Draw a Cornmeal Line (Don’t Look Back!)

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Pueblo Native American cultures (e.g. Hopi, San Juan and Zuni) of New Mexico and Arizona have strong traditions for ‘drawing a line’ between that which has ended and that which continues forward. This takes several forms in ceremonial use and is very evident when a person has died, transcending this surface plane to move on to higher worlds spiritually. Because the emotional bond is so strong among family and loved ones, at a ceremony a cornmeal line is scattered on the earth to signify that the departed shall go on spiritually while the bereaved must allow that spirit to go on and let them go. Otherwise the deceased Soul might want to linger and visit their loved ones psychically and the bereaved might be tempted to follow their loved one to the other side.

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To cross a threshold from one domain of life experience to a new Life Chapter full of ripe opportunities, it is important to draw that line, to make a clean departure or separation; to not look back once you have committed to your new direction forward.

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For example as I prepare to retire in just over a year now, to launch a second career around writing and services related to Life Path mapping (see sidebar), it is hard not to let doubts belay my forward progress. Shall I really retire to a lakeside community where just this past month I was beset by a throng of pest invaders? Maybe I should just sell the house but relocate in my present Colorado town: easier, safer?

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But, no! Life carries us forward and we must discern Its directions and accept and walk upon the path that opens up before us based on our own life purpose and mission. I must trust in Spirit, relying upon all the insights gained along the way.

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So yesterday I did an Alternate Futurescapes journaling myself (see previous post). I still envision myself (in most of the alt-scenarios, not all) moving to the lakeside community, but now it is to a recently built or well-maintained, very pest resistant sort of home, maybe a condominium or town home with homeowners fees that tend to pests regularly, or I could buy land and place a modular or a cabin on that. Anyway, my experience was a wake-up call for self (and pet) protection and vigilance, but it was not a barrier to stepping forth, come what may, to Live My Dream.

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images are from pixabay.com

So, draw a cornmeal line. Say your goodbyes, allow the past to pass while you turn your shoulders, brace against any inclement symbolic winds, and step cleanly and fully forward into your next step, the next Life Chapter of your mythically charged Life Story.

I welcome your comments and stories!

Threshold Guardians

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After Heeding the Call and setting forth with your well-considered Departure, you are set to approach the first Threshold so you can Cross the Threshold into the full engagement with your Adventure to achieve your Quest. But wait! It is not quite so easy as that.  Approaching the Threshold of a deeply  significant transition or a personally meaningful adventure invokes Threshold Guardians!  Only if you can pass by these daunting agencies or meet challenges designed to strengthen your weaknesses will you in fact step across that Threshold better equipped to meet your challenges successfully and realize your dreams.

Threshold Guardians are common archetypal character forms found in many a mythic tale.  The Never-Ending Story represents them as monolithic, winged Gargoyle figures guarding the entryway to  Bastian‘s destination. He must pass their enigmatic questioning in order to rescue his Princess and prevent the Nothing from spreading to annihilate all of his mythical world.  Scylla and Charybdis are rocky shoals that block Odysseus’s path to complete his Quest and return to home to Ithaka in Homer’s Ulysses. Dorothy faces winged monkeys sent by the Wicked Witch to deter her progress.  So then, what are some of your own Threshold Guardians and how have they served you or how can they aid you in completing your own mythic Quest?

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Boundary Gremlins

In Your Life Path (see sidebar), I will share a story about a significant dream from a few years ago in which I visited a ‘high altitude’  region inhabited by beautiful winged horses which I felt served God-realized Masters in the far reaches of the Heavens. As I approached the boundary of their realm, excited to witness this, suddenly Gremlins appeared! Honestly I had never even known what gremlins might look like until after I woke from this dream, but there they were: little, broad faced imps with huge ears. They popped up along the boundary to prevent me from stepping into this rarifed realm of the Horses of Heaven.

Recognizing that these Gremlins were doing their own valuable work in this realm I had stumbled upon in my dreaming, I stepped back and knelt down at a respectful distance from the boundary. I felt grateful to have witnessed this realm at all and content to just be there for a moment. The Gremlins were not apparent then but I knew they would pop up again if I were to try to advance.

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images are from pixabay.com

Behind me in this heightened inner realm, two winged Pegasus horses arrived, returning from their heavenly missives. One, white-pink-bluish, knelt gracefully onto her front legs beside me. I knew this was her invitation, and so I climbed up onto her bare back and held lightly onto a shock of her white mane as she stepped across the Threshold of the boundary into her domain.

