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The Hero’s Journey of Modern Men (Part 3 – Initiation)


Joseph Campbell hero's journey examples

This is part 3 of a 4 part article. Click here for part 1, part 2, and part 4.

Most men don’t even make it to the initiation phase, so thank your lucky stars if you have (or if you’re on your way). The initiation phase is basically when you actually immerse yourself in the lessons of the manosphere, and begin to fully apply them into your life.

It’s when you hit the gym hard, undergo even further personality transformation, start earning more money, and start getting girls to actually stick around. This is when you start to really reach the pinnacle of self-improvement, and catapult yourself into the top .1% of men.

It is a time of intense struggle, difficult trials, and a whole bunch of shit tests, but the journey molds you into a better man.


Trial #6 – The Road of Trials

Joseph Campbell hero's journey examples

Upon his chode-self dying off, Jerry is now ready to apply his newfound skills to his life. He starts going on dates with gorgeous women and even sleeps with a few of them, because he realizes that his old ideas of women wanting white knights were ludicrous. Jerry starts working out, because he realizes the importance of physical strength. He begins to change his diet and notices a huge increase in his energy levels.

Jerry starts reading good books, and improving his IQ, because he realizes that his mind is like the captain of the ship that is his life. Without a good captain, the ship won’t go anywhere. Without a good mind, his life won’t go anywhere.

He meets a lot of obstacles on the way, however. Maybe his progress stalls in the gym. Maybe a bunch of girls rip his heart out. Maybe he makes a stupid investment and loses $25,000. Of course, he has the manosphere to help him along the way. Jerry is stumped over why he can pull the 6’s and 7’s, but can’t seem to pull the 9’s or 10’s. So, he sends me an email and I give him some advice.

Maybe Jerry is confused over dieting and working out, so he seeks the help of a mentor. Or he can’t seem to get into the habit of reading, but with some guidance he manages to make it stick. Regardless, he keeps soldiering on. This phase is more of a test than anything. It’s meant to test what you’re made of. And if you’re courageous, hard-working, and humble enough to get through it, there’s a reward at the end of the tunnel.

Most modern men will follow a similar path as Jerry.

They’ll fight “dragons,” go on “quests,” such as Beowulf, and other heroes of the past (which Joseph Campbell refers to). Except their dragons to slay will be hot 10’s, their quests will be embarking on a journey of self-development. That sounds nerdy as fuck, but it’s still a valid metaphor. The point is that modern men, once they reach this phase, start taking massive action.

Yes, they may have taken some action before, but compared to now, it’s nothing. Before, their version of taking action was buying a book to read about health and fitness. Now, their version of action is actually squatting and benching. There are many trials along this road, as the title implies. Some might be:

  • Your progress stalls in the gym, and you can’t figure out why.
  • You get blown out and embarrassed at parties, or some guy threatens to slit your throat for talking to his girlfriend (this happened to me).
  • You go through the cycles of self-development, and come to accept that they’re a normal part of growth
  • You struggle to invest money into your business or passion, wondering if you should just stop and “get a real job.”

But, the trials will be overcome. Trust me. I’ve overcome them, and you can, too. But there is still far more to come.

“Once having traversed the threshold, the hero moves in a dream landscape of curiously fluid, ambiguous forms, where he must survive a succession of trials. This is a favorite phase of the myth-adventure. It has produced a world literature of miraculous tests and ordeals. The hero is covertly aided by the advice, amulets, and secret agents of the supernatural helper whom he met before his entrance into this region.”

-Joseph Campbell, The Hero With a Thousand Faces


Trial #7 – The Meeting with the Goddess

Joseph Campbell hero's journey examples
The “Meeting with the Goddess” from Lord of the Rings

After a long and arduous series of trials, Jerry meets that perfect 10—he meets his dream girl. She’s feminine, nurturing, she loves to cook for him, they have amazing sex, and she showers his world in love and light.

“Finally!” Jerry thinks. “All of this hard work has paid off.” He’s finally found himself a beautiful girl who’s extremely feminine, supportive, and loyal. This will happen to you, as well—it’s a part of the journey. Women can sense when a man is doing great things, and when he’s on a path of self-development. They can literally sense it like a sixth sense.

