Under an Ancient Plane Tree on Mount Pelion we revisit our lives as a journey, find where we are now in the story, and share with our companions.
The Road of Trials, the Belly of the Whale
Dorothy is offered Guidance, but not a map. “Follow the Yellow Brick Road.” What in the Hero’s journey is a road of trials, often for the heroine includes a time of what Campbell calls being in the “belly of the whale”. In the Wizard of Oz, this is symbolized by the poppy fields where Dorothy and her three companions suddenly fall deeply asleep under the spell of the Wicked Witch.
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, the womb of our becoming.
It’s time now for inner work, as Jean Houston advises: 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.”
Assisted by her friends, Dorothy wakens and all four approach the Emerald City, once again facing a guardian at the gate who will not allow them to see the Wizard. Dorothy’s tears as she speaks of her longing to see her Aunt Em break down his resistance. Yet the Wizard, when they at last meet him, refuses to grant their request until they fulfill an impossible task: Bring me the broomstick of the Witch of the West!
The challenge here is to discover the task that you never believed you could do, but the Wizard of the inner sanctum of yourself always knew you could, and if you did, would change the nature of your belief about yourself….Your inner Wizard…the Friend, stands before you and asks you to recall the “impossible things” you have done…. Now the Friend-Wizard asks you to consider what “impossible things” you have yet to do in the near future. The Friend- Wizard also asks you to imagine as vividly as you can actually doing it, with all the difficulties and acts of courage that it may require. Remember that you have allies, a Protector and the Friend to help and accompany you. (Jean Houston, The Power of Myth and Living Mythically 202)
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”.
The life force of Toto (“Run, Toto, Run”), the support and cleverness of her three friends, and finally the life force of water accomplish the impossible. Dorothy and her companion return to the Wizard in triumph.
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.
And so Dorothy returns home, changed by her adventures, companioned within by those whom she met and loved in Oz.
“Home” is that land to which one returns in a deepened condition after the trials and adventures of initiation. It is now a realm that was perceived in Oz, but can be felt in the here and now as the deepened and extended land. You have brought back with you now mindfulness, heartfulness and courage….You have gone home to Kansas, but not before you have grown up in Oz….
You have returned a mythic being, and, like Dorothy, you now have the chance to green the wasteland of your own particular “Kansas” with your newfound knowings. (Jean Houston 210-1)
We sit beneath the great plane tree and ask ourselves:
Which part of the journey am I now experiencing?
What do I need to do at this stage?
What do I now understand?
What happens next?