The Hero's Journey is never an easy one. This particular journey, as detailed in Homer's The Odyssey, is one of struggle, loss, heartache, pain, growth and triumph. It is comprised of many steps that Odysseus has to overcome and battle through in order to achieve his final goal of reaching his home and his loved ones. From the Call to Adventure to the Freedom or Gift of living, Odysseus conquered them all. The story begins in the middle of the story, as many of the oral Greek traditions did, with the Journey of Telemachus to find his father. Although Telemachus has not yet met his father, it is almost as if they are journeying together, where the end of both of their journeys results in being reunited. Telemachus journeys from being a boy to becoming a man, while out in the sea Odysseus is battling Poseidon to return to the home that wife that he loves and the home he has left behind.
The first step in any hero's journey is the Call to Adventure, or the separation from the pack. For Odysseus this call happened while he was on Calypso's Island. Up on Olympus Athena had convinced Zeus of her case and Hermes was dispatched to free Odysseus from Calypso's grasp. Odysseus was settled here for quite some time and had no way of escape until Calypso was forced by the gods to let him go. This is where his journey begins. At first Odysseus is very skeptical of this freedom and thinks that it is a trick by Calypso, which is the denial stage that follows the call to adventure. This stage separates Odysseus once agaian from what has become familiar to him. He is called to journey alone once again to gain what it is that he has wanted for so long. For Telemachus his call came due to the perils he was facing in his own home with suitors competing for his mother's love. They started to eat him out of house and home and began to disrespect his mother. Before this Telemachus had stayed quiet, and had not taken action. Telemachus got summoned to branch out from his mother and his home to venture out on a journey of his own. It was now his time to become a man.
In every journey the hero also has a mentor. In this story Athena, the gray-eyed goddess of wisdom, has taken on this role for both Odysseus and Telemachus. Athena was by Odysseus' side as a guide for much of the beginning of his Journey. Athena also is a guide to Odysseus when he's not even aware of her, with her pleas to Zeus on Mount Olympus. When Odysseus was trapped on Calypso's island it was Athena who was pleading with the gods for him to be allowed to leave that place. Athena acts as a source of inspiration and the object of many pleas throughout this epic. While in Ithaca Athena took the guise of the old man Mentes. It was under this guise that Athena went to Telemachus and made him realize that it was his time to start his journey. Athena/Mentes gathered men for Telemachus to journey with and even accompanied him upon his journey. Athena/Mentes acted as a guide for Telemachus prodding him in every situation on how to step up and be a man.
The First threshold is the beginning of the pro-active part of the hero's journey. This is the first of the trials, usually less tiring or arduous than the others. Odysseus began his journey when leaving Calypso's island. He conquered his skepticism and denial and realized that it was time for him to leave, for him to finally try to get to his home. As he hits the open sea, Poseidon who has not forgotten his grudge for Odysseus due to events past spots him. Poseidon unleashes his rage unto Odysseus and manipulates the sea almost to the point of drowning Odysseus. So Odysseus survives and this begins his true journey home where his drive and will are going to have to conquer the tests that Poseidon has set before him to get home. Telemachus also begins his journey by setting off to sea. Inspired by Athena and with her by his side Telemachus sets sail to...