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What is stage 7 of Joseph Campbell’s hero’s journey? What does the “meeting with the goddess” signify?
The meeting with the goddess is the stage of the hero’s journey when the hero encounters the goddess, the mother figure who is the epitome of beauty and represents the feminine ideal in all its aspects. The meeting with the goddess is stage 7 of Joseph Campbell’s hero’s journey, from The Hero with a Thousand Faces.
We’ll cover what the meeting with the goddess entails and look at an example of a hero meeting with the goddess.
Connection with Our Subconscious
Removed from the confines of their safe and familiar world, the mythological hero now confronts a land of symbolic and allegorical figures—according to the psychoanalysts, the same imagery we see in our dreams. Just as the images are instrumental in helping the hero achieve their transformation, they are also puzzles that each of us must unlock in order to understand what our subconscious is trying to tell us.
Stage 6: The Meeting with the Goddess
In mythology, the hero’s journey often requires entering the underworld or the land of the dead.
The ultimate adventure often comes through the marriage of the hero to the goddess. The goddess is the epitome of beauty and represents the feminine ideal in all its aspects—mother, sister, mistress, and bride. She is the ultimate hope for the hero, assuring him that he will be returned to the blissful world he knew before the journey. This is the classic maternal goddess figure, the “good” mother. This is the meeting with the goddess.
Sometimes, the goddess assumes both forms of good mother and bad mother (stage 8, woman as temptress)—either a decrepit hag who transforms into a beautiful maiden, or vice versa. Only the truly perceptive hero can fully discover the mysterious nature of womankind when meeting with the goddess. The hero who can show her the right type of kindness is the one truly worthy of being king or even reincarnated God.
Meeting with the Goddess Example: Niall
In an ancient legend of Ireland, five brother princes separately come across an ugly old woman at the bottom of a well. This is the stage of meeting with the goddess. Looking for water to drink, each brother, in turn, asks her if they can drink from her well. She says they may, but only on the condition that they give her a kiss. The first four refuse, remarking that they would rather die of thirst than put their lips to her hideous countenance.
The fifth brother, Niall, consents to the woman’s request and kisses her. After he does so, she transforms into the most beautiful woman in the world. She reveals herself to be the living embodiment of Royal Rule and tells Niall that he has earned the right to his father’s kingdom. He has shown himself willing to embrace the ugly and the beautiful, as a good and noble king should.
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Here's what you'll find in our full The Hero with a Thousand Faces summary:
- How the Hero's Journey reappears hundreds of times in different cultures and ages
- How we attach our psychology to heroes, and how they help embolden us in our lives
- Why stories and mythology are so important, even in today's world