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Having crossed the threshold, the hero enters a world of strange powers and difficult challenges, all reflecting the psychological concerns that lead the hero away from home. Some tales may tell of only one challenge but most contain several, repeating the cycle again and again within this realm, reflecting the different psychological contents that must be integrated and understood in order to face a greater final challenge.

Three common trials or events that take place in the realm of initiation are the confrontation with an enemy, a meeting with, or rescue of a beloved person, and the theft or retrieval of a magical or important object. The battle with an enemy may symbolise the struggle with a harmful or inappropriate attitude, such as a child's overdependance on his parents. In this case the symbolic enemy must be battled with and slain so that the individual can progress. Sometimes the encounter with an enemy may symbolise the struggle with the shadow, with unconscious contents that one does not accept but could be integrated into the conscious personality like the businessman example in part two. In this case, the enemy is confronted and battled, but is eventually redeemed.

Sometimes a beloved person is rescued. In many stories and games this person is a woman, symbolising the anima, the battle for her rescue symbolising the struggle to free her and her related qualities from the clutches of a negative attitude such as a harmful dependence on one's parents. The negative attitude can sometimes be symbolised by the beloved being in a frightening form as in beauty and the beast. One story, an Arthurian tale of Sir Gawain, a knight of the round table illustrates this beautifully. King Arthur was once challenged by a powerful giant with the riddle, "What, above all else does a woman desire?" He travelled across the land asking women this question, but he was unsure as to whether the diverse answers he received would satisfy the giant. In a forest he came across a hag who's appearance nearly caused him to faint. He plucked up courage and asked her the question. The woman made Arthur promise to give her anything she wanted in return, before giving the answer, "A woman wants more than anything else, to exercise her free will." Arthur returned to the giant, who confirmed that this was correct. After going back to the forest, Arthur thanked her and asked her what she wanted in return. "To marry a knight of the round table," was her reply, much to Arthur's dismay.

Arthur returned to Camelot to tell his knights of the adventure, and with a saddened heart, of the old hags request. Without hesitation, Sir Gawain stood up and offered himself as husband. After the wedding, Gawain and his bride retired to the marital bed, and he turned with some fear to his new wife. To his amazement, he saw not an old hag, but the most beautiful woman he had ever known. A spell had turned her into a hag, and could only be broken if the greatest knight in Britain married her of his own free will. But one more task was to be done before the spell would be completely broken. She asked Gawain to decide if she was to be ugly by day and beautiful by night or beautiful by day and ugly by night. He thought for a while before saying that the choice was hers to make. She smiled, the spell had been completely broken and she would be her beautiful self again. Gawain had truly understood the giant's riddle.

In many cases the object of the hero's struggle is a magical or important item. This item is a symbol of some important quality that has remained unconscious. Jung gave an example of a woman patient who dreamed of discovering a sword. When asked about this sword the woman replied that it reminded her of a dagger belonging to her father. Her father was a wilful man with a powerful personality, possessed of qualities that the woman felt she lacked. By discovering this sword, she was beginning to uncover these qualities in herself (Hyde, 2000).



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The Series
  The Primacy of the Imagination
  Approaching the Imagination
  The Game as Quest
  Integrating the Imagination