Meredith B. Mitchell, Ph.D.

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            The Hero and Heroine are archetypal patterns that get acted out in the lives of men and women. They are available principles or energies within us, but no person IS a Hero or Heroine. While they have many characteristics in common, these two archetypes differ in primary emphases and complement one another. (See Chapter 6 in my book, Hero or Victim?)

            In the human condition we call love, these universal patterns can be activated via projection. The goal for the hero and heroine is always the growth process toward wholeness via an encounter with the "other," the beloved. The heroic journey of relationship is an evolution that begins with "romantic" attraction. The journey takes us through the recognition and withdrawal of projections, thereby leading to profound insights into our own loving and lovable nature, into the parts of us that can care for and encompass another, and into those inner parts that attempt to injure or destroy relationships. This heroic journey can transform infatuation into related, empathic, respectful love, which essentially is the love of another's soul.

            Like every other archetype, the Hero/Heroine has a shadow. It is a shadow that despises -- and is victimized by -- the discovery that often what is projected onto the so-called "loved one" is not really so much in the other person as it is in oneself.

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