This is when you will attract the most beautiful women in your life. Not when your “game” is at its best, because you’re trying for it to be at its best, but when you don’t even fucking think about your game, because it’s all natural to you now; when you don’t even care about women, because your life is so awesome.

But, Jerry isn’t done yet. The journey is still on its way. Sooner or later, this woman will likely test him. This may happen to you, as well. It may be the cute girl that you’ve had a crush on for years that you run into one day. Maybe she notices how much you’ve changed and express interest in you. You decide to grab coffee, hit it off, and end up falling in love.

Sometimes (and I’ll talk more about this later), you’ll go through multiple cycles. You’ll meet a girl who you’ll think is the goddess, but she’s actually only just really really hot. Then you’ll get burned. Then, you’ll go back to the basics. You’ll have to go back to the crossing of the threshold and re-immerse yourself in the basics, and go through the belly of the whale, again.

It’s a part of the process. There’s a lot of setbacks. Then, maybe you’ll meet another girl who’s even more amazing than the last…but she still isn’t the goddess. Or maybe you’ll meet woman as temptress (the next phase I talk about) first. Remember, these events sometimes happen out of order.

But the point is, that somewhere along the line, you’ll meet the female embodiment of the divine. But the thing to remember is this: NEVER forget, WHY she fell in love with you. This is where 99% of men fuck up and it’s why so many marriages are absolute garbage. So then, why did she fall in love with you? The answer is in #8.

“The meeting with the goddess (who is incarnate in every woman) is the final test of the talent of the hero to win the boon of love (charity: amor fati), which is life itself enjoyed as the encasement of eternity. And when the adventurer, in this context, is not a youth but a maid, she is the one who, by her qualities, her beauty, or her yearning, is fit to become the consort of an immortal.”

-Joseph Campbell, The Hero With a Thousand Faces


Trial #8 – Woman as Temptress

Joseph Campbell hero's journey examples
The polar opposite of the “Goddess”

What do you think often happens when a man first meets his dream girl? Do you think that they live happily ever after? Do you think that he stays on his path? Do you think that she just ceases to test him completely and everything works out perfectly?

Fuck, no. Most men actually relapse to their old chode-self when they fall in love with a beautiful woman. This is why, in many ways, the woman as temptress is the most difficult test for man to overcome.

This is where, as I said before, most men fuck up. She fell in love with you because you’re a confident, decisive, assertive man who’s on his purpose and doesn’t take shit from anyone. That’s how Jerry was.

BUT… Jerry starts seeing this “goddess” more and more, let’s call her Jess, he starts to become more and more dependent on her. He starts to skip going to the gym and working on his business, because he’d rather just fuck her all day. “Baby, please don’t go…” she whispers to him as they’re lying in bed. “But, Jess—I have to go to work.”

“Jerry, I don’t want to hear another word about work…I just want you to stay here with me :(” Now, this of course, is a shit test—on some level she wants Jerry to stay with her and continue to fuck her and cuddle with her, but deep down she really wants him to be a man and set a boundary.

If Jerry refuses to set a boundary, and he caves into her demands, eventually she’ll run the relationship and will break up with him. Jerry will then have to find another dream girl and this time around, set a boundary, in order to pass this test. Basically, this trial is just a giant version of a shit test. Once Jerry realizes this and passes it, he will have her everlasting love and will be free to move on.

This “Woman as Temptress,” stage can take different forms for many men. Sometimes, for example, it can be a man’s best friend’s girl trying to fuck him.

I remember in high school my best bud at the time was dating some whore. She was known for sleeping around with everyone, but somehow he just couldn’t see it. This girl would NOT stop giving me goo goo eyes and playing with her hair around me. Obviously it was tempting to hit on her, but I didn’t, because I didn’t want to hurt my friend. Was this a form of “woman as temptress”? Yes, I’d say it was.

You can encounter various stages in a different order than is presented, as I said before. But even so, you’ll likely encounter a larger version of the stage later on, once you’ve passed through the stages in the right order. For example, a while back (maybe 3-4 months ago) when I was deeply immersed in a period of self-development, I had 3-4 different girls hitting me up wanting to fuck each week.

