Sometimes we wonder what Initiation really means and if we are responding to an inner calling or just making it through each day. In these uncertain times, as we face new challenges and pandemic restrictions, become lost in routine, worry, and self-doubt, it’s hard to feel like a hero/ine. How can we get back on track, rediscover the excitement of the hero/ine’s journey, and experience rebirth into a new way of being?
The monomyth of the hero/ine’s journey detailed by Joseph Campbell is the classic tale of a hero that goes on a quest, survives a crisis, and returns home transformed. An example of a hero’s tale is that of Parcifal, and a heroine’s tale is that of Psyche. The three stages are the Great Departure, the Initiation, and the Return.
You probably remember vividly the excitement of your Great Departure. You were Called by spirit to be a Shaman perhaps before you knew what it involved. Then, maybe you Refused the Call, thinking that it was just too far out there! Later, you said “Yes” to the adventure and signed up for class. After that you may have spent some time in the Belly of the Whale, where you experienced setbacks, underwent a metamorphosis, and were separated from your known world and self.
Next, you found yourself in the Initiation stage. A place of surviving what seem to be an endless series of tests and trials followed by moments of illumination. You met a Goddess, a representation of spiritual fulfillment, who tried seducing you from your path. Surviving temptation, you found yourself in the depths of Atonement with the Father, where you confronted a life or death reality you conquered to move forward. Succeeding, you found a place of wisdom and understanding, Apotheosis. Finally, after being purified by the previous steps, you achieved the Ultimate Boon, the goal of your quest, something transcendent like connecting with Spirit in a deeper and more meaningful way.
Finally, you are in the place of the Return. However, having experienced the extraordinary world of Spirit you wanted to Refuse the Return to your ordinary life. Then, you found guides who helped you survive the impact of your return, and you took The Magic Flight home with your Ultimate Boon. Upon your Return you are the master of both worlds, the spiritual and the physical, allowing you to live in the moment without regretting the past or fearing the future. You are home to share your Ultimate Boon.
This is quite a journey. Maybe it seems to be a familiar one that you have taken over and over again. Looking back, you remember other Great Departures, other Initiations, and other Returns, and wonder when the journeys will end. Like the medicine wheel, the hero/ine’s journey is a spiral, each journey spiraling you higher. With each rebirth you reach another level of transcendence. So, ask yourself – are you really just making it through each day or are you being Initiated by a series of tests and trials? Are you lost in routine or are you courageously taking another step forward on your Hero/ine’s journey?