When I hear the word quest, I think of heroes. I associate it with myth and fantasy and magic. Visions of damsels in distress and dragons and evil Lords bent on quelling the hero come to mind.
Wikipedia defines a quest as a significance-laden journey. I kind of like that. A significance-laden journey. It has rather a cool ring to it. Makes me want to go on a quest! Hmmm…
Typically, a quest involves a hero, either dispatched or of his own accord, who sets forth from the world of common day into a land of adventures, tests, and magical rewards. Sometimes his goal is to win the heart of a beautiful maiden. Sometimes he has to save the world from some evil force – or at least restore balance so that the evil force cannot take over. Sometimes he has to solve a mystery. Sometimes he has to locate and return with a specific object, usually of great value and often supernatural in some way. He may have to travel far; possibly to other worlds or dimensions. He may, in the end, decide not to return at all. In the Lord of the Rings, Frodo’s quest was not to find something, but rather to destroy the One Ring. Indeed, quests take many forms. Invariably, they are fraught with danger and test the hero’s strength (physical, mental, spiritual) and skills.
But they make for great stories.
The Hero’s Journey – or monomyth - is one in which a “hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man” (Joseph Campbell.) It is fated or predestined as part of the life-path of the individual who is called to adventure. His spiritual centre of gravity has been transferred from the known to the unknown. In other words, he challenged to go beyond what is accepted and find his own truth.
Quests of the archetypal Hero as described in myth are epic in nature. They lead the hero away from what is customary and conventional and give him an opportunity to become the catalyst of change. Not just for himself, but for the world. And hopefully, for the better!
Today heroes find themselves on quests quite different from the mythological ones we read about in books. Today’s heroes quest for sustainable solutions to environmental challenges. The dragons they fight are plastics, pollution and politics. They don’t wield swords; they employ information. They raise awareness, peacefully (mostly), and teach by example.
My daughter, Bizz is a hero. She inspires me every day to try to be a better person, to respect our great Mother Earth and to live simply and lovingly. She is courageous beyond measure. She is creative. She is one of the most beautiful people I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet.