Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Hero and His Mentor

It was in Homer’s The Odyssey we first learned (or discovered the use) of the word mentor, which was actually a character portrayed as the guide to the hero Telemachus on his journey. Today we use the term mentor to describe someone (or perhaps some thing) that aids us on our own personal quests towards fulfillment, be it physical, mental, or spiritual. A more loosely defined term of the word mentor could be someone who helps in the aid of our growth, whether through a difficult situation or period of our life, someone who nurtures and helps ‘take us under their wing’ as we learn a series of skills or perhaps someone who acts as a pillar of stability during various phases of our growth and development. Either way, it seems the word mentor better fits our society when describing a person who in some way, helps develop our personal growth or teaches us to bear the burdens of our seasons as we push through the trials, tribulations and adversity of Life. Everyone, at some point in their life or another either plays mentor to, or is aided in some way, by what the psychologist Carl Jung calls, the archetype: mentor.

Christopher Vogler in his work, “The Writer’s Journey—Mythic Structure for Writers” says a mentor (figure) is “an archetype found frequently in dreams, myths, and stories [which is] usually a positive figure who aids or trains the hero.” Joseph Campbell described this archetype in his work “The Hero With a Thousand Faces” as “The Wise Old Man” or “Wise Old Woman” depending, of course, upon the particular role they fit within the journey or quest of the hero. Christopher Vogler goes on to say of the mentor, “This archetype is expressed in all those characters who teach and protect heroes and give them gifts.”

In dealing with and addressing the adversity and the conquests of my own writer’s journey, I can’t help but consider recognizing the person(s) who has played the greatest mentor to my work as an author—to my work as an artist within the soul of humanity. For me, there are two figures that have represented the beacon of light and stability through my most trying course of life—my most difficult season of my life. In the spiritual realm of understanding and dealing with the complexity and power of a gift such as mine, it has been my faith in God and my time spent getting to know and understand—by biblical definition—what my gift means in relation to my life. In the physical realm of the actual practiced work of becoming a better writer, it has been for me the author Paulo Coelho. Therefore, in honor and tribute to both my faith in God and the philosophy of Jesus Christ and also my appreciation for the works and life of Paulo Coelho, I am dedicating a new series of blog articles to them, but on your behalf. As inspiration for each posting, I will share a quote from Mr. Coelho or a scripture from the Holy Bible and shed light on the truth within my struggle to come to terms with my gift(s) as the person you have come to know today. I shall call this blog content: The Hero & His Mentor.

...To Be Continued...

~Bobby Ozuna
author of PROUD SOULS

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