Re-Emergence: Ascent from the Darkness into Light

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Descent into the Belly of the Whale is followed by a re-emergence, a resurfacing into conscious awareness after having gained perspective on the rest of the journey ahead. I love the notion that a descent is followed by Ascent.  We must sink to the depths, yet we bring up from those depths vital tools and gems of newly gained awareness to carry forward. This is an alchemical process.

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Luke Skywalker’s Jedi light saber is a good example. After Luke’s uncle and aunt are killed by the Empire’s storm troopers, Luke seeks to “learn the ways of the Force,” first from the Jedi Knight Obiwan Kenobi and later from the great Jedi Master Yoda. Luke is given a light saber, a tool by which to concentrate the Force and direct his own positive attention.

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Such devices of Awareness are quite common in mythology, as in life. Theseus is aided by a skein of thread woven by Ariadne, daughter of King Minos. With this thread Theseus is able to ascend or reemerge from the labyrinth after he encounters and kills the half-bull/ half-man Minotaur and delivers his compatriots from being imprisoned there. Theseus thereafter assumes his father’s throne in Athens.

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What about you? What Tool or Lesson have you acquired from a time of arduous descent that has helped you to proceed toward fulfilling your deepest purpose?

A degree, for instance? Or some lesson of patience and perseverance? What then is the Quest that your Tool specifically prepares you to accomplish?

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images are from pixabay.com

I welcome YOUR Comments and Story!

 

The Mythic GOLDEN CHILD

The GOLDEN CHILD persona archetype occurs in classic mythology with figures such as Theseus, Hercules and Achilles—each of whom also show WARRIOR archetypal qualities—and it shows up in many fictional stories and popular films as well. “Little Buddha” is a great film about the search for the reincarnated Buddha to become the next Dalai Lama in Tibetan Buddhism. This is an explicit Golden Child construct which demonstrates the value of this key archetypal figure as a persona that potentially benefits all of humanity and indeed all life. Yesterday I watched part of “Roman Holiday” with my family, starring Audrey Hepburn in 1953 as a young princess who tires of her royal duties and longs to have a normal life experience. Here is shown the burden that a Golden Child might have to bear in being a central figure for her or his community, as if they are always on stage or serving their public.

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My own dog Sophie (full name: Sophia Grace Wattsida {the last name being the word for ‘dog’ in Zuni!}) is a Golden Child to me. Her breed and style is even called a ‘Golden’ Shorkie because of her hair color as a Shitzu-Yorkie mix. Currently she is with me on her fifth cross-country trip at 5 yrs old; every summer I pack the car and Sophie and I traverse America together from Colorado to New York state and back to visit my mother and siblings.

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Just yesterday I was realizing how I can learn a lot from my little Golden Shorkie Sophie. She has the social skills I sometimes lack, ready to greet (and lick/kiss) just about anyone, and tromping gleefully into the largest of crowds with aplomb, eager for the new experience and smells. I myself have a touch of social anxiety that often keeps me away from crowds of more than a few even well known persons; parties, as my close friends and coworkers know, are my most daunting challenge; I usually feel compelled to just stay away. But last night, with my sister Lee and with Sophie on her leash beside me, I actually attended part of a concert on the lawn of a ski area, with Blood, Sweat and Tears! Sophie showed no fear and just wanted to get off the leash to dart about freely in the large crowd there gathered (I held onto her instead, of course, to her frustration). As a Golden Child I think she feels it is her obligation to greet everyone with a proper licking!

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Anyway, after dinner outdoors with my siblings and the concert, I had a scare overnight as my Golden Sophie was hyperventilating most of the night. She must have gotten too much sun or “too much of a good thing” in dinner handouts from me perhaps. We are many miles away from any animal emergency clinic here, so I tended her as best I knew to do with extra water and care, hoping she was going to be okay through the night. She is! Whew! She truly is a golden companion to me.

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Do you have a Golden Child in your life? Often if we do not express an archetype as a primary aspect of our own Self’s archetypal assemblage, it may be present in people (pets are also people!) important in our lives.

I invite your Comments and Stories!

