Dreams and the Hero’s Journey

First of all…BRAVO! We all survived the end of the Mayan Calendar! Now what???

Welcome to the beginning of a whole new epoch in human history! Now more than ever it is time for us to pay attention to our dreams. Where else are we going to receive such a reliable source of insight, information, and guidance to navigate our lives in this brave new world.

In honor of this new era for the next 12 weeks (starting next week) I will be posting an excerpts from my upcoming book It’s All In Your Dreams: 5 Portals to an Awakened Life (Red Wheel-Weiser, Spring 2013).In it I talk about The Hero’s Dream Journey, as I like to call it and I discuss the 12 stages of the Hero’s Journey as it relates to dreams (go figure). I’ll also include an archived link to my weekly radio program (The D-Spot) where, at the end of each show, I discuss each stage of the Hero’s Dream Journey in detail.

In working with groups of people, especially in dream circles, I’ve found the Hero’s Journey model to be an empowering context for not only understanding what our nighttime dreams are telling us, but powerful insight into how to manifest the life of our dreams. In fact, over the years I’ve come to use the Hero’s Journey model with everything I am involved with from the work I do with the Dream Project students in the inner-city of Los Angeles; to my communications with Ambassadors and NGOs from the United Nations; to corporations working to achieve a higher vision; and in students becoming Dream Life Coaches who are working on a greater level of personal dream mastery and awakening.

What is the Hero’s (Dream) Journey, you ask? The Hero’s Journey was resurrected from ancient times by American mythologist, Joseph Campbell, in his book, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, published in 1949. The Hero’s Journey, in its essence, is a model outlining the predictable stages a hero encounters on their noble quest. In fact, when George Lucas was directing the first of the Star Wars movies, he commissioned Joseph Campbell to consult him to make sure the arch and plot points followed the map of The Hero’s Journey…and we all know how well that turned out! Since then the Hero’s Journey has been referred to in screenwriting courses as the golden template of an inspirational story.

I believe the reason this model has become so popular is because Joseph Campbell hit a vein of gold in his ability to articulate the soulful way we human’s are fundamentally wired. When we hear about an underdog who breaks through into great success, something deep within us stirs and we stand to cheer. We do this because unconsciously we relate to this archetypal journey on a soul-ular level. We subconsciously know that despite our circumstances, challenges, or issues that bring us crawling on our knees into therapy, we are divine creatures here for a mighty purpose. Dreams speak symbolically, archetypally, and in the language of the soul…and I’ve found when we blend dream work with the work of the hero’s journey, we have a winning formula with which we can decipher our night time dreams…as well as a template in which to follow to fulfill our true purpose for being alive.

By the way, this is a journey you are already on. Whether or not you know it, by virtue of the fact that you are here on earth and have chosen a three-dimensional body in which to explore this brave new world. The fact that you are interested in developing a greater understanding of your life dreams (in other words your soul) means you are on a Hero’s Dream Journey…and the magic has already begun! When you remember you’re a hero on a Hero’s Dream Journey, there is a higher purpose unfolding in every moment of your life…even the most annoying and heartbreaking of situations/nightmares have meaning.

The four primary stages of the Hero’s Journey are:

  1. The Call
  2. The Quest
  3. The Reward
  4. The Return

However, within the 4 stages, we can break it down in more detail with 12 stages… they are as followed:

The Call

  1. Ordinary World
  2. Call to Adventure
  3. Refusal of the Call
  4. Meeting the Mentor
  5. Crossing the Threshold

The Quest

  1. Belly of the Whale
  2. Tests/Allies/Enemies
  3. Ordeal

The Reward

  1. Reward

The Return

  1. Journey Back
  2. Resurrection
  3. Return with the Elixir

Stay tuned for next week when we get started with Stage 1 on your Hero’s Dream Journey: The Ordinary World!


Kelly Sullivan Walden (a.k.a. Doctor Dream) is a certified clinical hypnotherapist, founder of Dream-Life Coach Training, and author of seven books, most notably the Amazon.com #1 bestselling, I Had the Strangest Dream and Discover Your Inner Goddess Queen. A sought after inspirational speaker, Kelly has spoken, by invitation, at the United Nations. Kelly hosts “The D-Spot” weekly radio show where she explores Dreams, Desires, and Destiny. Kelly has appeared on over 1,000 media outlets including the Ricki Lake Show, and you can see her regularly as FOX news’ Dream Expert. As the past President of Women’s National Book Association (LA Chapter), Kelly has served as a United Nations NGO representative, which inspired her to create The Dream Project—an educational program that empowers young people to dream to solutions to world issues. Receive free dream gifts from Kelly by going to: www.KellySullivanWalden.com.


This blog has been excerpted from It’s All In Your Dreams…5 Portals to an Awakened Life(Red Wheel-Weiser, Spring 2013).

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