There and back again
a·poth·e·o·sis - Noun
Continuing along the path of the mythic hero, we reach a point where there is at last a chance for the hero to rest. Their apotheosis comes after a long road of struggles and many trials: after the Meeting with the Goddess or the Woman as Temptress and the Atonement with the Father, the hero "dies"- a physical death, or a death of the self. It is then, in their return to the cosmic womb, that all opposites are finally erased, and the hero finds themselves in a state of all-encompassing divine knowledge, love, compassion, and bliss.
Prof. Joseph Campbell: "Those who know, not only that the Everlasting lies in them, but that what they, and all things, really are is the Everlasting, dwell in the groves of the wish fulfilling trees, drink the brew of immortality, and listen everywhere to the unheard music of eternal concord."
While the most difficult tests of all for the hero still lie ahead on the return to their world, in the state of apotheosis the hero gets to enjoy the wisdom they have won for themselves. They have died, and so need not fear death or eternity any longer. And they will be re-born again, to complete their journey in a blissful state, free of desire, hostility, and delusion. Old conceits and beliefs about worldview, beliefs, practices dissolve. Nirvana, another word for apotheosis, breaks through the illusion of temporal, material existence and reveals all the hero's held "truths" about their world to be false. Because the hero's eyes are opened to the true nature of non-dual existence, life on earth for them also becomes nirvana, a paradise, and they experience what Professor Campbell calls “the identity of eternity and time.”
The ultimate goal of the hero’s journey is for them to learn and remember that they themselves are divine. At birth, we enter into the primary delusion, the world of time. Upon atonement with the father, we’re born through the father into the world of eternity. During apotheosis the wise realize that they have come from and are returning to this father, while the very wise know that the Great Mother from which they were born (time) and the Father (eternity) are in substance one.
Apotheosis is about unity with the Divine, a unity with all of humanity and all of nature. It moves the hero beyond superficial separation, into a place of oneness and understanding, and it is only this realization, the highest, the culmination of a life's learning, that allows the hero a moment of blissful rest before it enables them to return to the world, a wizard.