The Spiral, the Heroine & Coming Full Circle

The Great Circle of Life by ATHEA DAVIS

The Spiral as a model for personal development through change

I like to approach the idea of change and psychological development as going through stages inside a spiral. Like walking a spiral path into a labyrinth towards the centre and then back out again. I find it helpful to describe the process in the form of a spiral rather than a straight line, or even a circle. Especially when we feel ‘like going in circles’ I recommend visualizing the journey as a spiral because we never end up at the same spot that we started from. Instead, we arrive at a higher plane of consciousness or awareness to continue our journey after going through another cycle of change and development.

The Hero’s Journey Model of Personal Growth

The hero’s journey is a metaphor for the broader human experience of growth, transformation, and self-discovery. It is a narrative structure that reflects the universal aspects of the human psyche and the challenges individuals face in their personal development. Originally identified by Joseph Campbell (who was influenced by Carl Jung’s perspective on myth), the hero’s journey involves a protagonist who embarks on an adventure, faces trials and tribulations, undergoes profound transformation, and ultimately returns home with newfound wisdom and insights, outlined in his 1949 publication “The Hero with a Thousand Faces”.

Metaphorically, the hero’s journey can represent the cyclical nature of life, the recurring quest for identity and purpose, and the universal struggles and triumphs inherent in the human condition. It serves as a template for understanding the challenges, conflicts, and personal growth that individuals encounter on their life paths. The various stages mirror the psychological and emotional journey that we undergo as individuals as we navigate the complexities of change.

The various stages of the hero’s journey—such as the call to adventure, meeting mentors, facing tests and trials, experiencing a crisis, and achieving a transformation—mirror the psychological and emotional journey that we undergo as we navigate the complexities of our own lives. Ultimately, the hero’s journey is a powerful metaphor for the perpetual cycle of self-discovery, resilience, and evolution that characterizes our human experience.

Model of the Hero's Journey as a spiral - source: Thearetical Concepts

The Heroine's Journey vs. The Hero's Journey

“Maureen Murdock is generally regarded as the first to chart an alternative to Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey narrative paradigm that she believed is more appropriate for women’s life journeys (described in her book ‘The Heroine’s Journey: Woman’s Quest for Wholeness’, published in 1990). 

As a student of Campbell’s, Murdock, came to believe that the Hero’s Journey model did not adequately address the psycho-spiritual journey of women…”

Heroine’s Journey Arc by Maureen Murdock

The Heroine’s Journey typically focuses on personal transformation and relationships, whereas the Hero’s Journey often emphasizes individual achievement and conquest. The Heroine’s Journey includes a connection with community and is more about internal growth, while the Hero’s Journey is action-oriented, facing external challenges.

The internal growth focus in the Heroine’s Journey emphasizes emotional healing, self-discovery, and the development of inner strength. It often involves confronting personal fears, reevaluating beliefs, and nurturing relationships, leading to a transformed and more authentic sense of self.

The Role of Community in the Heroine’s Journey

In the Heroine’s Journey archetype, community plays a vital role. It provides a support network that fosters the heroine’s growth. The community often serves as a mirror reflecting the heroine’s internal changes and as a catalyst for her transformation through shared experiences and wisdom.

My Approach to the Hero(ine's) Journey

In my holistic life coaching practice I work with the symbolism of the hero(ine)’s journey in my own way:

In essence, I see the Heroine’s Journey as a cyclical and transformative process that invites women to embrace their unique narratives, face challenges with resilience, and emerge empowered, authentic, and transformed. It acknowledges the depth of the feminine psyche and experience and celebrates the strength derived from self-discovery and personal growth.

I believe that all women are undeniably heroines. Imagine your life as a captivating saga, with every challenge and triumph shaping you into the resilient and wise heroine of your own story. My approach is all about recognizing and celebrating the unique strengths within each of you, guiding you through a transformative journey that mirrors the archetypal hero(ine)’s path. In this spirit I am currently creating a new live workshop series centered around the themes of “Transition” and “Transformation,” inspired by the myth of Persephone. These workshops will be a space for deep exploration, growth, and connection, and I can’t wait to connect with with you this Fall.


New Live Workshop Series coming Fall 2024