THE ROAD OF TRIALS
"So what you're saying is that we go back in time, find two humpback whales, bring them forward in time, and hope to hell they tell this thing what to go do with itself? Well that's crazy!"
- Dr. Leonard McCoy (paraphrased), "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home"
When crossing the THRESHOLD OF ADVENTURE, the hero will undertake the ROAD OF TRIALS. These consist of what Joseph Campbell broke up into the Brother-Battle, Dragon-Battle, Dismemberment, Crucifixion, Abduction, Night-sea Journey, and the Wonder Journey. These are different stages and are not necessarily all inclusive. For instance, a hero that would undergo brother-battle would probably not undergo crucifixion. These are separate stages that simply categorize and describe the method in which the hero crosses the threshold and perhaps what method they use when confronting their own particular THRESHOLD GUARDIANS.
Brother-Battle and Dragon-Battle describe a situation where the hero either placates or overcomes the THRESHOLD GUARDIAN and is able to pass victorious, living, and whole in to the world of adventure. This would be the traditional mythic structure wherein the hero must fight and slay a monster that guards a treasure or a gate etc. The THRESHOLD GUARDIAN here would be something like Cerberus, the three-headed dog that guard the entrance to Hades. The hero can do battle and defeat him or bring meat to placate and distract him, in order to move beyond and cross the threshold.
Dismemberment and Crucifixion describe a different situation wherein the hero "loses" to the THRESHOLD GUARDIAN is "slain" and is somewhat forced across the THRESHOLD OF ADVENTURE. The example I can think of this is in "The Fugitive", Dr. Kimble has actually "lost" to the one-armed man, he is metaphorically slain since his normal life is destroyed and he is thrust into the underworld of being on the run from the authorities and the law.
Abduction, Night-sea Journey, and Wonder Journey cover an internal impetus that forces the hero to cross the threshold whether she likes it or not. A great example of this happens to Dorothy in the "Wizard of Oz". There is no way she can escape from, or resist, the twister that throws her into Oz. And when she gets there her house has crushed the Wicked Witch of the East and sort of turned her into a defacto hero from the start, as well as make her some bitter enemies. She has no choice in the matter. She is thrust into the adventure and simply has to deal with it. There is no turning back.