According to Carl Jung, founder of analytical psychology, the hero cycle motif is defined as a path from the self to a new identity. In order to grow, the hero must learn and develop through his/her experiences and surroundings. There are numerous types of journeys: including quests for love, for vengeance, for safety, and for identity. This theory applies to J.R.R. Tolkien’s trilogy, Lord of the Rings, and directly relates to my personal journey to
Bilbo Baggins had not a worry in the world besides what his next meal would be, until the ‘Wise Old Man’ Gandalf, informed Bilbo of his great potential for heroism. I began my journey much like the little hobbit did; swiftly, inexperienced, and to unfamiliar lands. Bilbo was accompanied by strange creatures and a wizard, while I was fortunate enough to travel with my younger sisters, father and grandmother. My grandfather had passed away this year and my grandmother was on her own quest.
As a vital part in any journey motif, challenges arise to test the hero. Bilbo fought a dragon and temptation over a powerful ring, showed mercy for a poor creature, and put his purpose above his needs. My challenges, no less demanding, included: courage and perseverance in the scorching 125 0F desert, empathizing at the ancient
We listened to Torah stories in the Ashkenazi synagogue in Tzfat,
As any enticing hero’s tale, Bilbo Baggins had a mentor: Gandalf the Wizard, who assisted the hobbit on his quest. My well-traveled father was my mentor, making sure that we became learned about the places we visited and the people we met along the way. As Bilbo Baggins’ journey abroad ended, and as they all must, my closure came all too soon. As Carl Jung wisely stated, the hero must learn and develop in order to grow, as I have. Through my experiences and challenges I developed a more powerful relationship with my sisters, father, and grandmother. Koach means strength in Hebrew. I didn’t realize it before we left, but my “vacation” was actually a quest for Koach. Physical, emotional, psychologic strength of character came from broadening my horizons and provided the adventures of a lifetime.
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