 

 

The Quest

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Because your life is mythically storied, you are on a grand heroic Quest. What is your Quest? Do you know? Has it shifted over time or is there one Lifetime Quest you came here to Earth to fulfill?  For some it may be related to parenting; for others it is realizing their talents, contributing to knowledge, or realizing spiritual goals.  Let’s start by exploring what a Quest is or can be by reflecting on some mythic  and historical Quests.

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Jason and the Golden Fleece is a Greek myth all about The Quest. In order to take his prophesized place as King of Thessaly, Jason is sent on a quest by Zeus and Hera to obtain a golden fleece, with Hercules and other fine crewmates, but also with a saboteur aboard the famous ship, the Argo. After facing many tests and obstacles, Jason demonstrates resolve, loyalty to the gods, and virtue, eventually defeating the protector of the fleece, Hydra (who has killed the saboteur) so that Jason and his surviving Argonauts, along with his wife to be, Medea, return to Thessaly where Jason will be King.

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Jeanne d’ Arc’s (La Pucelle’s) historical epic is iconic of a female ‘spiritual warrior quest’. Against all gender norms and odds, Jeanne listened to her saintly voices and led her French people to success in battle against Britain at Orleans, but then she was betrayed from among her own countrymen and tried for heresy.  To the end Jeanne d’Arc honored her spiritual Quest of service to God, refusing to recant and ultimately being burned at the stake. It is said that witnesses to her death saw a white dove flying out from the ashes. (Here you can link to Leonard Cohen’s “Joan of Arc”).

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Then there was Odysseus, whose adventurous quest to return Home to his wife and son at Ithaca after the Trojan War took ten years. Like Jason, Odysseus and his men faced a series of deadly challenges and obstacles placed in their path. To survive to reach his home in Ithaca, Odysseus had to demonstrate strong leadership and to outwit his deadly foes.

One of my favorite poems, Ithaca by the modern Greek poet Cadafy, frames each of us as on a Quest similar to that of Odysseus:

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When you set out on your journey to Ithaca,
pray that the road is long,
full of adventure, full of knowledge.
The Lestrygonians and the Cyclops,
the angry Poseidon — do not fear them:
You will never find such as these on your path,
if your thoughts remain lofty, if a fine
emotion touches your spirit and your body.
The Lestrygonians and the Cyclops,
the fierce Poseidon you will never encounter,
if you do not carry them within your soul,
if your soul does not set them up before you.

Pray that the road is long.
That the summer mornings are many, when,
with such pleasure, with such joy
you will enter ports seen for the first time;
stop at Phoenician markets,
and purchase fine merchandise,
mother-of-pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
and sensual perfumes of all kinds,
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
visit many Egyptian cities,
to learn and learn from scholars.

Always keep Ithaca in your mind.
To arrive there is your ultimate goal.
But do not hurry the voyage at all.
It is better to let it last for many years;
and to anchor at the island when you are old,
rich with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting that Ithaca will offer you riches.

Ithaca has given you the beautiful voyage.
Without her you would have never set out on the road.
She has nothing more to give you.

And if you find her poor, Ithaca has not deceived you.
Wise as you have become, with so much experience,
you must already have understood what Ithacas mean.

Constantine P. Cavafy (1911)

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So, Quests come in various modes: Tests of worthiness; Goals of Service; and Going Home (spiritually as well as physically) are various ways to realize your own highest nature and achieve your Purpose.

Where are YOU at in relation to the pursuit of realizing your own Quest? I invite you to take some time this week to reflect on and to envision your Quest.

 

Hitch Your Sail to an Epic Tale!

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What is the value of the fact that we live out our lives as Myth, as an Epic or Episodic Story?  Stories have structures: a beginning, middle and end. That is, they lead somewhere, and in the process of striving to achieve our storied destination, we always learn something valuable in the process. (If we don’t, then we may be in a ‘tragic’ mode, repeating the same sort of experience until we do finally ‘see the Light’, learn the lesson. Then we can move on to the next story, the next Life Chapter.)

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On Sunday I introduced the idea of “parallel myths”: looking at the synoptic structure of your own Life Story to Now and comparing that with a popular storyline you can identify with. This in itself can help you to ‘heighten’ your own Story; to see its meaningful significance for yourself and others involved. It can also help you recognize your Goals in relation to the parallel-story Quest of the heroic tale.

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So here’s a method for using a parallel myth or story to help you resolve a situation in your life.

