A Hero’s Journey

So, another project Jeanne and I did together a few weeks ago was to write a story using several randomly selected tarot cards. It should be no surprise to anyone that despite working with identical images, our stories were wildly different! My story was written as a fable, reflecting an archetypal aspect of human existence. It was not my conscious intention to take this particular tack, but the images led my imagination down this road.

He doesn’t notice the barren, lonely landscape engulfing him. The spiritual lure is all that commands his attention. Distant mountains are a peripheral distraction. Sure, there are hills yet to climb. Perhaps there will be struggle. Perhaps exciting opportunity awaits. It matters not. Imagination’s feather takes flight into a sky that has no limit. He is eager to spread his wings.

Who will be his companions on the trek? Who will be his foes? How will he navigate the ascent, and can he avoid falling from the precipice? Many unknowns remain unknowable until he begins.

Our hero claims his path. Determined, laser focused, clear-sighted. His sole/soul calling is the preciously held flame of inspiration, his divining rod. This is all he needs.

Ahh… the inevitable arises. Temptation to fear. Best to sit still, unmoved, self-protective. A niggling voice admonishes: Do not take any risks. Infused by this formidable adversary, he is seduced by the world’s creature comforts. Financial stability, social connection, predictability, feeling safe. Isn’t it right to be practical? Why venture into the desert where privation may… probably will … pounce?

Terror occludes his heart.

Despite trepidation, he steps his toes into the river of life, immersing in its flow. The water wheel whirrs and churns. Fate is in charge now. On the downward slide he endures the sting of serpents’ tongues and battles underworld demons wreaking havoc. Thankfully, he is guided by the gods, too, and on the upswing enjoys times of ease and success. Rarely does he find rest, though. Our weary traveler knows intuitively that peace abides in the still point, the axis of the circle. If only he can get there, he will ride the Ferris Wheel with grace and poise, notwithstanding countless revolutions.

After a lifetime of trials and tempests, balance is restored to our hero as divine blessing. He discovers his life was well lived all along. Triumphant, he is crowned with glory, having mastered the mercurial slings and arrows of fortune and misfortune. His calling is fulfilled. His joy is real. His passion an enduring fire. Equanimity presides.

Moral of the Story: The hero’s journey cannot be undertaken by tremulous hearts. But, courageous pilgrims, be comforted. Victory is assured.

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