The Hero’s Journey: Ultimate list of Quotes by Joseph Cambell and More

Joseph Campbell, a noted expert on mythology, laid out the basic elements of this concept in his book The Hero’s Journey. (Read more about the hero’s journey here.)

It’s the outline for all of the hero story arcs that you are familiar with: the protagonist goes on an adventure, faces many challenges, overcomes a great obstacle, and brings the gifts earned back home.

The hero’s journey is something that all human beings experience. If you take a moment to think about everything you’ve done, how you managed to face and overcome any situation which almost made you give up your goals or dreams, and how kind you’ve been to others in your life to date, I am confident that deep down, you are a hero.

The following is a collection of quotes about The Hero’s Journey. Many taken from the works of Joseph Campbell but also includes other authors that are referencing his work. 

The hero journey is inside of you; tear off the veils and open the mystery of your self.

Every time you are willing to say “Yes” to everything on your path, you express the hero inside of you.

At one time or another we are all called to leave the safety of our homes, the certainty of what we know, the illusions of who we are. Not everyone will heed this call, of course. And those who do will risk losing themselves completely. But if we choose to ignore the invitation, we risk never knowing who we might have become. We risk dying without knowing what it is to live.

Sometimes a journey is not about the traveler. It is not about a destination. It is about the bringing together of worlds. It is about lighting a path.

What I think is that a good life is one hero journey after another. Over and over again, you are called to the realm of adventure, you are called to new horizons. Each time, there is the same problem: do I dare? And then if you do dare, the dangers are there, and the help also, and the fulfillment or the fiasco. There's always the possibility of fiasco. But there's also the possibility of bliss.

The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.

We are on the hero's journey when we submit to the deep processes of life and allow them to affect us and bore their necessities into us. We are the hero when we take on the challenges and go through our initiations and transformations, enduring loss and gain, feeling happy and sad, making progress and falling back. The hero is engaged in life The hero is not the one who displays force and muscle without deep insight or the courage to be. The hero may not look heroic from the outside but may go through powerful developments in a quiet way. The difference is that the real hero engages life and reflects on it. She becomes more and more what he or she is destined to be.

The ultimate task is to get people to see their own lives in terms of the hero’s journey and become heroes themselves. Imagine a Heroic World where everyone is a hero. It would be so much better than the Cowards’ World humanity currently inhabits. People must be able to see where they themselves are on the great journey. Are they stuck? Are they going backwards? What’s blocking their progress? Society should be about making everyone a hero, a god, and showing them exactly how to do it. We start out from the archetypal level of story (Mythos) and end by teaching philosophy, science and mathematics (Logos). Things succeed when everyone gets the message fast, it resonates with them, and they go out and spread it on their own initiative.

Furthermore, we have not even to risk the adventure alone; for the heroes of all time have gone before us; the labyrinth is thoroughly known; we have only to follow the thread of the hero-path. And where we had thought to find an abomination, we shall find a god; where we had thought to slay another, we shall slay ourselves; where we had thought to travel outward, we shall come to the center of our own existence; and where we had thought to be alone, we shall be with all the world.

For we have not even to risk the adventure alone, for the heros of all time have gone before us.

The call to adventure signifies that destiny has summoned the hero.

You enter the forest at the darkest point, where there is no path. Where there is a way or path, it is someone else's path. You are not on your own path. If you follow someone else's way, you are not going to realize your potential.

The journey of the hero is about the courage to seek the depths; the image of creative rebirth; the eternal cycle of change within us; the uncanny discovery that the seeker is the mystery which the seeker seeks to know. The hero journey is a symbol that binds, in the original sense of the word, two distant ideas, the spiritual quest of the ancients with the modern search for identity, “always the one, shape-shifting yet marvelously constant story that we find.

There is what I would call the hero journey, the night sea journey, the hero quest, where the individual is going to bring forth in his life something that was never beheld before.

The call to adventure signifies that destiny has summoned the hero and transferred his spiritual center of gravity from within the pale of this society to a zone unknown.

Breaking out is following your bliss pattern, quitting the old place, starting your hero journey, following your bliss. You throw off yesterday as the snake sheds its skin.

While the hero journeys for external fame, fortune, and power, the heroine tries to regain her lost creative spirit… Once she hears the cries of this lost part of herself needing rescue, her journey truly begins.

[The hero’s] personal ambitions being totally dissolved, he no longer tries to live but willingly relaxes to whatever may come to pass in him.

The first problem of the returning hero is to accept as real … the banalities and noisy obscenities of life?

It’s time to depart on the long, hard road to find our Higher Selves. It’s time to separate ourselves from the ordinary world that has ensnared us with its trivial concerns and easy, disposable pleasures that reach their sell-by date almost as soon as they are touched. It’s time to cross the threshold that separates the world of Common Day from the extraordinary world. The hero’s path is right there in front of us, all marked out for us, yet it’s a path that few will be taking. You want an extraordinary life? Then what are you going to do that is extraordinary? You want to be a hero? Then do something heroic. Take that first step into the Unknown Country and begin the process of transforming yourself from base metal into gold. The hero monomyth is the supreme act of alchemy that takes the prima materia (the primary material) – ourselves – and purifies and perfects it until it shines, glints and gleams like the gold of God.

Isaac Cotec
Isaac Cotec
Creator of HeroRise, Isaac Cotec has dedicated his life to empowering others through art and creativity. He is a scholar of the subconscious and has studied the power of symbolism to help create enduring change.