First identify a Goal in your life, and an Obstacle or set of obstacles you are confronted with in trying to fulfill that goal.

Second, identify a parallel story in relation to your Goal and Obstacles. Is there a story you are familiar with where the hero aims to achieve a similar goal and encounters similar obstacles?

Name that Story: ________________________.

Third, review the way the hero or other protagonists in the parallel story overcome their obstacles to achieve their goal.

And Fourth then, reflect on (contemplate/ talk about/ journal or write or compose a poem or create a piece of art about): How might you APPLY the strategies used in the parallel story to the situation you face? What can you do to help you achieve your goal by comparison with this parallel story?

Sometimes this method will allow you to uncover a vital, practical solution you had not considered. At very least it can show you that you are not alone in facing your obstacles and that there are ways to achieve your goal.

As an example from my own life, currently I am engaged in something difficult but worthwhile; the most difficult ordeal and the most valuable, exciting opportunity of my life requires a daily effort to try to break through what in the past I would have accepted as self-limitations. Where I am at reminds me of the protagonist Chuck Noland in the movie Cast Away with Tom Hanks (one of my favorites).

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In order to continue forward with his life after being marooned on a Desert island, at a certain point Chuck arduously but successfully builds a raft and he aims to take it into the deep Ocean, so he will be rescued. The current, though, beats him back on his early attempts. He has to finally muster enough strength and ingenuity to mount a Sail (delivered serendipitously upon his stranded beach), one with enough heft that it will allow the raft to catch a wind to propel him past the beating tidal current that has kept him penned on the beach. This takes everything Chuck has: courage, determination, skill, patience, calculation, fortitude, and ultimately, action. He faces the odds, he encounters the vicissitudes of Nature, and ultimately he prevails. He exceeds those illusory self-limitations. Life beyond that goal is not entirely what he anticipates; his fiancée has married and he has no reason to stay with his former job. He is still a “cast-away”, but he has learned much that he will share as he continues forth into a valuable, if still uncertain future.

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Just telling the Cast Away story in relation to my current travails is helpful. It buttresses my resolve and supports me in the alone-ness I often feel during this passage.  Stories remind us that our own story matters; it must, of course, if only to ourselves. Any good story, one “worth telling,” leads to a grander space than its ‘middle’ ordeals might foretell.  Any good motivation to achieve a destination bears fruit with its achievement beyond the hero’s own need or honor. It benefits the Whole that it is part of; hence it is worthy of the support of the Whole.

Seek comfort in the Whole (whatever you may choose to name IT); accept and receive Its love and support guiding you along on YOUR Journey!

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I always welcome YOUR insights and stories!

Your Story as Myth

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Preface: As I present this blog about topics covered in my upcoming book Life Paths I find I need to dampen the material just a bit in order not to reveal more than I should before launching the book. I am presenting here a full sequence of topics in a process mode that mirrors the book’s process, but I do not want to simply quote from the manuscript or give the exact self-help tools outside of the fuller context of a complete Life Maps Process that the book will deliver. Particularly, there is an approach in Life Paths that delivers a much more in-depth and systematic approach to this week’s topic of “Your Life as Myth”, which I will need to present in a more basic overview manner here. Still, the ideas are relevant to where we are at as we go through a life mapping sequence in the blog. And, I do enjoy exploring these topics in the blog apart from and beyond the book process; it allows me a creative outflow and I hope that is true for you as well.

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Your Story as Myth

Our lives are made up from the stuff of Myth and, in my view, Myth is made up from the stuff of our lives. That means that the same elements that are present in Myth are present in our day-to-day—and nightly dream—experience.  It simply cannot be otherwise, given the structure of human Mind and the nature of human consciousness.

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We tell about the events of our lives—from the most mundane to the most significant, Shaping events—in stories, and we reflect on our life history as an overarching Life Story. So, consider the key elements of a myth or story and you can see their reflections in your own life. You are the key protagonist, for instance, within a cast of characters both external (your relations) and internal (your unconscious archetypal perspectives…a later topic). You have Goals, you face Obstacles; occasionally you might even come face to face with a Nemesis or Arch-Rival, and you might face unrelenting challenges. You survive, though, as best as possible. You seek help, develop strategies, equip yourself with skills and tools to meet your needs, and you persevere, you persist to overcome obstacles and to attain your needs and goals. That all sounds very dramatic and, er,…yes, Mythic!

