In previous journal entries, I talked about The Call to Adventure
, and Refusal of the Call
This - the third - stage of the hero’s journey is where helpers arrive to support the hero in her quest.
"It all depends on what you want, you can trust us to stick to you through thick and thin - to the bitter end.
And you can trust us to keep any secret of yours - closer than you keep it yourself.
But you cannot trust us to let you face trouble alone, and go off without a word. We are your friends, Frodo."
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
Helpers can take various forms – think about fellow travelers, BFFs, allies, sidekicks, comrades-in-arms.
In truly epic quests, the hero is often supported by a band of companions, who make up for the hero’s own deficiencies, or who are there to cheer the hero along, or have very useful skills in swordsmanship or dragon diplomacy, or who are simply such engagingly bumbling idiots that the hero cannot help but shine by comparison.
Even the bumbling idiots, though, usually have something to teach the hero, something she can learn from.
Sidekicks are a very specific genre of Helper.
They are often smaller, sillier, and somewhat annoying.
If this is a Disney movie, they may be a teacup, or a candlestick, or something equally useless on a real quest.
The most powerful Helper is, of course, the Mentor, Guide, or Teacher.
This is usually someone older, wiser, who has walked this path before you, and has a great deal of advice to offer – much of it obscure and cryptic.
Sometimes Mentors can offer supernatural aid, sometimes they just tell you to “wax on, wax off”.
Almost always, though, Mentors call forth something in you that you did not know you were capable of.
Also, invariably, at some point in the quest, your Mentor will step aside, or abandon you. Perhaps, even, they will die.
And alone and finally courageous, you will leap into your own heroism.
So, what is the quest you are on, in your own hero’s journey, right now?
Finding your true destiny as an artist?
Dealing with pain, illness, or death?
Undertaking a huge adventure in a gap year overseas?
Reinventing your life, looking for a new job, starting a new venture?
Trying to discover, before it is too late, what it means to be the hero of your own story?
Whatever it is, you can be sure that there is a Samwise Gamgee, a Gandalf, a true companion (or two or three) who will be there to accompany you on the quest.
You are not alone.
“When the student is ready, the teacher will arrive."