Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The Point

This is where this has all been going, and as I've laid the background it's become obvious that I misunderstood may things. I'd looked at the big mythic journies as qualitatively different than the daily journeys and they aren't. I'd assumed, because sometimes it feels that way, that some deep events isolate you from the world, and that's not quite true.

This is what I'm talking about, the myth that has to be written- what happens to those few men and women who cross a dark threshold to a very deep place and return to find no community of people who have gone before? It has happened with veterans of Viet Nam, some of whom came home to families without parents who had served in Korea and a community who rejected them. It happens to officers who survive shootings and people who go into the desert and starve themselves to a vision.

It is the farthest travelers who learn the greatest secrets, and have the fewest to share it with.

I'm going to couch this in mythic language like the original Hero's Journey because myth is adaptable to many interpretations.

The Hero has completed his Journey. He has been beyond the world and has returned with new powers and new insights.
-The Homecoming: Greeted with joy, the returning hero greets his old friends

-Position in the Tribe: Accomplishments recognized, he is placed in a position of responsibility and respect.

-The dissatisfaction: He no longer fits with his old friends, perhaps due to the difference in growth. Members of the tribe become resentful. What yothe Hero believes is important does not mesh with the ideas of the power structure, tradition or politics of the tribe.

-Seeking Others: The Hero reaches out, looking for Others who have returned. He finds many, but most are burned out, suicidal, addicted or clinging to ancient glories.

-Creating the Kingdom: The hero ceases to search and decides to create a realm that reflects the wisdom he has won

- The leaving. The Kingdom runs well and happily and the Hero realizes that he is unneeded, unfulfilled and bored. With his confidence in his ability to create he goes in search, again, of Others.

-The Hero finds many archetypes in his travels, perhaps he must become each of these to move on. The Derelict: a burned out addict so overwhelmed by his experience that he can no longer function in the civilized world. Perhaps evil, but most likely pathetic, the Derelict searched his life for an enemy who could beat him and when he gave up he defeated himself. The Mystic: Caught up in the unearthliness of his vision, the Mystic has no connection with the day to day world. The King: Responsible and lonely he has accepted the reins of the Kingdom and works conscientiously, out of duty, slowly dying of boredom. The Teacher: Chooses to spread his knowledge either formally or as a guide leaving hints. He tries to help other to the Other Side and to be waiting when they return.

-The Hero begins teaching, but the truths are hard and the path is lonely. Further, the path must be walked alone, at the moments the Hero is teaching, the student cannot be on the path.

-At some point, a student will fail or die or betray.

-Creating a legacy: The Hero chooses to create a love-gift for the world, possibly his students. An expression of self and truth for future travelers. If the students are the legacy, this ties into the teaching step.

-Letting go of the Legacy. Once created, the Hero lets it go, watching only the changes in the world, not meddling.

-The Hero dies. In order to die well the Hero should have seen a student complete the Journey and been, perhaps, a Derelict, King, Mystic and Teacher.

That's my best guess at the mythic end game.

3 comments:

The Moody Minstrel said...

This sounds hauntingly familiar, and I don't know why...scary...

Kami said...

I think artists end up on these kinds of journies, though they aren't recognized as a 'heroic' journey per se. A lot of artists try desperately to reach 'that level,' others try to turn those exceptional artists into some sort of mystic supernatural creature with magical powers, and the artists that do create a great work or many great works of art find themselves isolated with no one 'getting' them except maybe a few others who've been there. Some of these exemplary artists end up bitter, mystical, negative, others try to teach, still others lead a lonely reign ... I see a lot there. And it's all very interesting.

Mac said...

The assumption that runs throughout all these missives is that only through suffering/pain/death/trauma - in short, all the negatives in reality - can one (mostly only males; is this because females don't need to go through this rite of passage, don't deserve it, don't care, childbirth is their true rite, or maybe the 'delicate sex' is much smarter than that 'other sex'???) become a person worthy to themselves, above the mainstream (knowledge of being somehow better than others)and responsible for other's safety and growth. Interesting. Can one achieve 'enlightenment' through peaceful introspection, prayer, contemplation?