This world is a place of incredible beauty and it is joyful to celebrate and honour this. Yet it is also very important to acknowledge that it is also a place of deep, often unconscious ever-present fear. Therefore our Earth journey needs to be one of loving balance where we acknowledge the beauty but also respect the darkness that we, in our fearfulness, have also created. It is not helpful to paddle up that river of “denial” and pretend everything is sugar and spice, when it is not.
We often joke that the first thing that happens to us is a smack on the bum as we take our first breath and then it’s all downhill after that. Indeed, within moments of birth we feel the first pain of hunger, cold, thirst and realize that a physical body requires constant attention. As we grow we embrace the “need” for shelter, food, and comfort and from there we “feather our nests” by aligning with a tribe, family, group identification via sports events, patriotism, career and adherence to various religious groups or belief systems. This is how this three-dimensional world has been operating for countless millennium. Yet deep within this play of choices is the terrifying knowledge that no matter what we do, we are all headed in the same direction. It is inevitable that the body will fail through accident, illness, or simply old age. It is inevitable that despite our best efforts we will face loss, tragedy, sadness and disappointments. No matter how many overseas holidays you have or how many toys you have to your name, the journey of life will always offer deep soul challenges. This is an absolute guarantee.
This knowing is of course one of the reasons so many people suffer from depression because in many respects depression is a sane reaction to this crazy world, albeit a painful one. I have a friend who works at the Blood Bank and she must ask everyone donating if they are on medication. She tells me that a huge number of really nice, caring, giving people are on anti-depressants. These a loving people that have realized, at some level, that no matter how delightful their distractions are, there is a fearful truth lying beneath the venire of life. I am not suggesting that medication is an “evil,” I am suggesting that there is a deeper reason and that reason or underlying “issue” can only be truly embraced, explored and understood via genuine spirituality, or if you prefer, the quest for meaning.
This desire for meaning is the one common thread that unites us with all our ancestors and indeed every living Being that has even walked this Earth. There has never been one group of people who have not developed some kind of spiritual awareness, and the many beautiful legends always contain the same golden threads of eternal truth but woven into their unique culture or way of life. Joseph Campbell has written about this extensively and compared and cross-referenced the many legends and myths in his famous book: “Hero with a Thousand faces.”
This golden “template” has been gifted to us by our ancestors and no matter what culture or background you come from it is always the same pattern of a journey to self awareness.
Stage 1) Restlessness: The hero feels part of a sleeping, closed down, victim-like tribe/group of people. He or she does not feel special or different, yet they see/sense that something is missing. Other members of the tribe may feel this person is “different” and may ostracize or criticism them. In some cases, the hero is expelled by their tribe or family. This is beautifully illustrated in the story of Jumping Mouse, when all the other little mice sniff our hero and declare he does not “smell right!”
Stage 2) – Crisis: Something happens, often out of the blue. A ring is lost, a crop or village burned, an invasion by strange enemies. All turn to the hero to rescue the lost object or gain the singing stone, the medicine or save the community in some form or another.
Stage 3) The journey: The hero sets forth and the long or short journey becomes one of serendipity. He or she may meet strangers on the road. We see this in the tale of Parcival who meets the wise old man who tutors him, or the Tale of Jumping Mouse who meets the racoon, the bandit medicine man who urges him to seek his medicine by first tricking him.
Stage 4) The Vision: In all cases, the hero receives a vision, is given a vision, or accidentally gets a vision. This vision puts life and everything else into a new, spiritual perspective. Most importantly it takes the hero to a place of transformation from a fear-guilt ridden conditioned member of a tribe, to a transcendent being of light and beauty.
Stage 5) The Return: The hero returns with the prize, or without the prize. Sometimes he is unrecognized, such as in our legend of the Odyssey, where our hero has been away at sea for twenty years and only his dogs remember him. The gift is then shared, and in some cases, the gift is the transformed hero who can now lead the people away from fear and into a new world, in other cases it is the story itself which is the impetus for others to take the pathway of the awakening hero.
The Medicine Ways:
These legends and myths are based on eternal unchanging truth, which is why they still form the basis of every powerful story from the modern StarWars through to the ancient Odyssey. This is because we all must walk the pathway of the hero or we will never incarnate out of this world into the higher realms. Sadly for many they can get lost in the first stage, and never set sail on their own journey. Instead they valiantly try to make their unlived life, as part of a fear-based collective, valuable. Therefore they get lost in pseudo spirituality, such as having dozens of psychic readings, get a collection of every crystal on the planet, more certificates than anyone has had hot dinners, and the best, trendiest leotards bought in Byron Bay made of recycled milk cartons so you can show off your “downward facing dog” in all its glory.
So many people get stuck at the first stage of wanting to belong to a special group that they neglect the fact that the hero always travels alone. The journey is into the unknown parts of the psyche and into the hidden depths of the soul. Just as the Knights leave Camelot in search of the Holy Grail there is a need to leave the comfort zone to follow the deeper calling. If you feel the call of the true journey, and seek a vision to open your soul, remember that it cannot be "bought" on line or in a weekend intensive. It is a solitary journey but it is the only journey worth taking. Ultimately you will discover that your only choice will be whether you do this in this lifetime, or wait for as many lifetimes it takes for you to really see where you are, and begin to take the journey to your true home.
This is why I offer my books on the Shaman's Path, to illustrate my own very solitary journey. This is also why I offer medicine teachings to share the wisdom ways that will inspire you not to "collect collective experiences" but to embrace your own journey of inner prayer and earth medicine. The way is simple, freely available at all times, and right under your nose, but no one, and no group can do it for you. It is your sacred journey, and therefore your sacred responsibility...