The Hero Cycle as Rites of Passage

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The Return is a significant stage of achievement in a Hero Cycle adventure, marking the hero as ‘bringing home’ the strengths and wisdom s/he has attained through facing life’s arduous challenges and fulfilling their Quest. As the Hero returns, s/he benefits all Life and the family and community s/he serves more selflessly after having individuated as a mature, dynamic Self.

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But there is more to the story. Keep in mind that the Hero Cycle represents the mythic structure of a Rites of Passage ordeal which the individual (or group) undergoes to bring about a transformation of his/her/their Identity or to rebalance a situation tending toward decline. The three phases of a complete Rites of Passage cycle include rites of Separation, Transition, and Reintegration. These three universal phases of Rites of Passage cycles are mirrored in the three primary stages of a Hero Cycle adventure: Departure, Fulfillment, and Return.

The Return phase of a Hero’s Adventure involves a Reintegration back into the web of relations, roles, and aspirations of the hero’s Home Base; yet the hero returns to bring bounty to the Whole from having achieved individuation as a powerful, more loving and self-actualizing Self.

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images are from pixabay.com

Reintegration means rejoining a community you had departed from in order to gain maturity and to refine your talents. You rejoin this community with a higher order of Identity, from which you can better serve the growth potentials of the Whole.

Thus when Dorothy returns to Oz as a Self-integrated, mature Person, somehow we know that Toto is going to be okay. Dorothy brings back with her the integrated strengths of Courage, Heart, and Wisdom that she had lacked, and in this more aware, empowered Self she expresses the ultimate realization:

“There’s No Place Like Home!”

To Nurture Your Dreams, Be a Nourisher

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Sometimes we might not trust our inner vision to steer us in the right direction. We may feel afraid to Dream, wary of being disillusioned “yet again.” This cautious perspective might seem ‘practical,’ “realistic” or even wise.

But when we squelch our Visions, often another part of our Self grieves.

 

What happens to a Dream deferred? 

Does it dry up, like a raisin in the Sun?

Does it fester like a sore, and then run?

Perhaps it stinks, like rotten meat,

or crusts and sugars over, like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags, like a heavy load… 

Or does it explode?

–Langston Hughes

 

Our archetypal Ally for this month is the NOURISHER. I invite you to get in touch with your own nurturing, nourishing part of Self. When do you feel most nourishing and with whom? When do you feel best nourished and how or by whom?

Joyful time

I experienced a lot of Nourishing–from both sides of giving and receiving–during my road trip and visit Home  from June through July. Being with family and with my dog Sophie (my travelling companion and BFF) is a great gift of love for I have lived thousands of miles from my parents and sisters and brother for over 30 years.  We came together—all of us plus several cousins and nephews/nieces—around my elderly mother, Elizabeth—over the 4th of July holiday weekend. Mom was in the crux of a hospital emergency—not what we had hoped or planned for!—and we all came together to help her survive that visit and return to her familiar nursing home with its loving and competent, caring staff.

Mom is experiencing late stage Parkinson’s. At 88, for her this means she has very little independent mobility. She cannot walk on her own nor can she use her own hands to eat. She must consume pudding quality water and only pureed food which others must feed to her in such manner as not to cause her to aspirate or swallow food into her lungs.

While at the hospital, because staff there were inexperienced at preparing the pureed and pudding quality food and water and because most did not have experience (or time for the patience it takes) feeding in this way, it depended on us, her daughters mainly, to feed her morning, noon, and evening, as much and as best as we could.

And we did!  We bought Gerber’s pureed food to supplement or replace the hospital’s too thick or heavy portions. We developed a formula, with help from a speech therapist, to produce her pudding water, and we added fresh lemon juice and used ice cubes to give her more satisfaction.  She was depending on us for her very survival. Each of us stepped up as best we could. We shared our observations and listened to one anothers’ suggestions. We expressed our concerns with the nurses and aides until finally one doctor in particular became focal in helping Mom recover enough to be able to return to her nursing home.

Family of six

I know my Mom would do the same for any of us and often she did, whenever we were sick or ailing.  While at first honestly I was afraid of feeding Mom, afraid I might cause her to aspirate, over time I did the best I could along with my other sisters. And she improved! I believe the nurturing care we all gave helped her more than any medications. The love we all shared was a healing force in itself.  It is a healing energy that will never diminish, no matter what the future may hold.

So, I learn from my Nourisher that LOVE is the heart of it all and all that really matters. To NOURISH is to give and to reciprocally receive divine, unconditional Love.

I invite you to journal and/or to talk with a loved one (or send your insights, comments and stories to us, here!) about one or more of your own Nourisher moments.