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Dorothy, Circles, and The Hero’s Journey

Circles USA Founder & CEO, Scott C. Miller speaking at the Circles USA International Conference, “This is your call to adventure!”

 

Sometimes the worst time of our life sets us up for the best time of our life. By looking at mythological stories from around the world and throughout history, Joseph Campbell mapped out the universal story that all humans live and called it the Hero’s Journey. The Wizard of Oz is an iconic Hero’s Journey.

The journey begins with the call to adventure. Dorothy decides to leave home. She then refuses the call—after being fooled by the soon-to-be-wizard– to go back home. But as life would have it, she is tossed into the air by an unexpected tornado, her familiar world now completely upside down. She is dropped into the unknown world of munchkins, witches, and a yellow brick road.

With no seeming ability to return home anytime soon, she receives guidance from Glinda, the witch of the north. Dorothy sets off on the yellow brick road. She soon meets her circle of allies—scarecrow, tin man, and lion. Metaphorically, they are brains, heart, and brawn. But doubt lessens each of them as Dorothy and her allies make their way to see the wizard to claim their brains, heart, brawn and the way back home.

We all know how the story ends. Dorothy meets the wizard only to see that he was not the way home she thought he was to be. Instead, her guide the good witch Glinda shows up to tell her she always had the power inside herself to return home.

The Wizard of Oz contains all of these main chapters of the Hero’s Journey: Call to Adventure, Refusal of the Call, Assistance to Accept the Call, Trials and Tribulations (as in the wicked witch of the west), Guidance, The Emotional Reward (treasuring home and family in the case of Dorothy), and Returning Home with more wisdom and a desire to share the lessons learned with others.

As people’s homes come spinning down into our Circles’ communities, they are often very distressed, disoriented, and reluctant to walk on the new road. As they continue to walk into the unknown, their allies show up, guidance is given, and the emotional reward that can only come from taking up the adventure makes the experience worth it all. Sometimes the worst of life can become the beginning of the best of life. So it is for everyday heroes.

Scott Miller

 

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