The Hero is a lot of things to a lot of people. Savior, savant, saint… to others, simultaneously a paragon or pariah. What I generally ascribe to a hero, I generally strive-for in myself. Being an eclectic pagan, the idea of setting a goal of being a hero (or at the very least heroic) appeals to me on a great many levels. A hero’s life is nowhere near simple, and is generally lined with pitfalls and traps. The road to Hell is paved with good intentions, and even the most stalwart of historical, fantasy, and even modern heroes have faltered. Every hero has their foibles; even Superman has gut-checks from time-to-time (just look at the Red Son or Blackest Night series)!
Whether your idea or conceptualization of a Hero is that of a superhero, a mythical creature, fable, or figure, or even a historical or modern individual, modeling oneself and following the path of the Hero is not an easy undertaking.
The Hero instills in himself and others a sense of Justice and Truth. That even the most atypical Lawful heroes and heroines understand the difference between “justice” and “vengeance” is an important distinction, however blurred the lines may be in time of great upheaval or in the “heat of the moment” or “heart of emotion”. The Hero strives to tell the truth, even when it hurts the most; commonly that’s when it’s needed the most. You can bring Justice and embody Truth. Every instant that you are drawn to speak-ill of another, to embellish, or to do injustice to another or oneself is an opportunity to challenge yourself (and others, if that is your profession in this life) to become better than you were the day before. Every day that the Hero awakens, they understand and acknowledge that they may have strayed from Truth or performed an injustice upon another, and they work to atone for themselves (and others, if again that is your profession) and to become an example to others.
The Hero strives to be strong: Physically, Mentally, Emotionally, Spiritually. Every Hero begins life (or existence) as something smaller or lesser than they end-up in our collective history and consciousness. Superheroes and mythical figures find magical artifacts or a secret formula that transforms them, mythic figures enter new-and-absurdly-difficult situations in their lives that force a transformation or awakening to their true purpose, and many historic or modern titans are victims themselves of an accident or circumstance that punts their life ass-over-tea-kettle and forces them to adapt and lead. No matter your stripe, no matter your life circumstances, and no matter your station in this life remember this: You can be Stronger. Every moment, every breath, every detectable unit of time that passes before the Hero is not just an opportunity, but a challenge. It may be that the passage of time has worn-down the Hero’s faith in whatever he-or-she believes in, it could be that the Hero has fallen victim to a physical injury, disease, or disability that (they believe) is now preventing them from being Heroic to-the-hilt, or it might even be the case that the Hero has encountered the death of a loved-one or best-friend and is now lost and rudderless in the universe without their companion(s) at their side. Whatever the Hero’s particular situation, they do not give up. They know it is too easy, too simple to falter and fall into ruination and decay. Whether it is mental, physical, emotional or spiritual, Decay and Stagnation are two (of many) mortal enemies of the Hero, who understands that to be Strong requires not just Courage and Willpower, but requires remaining true to themselves.
The Hero works tirelessly to be as Good as is within their power (but realizes that the world is not cut-and-dry). Sadly, for the Hero, this often becomes the foil or foible that transmutes itself into the Hero’s ultimate downfall. “Good” is in some cases subjective, and the Hero works to not just understand the reasons and motivations of both Good and Evil, but to understand that nature within themselves and how those understandings affect the actions of others and how those actions play-out in the universe that they inhabit. The Hero is distinctly and acutely aware of the borders that “Good” and “Evil” reside beyond, and attempts to remain on the side of Good. However, even the Hero understands that “Goodness” and “Truth” do not mean preventing others (or themselves) from learning their lessons when choices are made consciously. Judgement, above all else, must be the Hero’s secondary weapon; second only to their intentions within their sphere of influence.
Personally, I have felt the urge to push myself and become as Heroic as my wildest fantasies: becoming as intelligent as I possibly can by devouring information as it presents itself, becoming both as empathetic and as neutral as possible within the realm of emotion, accumulating strength in body as well as emotionally, and becoming as vested in my faith as a lone Hero can be. Not just Faith in gods, spirits, deities or my own strengths and power, but Faith in others as well. Without faith in others, how can we have faith in ourselves?
A question to ponder… and lessons to learn.