It was EXTREMELY TEMPTING to just skip the gym, stop blogging, or skip meditating that day and have one of them over. But I didn’t. This is another example of “woman as temptress.” One last example, might be even more extreme. If you haven’t seen Conan the Barbarian and intend on watching it, there’s spoilers ahead.

Near the end of the movie, Conan and a beautiful thief named Valeria, fall in love. Then, one night, they’re captured by the King of the city they’ve traveled to. Conan expects to be killed for causing a ruckus, but instead the king spares his life and begs him (being a mighty warrior) to save his daughter, who’s been seduced by the leader of a dangerous, snake-worshiping cult. Conan gives the man his word that he will rescue his daughter.

That night, however, the thief that Conan fell in love with (Valeria) tells him not to go. She begs and pleads, worried that he will die; she sleeps with him, and awakes the next morning to find him gone.

This is an example of a man on a fucking purpose. This is the type of man that women are attracted to.

He didn’t let a woman sway him from his path. He was grateful that the king spared his life, and honored his request. And of course, Valeria only falls more in love with him, because of this. She realizes that he’s a man with a purpose, who cannot be swayed from his path.

Obviously this is a very extreme example, but you get the point. If you make it this far, you will experience an intense temptation from a woman, trying to sway you from your path.

And you have a choice to make: are you going to be a spineless bitch and cave in? Or are you going to be a fucking man and follow your journey to the end?

“The crux of the curious difficulty lies in the fact that our conscious views of what life ought to be seldom correspond to what life really is. Generally we refuse to admit within ourselves, or within our friends, the fullness of that pushing, self-protective, malodorous, carnivorous, lecherous fever which is the very nature of the organic cell. Rather, we tend to perfume, whitewash, and reinterpret; meanwhile imagining that all the flies in the ointment, all the hairs in the soup, are the faults of some unpleasant someone else. But when it suddenly dawns on us, or is forced to our attention that everything we think or do is necessarily tainted with the odor of the flesh, then, not uncommonly, there is experienced a moment of revulsion: life, the acts of life, the organs of life, woman in particular as the great symbol of life, become intolerable to the pure, the pure, pure soul. The seeker of the life beyond life must press beyond (the woman), surpass the temptations of her call, and soar to the immaculate ether beyond.”

-Joseph Campbell, The Hero With a Thousand Faces


Trial #9 – Atonement with the Father

Joseph Campbell hero's journey examples

The Father, in this case, can represent one of two things: that which holds the most power in your life, or your actual father (sometimes they’re one in the same). In mythology, this is often some sort of father figure, or god—human beings tend to unconsciously associate all-powerfulness with a strong male deity.

For modern man, he typically has to confront one of several things:

  • His father and family
  • The social narrative
  • His existential angst

Which one you need to confront in order to move onto the next phase will depend on your situation, but for the sake of simplicity let’s assume Jerry must confront his father and family. He’s angry that they brainwashed him into a beta male chode. He’s angry that they didn’t teach him simple life-changing habits, and that my blog was more of a father figure to him than anything else.

And they don’t condone of his “player lifestyle,” as they call it. They don’t realize that it’s within man’s nature to be polygamous; they’re still stuck within the social narrative of “find your true love 🙂 and marry her!” even though they’re probably in an unhappy marriage themselves.

Jerry must come to terms with this—and it will be extremely difficult. He will have to accept that his parents were complete losers who didn’t teach him what they should’ve taught him, and he needs to forgive them. This was one of the things that I had to confront. I was raised in a very anti-sex household. My parents would regularly cock-block me and prevent me from being alone with girls. It was absolutely horrible for my psychological development.

I was angry that they didn’t see things for how they were. They didn’t realize that you need to get a lot of experience dating women so that when you actually meet one you like, you’ll be attractive to her. They chastised me and acted as if I was a complete moron for wanting to have sex “before marriage,” and then played petty mind games with one another, because they were in an unhappy marriage.

I’m still working on coming to terms with this. But the point is that I will have to confront them about this eventually. And if you’re in the same situation as I am, you will too.

