With the new season of Think Spiritual begun and the Heroine’s Journey series started, I think it’s important to explain how my Hero’s and Heroine’s Journeys work together. I’m actually going to call them “Binary Journeys” – not only are there two parts, but the parts orbit each other, they entwine and they conjoin in the centre at The Balanced World.
As every Potential Hero dives into the Deep Waters of the Soul, every Potential Heroine is rising up to the Dark Forests of the Physical. This is a Yin and Yang mostly equal Journey that I’m beginning to see played out in most of the movies that I’m watching lately.
And probably one of the best examples I can give you at this moment is the Disney animated hit, Frozen. Not only does it contain this Binary Journey, but it also emphasizes what I’ve been saying for a few years: gender has nothing to do with the Hero’s and Heroine’s Journeys.
Frozen perfectly portrays this truth because it’s Hero and Heroine are both women.
Hello, Spiritual Seekers, and welcome to Think Spiritual. As always, I’m your host, Mark, and as I stated in the introduction, the movie I’m going to analyse and break down for you today is Frozen. I’m also going to expand this Binary Journey concept with Frozen II in a second video, because our Hero and Heroine actually complete their Journeys and reach their Highest Potentials.
And I am, of course, referring to none other than Elsa and Anna – the sisters and stars of the film.
So, here we are presented with two female characters. One of these women will take the Hero’s Journey to completion through Frozen and Frozen II and the other woman will take the Heroine’s Journey path to completion through both movies as well.
There is, however, one caveat to that statement: since Frozen begins with the women as children, we have to understand that they begin their Journeys from the exact same point – in The “Perfect” World of the Feminine.
As I stated in my Heroine’s Journey breakdown, and as I’ll explore in further detail in the future, every single one of us is born into The “Perfect” World. We all begin life as Heroine’s. Some of us are fortunate enough to remain on that path, but the larger percentage of us will most likely be forced into the Masculine world and have to become Heroes in order to bring ourselves back to oneness and wholeness.
This is no different for Anna and Elsa in Frozen. Both are princesses living in a beautiful castle, in a beautiful land and both are carefree and happy children. There is no more “Perfect” World than that.
Unfortunately – or perhaps it’s very fortunate – there is no truly Perfect World. The Death of Innocence is a very real event for all of us and for Anna and Elsa it comes when Elsa accidentally strikes Anna in the head with her ice powers. And with this Death of Innocence step of the Heroine’s Journey, Trauma enters the lives of the young girls.
It is at this point that Elsa is forced into the world of the Masculine when she is told to no longer use her powers. She is told to “Conceal it, don’t feel it.”
Woah, woah, woah, woah, woah…”Conceal it, don’t feel it”?????? That’s some bad fucking parenting, Mr. King of Arendelle. Did he love Anna more than Elsa? Sacrifice one child to save the other?
Okay, calm down, Mark. Relax. Without that bad parenting we wouldn’t have much of a story and I wouldn’t get to explain my binary Journey theory with this movie. As I was saying, Elsa has been forced to shut away a part of who she is. Her powers don’t manifest without her emotions – our powers and special talents don’t manifest without our emotions and emotions come from the depths of the Feminine. Without them we walk the cold and lonely wastes of the Mundane Masculine.
Not that Masculinity is bad by any stretch of the imagination. Never assume I’m saying anything like that, my Dear Listeners. We need both Femininity and Masculinity to be Whole and Complete individuals and to create a better world.
So, with Elsa now removed from The “Perfect” World and living in her “Conceal, don’t Feel” Refusal of the Call loop, what has become of Anna?
After Anna had her head frozen, her parents took her to the trolls where their Shaman forcibly removed all memories of Elsa’s power from Anna’s mind.
Is this movie just about bad parenting and poor choices made by elders? Thank the Goddess grandpa troll left the “fun” intact or we, once again, wouldn’t have a movie left to talk about.
Sadly, this forced removal of memories causes Anna to live her life in a loop. This is what I refer to as The Denial of the Broken Glasses step of the Heroine’s Journey, but in Anna’s case she’s no longer aware that her rose-coloured glasses were broken, so her being stuck is not her fault in the slightest.
