Sophia Blog for September 29, 2022
Does autumn stir your blood? awaken desires for travel, adventure, newness…longings that slept quietly through the lazy days of summer heat, now awakening with the first whiff of autumn air?
It was so for Frodo, the reluctant hero of what many consider the greatest journey tale ever written, JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. When the call to leave his beloved home in the peaceful Shire arose for him, Frodo resisted…suggesting he might wait until autumn:
As Tolkien writes: To tell the truth, he was very reluctant to start, now that it had come to the point…. When autumn came, he knew that part at least of his heart would think more kindly of journeying, as it always did at that season.
With the inspiration that arrives with the Autumn Equinox, I invite you to join me on a journey of the soul, inspired by Jean Houston’s teachings on The Heroine’s Journey. Here is how Jean describes the task that sends us forth:
In becoming a hero or heroine, we undertake the extraordinary task of dying to our current, local selves and being reborn to our eternal selves. And then we continue to travel deeper still until we reach the eternal place of sourcing and resourcing. There are two great works for heroes and heroines to perform. The first is to withdraw from everyday life and open ourselves to the inner creative life through which lie our only means of reaching the Source. The second work is to return to everyday life, carrying the knowledge we have gained in the depths and putting it to use to redeem time and society. (Jean Houston in The Power of Myth and Living Mythically p.14)
Jean sees a recurring pattern in the journey of one who sets out to be a heroine in her own life:
The Call for a woman is a state of reality that is drawing you; the call may even be a mistake, but it gets you moving, puts you in an intensive learning situation. What is calling you now? What are reasons for refusing? Why do each of us say no? As you hear the call, who is there? What are the powers gestating? What is the new story? What do you need to over-ride the continued refusal?
The Guardian at the Threshold asks how you want to change the world and what help you need with this… what more must you ask? Fool the guardian with the unexpected.
The Belly of the Whale takes us by surprise, for just when we know we know what we must do, just when we manage to fool the guardian and pass the gate, we find ourselves blindsided… by a depression, an ingression, a call to the depths of being. Though we are clear about our mission, we are not yet prepared. The Belly of the Whale gives us preparatory time, time for deep inner work. We enter our own depths, the source place for all endeavours. Find your form for this inner work: drawing or dance or journaling or music or drumming or nature or working with an archetype. When you discover who your archetype is, you have guidance. You are put on the path. “You may not know what your archetypal guidance is, but your archetypal guidance knows who you are.”(Jean Houston) Live in the Temple of Inner Abundance where you are the womb of your new becoming. Choose your daily practice and be faithful. Think of something you have to do in the world for which you are not yet ready. What aspect of yourself might help you prepare? List your inner selves – your writer, perpetual child, cook, caregiver, teacher, priestess, dancer, mother – choose one who can be really helpful in the belly of the whale time.
Emergence with Amplified Power: You discover now that your expectations become magnets, drawing to you what you need for your task, your life work. You have entered the path of wisdom, and with her come all good things. You experience the grace of ABBONDANZA. You are moving into the fullness of life. Your entelechy holds the seed of what you truly are and draws you into the magic and mystery of being “a local outcropping of the Godself in time”. (JH)
Return with Elixir: You begin to embody the deep happiness that is your birthright. You heed the call to live the WHY at the centre of your life. In women’s ways of knowing, inner space has as much ontological reality as outer.
Over the coming weeks, we will explore how each of these aspects of the Heroine’s Journey show up in our lives.
For this week, let’s be aware of the Call. How do we recognize the signs that a new call is about to arise for us? Often we feel restless, begin to experience an inchoate longing. The Poet W.S. Merwin expresses this awareness:
“Send me out into another life
lord because this one is growing faint
I do not think it goes all the way”
This restless longing opens us to recognize a call to newness when it comes, often in surprising and unexpected ways….
What is calling you now? What are reasons for refusing? Why do each of us say no? As you hear the call, who is there? What are the powers gestating? What is the new story? What do you need to over-ride the continued refusal?