. Threshold guardians act as gatekeepers and ensure that individuals who are not prepared for a particular journey do not step past the threshold until they are ready. At Asheville Academy, the individuals who play the role of guardians are the student’s therapist, mentors, and teachers. Now is the time to begin your threshold adventure.
Many unknown challenges and tests await the hero in the heart of their adventure. Upon crossing over the threshold, the tests one faces take many forms and can present challenges of a physical, emotional, social and spiritual nature. Towards the beginning of the adventure, these challenges are often simpler, and their difficulty increases as the journey proceeds. Many of these challenges come in the form of tasks or quests that are very personal to the adventurer and will cause them to face some of their greatest fears and weaknesses. By facing and triumphing over these fears and weaknesses—with the help of supportive mentors along the way—the hero gains essential skills, maturity and self-confidence for the journey ahead. They learn to turn weaknesses into strengths. Towards the end of this phase of the journey, the hero gets a small glimpse into the abyss and can recognize their greatest challenges— namely their “dragons” that they must face and tame during the next phase of the adventure.
During this phase of the journey, the hero develops a deeper understanding of the greatest challenges they will face—as they enter the abyss to tame personal dragons. During this phase, they will learn that in order to tame a dragon they must learn to love and accept themselves and as they do so they gain the wisdom and the willingness to make healthy changes in life. They can identify unhealthy patterns and gain an understanding of how those patterns may have served them during challenging times. They now have harnessed the strength and courage to create new patterns that allow them to have healthy relationships along the journey. They learn that to face and move through the abyss, they become comfortable with the unknown and build trusting relationships that can support them on the journey. Most importantly, you as the hero, are able to create a healthy and trusting relationship with yourself.
As the hero tames their dragons and emerges from the abyss victoriously, the final transformation becomes complete and they approach Atonement, literally allowing the hero to become “at-one” with their new self. This is about accepting the changes they have made, and incorporating those changes into their own unique person. As the hero becomes at-one with themselves, they come into harmony with life and the world around them. The initial problems that led them to Asheville Academy have been addressed and it is time to prepare for their return.
After transformation and becoming “at one” with their growth, the hero faces the final phase of their journey—the return home or transition into the next journey. The true spirit of the return is one’s implementation of their gifts into the life they lived prior to Asheville Academy. The hero recognizes the ability to create joy and value in the lives of others through using gifts and talents. They prepare to honor growth in a world with different supports from Asheville Academy. They also come to realize that while this particular journey has reached its end, it’s also the beginning of their next Hero’s Journey.