Top 25 Joseph Campbell Journey Quotes

Everything out of Joseph Campbell’s mouth seemed poetic and prophetic.  In this blog, we look at the Top 25 Joseph Campbell Journey Quotes. He was an American author and professor who studied world mythology, religion and literature and interwove the themes into the archetypes of the hero’s journey.  I was impacted at such a young age by his words.  In high school, I would add to every signature and note  with the words “follow your bliss.”  It was a line from one of his most infamous quotes.  Attached is a link to a PBS special, the first in a series of an interview with Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers.  The interview series was so profound, that it became a book.

Campbell is known for his work on The Hero’s Journey.  I find every pilgrimage we choose to embark is a heroic journey, and the themes found in some of the quotes below capture all of this in a profound way.  (If you want to read more of what you need for a pilgrimage, check out this blog )

Top 25 Joseph Campbell Journey Quotes

  1. “If the path before you is clear, you’re probably on someone else’s.” 

2. “The usual hero adventure begins with someone from whom something has been taken, or who feels there is something lacking in the normal experience available or permitted to the members of society. The person then takes off on a series of adventures beyond the ordinary, either to recover what has been lost or to discover some life-giving elixir. It’s usually a cycle, a coming and a returning.” 

3. “We’re not on our journey to save the world but to save ourselves. But in doing that you save the world. The influence of a vital person vitalizes.” 

4. “Your sacred space is where you can find yourself over and over again.” 

5. “What I think is that a good life is one hero journey after another. Over and over again, you are called to the realm of adventure, you are called to new horizons. Each time, there is the same problem: do I dare? And then if you do dare, the dangers are there, and the help also, in the fulfillment or the fiasco.” 

6. “You must give up the life you planned in order to have the life that is waiting for you.” 

7. “Whether you call someone a hero or a monster is all relative to where the focus of your consciousness may be.” 

8. “The happy ending of the fairy tale, the myth, and the divine comedy of the soul is to be read, not as a contradiction, but as a transcendence of the universal tragedy of man. The objective world remains what it was, but, because of a shift of emphasis within the subject, is beheld as though transformed.” 

9. “For we have not even to risk the adventure alone, for the heros of all time have gone before us…” 

10. “What is it we are questing for? It is the fulfillment of that which is potential in each of us. Questing for it is not an ego trip; it is an adventure to bring into fulfillment your gift to the world, which is yourself. There is nothing you can do that’s more important than being fulfilled. You become a sign, you become a signal, transparent to transcendence; in this way you will find, live, become a realization of your own personal myth.” 

11. “We save the world by being alive ourselves.” 

12. “Awe is what moves us forward.” 

13. “The inner world is the world of your requirements and your energies and your structure and your possibilities that meets the outer world. And the outer world is the field of your incarnation. That’s where you are. You’ve got to keep both going. As Novalis said, “The seat of the soul is there where the inner and outer worlds meet.”

14. “If you travel far enough, you’ll eventually meet yourself.” 

15. “The journey of the hero is about the courage to seek the depths; the image of creative rebirth; the eternal cycle of change within us; the uncanny discovery that the seeker is the mystery which the seeker seeks to know. The hero journey is a symbol that binds, in the original sense of the word, two distant ideas, the spiritual quest of the ancients with the modern search for identity, “always the one, shape-shifting yet marvelously constant story that we find.” 

16. “When you have lived your individual life in your own adventurous way and then look back upon its course, you will find that you have lived a model human life, after all.” 

17. “The ultimate aim of the quest must be neither release nor ecstasy for oneself, but the wisdom and the power to serve others.” 

18. “Our life evokes our character. You find out more about yourself as you go on. That’s why it’s good to be able to put yourself in situations that will evoke your higher nature rather than your lower.” 

19. “The hero, the waker of his own soul, is himself but the convenient means of his own dissolution.” 

20. “As you proceed through life, following your own path, birds will shit on you. Don’t bother to brush it off. Getting a comedic view of your situation gives you spiritual distance. Having a sense of humor saves you.”

21. “Follow your bliss.
If you do follow your bliss,
you put yourself on a kind of track
that has been there all the while waiting for you,
and the life you ought to be living
is the one you are living.
When you can see that,
you begin to meet people
who are in the field of your bliss,
and they open the doors to you.
I say, follow your bliss and don’t be afraid,
and doors will open
where you didn’t know they were going to be.
If you follow your bliss,
doors will open for you that wouldn’t have opened for anyone else.” 

22. “The very cave you are afraid to enter turns out to be the source of what you are looking for.”

23. “If you’re going to have a story, have a big story, or none at all.” 

24. “That step, the heroic first step of the journey, is out of, or over the edge of your boundaries, and it often must be taken before you know that you will be supported.”

25. We have not even to risk the adventure alone
for the heroes of all time have gone before us.
The labyrinth is thoroughly known …
we have only to follow the thread of the hero path.
And where we had thought to find an abomination
we shall find a God.

And where we had thought to slay another
we shall slay ourselves.
Where we had thought to travel outwards
we shall come to the center of our own existence.
And where we had thought to be alone
we shall be with all the world.” 

I hope you found inspiration from the Top 25 Joseph Campbell Journey Quotes. Let me know if there are any you would add.

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