One thing about the hero’s journey is that it tends to be very male-centric. It’s possible to pull off a gender-swap, or to follow the structure loosely while allowing for substantial variation, but the basic form follows the assumption that the hero is male, and that most of the women he meets fall into one of two basic archetypes: sedductress (as we saw last week) or goddess.
The goddess (or “hero’s muse,” as tvtropes labels this trope) is an idealized woman who often serves to motivate the hero on his quest. She stands in stark contrast to the sedductress, who works toward the hero’s downfall, and the meeting with her is an important part of the journey. Speaking of the meeting with the goddess, Joseph Campbell said:
The ultimate adventure, when all the barriers and ogres have been overcome, is commonly represented as a mystical marriage of the triumphant hero-soul with the Queen Goddess of the World. This is the crisis at the nadir, the zenith, or at the uttermost edge of the earth, at the central point of the cosmos, in the tabernacle of the temple, or within the darkness of the deepest chamber of the heart. The meeting with the goddess (who is incarnate in every woman) is the final test of the talent of the hero to win the boon of love (charity: amor fati), which is life itself enjoyed as the encasement of eternity.
In some stories, the goddess figure represents a love interest for the hero. This is especially the case with stories from the medieval and renaissance periods, such as the protoypical knight errant and his lady, or tales of courtly love. In most cases, the girl is either faithfully married or a chaste virgin. In more modern stories, she often takes the form of the manic pixie dream girl.
The goddess doesn’t have to be the love interest, though. She can also be a motherly figure, such as the Oracle in the Matrix, or she can be an innocent, childlike girl, such as the Childlike Empress from The Neverending Story. The important thing is that she helps the hero to experience the power of love, whether that love is romantic or platonic.
I’d write more, but my internet time is kind of limited, so this is as much as I can say on this trope for now. If you have anything to add, feel free to do so in the comments. I’m traveling to a rather remote part of the Caucasus, but I’ll be back in a few days to chime in.