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The Innermost Cave

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Today we're exploring the seventh stage of being a hero (from Joseph Campbell's book, The Hero with a Thousand Faces):


7: The Hero Reaches The Innermost Cave

The hero comes at last to a dangerous place, often deep underground, where the object of his quest is hidden. In the Arthurian stories the Chapel Perilous is the dangerous chamber where the seeker finds the Grail. In many myths the hero has to descend into hell to retrieve a loved one, or into a cave to fight a dragon and gain a treasure. It's Theseus going into the Labyrinth to face the Minotaur. In STAR WARS it's Luke and company being sucked into the Death Star where they will rescue Princess Leia. Sometimes it's the hero entering the headquarters of his nemesis; and sometimes it's just the hero going into his or her own dream world to confront his or hers worst fears... and overcome them.

My thoughts on the subject:

It seems to me that once I'm this deeply emmeshed in "the journey", that all thoughts of "living large" or "being heroic" or "having a better life" are at this point completely dominated by the absolute necessity to get whatever it is that needs to be gotten, go where ever I need to go, and do what ever needs to be done so that I can come through this thing alive. Once I've come this far, the second guessing is over, the hesitations vanish, and I find that I actually do have courage, and wisdom, grit and determination.

What about you? I'm sure we've all been there more than once. It may not have been as interesting or aweinspiring as Chapel Perilous, the Death Star, or Mount Doom, but that doesn't make it any less dangerous, or important. I remember when I went into labor for the first time, There I was on the threshold thinking... what the heck have I done? children? I don't want children! I just want puppies! Then suddenly there was a midwife, and hot compresses, all thought left me... and I just wanted to get it done and over with.

So, if you're hesitating on the threshold of a new journey, or if you're unsure about entering that innermost cave, I'm thinking that it might be really helpful to make a list of your previous "Cave" experiences. You just might find more confidence in your inner resources, and valuable insights into your own unique strengths and abilities.

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