What’s interesting is that Elsa always has within her the power to change their lives. Were she a little more rebellious we would have a much different story once again. However, since Elsa is obedient and compliant and because she believes that her power is dangerous, she locks herself away physically and emotionally and refuses to see the Truth within her.
Elsa’s Call to Adventure is to not be afraid of her own power, but all of her conditioning convinces her to continually Refuse the Call. Even when the girls’ parents are lost at sea – what should be another Death of Innocence moment and what should break them both out of their prisons – Elsa’s conditioning keeps both girls from moving forward.
So, here we are with two princesses both stuck in loops of behaviour that were essentially forced upon them. One on the verge of a Hero’s Journey and the other on the verge of a Heroine’s Journey.
When you really think about it, how strong was Anna to be able to endure being trapped in that castle for years and not lose her hopeful outlook on life? She could’ve easily slumped down into the sloughs of despair and become a bitter and angry villain.
In most fairy tales this is where a Faery Godmother would arrive to rescue our Damsel in a Dress, but in Frozen Elsa is the one with magic powers that are locked away, so Responsibility and Maturity in the form of Coronation Day take the place of Anna’s Faery Godmother step of her Heroine’s Journey. It’s on this day that the castle is opened up and Anna is finally set free.
This “opening up” also leads to Elsa being forced to finally answer her Call to Adventure.
You see, Anna and Elsa aren’t whole in and of themselves yet. They need each other to be complete at this point. I could actually make an argument that one or the other of them doesn’t exist: that one is merely the psychological construct from the mind of the other.
So, when Anna finally confronts Elsa about why she shut Anna out of her life for so many years, she forces Elsa to actually feel her feelings rather than to conceal them. Anna is Elsa’s Supernatural Aid. When it comes to emotions, Anna is a Mentor of sorts.
Suppressing one’s emotions for years and then suddenly being forced to confront them almost always results in a blow-up of some kind. Bruce Banner turns into Hulk, Vanya Hargreeves cracks the moon, Jean Grey becomes a weapon of mass destruction, and Queen Elsa sets off the next ice age.
Because the castle is now open, because she has to face Anna and her people and herself, Elsa flees Arendelle and heads for the solitude of the mountains. This is her Crossing the First Threshold moment, because while she is running away, sometimes you have to climb a distant mountain to find yourself.
Anna is determined to find her sister even though she knows nothing of the outside world. In Heroine’s Journey terms, I’ve called this step Leaving the Waters, which is immediately followed by The Dark Forest step…which is exactly where Anna ends up – in a dark and frozen forest. I swear I didn’t use this movie as my template. My Heroine’s Journey model was developed from numerous fairy tales, movies and books.
In The Dark Forest, we see that Anna truly is a capable Fair Maiden – The Fair Maiden or Chosen One is the next step of her Journey. She requires Kristoff’s companionship and general guidance, but she doesn’t need him to rescue her.
Kristoff, by the way, is one half of Anna’s two-headed beast – every Heroine has to Meet the Beast at some point during her Journey.
The other half of Anna’s beast is her almost-evil-at-this-point sister. Think of Elsa as a dark mirror image of Anna at this point in the movie.
Elsa creates her ice castle which is very much her Belly of the Whale step of her Hero’s Journey. The song, Let it Go, is about the death of old and tired thinking and being reborn as a self-reliant and free person. The problem with the Let it Go song is the line “Let the storm rage on” – this is Elsa’s acknowledgement that her identity is linked with her inner turmoil. This is what locks her into a temporary Road of Trials loop.
Elsa’s Road of Trials is split up in multiple events in this movie, but the true purpose of what she goes through on the mountain and in her ice palace is to determine whether she is going to continue her Hero’s Journey or whether she is going to become the Villain.
And now Elsa must Meet with the Goddess, which, again, is none other than Anna.
Are you beginning to see what I mean about the Hero’s and Heroine’s Journeys intersecting and interweaving and being mirrors of each other?
Anna is the embodiment of Elsa’s emotional, Feminine-driven nature. The part of her that wants to be out and be free.
However, Anna is also the reminder that Elsa can’t live in the mountains alone forever. Arendelle is frozen and in need of its queen – and with that statement, perhaps you can already see where I’ll be taking my analysis of Frozen II.
