"The hero's main feat is to overcome the monster of darkness: it is the long-hoped-for and expected triumph of consciousness over the unconscious. [The Psychology of the Child Archetype," CW 9i, para. 284.]"Mythologically, the hero's goal is to find the treasure, the princess, the ring, the golden egg, elixir of life, etc. Psychologically these are metaphors for one's true feelings and unique potential. In the process of individuation, the heroic task is to assimilate unconscious contents as opposed to being overwhelmed by them. The potential result is the release of energy that has been tied up with unconscious complexes." (Sharp, 1991) [Read more]
The hero myth is an unconscious drama seen only in projection, like the happenings in Plato's parable of the cave. [The Dual Mother," CW 5, para. 612.]
The hero symbolizes a man's unconscious self, and this manifests itself empirically as the sum total of all archetypes and therefore includes the archetype of the father and of the wise old man. To that extent the hero is his own father and his own begetter [Ibid., par. 516.]
Hero: "Of attempts not merely to delineate patterns but also to determine the origin, function, and subject matter of hero myths, the most important have been by the Viennese psychoanalyst Otto Rank (1884-1939), the American mythographer Joseph Campbell (1904-1987), and the English folklorist Lord Raglan (1885-1964). Rank later broke irreparably with Sigmund Freud, but when he wrote The Myth of the Birth of the Hero (1909) [trans. 1914], he was a Freudian apostle. While Campbell was never a full-fledged Jungian, he wrote The Hero with a Thousand Faces (1949) as a kindred soul of C. G. Jung. Raglan wrote The Hero (1936) as a theoretical ally of James Frazer. Because Raglan's approach is nonpsychological and even anti-psychological, his will not be considered here.” (p. 1050). [Read more]
Hero with an African face: [re: Campbell's The Hero with a Thousand Faces]: "He wrote his book during the late 1930s and published it after World War II, in 1949. In the next decades, as world religion and myth studies expanded, partly due to his books, his earlier approach came to seem preliminary and lacking in scope. For example, he had not included the newly feminist approach to heroines and goddesses. So Maureen Murdock wrote The Heroine's Journey in 1990. Africana scholars called attention to more mythic themes in Africa, so Clyde W. Ford learned Swahili, travelled to Africa for extensive research, and wrote The Hero with an African Face: Mythic Wisdom of Traditional Africa in 1999. Ford sought to find African myths that can help heal the shadowy pain of African-American slavery. Such expansions of Campbell's theory can be seen either as the emergence into consciousness of new elements in Campbell's large archetypal theme, or alternate patterns." (p. 1053). [Read more]"
Heroine’s Journey, The: "In 1990, Maureen Murdock wrote The Heroine's Journey: Woman's Quest for Wholeness as a response to Joseph Campbell's model. Murdock, a student of Campbell's work, felt his model failed to address the specific psycho-spiritual journey of contemporary women. She developed a model describing the cyclical nature of the female experience. Campbell's response to her model was, "Women don't need to make the journey. In the whole mythological tradition the woman is there. All she has to do is to realize that she's the place that people are trying to get to" (Campbell 1981). That may be true mythologically as the hero or heroine seeks illumination, but psychologically, the journey of the contemporary heroine involves different stages." [Read more]” (p. 1057). [Read more]
Jung, C. G. (1966). The technique and differentiation between
the ego and the figures of the unconscious (R. F. C. Hull, Trans.). In H. Read et al. (Eds.), The collected works of C. G. Jung: Vol. 7. Two essays on analytical psychology (2nd ed., pp. 212-226). Princeton University Press. (Original work published 1928)
Jung, C. G. (1966). The mana-personality (R. F. C. Hull, Trans.). In H. Read et al. (Eds.), The collected works of C. G. Jung: Vol. 7. Two essays on analytical psychology (2nd ed., pp. 227-241). Princeton University Press. (Original work published 1928)
Jung, C. G. (1970). Mind and earth (R. F. C. Hull, Trans.). In H. Read et al. (Eds.), The collected works of C. G. Jung: Vol. 8. Civilization in transition (2nd ed., pp. 29-49). Princeton University Press. (Original work published 1931) https://doi.org/10.1515/9781400850976.29
Addenbrooke, M. (2015). Saying goodbye to the hero: Jung, Liber Novusand conversion from addiction. The Journal of Analytical Psychology, 60(3), 371–389.
Two chapters in Liber Novus throw fresh light on Jung’s epistemology of addiction. Taking these as a starting point, the nature of the challenges that patients confront in leaving addiction behind are explored. It is suggested that an archetypal process of separation is constellated at the point of quitting as the precursor to a life without the object of the addiction. A short account is given of Jung’s part in the inception of Alcoholics Anonymous and the potential role of a ‘conversion experience’ as an initiation into psychological reorientation away from the negative individuation experienced by the hero. The case of a patient addicted to heroin illustrates the contribution of an analytic approach in an NHS setting, along with other workers in a rehabilitation centre. Certain challenges of working with addicted people are outlined, including arousal of the psychotherapist’s rescue fantasies.
Byrne, M. L. (2000). Heroes and Jungians. The San Francisco Jung Institute Library Journal, 18(3), 13–37.
