The Heroine’s Journey
It’s a season of change… in our lives and in the world. Here at Vivid we approach menopause as a journey of initiation, a time of challenge and transformation that leads to a new phase of life, a new role, new powers, new wisdom and new joys.
We are a little short on traditional teaching stories in our culture. We have our mythology – most of the ancient stories are reflected in pop culture, but we don’t always recognize them as the containers of archetypal wisdom that they are. I’ve always been drawn to mythology and the ancient archetypal stories, and see them as the wisdom distilled from our ancestors that can serve us, teach us and restore our connection to lost wisdom.
One story that has served me well throughout my life is the story of the heroine’s journey to the underworld and back. We all experience the journey of descent from time to time in our lives. Jungian scholar Sylvia Brinton Perera, who identifies depression and anxiety as forms of descent, says “We make descents or introversions in the service of life, to scoop up more of what has been held unconscious by the Self in the underworld, until we are strong enough for the journey and willing to sacrifice for our release… descents provide entry into different levels of consciousness and can enhance life creatively. All of them imply suffering. All of them can serve as initiations.”
I see the journey of menopause as a descent in this sense. An initiation. A temporary period of trial and challenge, leading to new power and wisdom, and a triumphant return to life and light.
Each journey begins with a call. The heroine is called away from her ordinary life into adventure, exploration, and yes, sometimes peril. The call to the menopausal journey often comes from the body, in the form of symptoms, but it can come in other guises as well. We may feel a yearning for new ways of expressing ourselves, a literal desire to travel and explore the world, or a desire to break from past relationships and roles and redefine ourselves. These yearnings could be honoured as the sacred calls to wisdom that they truly are.
In what ways have you been called to explore at this stage of your life? How can you honour that call?
Join us On the Journey
This month at Vivid we will be exploring the menopausal call to wisdom. I have two guests lined up for the Vivid Conversations Podcast who can speak expertly and lovingly to this topic, and I’ll be sharing more writings and musings here as well.
For those of you who want to go deeper, please join us in our private (and carefully vetted) community on Facebook, where you can share your questions and your wisdom with a vibrant group of wise women from around the world.
Vivid is now on Patreon!
And please consider becoming a supporter of Vivid on Patreon! Haven’t heard of Patreon? It is a simple way for you to offer support for our work (starting at $2 a month) and receive exclusive material in return. For instance, I just recorded a podcast today for our Patreon supporters in which I share the beautiful ancient story of the Descent of Inanna, and talk about the relevance of the Underworld Journey to modern menopausal women. Click through to our Patreon page to learn more about how it works. It’s very simple, and our rewards are great.