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!

 

Into the Light: Re-Emergence after Descent

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Descent and Re-Emergence form a unified theme found in many mythic and literary tales, as in our lives. Descending to the depths is healthy and constructive; re-emerging renewed to apply the insights gained is extremely valuable. Out of the Darkness, Into the Light is therefore a cyclic process for personal growth and development.

Since we are in the final week of November, Month of the DESCENDER Archetype, it is appropriate to focus on the theme of Re-Emergence. Of course, this is also a Better Endings theme of itself, as Descent needs a resolution, a surfacing or a transcendence, in order to bear its cornucopia forward into mindful awareness and change.

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There is a plethora of mythic and literary examples to choose from to represent the sort of Re-Emergence you can bring about in your own mythic life’s journey.  Theseus’ descent into the Labyrinth to defeat the Minotaur at Crete and rescue his captured compatriots is a Classical example.  Ariadne, daughter of King Minos who has contained the Minotaur and feeds him with captives from Theseus’s home of Athens, gifts Theseus with a sword and a skein of thread so he can defeat the Minotaur (half-man/ half-bull) and then follow the thread back OUT from the labyrinth to lead his compatriots to safety.  Heroic Theseus, son of King Aegeus, thus succeeds quickly—after some deft storyline complications in his return voyage—to become a worthy King of Athens himself.

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The story, though, that most comes to mind for me as an example of Re-Emergence from Descent this week is the historic and spiritual tale of the life and death of Joan of Arc. I have been thinking of the recently late Leonard Cohen’s lyrics all week in his tribute song to La Pucelle (“the Maid”), “Joan of Arc.”  Jennifer Warnes does a wonderful rendition of this song on her “Famous Blue Raincoat” album, itself a tribute to Leonard Cohen; I will link you to a YouTube version that includes both Jennifer Warnes and Leonard Cohen singing this  excellent song below. As the Universe or Spirit would have it, when I asked inwardly if this is the example I should share, last night a version of Jeanne d’Arc’s biography showed up on late night TV. That was my confirmation.

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Of course, Joan of Arc’s Descent occurred in two ways: first, spiritually, by her accepting and listening to the voices she attributed to St. Michael, St. Catherine and St. Margaret. It took an unusually receptive consciousness and deep faith for Joan to accept the mission she felt called to undertake based on these voices. Then after several successful campaigns leading troops to deliver France from British control, Joan’s physical world Descent came with her imprisonment, with her trial in which she did not recant her spiritual calling, and ultimately with her being burned at the stake as a heretic.

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Leonard Cohen, who passed away earlier this month, penned his “Joan of Arc” lyrics around the final descent and the Ascension of St. Joan from the unusual point of view of the Fire that consumed her.  One might read Cohen’s protagonist as simultaneously the Holy Flame of her enduring faith and the physically voracious Fire at the pyre that consumed only her physical shell so to release and liberate her Spirit.  In both senses, the burning at the stake of Saint Joan constituted her Ascension, her ultimate Re-Emergence into the Light and Truth of the Divine via the action of Holy Spirit. Many accounts of her death report that witnesses saw a White Dove rise out of the mixed ashes of Jeanne d’Arc’s body and the wood of the fuel that claimed it.

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images are from pixabay.com

JOAN OF ARC (by Leonard Cohen)

http://www.leonardcohensite.com/songs/joan.htm

Now the flames they followed Joan of Arc
as she came riding through the dark;
no moon to keep her armour bright,
no man to get her through this very smoky night.
She said, “I’m tired of the war,
I want the kind of work I had before,
a wedding dress or something white
to wear upon my swollen appetite.”

Well, I’m glad to hear you talk this way,
you know I’ve watched you riding every day
and something in me yearns to win
such a cold and lonesome heroine.
“And who are you?” she sternly spoke
to the one beneath the smoke.
“Why, I’m fire,” he replied,
“And I love your solitude, I love your pride.”

“Then fire, make your body cold,
I’m going to give you mine to hold,”
saying this she climbed inside
to be his one, to be his only bride.
And deep into his fiery heart
he took the dust of Joan of Arc,
and high above the wedding guests
he hung the ashes of her wedding dress.

It was deep into his fiery heart
he took the dust of Joan of Arc,
and then she clearly understood
if he was fire, oh then she must be wood.
I saw her wince, I saw her cry,
I saw the glory in her eye.
Myself I long for love and light,
but must it come so cruel, and oh so bright?

