Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey #7: Meeting With the Goddess

Well, Dear Listeners, I have to admit that this particular step of the Hero’s Journey had me confused for a while. I had no idea where to start with it and I didn’t understand what it was about. After a lot of thinking and studying and watching and listening, I figured out at least a portion of it. Welcome to step 7 of Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey: Meeting With the Goddess. We’re talking about sex on this episode of Think Spiritual Podcasts.

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Hello Spiritual Seekers and welcome to another Hero’s Journey episode of Think Spiritual Podcasts! Once again I, your tenacious host, Mark, will be taking you down the continuous path of our exploration of Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey.

As I said during the introduction to this episode, this particular step of the Journey had me quite confused. I always say that knowledge has two phases of understanding and I’ve had a few people confirm the idea for me lately. And, well, credit where it’s due, I “learned” this from a 90s Christian rock band that was called JAG. They had a song called “The Longest Road” and the lyrics have stuck with me for the last few decades: The Longest Road is from my head to my heart, that’s where the Journey starts.

I swear this Hero’s Journey theme has been chasing me my entire life.

But back to the point, that line is so true! That longest road is from the head to the heart and these are the two phases of knowledge that I am referring to. There is the head knowledge of studying and learning something, but there is the longer and more difficult path of heart knowledge which is fully understanding and integrating the things you have learned.

And thus is the case with my wrestling with my knowledge of “Meeting with the Goddess”. In my head I knew the definition of it and could recognize it in most films that I watched, but I didn’t fully understand it. The knowledge just hadn’t reached my heart yet.

Once again, this is the precise reason why I created this podcast and began this Hero’s Journey ...uh... journey! I’m not certain which piece of the puzzle revealed the final picture to me, but after a lot of reading and writing and watching and conversing, it clicked into place: Meeting with the Goddess is a fulcrum or a tipping point moment and it’s also the time where you meet your other half.

The Goddess is almost always going to be Yin to your Yang, Order to your Chaos, Light to your Shadow, Ice to your Fire, and perhaps most importantly Feminine to your Masculine.

Or vice-versa to all of those. Technically speaking and to alleviate further confusion, the Goddess could also be a God. At this stage of the Hero’s Journey, you are going to meet your opposite and this is a very, very good thing.

In film and movies, I would say that the Lord of Rings trilogy probably has some of the most obvious and best and the most plentiful examples of Meeting with the Goddess moments:

Aragorn meets Arwen

Frodo meets Galadriel

Merry meets Eowyn

And Mister Samwise Gamgee meets Gollum

Yes, believe it or not, Gollum is Sam’s “Goddess”. Frodo and Sam need Gollum to make it safely into Mordor and who else but Gollum could possibly be the complete and polar opposite to the courageous and incorruptible Samwise Gamgee? Who else could make Sam’s dangerous quest even more difficult than Gollum?

Of course, Sam eventually meets and marries his true Goddess - his perfectly matched other half - Miss Rosie Cotton, but until that time, Gollum was the Goddess that Sam and Frodo required for the journey.

As for the others, it is interesting to note that the diminutive male Hobbits, Frodo and Merry, had tall, graceful, powerful and tough-as-nails Goddesses in the forms of Galadriel and Eowyn. I believe these women were physical representations of the largeness of Hobbit hearts and courage.

Frodo was able to take the heroic, sacrificial path to rid Middle-Earth of the One Ring while Merry certainly had the courage to ride into battle, but did not have the physical size and strength to be able to take on the more dangerous opponents.

Aragorn’s Goddess, in the form of Arwen, is perhaps a little more typical in mythological sense. Whereas Aragorn is the epitome of the Masculine being rough and rugged and wise in the ways of the world, Arwen is the pure feminine in her softness of body, soul and voice and carries an air of innocence. But we also see that Aragorn is extremely sensitive and caring and tender when he needs to be and Arwen is fully capable of defending herself when necessary.

Let’s move on before I get too deep into more movies, because I don’t want you to forget that Meeting with the Goddess is also a tipping point of sorts. This is where you discover that the Hero’s Journey you thought you were on - or maybe thought you were nearing completion of - is just beginning. There is most probably a deeper and darker and more difficult path ahead of you and you will not be facing it alone - unless you happen to be a ring-bearer...sorry, sidetracked by Lord of the Rings again.

This is the entire point of the Hero’s Journey. Every single step takes you further in and higher up the spiral. Yes, it is a grand adventure, but at no time has it ever promised to be easy! At times it may seem easy and you will have plenty of strength to continue along the path, but at other times the way will be treacherous and unknown and you’ll have to face foes that you don’t feel powerful enough to take down.

