Searching for Lucidity and the Hero’s Journey

Lucidity Festivals invites you to follow a hero’s journey through a six year story arc taking all willing dreamers on an adventure of self-discovery, fostering connection to community and to our universe. The hero’s journey, also known as the monomyth, is based on the work of historical writer and mythologist, Joseph Campbell.  In thinking about our ongoing lucid dream together, we have been incredibly inspired by Campbell’s perspective.

We are also influenced by the work that has expanded Campbell’s writings to include the journey of the heroine. While the hero’s journey tends to be more interested in transformation of the individual, the heroine’s journey reminds us to situate such growth in the context of communal and collective transformation. Each of us, on our own adventures, follow a similar trajectory of expansion from individual consciousness to collective awareness. Within this shift, let us examine the foundations of Campbell’s hero’s journey as it relates to the first three years of our story and how it will take us into the next years .

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Joseph Campbell dedicated his life to comparative mythology. He was fascinated with how human beings tell stories and more importantly why we tell the stories we do. He’s deduced that many great narratives have protagonists who follow this monomyth cycle.
“People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances with our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.”

What am I doing here? How may I reveal my purpose? As a finite being, what is my relationship to the infinite? Over time, countless stories have emerged as a response to these questions. The underlying connection between them all is our need to express how we perceive our position in the universe. These stories can be anything from the first creation myths which we see in all cultures to the stories of the lives of Osiris, Moses or Buddha. When we evaluate the major themes in these stories we start to see patterns.

Looked at simply, the protagonist in the monomyth hears the call to adventure, embarks (purposefully or sometimes accidentally) on a quest and crosses a threshold from the known to the unknown. He is now nearing the center of his journey and experiences turmoil. There could be a near-death experience which generates a rebirth or revelation of some sort, our hero overcomes a great hardship and emerges with a revelation,  the new wisdom (or symbol of such wisdom) is now a part of him. The protagonist comes full circle when he returns with what Campbell calls the “gift of the goddess”. This can be anything from having slain a dragon, overcoming a personal fear, or accomplishments of a grander scale such as generating a new religion.

It can also happen on a smaller scale, in our daily lives: “There’s a fractal relationship with the cycle,” says Luke Holden, Lucidity co-founder and creative director. “Each day is the realization that we are going through a change. You might refuse the task. You might do it, you might seize the sword. In each day these characters and magic exist. We are constantly starting and ending.”

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“Awake in your dream” was the invitation of the first year. Artwork by Mark Goerner.

The framework of the monomyth was used to create the stages of the festival as follows:

The first stage/year one: Awake In Your Dreams. This is the first step in our lucid journey. We, as dreamers, realize we are dreaming and with this realization comes all the infinite potential held in the realms of the subconscious.

“This is our big bang,” says Luke, “ the star is born. This is a complete phase in terms of everything we need as being present. Within this wholeness however, something is missing, there is more we need to recognize.”

Michael Divine's Lucidity commissioned artwork from 2012 evokes one's expansion of consciousness through in relation to spirit animals.
Michael Divine’s Lucidity commissioned artwork from 2012 evokes one’s expansion of consciousness as we relate to our spirit animals.

The second year looks into understanding what more is needed in our hero’s journey. This stage we see The Totems Return. “ Here we look within the intentional…each person becomes cognizant of their experience. We see the totems and we learn how to accept our call to adventure. Through listening we have heard a calling. We will be guided in this journey.” This second phase transcends a threshold. Our path is now half in the ordinary world and in motion towards the extraordinary.

This year we will embark out and into the Universe. Here we experience a full transition from the natural world into the supernatural world. This is the full acceptance of our human archetypes and animal spirits. Here we learn how to completely commit ourselves to our Lucid family.  “This stage transcends earthly attachments” says Luke, “we begin to, perhaps for the first time, embody the full radius of our potential.”

This year we realize and give thanks to oneness. “We are made up of our strengths and our totems, and we realize that we are also comprised of everything. Our intentional camper is now asked: ‘what star family are you from?’… an exploration into your universal celestial self. This concludes the third chapter.”

Year four is Kindred Quest and is seen as the halfway mark. “We’re out in the Universe and it’s time to get back home.” says Luke. But to get back home we ask ourselves what is home? We, as lucid voyagers will need to look deeply into society and thoroughly explore our conceptions of the past, present and future. Starting from a strong personal foundation we can move forward.

“Once you start from there, in personal understanding, we are awake, essentially we are completely awake, and from this standpoint we are strong enough to analyze where we have been and where we want to go. Tapping into a wisdom that comes from all cultures. This is the kindred quest.”

The fifth year we find ourselves at Crossroads. We examine the present. What in our world today might we need to confront? What scares us? We must take action. We take responsibility for where we are now and we do not blame others. We acknowledge we are on a threshold.

672_CampbellsHeroJourneyChartThe final stage is Eudaimonia, wich means “having a good indwelling spirit”  and embodies all human flourishing. We as lucid dreamers have done the work, the soul-searching. We have overcome hardships. We have contemplated our place in the world, identified our star families, given thanks to our animal spirit guides and done what we can to help others along their voyages. We recognize oneness and are now able to connect deeply with our awakened brothers and sisters. But we are never done… and that’s good news. We are not on a linear journey, we are on a cyclical one and we come full circle- back to awakening. Ready to embark on another journey, as the awakened soul is never done searching.

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