Some men may need to confront the social narrative—they need to fully accept that 99% of what society believes is absolute bullshit. Others need to confront their existential angst. This one is rather common nowadays. They must grapple with the question of why they did all of this improvement, when in the end it really doesn’t matter. They must confront their fear of dying and accept that their short life has meaning simply because it has meaning to us. Then, and only then, will they be able to move onto the next phase.

Either way, there comes a point in modern man’s life where he needs to confront that which he has repressed, that which has the most power over him, and that which has prevented him from accomplishing his goals.

“The problem of the hero going to meet the father is to open his soul beyond terror to such a degree that he will be ripe to understand how the sickening and insane tragedies of this vast and ruthless cosmos are completely validated in the majesty of Being. The hero transcends life with its peculiar blind spot and for a moment rises to a glimpse of the source. He beholds the face of the father, understands—and the two are atoned.”

-Joseph Campbell, The Hero With a Thousand Faces


Trial #10 – Apotheosis

Joseph Campbell hero's journey examples
Gandalf the Gray being reborn into Gandalf the White is a form of Apotheosis

Once a man has overcome his existential angst, confronted his beta male father, or fully come to accept that the social narrative is utter bullshit, it is not uncommon for him to go through another “Dark Knight of the Soul,” phase, also known as ego death. I’ve personally been through several, but each one becomes less and less intense (so far).

This dark night of the soul is essentially the final breath of the old, chode-self as it dies off, and the birth of a new, masculine personality. It can be quite painful, because the weaker parts of yourself that you’ve held onto your whole life die off. Man cannot rebirth himself without pain.

After Jerry confronts his family, he finally feels a deep psychological burden has been lifted off of him. It is for this reason, that he can access his “inner reward.” This is the stage at which modern man fully accepts the teachings of the manosphere; he is no longer a student, but rather, he’s starting to become the teacher.

“Those who know, not only that the Everlasting lies in them, but that what they, and all things, really are is the Everlasting, dwell in the groves of the wish fulfilling trees, drink the brew of immortality, and listen everywhere to the unheard music of eternal concord.”

-Joseph Campbell, The Hero With a Thousand Faces


Trial #11 – The Ultimate BoonJoseph Campbell hero's journey examples

Free of the constant nagging and judgment of his families’ voices, Jerry now experiences an almost constant state of contentment. Jerry has fully come to terms with his family’s lack of swallowing the red pill, just how brainwashed and backwards our society is, and his deep sense of existential angst.

And because he has confronted these deep inner turmoils, he is now free to do anything. He is burdened by the past no longer; this is an integral phase in Jerry’s self-development. Jerry now notices an intense focus and sense of inner power, that he has never felt before. He feels that he can accomplish anything; for if a man can confront his inner demons and come out alive, what can’t he do?

For you, it may be the sense of liberation you feel after you’ve confronted an idea, or a person that was previously holding you back. You’ll find yourself doing things with ease, that just a few months ago would’ve terrified you.

This is perhaps, the most subtle, yet the most profound of all of the phases. This is the reward at the end of the tunnel; the deep sense of accomplishment and peace that Jerry has sought his whole life…only to realize that it lies within him.

Jerry feels as if he is experiencing life for the first time. Now that he has been liberated from all of his repressed emotions, filters on reality, and self-judgments, he is free to view reality for what it really is. This gives him a great inner strength, that most only dream of.

He becomes an incredibly powerful force in the world; not because he has some sort of external power, but quite the opposite. He has internal power, which manifests itself through his decisions and actions. He has connected with the source of life itself: the human spirit.

“This is the miraculous energy of the thunderbolts of Zeus, Yahweh, and the Supreme Buddha, the fertility of the rain of Viracocha, the virtue announced by the bell rung in the Mass at the consecration, and the light of the ultimate illumination of the saint and sage. Its guardians dare release it only to the duly proven.”

-Joseph Campbell, The Hero With a Thousand Faces

Continue Reading Part 4 Here…

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Tom Arrow
7 years ago

This sent shivers down my spine. I dont agree with all of it (I see the goddess more as a metaphor representing the inner feminine, for instance), but still: Awesome.

7 years ago

I know you get a lot of people expressing their gratitude here, but still I want to say thank you for this blog.

It’s nice that you left your email, I’ll get in touch with you soon to ask some questions.


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