And that is exactly why you have to greet, embrace, and begin the process of learning to balance your opposing natures which are best represented through the Masculine and Feminine archetypes. Now, please don’t tell me that I’m just being “cisnormative” here, because I’m not talking about gender at all, I’m talking about Masculine and Feminine archetypes and absolutely every single one of us has these within us. What in the world do you think “gender-fluidity” really is, by the way? People who feel that way are simply very, very in-tune with their internal archetypes, but they make the mistake of identifying with each archetype instead of integrating each one into their whole being.

Pfft...as if I know what I’m talking about and I have nothing to back up that hypothesis, but my instincts tell me I’m right.

Back on point: if you are more prone to Masculinity, you will be meeting your Feminine side when you meet with the Goddess. If you are already more to the feminine slant, then you will be learning to embrace your Masculine at this stage of the Journey - and believe it or not, I myself am in that camp: though I am a man, I have no issue relating with my feminine archetype, it was my masculine that I’ve had to learn to nurture and develop and reign in over the past number of years.

Now, once you have met your opposite, you must then begin the lifelong dance of bringing these two opposing wills into alignment, harmony and balance and the only way to truly accomplish this is through...well...sex!

Alright, alright. I’m not talking about literal sex here...er...well, actually, it could be literal sex if we’re talking about the Hero’s Journey of a healthy ego and actually meeting a partner who challenges you on an emotional, mental and spiritual level. In that scenario, the physical act of sex actually is a combining of the masculine and feminine energies.

Hmmm, interesting, that is exactly what happens in the 2017 Wonder Woman film when Diana Prince and Steve Trevor copulate after liberating the village of Veld. Diana Prince, aka Wonder Woman, uses both Masculine and Feminine energy very well, but in that particular moment she allows herself to be completely vulnerable and lets Steve take the Masculine role. As she says to him earlier in the movie, “Men are not required for pleasure,” but when they are intimate together it is about far more than pleasure - this is the physical and spiritual entwining of the pure Masculine and pure Feminine.

And it’s that spiritual entwining that we are ultimately exploring here on Think Spiritual as we take the internal Journey and consider sex as the perfect symbolic union of the Masculine and Feminine archetypes in order to bring us closer to the goal of being a whole and complete individual.

You can think of this union much like the Yin and Yang symbol itself since the Feminine is often represented by Yin and the Masculine by the Yang and it takes both parts to complete the circle - which is the representation of your entire being.

This is where you, as the Hero, begin to walk the line of balance between the Feminine and the Masculine.

Again, I’m absolutely not talking about gender here! I’m talking about Feminine emotions and actions and energy and Masculine emotions and actions and energy.

Energy is the main focus here. When you perform any action in the physical world, where is that energy coming from? It’s coming from within you and I am telling you that this energy is always going to be Masculine or Feminine to some degree or other.

Let’s take the Canadian version of the television show Dragon’s Den as a prime example here. If you aren’t familiar with the show, the premise is fairly simple: The Den is a place where high-profile Canadian business men and women - called “Dragons” - are pitched investment deals by up and coming entrepreneurs. If you’ve seen Shark Tank in the USA then it’s essentially the same show. The typical number of Dragons in the Den is five, but in 2017 CBC Television announced that they were going to add a sixth Dragon so there would be 3 male and 3 female Dragons.

While this all seems well and good from a societal standpoint and is a great leap forward for women of business, the first time I saw them all sitting there I said to my lady, Christine, “There may be 3 men and 3 women on that stage, but there’s nothing but masculine energy in that room.” I may have also said something about the number of brass balls on stage as well.

What kind of energy do you think those women used to build the empires and wealth that they have? Yes, they are all very Feminine women and they have high levels of Feminine compassion (as do a few of the men that have been Dragons on the show), but that cut-throat business sense is entirely Masculine energy.

This is why I’m saying that you must find the balance between the Feminine and Masculine energies that you utilize in your life. Doing so means you are walking the line where the Yin and Yang meet. Walking the line between Chaos and Order, Light and Shadow, Fire and Ice. Yes, you’re going to lean one way or the other from time to time and you may specifically lean hard in one direction or the other throughout your life, but the point here is that you work hard to achieve balance and not let either side dominate.

The path to wholeness or oneness of being is the middle way. This is true for the individual and it is true for society. Can you imagine how different our Western society would be if it would actually Meet with the Goddess and the Masculine of our Right politics and the Feminine of our Left Politics could work together and be united for the common good of all?

So, now comes the point in every Hero’s Journey episode of Think Spiritual Podcasts where I wave my magic wand and pull some amazing song out of a hat that perfectly fits this theme.

Aaaand...that was a struggle as well. This is quite the complex subject and I had no luck at first, so I decided to simplify the process a little and look for a love song that specifies some opposing forces at work. That idea seemed to do the trick as a came across an artist that I’ve never heard of before who wrote a song about the love relationship between main characters in a young adult book series known as The Infernal Devices.