I woke immediately, humbled and deeply impressed by this encounter with the Horses of Heaven! I realized the Gremlins were Threshold Guardians.  I needed great purity of heart, deep humility in order to venture into this sacred realm.

What or Who Are Your Threshold Guardians?

Your Threshold Guardians will be appropriate to the Quest and to the Threshold you aim to cross so you can achieve your own heroic purpose. I invite you to share YOUR story of Threshold Guardians. What qualities do they help you better master in order to advance to realize your Purpose?

Your Guardians of the Threshold

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What major resistances show up in your life that seem to always obscure or obtrude your progress? You would like to go back to college, but no, there are so many reasons that pop up to say you can’t. (What is it you really wish to study or to learn and how else might you go about that?) Or you want to try a new diet and start exercising regularly, but where is the time? The money? If you could form a mental image of the naysayers within your own “conscience”, what would they look like to you? I call them Gremlins and will tell you why in a bit. These are your Threshold guardians!

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Joseph Campbell talked about Dragons and about Threshold Guardians separately because the way these archetypal mythological figures show up in your consciousness, dreams, or fixed attitudes varies, but they are related notions.  According to Campbell your inner Dragons are those internal voices that “hem you in;” they appear in your consciousness as self-limiting constructs that aim to hold you back from achieving your “Bliss” or your highest potentials. In a way, these sorts of internal Dragons are protecting you from failure; if you never strive to achieve your dreams, then you can avoid the feelings of failure that could occur if you fall short of fulfilling your desires. So the Dragon protects a part of you from venturing forth into the “big bad world” of external hardships and challenge. But of course, those challenges are what we are here to engage, from another point of view!

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Guardians of the Threshold pop up in your consciousness—perhaps in nightly dreams, waking dreams, or “road blocks” generally—when you are getting closer to attaining the fulfillment of a worthy Quest.  These Guardians guard the passageway that would allow you to finally “cross the threshold” by overcoming the final obstacles between you and your ultimate Goal/Bliss/Life Dream. In mythology and fiction, Guardians of the Threshold are those towering, often stone statues—usually paired as two Guardians facing each other—that wield powers that can destroy you if your heart is not pure when you attempt to step across into a field of “Higher Power” or higher Awareness and achievement. Often a set of Tests or Riddles are issued by the Guardians; only if you pass the tests can you survive in stepping forward. In Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, for instance, while Indie’s father lies dying from a gunshot wound, Indie aims to cross a Void in order to find the chamber in which the Golden Chalice is protected by an ancient guardian and ancient magical forces.  He must answer three riddles and then he must step into the Void, demonstrating absolute Trust and purity of heart and mission. He takes the step, and a stone passage way opens beneath him. He confronts the knightly Guardian and wins the chance to choose the chalice, a final test of his wisdom and worthiness. As confirmation of his purity, Indie uses the water of immortality from the chalice to save his father’s life.

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I had a significant, archetypal dream (we can call it) about two years ago in which I found myself in a realm of higher energy; even the air was “rarified,” as in a high altitude region.  I saw horses there; not just any horses but what I awoke calling “Horses of Heaven”. Yes, these were winged Pegasus horses, huge, beautifully colored and magnificent Beings whom I knew instinctively served the missions of heavenly Masters or Saints, transporting them on their Missions throughout the Cosmos.  These Horses lived in this rarified zone when they were not in service on their missions. It was like there was a boundary line between where I was standing and this heightened realm where the Horses of Heaven abide.

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So, of course, I wanted to enter that beautiful realm of the Horses of Heaven.  I approached the boundary, when all of a sudden, Gremlins popped up all along the boundary! Literally gremlins, these fiendish appearing little fellows had broad ears and flat, rodent like faces. They were grinning, but I knew if I approached any further they would attack and I would be gremlin fodder! So, I paused and knelt, content not to approach any further but to remain in this place to be even this near to the realm of the Horses of Heaven.

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A beautiful, familiar seeming, White Pegasus appeared, returning along with one of her fellow Horses from a service they had performed.  As they approached to step across the boundary, the other (dapple colored) Horse went on across, but the White Horse knelt on one beautiful, graceful leg, inviting me silently to climb up onto her back. She rose with me gratefully astride her wide back as She stepped across into the heavenly realm. I awoke, humbled and grateful!

