The Hero's Journey


Recently I wrote about my childhood dream in which the Lone Ranger shot me. This big dream was more real than any other I’ve ever had. I was devastated to think my hero hated me so much he wanted to kill me and I couldn’t understand why. I had practically worshiped him, Silver, and his trusty partner Tonto; yet he shot me! The injustice of this was intolerable!
One thing I’ve come to understand is that this dream spoke to my childhood image of God as a heroic male and my growing sense that I was unworthy because I was a female. In 1953 America God was a He, history was still about males, and females could not be bosses, ministers, presidents or heroes.
That new awareness was very painful to my ten-year-old heart, and I tried my best to suppress it for many years; but ultimately, belatedly, it forced me to take myself as seriously as I took my loved ones, to search for my truths, and to connect with God in ways that were personally meaningful instead of entrusting this most crucial of my soul’s tasks to others — especially others who did not value me because of my gender. It also inspired my creativity. My struggle to understand and empower femininity and the feminine side of the Sacred Mystery is at the core of everything I write.
A second message of this dream was the inevitability of death. While being alone most of the time I wasn’t in school or church seemed normal to me at ten, my dream said that unconsciously I was feeling very vulnerable and insecure. I could be left alone to make my way through a dangerous world, I could be victimized, I could die. When my father died a few months later this suspicion became a certainty and my trust in my hero/God was shattered. Apparently I knew something no one else did: the heavenly hero everyone thought of as perfect was secretly untrustworthy, unjust and cruel.
I tried to repress this awareness too, but it was nevertheless a bedrock reality that fueled my determination to do everything I could to stay on God’s good side! Ignoring my wounded Persephone, I concentrated on developing my Athena, the brave, noble and wise defender of patriarchy! And I got pretty good at being heroic.
So it was a bit of a shock to realize at mid-life was that I was copying a version of the Hero’s Journey that has worked quite well for males for thousands of years, but not so well for women. Beneath the image of the independent, white-hatted cowboy on a white horse who rides off into the sunset to right the injustices of the world with a silver bullet is another way — the Soul’s Way — of reining in the heroic ego and connecting with, healing and emboldening a heroic heart. In conforming to a mold that wasn’t made for me, I was betraying myself, losing myself!
Here is the message I want to convey: Whether you know it or not, your God-image — your hope for a vital, authentic life of love and compassion and spiritual meaning and healing and wholeness — is shaped by your personality, environment, and experiences. But you don’t have to settle for a dysfunctional God-image or self-image. Acquiring the consciousness to recognize your wounds and complete your soul is the true Hero’s Journey, and anyone can take it.
My newest book, Healing the Sacred Divide, can be found at this Amazon link and at Larson Publications, Inc.

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0 Responses

  1. As you have always made me think! Your participation in, and loyalty to, an inspired sisterhood has always inspired me. Plus, you are a wise, committed woman who rises above social, economic, and political issues to simply do what needs to be done. Your Cherokee Creek school is a signpost to what our future needs to look like. I am privileged to be your friend. And I am privileged to know your daughter, who carries everything you stand for to an even newer, higher level of spiritual maturity. Thank goodness for the next generation.

    1. Thank you, Jeanie! You have been with me from the inception of Cherokee Creek and been witness to the birthing. Not always a pretty or painless ordeal. Your work helps keep me centered and remembering that I am a spirit being and the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” are earthly and the event will pass…but hopefully the meaning will remain! So glad we are together on this journey! 🙂

  2. Hi Jeanie,
    In considering this powerful dream you had so many years ago, have you ever wondered if that Lone Ranger, your image of God at that time, who represented the patriarchal world of your child hood, may in fact have been the animus of your psychic. Could the Ranger have been the messenger from God behind all such important dreams, who was sent to destroy your hero worship, and wake you up to question your then extant belief system and the patriarchal world.
    That silver bullet aimed directly at your heart, so devastating at first, certainly prompted you on a life long quest and your journey to discover deeper truths about yourself and your strengths. Did it not blast you out of your saddle, so to speak, and send you on an authentic life promoting spiritual journey?
    Thanks for sharing,

    1. Sally,
      Absolutely right on! That’s exactly what it did, and well said! I think our most potent pain is our most powerful prod to mature consciousness. Without that dream and the awareness it forced on my ego, I would have continued floating in the same childish la-la wonderland I inhabited for the first ten years of my life. Animus? Perhaps. Anima? Yes, that too. Both were calling me to accept my whole, saddleless Self who is not chained by personal physical constraints but has the potential to soar into the stratospheres!!! Such a lovely comment.
      Love, Jeanie

  3. Jeanie,
    thank you for continuing to peel away layer after layer of human being for us to identify with and learn from! this is such a profound post, one that builds such an understandable bridge spanning childhood’s perceptions and social conditioning and the individuation process and the well of archetypes from which we all drink…..
    you are a great writer and teacher,

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