So, Elsa once again accidentally strikes her sister with her ice powers, but this time she hits Anna’s heart instead of her head and, as our shaman friend Grandpa Troll says, it’s easier to fix the head than the heart.
Maybe. I’m not entirely convinced of the truth of that statement, but it’s kind of beside the point.
The actual point is that Anna’s heart begins to freeze – Elsa’s powers have finally knocked down Anna’s upbeat and hopeful emotional centre. This leaves Anna at her Standing on the Shoreline step of her Heroine’s Journey where she must decide if she is going to abandon her sister or continue to believe that she can be saved.
Of course, Elsa is the Hero and must ultimately save herself, but every Hero still needs someone to believe in them and cheer them on.
Due to circumstances, there is a short time where Anna must abandon her sister. First she believes that Hans can heal her frozen heart. Then she believes that Kristoff will be the one to do it, so she braves the storm to find him.
The storm, of course, is merely a reflection of Elsa’s inner turmoil – as I’ve been saying ever since I analysed Sucker Punch, the Outer World is merely a reflection of what our Inner World plays on its stage. The storm is Elsa’s Temptation step of her Hero’s Journey. It’s the Temptation to run away again. The Temptation to not continue moving forward, but to climb the mountain once again and start the entire death and rebirth cycle all over again.
But take very special note here of when the storm ends. Hans tells Elsa that Anna is dead. It doesn’t matter that it’s a lie, the important fact here is that Elsa finally feels something. She is on the tipping point of genuinely giving into or giving up her emotions.
Notice how everything freezes in motion at this point. Even the snow holds its position in mid air. The world holds its breath in anticipation of the next moments of Elsa’s life.
It will take one, final act to send Elsa one way or the other. With the storm halted, Anna’s vision is no longer obscured. She can see her goal clearly and knows what she must do. Every good Heroine must eventually Overcome the Stepmother. Every good Heroine must eventually set her boundaries. Every good Heroine must stand up and say “No!”.
Only an act of love can thaw a frozen heart.
Elsa embraces her frozen sister as the two become one.
Only Anna’s act of love could thaw Elsa’s frozen heart.
Well, whose heart did you think was actually frozen? Anna was always in touch with her Feminine side and her emotions.
And finally, finally, finally Elsa feels her grief – the grief of her lost sister, the grief of her lost parents, the grief of her lost childhood. Elsa feels her emotions. Elsa weeps. Elsa feels and no longer conceals. Elsa’s frozen heart has thawed. That, my Dear Listeners, is a true Hero’s Atonement with the Father moment.
And in that moment of Atonement, one half of Anna’s two-faced Beast is transformed from Almost-Evil Elsa, to Elsa the Saviour. Anna is unfrozen and Arendelle is also unfrozen as Elsa lets love flow through her and becomes her own goddess: Apotheosis moment complete.
The other half of Anna’s two-faced Beast, Kristoff, is transformed from travelling companion and guide to boyfriend and, while there is no marriage and no apparent sex – this is a movie aimed at kids, after all – there is definitely Pregnancy at this point in Anna’s Heroine’s Journey. Her life is pregnant with infinite and beautiful possibilities of a hopeful future.
Queen Elsa once again takes her throne and brings The Ultimate Boon to her people and to her friends: ice powers certainly do have their benefit and beauty when used appropriately.
And there we have it, my Dear Watchers and Listeners and Heroes and Heroines: my interpretation of the movie Frozen and the first two stages of Anna’s and Elsa’s binary Heroine’s and Hero’s Journeys.
Please join me in a couple of weeks for the Return Stages and completion of Anna’s and Elsa’s Journeys when we will dive into Frozen II.
Thank you once again for watching or listening today, please like, share, comment, criticize and subscribe at your leisure.
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I have been your host, Mark, this has been an examination of the Binary Hero’s and Heroine’s Journeys present in the movie Frozen, and I know that if you feel and don’t conceal your own inner goddess that your heart will not be frozen and you will change your Self and ultimately bring great change and beauty to your world.
You have all the weapons and knowledge you need within you and everything is working out in your favour. I will see you on all past, present and future episodes of Think Spiritual.
Blessings of Adun upon you.