 

Welcome to A New Year of Better Endings — with “The Descent and Re-emergence of Theseus”

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Welcome to a new year at Better Endings for Your Life Path! This year I will modify the process by returning to the principle of Better Endings, which was the focus for Year 1 of this blog. This time I will be pairing this principle with astrologically appropriate monthly archetype characters. The process will be as follows, from week to week each month:

Week One: A popular or fictional story that reflects a Better Ending involving the monthly archetype as a protagonist;

Week Two: Inspirational quotes or positive postulates pertaining to the monthly theme;

Week Three:  A Life Mapping self-discovery ‘better endings’ technique relating to the monthly archetype;

Week Four: A personal story or stories (yours are invited!) applying the monthly archetype in a ‘better ending’ scenario.

Check out the Weekly Topics tab or see below for a list of astrologically appropriate Archetypes. (The Archeypes are arranged in this wheel according to their energetic stages as I: Origination, II: Maintenance, III: Dissolving; as described by Dr. Charles Bebeau).

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Better Endings is a positive personal growth and development principle by which you may either find the lesson, value, or opportunity within any life situation or by which you can constructively “re-vision”  a story or plotline that leads to a different, positive outcome as a result of your imaginative reframing. You can apply this principle to fictional stories and films, but you can also apply this constructive approach to your own life situations and choices.

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For the remainder of November then, let’s get started. As we have but two weeks, for this month I will truncate the process with two different topics per week according to the sequence described above.

November’s persona Archetype, related to Scorpio, is that of the DESCENDER. A well known mythic story that expresses a ‘better ending’ scenario involving a DESCENDER protagonist is that of Theseus and the Minotaur. Allow me here a Better Endings summary of this classic tale:

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Theseus, son of King Aegeus of Athens, sailed to Crete, the domain of King Minos, who kept within a deep labyrinth a monstrous half-man/half-bull Minotaur.  King Minos, whose own son had been assassinated at the Athenian games, demanded of Aegeus that seven men and seven women would be sent every seventh year to be fed to and devoured by the Minotaur, in order to spare Athens itself from Minos’s wrath. Theseus’s quest on the third of these sacrificial voyages was to kill the Minotaur and rescue his compatriots.

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Before entering the labyrinth, from which noone who entered had ever emerged, Theseus encountered King  Minos’s daughter Ariadne, who was immediately attracted to the young hero. Ariadne gifted Theseus with a skein of golden thread she had woven, by which he would be able to find his way out of the labyrinth with his compatriots after defeating the monster, asking only for Theseus to take her with him back to Athens.

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Theseus entered and descended into the depths of the dark, winding labyrinth, unwinding the skein of thread as he proceeded.  At the core in the deepest recess of the maze, Theseus engaged the Minotaur, manos a manos. After a terrible battle, Theseus succeeded in killing and beheading the beast, grasping the Minotaur’s bull head in his hand.

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Theseus rescued the Athenians and led them back to the surface, out of the labyrinthian maze. Not as taken by Ariadne as she was with him, Theseus and his men boarded the boat without her and sailed to Athens, victorious. Yet Theseus erred; he had told his father he would change a black flag on the boat to white had he succeeded.  King Aegeus, seeing the black flag instead, assumed his son had been killed and attacked, but Theseus’ own forces defeated Aegeus, killing him such that on Theseus’s return to the shores of Athens, he was crowned King earlier than would have otherwise occurred, succeeding his father. Theseus ruled as a just and heroic King, remembered by many as the heroic founder of Athens, for many generations.

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all images from pixabay.com

Many archetypal-psychological interpreters of this phase of Theseus’s mythic adventures see in the Labyrinth the deep recesses of the Unconscious. They note that the Minotaur was born to Minos’s wife, Queen Pasiphae, after she had coupled with a Bull sent by Poseidon when Minos vainly requested the Bull in order to claim his own godly pretensions; but he had failed to sacrifice the Bull as Poseidon had demanded. The Minotaur thus was the embarassing consequence of Minos’s indiscretion to the gods. He is the product of human hubris and guilt, lodged deeply in the Unconscious.

Do you have a Minotaur lodged between your own higher nature and archetypal ‘crew’ members of your archetypal cast? Do you have the courage to confront the Beast and rescue your Allies as a strong and responsible Self? Meeting this challenge allows you to reintegrate and strengthen your Self through your descent and re-emergence from the Labyrinth.

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!