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So for fun this week, here’s something you can do to explore the mythic dimensions of your own Life Story.

First, write out in outline form across one page the titles you would give to your important Life Chapters up to Now (you can refer to two weeks ago or use this blog’s Search device for Life Chapters to find a tool to help you identify your Life Chapters as the event phases that have occurred between your major Turning Points.)

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Got that? So now you have a sequence of YOUR Life Chapter titles across a page. (If you prefer to be nonlinear, you can arrange these in any manner that makes sense to you, like in a Spiral pathway, a pie chart or a creative collage.)

Next, read across the page of your Life Chapter Titles, several times, slowly. Does the Story that your sequence of Life Chapter titles tell REMIND you of any popular story (myth, novel, or movie, etcetera)? What is that “Parallel” Story?

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Now then, you can talk about, journal/ write about, and/or actively contemplate the similarities between YOUR story and the Parallel Story you have named.

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Have Fun!

I look forward to your comments or stories.

“The Prologue to Compassion”, by Joshua Bertetta

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It commenced with an inconsiderable light, an untinged light

It was perhaps part of what was, and what was was only black.

The light was with the black you see, and the light was the black.

And through this light that was the black and with the black, things came to be.

A light breeze scattered flecks of this light. A brief pause let the flecks settle and the wind returned to the inconsiderable light, only to pause again and again go forth to scatter flecks of light. And bit by bit this helpful little laawan broadcasted the light across the black. Bit by bit, the specks sprouted and in spouting, grew a little more with each breeze and each breeze, bit by little bit, continued depositing the little specks of light. Back and forth, back and forth, the busy little wind worked tirelessly, without haste, never whining, though it seemed its task would never cease.

Now as this little wind busied itself, “things” took “shape.” It wasn’t so much that things themselves were made per se, but something more akin to the idea of things took shape, for still, these “things” remained unlit. Until, that is, the wind draped color over the ideas, thus bestowing upon them their shapes. These were not your ordinary run of the mill colors, however, for the breeze did not bother itself with the blues and the reds and the yellows and the greens: no, it beheld the illuminateds and the lucents, the prismatics and iridiants, the opaques and the opalines.

Such provided the environment for the makings of things and things thus did form. First the dragonfly, then the flowers for the dragonfly, the grasses for the flowers, and the ground for the grasses. The water and the air. All pouring their colors and their shapes in tandem with the swashing wind. Hills unrolled in the distance, and trees.

Everything created in and by the light that was the dark and was with the dark.

Flowers giggled diamonds; the diamonds sirulated into butterflies and those butterflies, those luxuriant and splashy butterflies, dripped polygonal pollens and gave lines to birds.

Soften its features did the wind with its gentle comings and goings. This wind, this breath, this breath, just breathe, just breathe, just breathe.

And in that just-breathing did the breath find life; in finding life did the breath find flesh and in finding flesh the breath found itself, fulgurating, reflected in and by the light itself—the light that was the water, that was the ground, the dragonflies and butterflies, the fish, and all the flowers—all of it, every single little speck of it, the light that was the black and was with the black.

What it was it just was and in being was, it kept on being. Being what it was…what it was…it was is. It is what is. Being. Am. What was was was. What is is. What am.

The wind: Be.

The light: Am.

Being and am-ing, am-ing and being; so the wind, the breath, the breath moving in, the breath moving out, passing in, passing out, the breath that am the flowers and the fish, the butterflies and the dragonflies, the ground, the water, the light itself finding itself in the flesh finding itself in the breath, in am.

And thus began the knowing and with the knowing the naming and the first name was the wind’s name:

Rahim.

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Bio: An aspiring novelist, Joshua Bertetta holds a Ph.D. in Mythological Studies from Pacifica Graduate Institute and teaches in the Religious Studies Department at St. Edward’s University. He lives in Austin, TX with his wife and three boys, and he has a facebook group dedicated to his work at http://www.facebook.com/storyofthefour. Contact info: joshuabertetta8306@gmail.com

(There were 14 Likes for the first publication of this story on Better Endings!)