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My dream, which I have titled “The Horses of Heaven” and which I will ALWAYS remember, is an example of how Guardians of the Threshold might appear in a dream; the Gremlins protected that rarified Heaven from any impurity. I have felt ever since that dream that this was a blessing; a confirmation that I can proceed with my own Life Dreams. It has fueled my ambition ever since.

So, what are YOUR Guardians of the Threshold? What Threshold, first of all, would you approach in aiming to Cross a Threshold to achieve your Higher Purpose? And then what “pops up” to test your resolve or your purity of heart and Spirit if you would step forth to realize that Goal? Have you had any dreams of this nature? Perhaps recurring dreams from childhood or as an adult? Or do recurring situations tend to pop up every time you try to make a meaningful change of course for the sake of realizing your deeper purpose? What is your Quest? And of course, it may be that the life you are currently living is already fulfilling that Purpose; it does not have to be something more, but then you can better appreciate how you can serve and develop the deep potentials all around you, Here and Now!

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As a tool for understanding and contemplating your own Guardians of the Threshold, I invite you this week to represent them artistically via a poem or a picture or song lyrics, or to reflect and talk about them with loved ones, or to dialogue with them in an archetype dialogue through active imagination and journaling, such as I introduced last week. Get to know your Gremlins; they may never befriend you as that is not of their nature, but after all, they are of a positive force that allows you to refine your Purpose!

Are You a Threshold Dweller?

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One of the greatest benefits from identifying the Life Chapters of your Life Story by naming the phases that have occurred BETWEEN your pivotal Turning Points is that this brings you naturally to a position of being a Dweller at the Threshold, in Joseph Campbell’s terms (as in The Hero with 1000 Faces).  We each live always in the Present Moment, most often as if the Present is a bubble, like the bubble in a leveling tool, relatively sealed off from yet positionally linked to Past influences and Future potentials. Life Mapping can open your awareness to how the “Past” (i.e., your meaningful Life Chapters with their inherent Life Lessons) has carried you to both this Present Moment and to the potential “Future” that your Life Path is trending toward. Your mindful awareness places you at the precipice of embarking upon or unfolding more consciously into a future Moment of your own choice and envisioning; see?

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If we are to constructively affect the course our life is taking—and I personally believe this is not only our right but our responsibility—we may step forward from this Threshold of awareness that links Past-PRESENT-Future into a more integrated Whole.

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Being a Dweller at the Threshold, you have the opportunity to pause and to reflect; to scan the Past while envisioning the future course you desire to undertake in your continuing Adventure.  There will be another, big step to take after this, called Crossing the Threshold (stay tuned for later tools and for the Life Paths book to engage in the full process). But at this fertile, vital junction of  reviewing your life course to Now, you are able to discern meaningful trends and potentials you have already established in your unique Life Story.

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I have observed in over a decade of helping people compose and reflect upon their Life Maps a very common trend. However difficult a person’s life may have been, a high percentage of people (not all) reconstruct their CURRENT Life Chapter as either at a state of Balance or as a Resolution stage after successfully negotiating earlier hardships and challenges. How about you? If you have named your Life Chapters based on the methods shared on Tuesday, what title have you given to the CURRENT Life Chapter you are in? I welcome your sharing about your own Life Chapter titles or experience.

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Next week we will expand this discussion to the topic of “Life Story Genres”.  This might help you to contextualize the dramatic quality of your personal life experience.  It is a natural cognitive function of the human mind to reconstruct our life experiences in Story form. Neuroscientists believe this helps us establish a sense of coherence and “flow” to our stream of life events and it helps us to construe our sense of identity as a continuous, integrated Self. So, please stay tuned to Sunday for an introduction of our next topic of discovering your Life Story Genre.

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I’d like to add two remarks today. First, I’d like to express my gratitude to GraphicStock, the website at which I have found most of the images I use in this blog. For an annual fee I have discovered a rich well of images to represent the ideas being presented here.

Also, as it is Thursday and I’m mounting the Friday blog, as usual I am a day ahead in posting. (When I receive a story about applying these tools or find a very appropriate piece to re-blog, I will also post a separate Thursday blog, as happened last week.) My work schedule makes it easier for me to post in the afternoon or evening the day before a post is scheduled, so thanks to you, dear readers, for your patience. – Linda