The hero has played a seminal role in the history of Jungian psychology, as elsewhere in Western culture. In this paper I will explore the importance of the hero in both of these contexts, paying particular attention to his relationship to masculinity and death. Taking as my starting point the importance of the attempt to overcome death in hero myths, I will argue that this has led, in European cultures, to heroics constituting a one-sided initiation into manhood, when they are not balanced by the experience of symbolic death; that Jungians have sometimes perpetuated and sometimes subverted this pattern of masculinity characteristic of the West; and that current attempts by feminists and men’s movement writers to “kill off” the hero as an aggressive, immature and anachronistic figure are misguided (and unlikely to succeed) unless they deal with the importance of symbolic death in the making of men.
Covington, C. (1989). In search of the heroine. Journal of Analytical Psychology, 34(3), 243–254. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1465-5922.1989.00243.x
The article discusses the concept of “heroine” in analytical psychology. The archetypical image of the hero is familiar and has been described extensively in analytical psychology. There is, however, no reference in these works to “heroine” nor any description as to who she might be or what characterizes her. We are left to assume, along with the Oxford English Dictionary, that “heroine” is the feminine form of hero, or in other words, a female hero. The concept of the “heroine” is relatively recent as compared with that of the “hero,” and the term “heroine” was not used in Homeric or classical Greek literature until it appears for the first time, used ironically, in Aristophanes’s play, “Clouds.”
Gee, H. (1985). The hero-self. The Journal of Analytical Psychology, 30(3), 239–241. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1465-5922.1985.00239.x
Discusses whether the term self should be capitalized and suggests that the desire to do so is motivated mostly by the hero part of an individual’s aim to rescue the self from the effects of narcissistic damage. It is suggested that the purpose of the hero in this context is to redirect the libido outwards in a quest for an object that will reinstate the individual’s sense of power. Only when there has been some measure of success can this omnipotent ideal be sacrificed. The part of the individual that wants to capitalize self wants to possess by definition as opposed to leaving it to the individual context.
Meier, I. (2021b). The classic, banished, and negative hero. Jung Journal, 15(1), 36–48. https://doi.org/10.1080/19342039.2021.1862593
This paper describes some of the changes in the image of the hero over the last one hundred years beginning with the rise of the theoretical understanding of the hero, initially described by Leo Frobenius, Otto Rank, Sigmund Freud, and C. G. Jung, with a focus on how C. G. Jung described the classic hero archetype. This image of the hero is juxtaposed to current cultural images, where a “de-heroizing” and psychologizing of the hero predominates, as exemplified by the use of the terms banished and negative hero in the psychoanalytic literature of André Green and Harri Virtanen.
Pereira, H. C. (2018). The weariness of the hero: Depression and the self in a civilization in transition. The Journal of Analytical Psychology, 63(4), 420–439. https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-5922.12426
Abstract: According to the World Health Organization, depression is currently the leading cause of disability, which is of great concern worldwide; however there is much dispute about depression and its causes. This article raises the hypothesis that depression could be related to an increase or inflation of ego‐consciousness, which, in turn, is inseparable from the development of modernity. The ‘hero’, symbol of this historical process of self‐consciousness and autonomy, stands now wearied and disoriented. The paper outlines how, in this cultural scene, certain ideas from Carl Jung’s and James Hillman’s depth psychologies may be useful in addressing the issue: the rediscovery of figures of the other through the analysis of the unconscious (Jung) and associating with others in groups imbued with communal sense (Hillman) could help the depressed individual to mitigate his or her inflated ego‐consciousness. These are two complementary ways of experiencing the conglomerate nature of the self, thus promoting the process of individuation.
Steele, R. S., & Swinney, S. V. (1978). Zane Grey, Carl Jung and the journey of the hero. The Journal of Analytical Psychology, 23(1), 63–89. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1465-5922.1978.00063.x
The article discusses the use of archetypal images in the works of American writer Zane Grey and psychologist Carl Gustav Jung. Grey’s novels about the American West have become classics of popular literature. Any book liked by great numbers of people might be assumed to have some universal quality which contributes to its wide appeal. Carl Jung writes about the fundamental similarities among images that evoke strong emotions in people. Jung calls these archetypal images, and sees them as an expression of the collective unconscious. Archetypal elements appear here and there in many of Zane Grey’s Western, but one novel, “Wanderer of the Wasteland” stands out immediately from all the others.
Vaughan, R. A. (2020). The hero versus the initiate: The Western ego faced with climate chaos. Journal of Jungian Scholarly Studies, 15, 48–62. https://doi.org/10.29173/jjs125s
The chaos caused by the global climate crisis is in the news in many forms and has also entered the consulting room: clients are increasingly naming their fear, despair, rage, and experience of impotence in the face of the unknown. This paper builds on the work of G. Albrecht and J. Bernstein, to investigate how we can face our feelings about climate crisis and live through this time without resorting to unhelpful defenses that block our ability to be present, engaged and effective. It examines the unconscious beliefs, habitual patterns, and defenses of the Western ego, which it presents as the mindset of Economism and the Capitalocene, and investigates its identification with the hero archetype. It pays homage to indigenous analyses of the issue in the work of J. Forbes and I Merculieff, and draws on the work of eco-ethical thinkers such as K. D. Moore, J. Butler, and A. L. Tsing, to suggest that the archetype of the initiate may be a better guide as we move into the uncertain, contingent future.