The Beginning & The End: The Zero Step of The Hero’s Journey

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If this series is new to you, I suggest you watch this episode before moving onto The Call to Adventure. The beginning is the end, the end is the beginning.

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Hello, Spiritual Seekers, and welcome to the final Hero’s Journey episode of Think Spiritual Podcasts.


No. No, that’s not right at all. It’s a grande finale, but not a final episode because I have a bonus episode in the works and I want to specify here that while this is the Last Step and last episode of the steps of the Hero’s Journey, it’s also what I call the “Zero Step” of the Journey.


Every Hero’s Journey ends at Normal Existence. Every Hero’s Journey begins from Normal Existence.


What is a little unfortunate at this time is that I had planned to have more of a party atmosphere in the podcast room to celebrate the end of this particular journey.


Goddamn you, COVID-19! I wanted models to join me in the studio for this episode! Although, I really didn’t think through what it would sound like to try to hire models to shoot an internet video in my basement.




Hello, Spiritual Seekers! Once again, I’m your host, Mark and this is, indeed, the grande finale of Think Spiritual Podcasts’ Hero’s Journey series.


You’ve all been incredible Heroes for sticking with me throughout this Journey and I’m going to pat myself on the back here and say that I’ve been an incredible Hero to have completed this series. If you knew me well, you would know that this is quite the milestone. I’ve never stuck to any project for 2 years. Hell, I’ve rarely stuck to projects or hobbies for 2 months.


I never expected that the Hero’s Journey would become the driving force behind almost every episode of this podcast and I didn’t expect the Hero’s Journey series to become a Hero’s Journey of its own.


You can hear and see the progress I made through each episode as my writing improved, as my presentation improved, as I kept changing my podcast room to make it easier to work in. I learned my own personal lessons through each step and learned to be a better podcaster and YouTuber. 


And now, here we are at the end. Which is also the beginning.


The Hero’s Journey could be considered as a circle or as a loop. I have heard it referred to as a spiral that climbs upward: as you reach the end of one circle of the spiral, you can look down and see where you’ve come from. I do quite like that analogy, but I personally prefer to think of the Hero’s Journey as a wheel.


Wheel’s allow us to travel. They can move forwards or backwards, they can become stuck, they can break and they can be changed. Hopefully we have very few of those breakdowns and a lot more forward motion.


This Hero’s Journey series began at step 1 with The Call to Adventure and it has slowly rotated to move us forward to step 17, Freedom to Live. Which leaves us here – at what I am calling the zero step: Normal Existence.


In one sense, this is no longer Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey as his model doesn’t include this step, but I have inferred the idea from his work and other Hero’s Journey models.


Normal Existence is the place where every Hero’s Journey begins from and it is where every Hero’s Journey ends. Every Call to Adventure beckons us out of the normal life we are living and the Freedom to Live encourages us to go and live fully and peacefully in the real world.


Every adventurer must leave home and must return home.


But this doesn’t mean that home is the same as it was.


One of the biggest adventures I often refer to is the Lord of the Rings. Every character in that story answers a Call to Adventure, leaves their home and must eventually return home and live peacefully.


As I pointed out in episode 13 of this series: The Magic Flight, the entire Lord of the Rings series is Aragorn’s return journey to Gondor and his taking up of the throne of the king.


Early in his life Aragorn answered a Call to Adventure, left Gondor and spent many years on his own Hero’s Journey. We aren’t shown what his early Normal Existence in Gondor was like, but he obviously wasn’t king of the realm. So, he returns many years later, is crowned king and his new Normal Existence begins – and I’m guessing that new Normal Existence would be, at times, more difficult than his life of adventure had been.


Meanwhile, Mister Samwise Gamgee returned home to the Shire, got married, had children and is living a mild and peaceful existence. The same Sam Gamgee whom the King of Gondor had called “my friend” and said needed to bow to no one is now living the most domestic of lifestyles.


Normal Existence doesn’t mean that your Normal Existence has to be boring or unimportant, but it doesn’t have to be all excitement and intrigue either.


The point I’m trying to make here is that whether you are royalty or priesthood or a hero that saved the world or an enlightened guru, you still have to go out and get the groceries and walk the dog and vacuum and do dishes and play with the kids and clean gross stuff off the floor.


So, what’s the point then? If you still have to do all of that stuff, what’s the point in taking the Hero’s Journey?


And here is my answer:


When you hear your Call to Adventure encouraging you to leave your Normal Existence, you may Refuse the Call at first. You may eventually accept the Call or Supernatural Aid may kick down your door and drag you there, but eventually you will leave your Normal Existence and Cross the First Threshold of the Journey.


You’ll have a death of your old self in the Belly of the Whale and you’ll be reborn on your Road of Trials.


You’ll Meet with the Goddess when you fully connect with your emotional centre and Temptation will come to convince you that you’ve done enough and that your Journey is already done.


But, you’re not done. It’s time to Atone with the Father and rise to the heights of your potential with another death and rebirth: your Apotheosis moment. And once that is achieved you are most likely to attain what you’ve always sought, the Ultimate Boon, even if you didn’t know it was what you needed most.


Now comes the time to Return to the Normal Existence and it’s understandable that you may Refuse to Return, but at some point you must and your Magic Flight will begin.


You will most likely need some help along the way and I promise that some kind of Rescue from Without will always be available to you. And once you Cross that Return Threshold I hope you really do become a Master of Two Worlds, but if you have to go on another Hero’s Journey or two or three or more before you get there, well, that’s understandable as well.


Whether you Master the Two Worlds or not, there will be a time of peace for you and you will be given the Freedom to Live your life in the moment, without the regrets of the past or the worries of the future – at least for a time.


And your Normal Existence will be waiting for you once again – with all of the excitement and mundane that it always contained. All the stuff you used to do before you went on your Hero’s Journey will still have to be done. The basics of living haven’t changed.


But you have changed and that is the point of your Journey, my Dear Heroes.


You have changed.


And your perspective has changed.


And your understanding of the world has changed.


And by changing your Self, you absolutely will have changed your world – your Normal Existence – into something new and different.


Now go and continue to live a Heroic existence. There are more Journeys ahead for you to take. Or not. After all, it’s your life to live.


You have all the weapons and knowledge you need within you. I will see you on all the past, present and future episodes of Think Spiritual Podcasts.

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