While I didn’t find the song to be highly deep or meaningful, it is a very pretty song and I did like one verse of lyrics quite a bit. The song is designed to be the “voice” of the female protagonist speaking about the man she is falling in love with, but these lyrics could fit either masculine or feminine energy: again, meeting with the Goddess is about meeting the opposing energy that you need in your life.

That said, here are some lyrics from Olivia Bray’s song, Fire and Ice:

Melting right at his feet
Let him into my life
Feels so right

Walls are crumbling at his feet

While he stares into my eyes
We're mesmerized
We're fire and ice

As usual I will place links to this song somewhere in the notes or description for this episode and if you’re currently on the thinkspiritual.ca website, then just scroll down and you’ll find the lyric video for the song embedded in this post.

I particularly like that line “Walls are crumbling at his or her feet” as I feel it truly emphasizes what happens within your self when you welcome that Masculine or Feminine energy in. Those walls of protection and fear that we build around our emotions or painful memories start to crack and crumble when we meet the Goddess and open ourselves to living a fuller existence. Becoming your best self and living a fuller existence is the entire point of the Hero’s Journey and the Goddess knows this and this is why she warns you that your journey is about to get more difficult; that you must absolutely go deeper to achieve your goals and gain the ultimate prize.

So, now it is time for you to choose. Will you go deeper? Will you take the more difficult path ahead? Or will you give into temptation and abandon your quest?

But that, Dear Listeners, will have to wait for the next Hero’s Journey episode of Think Spiritual Podcasts.

Thank you very much for listening to me ramble on yet again about my very favourite subject. I really hope that this episode made a somewhat difficult subject at least somewhat relatable. Honestly, I don’t particularly feel that this Meeting with the Goddess step can be adequately covered in this short teaching format. It’s definitely more of a discussion and question and answer type topic. Regardless, I enjoyed writing this episode and feel that I came to some interesting conclusions and I’m sure my ideas will continue to grow and develop over time.

I have been your host, Mark, this has been step 7 of the Hero’s Journey series of Think Spiritual Podcasts and I truly hope that someday soon that you will come face to face with your Goddess within who will send you further and deeper on your continuing quest to change your self and change your world.

I will see you on the next episode of Think Spiritual Podcasts.

[record scratch]

[Jingle Bells playing]

Woah there!

Sorry to break the flow of this episode of Think Spiritual, but I thought this would be the perfect time to bring you a Christmas message from myself and it should fit very nicely with this Meeting With the Goddess step of the Hero’s Journey.

My 2018 Christmas message to you is this: maybe, just maybe...it is quite possible...that Jesus really is the meaning for the season.

Wait! Don’t shut me off yet! I haven’t gone all Evangelical Christian on you! Let me explain!

I was, quite literally, born straight into Christianity forty-four years ago and then eleven years ago, I walked away from that faith so I could begin my own Hero’s Journey.

And now, this podcast is really the “Return” phase of my Journey and it is my job to return the “Elixir of Life” to the village that I left all those years ago. Uh, the “village” being Evangelical Christianity in case that wasn’t clear.

I have no idea if there are any Christian churches out there that would ever invite me to speak to them about the Hero’s Journey, so I have to do it in the form of this podcast and the Elixir, the message, that I would like to share with you is this:

Dear Christians - Evangelicals especially - your Bible, your Word of God, is infinitely more powerful as mythology and as symbolism than it is when taken as literal and as if it all actually happened.

Let’s talk about Christianity’s own Goddess for a moment: the Virgin Mary. It seems very appropriate to bring her up at Christmas time and please note that I am referring to her as “Goddess” in the same symbolic sense as I’ve been referring to Meeting with the Goddess throughout today’s talk.

First point: the word “virgin” is rooted in the Latin word “virgo” and it refers to a young, unmarried woman or a twig or a rod - a young plant. The Hebrew word, Almah, also refers to a young, unmarried woman. Neither word actually specifies that the young, unmarried woman has never had sex.

Second point: Joseph Campbell pointed out many times that statues of the Virgin Mary with the Christ child on her knee could be viewed as the King sitting upon the “throne” of the Goddess.

Looked at in this fashion and mixing in today’s message of Meeting with the Goddess, it could be said that we all have a young plant, a young, unmarried woman growing within us and within this young plant, this young, unmarried woman is the capability of birthing the true vine, the Christ-child, the saviour of the world within us as well.

And if we look at the virgin birth in this symbolic sense, if we take the literal approach away, if we view Christ as something not from outside of us, but something that is birthed within us that gives us the ability to save ourselves...then is it not Christmas every single day of our lives?

Something to ponder, don’t you think?

Thank you for listening and Merry Christmas. Now back to the regular ending of the podcast.

 

Change your Self; change your World.

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