Last month in my article, I talked about how experiencing a deep connection to the land you live on will support you in the process of transforming your home into your Power Place. In this article, I will share the mythic perspective which has allowed me to transmute my own personal suffering and losses into personal power. Because in order for your home to be your Power Place, you first have to know what “medicine,” or personal power, is yours to bring the world. (Stay tuned next month for more on how to transform your home into your Power Place.)
Usually, this process is referred to as The Hero’s Journey, but here I’ve reframed it for women. I ask my male readers to just notice the feminine pronouns and keep reading; if
you do, you may find something here for you.
In all great myths, you’ll find the main character going into a challenging situation, facing her fears, learning big lessons, experiencing triumph over those fears, and returning to
her community to share those lessons. Below are the elements in the Heroine’s Journey.
First there is the call to adventure. This is the point in a woman’s life when she realizes that everything is going to change. Something shifts, externally or internally—and she can no longer stay the same. Anais Nin said it best: “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful that the risk it took to blossom.”
Often, the Heroine at first refuses the call. This may be from fear, insecurity, a sense of inadequacy. There are many reasons why we might feel the need to “stay tight in a bud,” safe in our current circumstances.
But once the heroine has actually committed to the quest, consciously or unconsciously, a guide or guardian will appear to help her cross the threshold. This is the point where the Heroine steps out of her comfort zone, moving into the underworld of her shadow (her unconscious), leaving the known limits of her world behind.
As she ventures into this unfamiliar territory, where rules and results are unknown, she will find a helper or a mentor if she will look. A Buddhist proverb says “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.”
And so the Heroine moves on to a road of trials, for which she does not feel prepared. Her former accomplishments do not count here. This road represents an uncomfortable separation from her known world and her known self. Challenges appear; sometimes she fails the test. The Heroine must call on her inner WILL, to get up when she falls, and to keep going. Temptations to abort the process seem appealing. Her determination will be tested, but if the Heroine focuses on her goal, she will make progress, however messy it may be.
As she puts one foot in front of another, for a time things may get even darker and more bleak. This abyss is the dark night of the soul… that sacred womb in which she transitions between worlds and selves. At times she can feel the potential for her new self, her new life. At other moments, all is dark and she feels lost. The abyss can be frightening territory. By breathing through this process, the Heroine shows her willingness to undergo a metamorphosis, to allow some aspects of her self to die so that she can be reborn.
Often at a moment of surrender, revelation or divine guidance flows into her despairing heart and mind. She begins to see and feel who she is becoming. Her transformation doesn’t happen all at once… rebirthing is a messy organic process, but finally the Heroine realizes that she is no longer the caterpillar oozing goo in the cocoon.
She’s become the graceful butterfly, emerging from the limitations that once held her captive. She experiences the freedom of having released all judgments on herself and others. It’s now easy for her to feel At-One-With-All-That-Is in every moment. This is the meaning of atonement: At-One-Ment.
With her inner work done, she is now ready to return to her community to be of service in a bigger way. As she crosses the return threshold, she wears the insight, maturity and compassion she gained on her quest. Her well-earned wisdom blesses all who come into her sphere.
Questions for Your Journey
- In how many ways is the Heroine’s Journey like your de-cluttering and organizing
- Which part of the Journey are you currently in right now?
- What kind of support do you need to help you move into the next part of the process?
- Have you been through a Heroine’s Journey before, of any kind? If yes, can you call upon what you learned then?
- Do you have any colleagues, mentors, family members or friends who have traveled their own Heroine’s Journey? If yes, is there anyone you can ask for support as you complete yours?
- A Journey is like an initiation. For those of you emerging from a Journey, how can you create an Altar in your home that will assist you in fully integrating the
power of this initiation?
- How can your home support your process as you return to your community with new gifts?