Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2020 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming

Apotheosis and Return

  • Alice MillsEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-24348-7_585


According to Joseph Campbell’s monomyth model of the hero-quest in The Hero with a Thousand Faces, there is a variety of ways in which a quest can end. The quest does not proceed at all for the person who steadfastly refuses the call to adventure. The hero may die at various points, especially during descent to the underworld. At the climax of the quest, apotheosis may occur as the hero transforms to a god. If the quest story completes the monomyth cycle of events, the hero experiences a return to society which may prove difficult. Reintegration to the familiar world of family, friends, and ordinary everyday reality is hard on both sides, for the hero who has experienced the life-changing events of the quest and for those who have remained at home with little or no idea of what the hero has undergone.


In terms of religious experience, the equivalent to the hero’s difficult return is to be found in life after conversion. Religious conversion involves the overthrow of...

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  1. Campbell, J. (1949). The hero with a thousand faces. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of BallaratBallaratAustralia