I have begun teaching my Wisdom of Fairy Tales class again this fall, filled with insightful, wise women who make the conversation so rich. I continue to be amazed each time I teach this course how perfectly fairy tales and their archetypes help us to understand our own soul’s journey.
The soul’s journey is the archetypal hero’s/heroine’s journey found in nearly all fairy tales.
We begin with some way in which we are separated from what we’ve known. Perhaps we feel like a misfit, outcast, or that something no longer works for us and must change. We don’t feel connected with our life as we’ve known it. We might even feel guilt over this feeling, as if we’re not supposed to be different from or in opposition to what has been considered “normal.” For this reason, we might resist the call to move in a new direction, staying too long in a relationship, job or situation that simply isn’t working for us anymore.
The call of the soul eventually becomes so great that we can’t stay in the same place anymore.
It’s as if we are receiving messages from every direction in our lives that tell us we must make a shift, and finally, we enter the forest. We begin searching for what resonates, seeking to find a sense of self understanding, self worth and self confidence to do things differently. Perhaps we find some elements that resonate, but our own self doubt, or perhaps the criticism and judgment of others serve as temptations to abandon the newfound path of exploration.
We might get distracted for a time by things that bring instant gratification. Yet, now that we’ve come to see new paths, something burns deep within and won’t leave us alone. We keep walking down the road, meeting trial after trial, struggling at every turn, and wondering what the heck we are doing, and if we’ll ever find our way out.
We can’t go back, but we don’t know how to go forward either.
Yet, as we are in the depths of the forest, we learn so much about ourselves, the world, and what matters most to us. In fact, we might learn seemingly too much…so much that we struggle to integrate and digest it all.
Eventually, with exhaustion, we surrender. There’s no place to turn, and nothing to do but be. In that being, we surrender to what has been looking for us all along while we’ve been so busy trying to find something that fits our own projection of what is best for our life. It’s as if a smaller, outdated aspect of ourselves dies, and allows a new, stronger and wiser self to come forth.
New inspirations emerge, along with a new understanding of our gifts and our place in the world.
We’ve finally broken free of the old, and come to the treasure of the new. We want to stay in that moment forever, basking in the glow of our newfound enlightenment. But alas, we cannot stay there. Our soul now wants to share the gifts and wisdom with the world. We resist, not wanting to leave this blissful space, knowing that we will inevitably encounter those who “don’t get it” or those that will attack or condemn our new ideas and ways of being.
Still, the soul won’t rest, and we begin a new journey that takes us into a new forest of unknowns. We begin to question, “How can I share these gifts? Who will be interested? What do I do now?” New ideas come, and we try new things, often hitting more resistance, only this time, things are different. We have our newfound wisdom and strength to guide us more effectively. We begin to connect our inner essence to our outer life. We see the connection between the treasure we’ve found inwardly, and the life we can share it with outwardly. We understand that much of the resistance is simply an outer resistance that doesn’t want to receive our newfound wisdom, just as we resisted receiving it in the first place.
We stumble and fall as we try on this new way of being.
We say the wrong thing, take the wrong step, or fumble with our process. Yet again and again, the treasure that we’ve now come to see reminds us to return to the place of inner strength. We pick ourselves up and continue on. We become co-creators in life, understanding that we can choose in freedom each step of the journey. We honor each moment, taking nothing for granted, and being fully present to life. We see the importance of being a beacon for others who need a light to guide them into the forest for the first time. We bring back our treasures and share them with others.
We show up more connected to who we truly are, with a newfound love and gratitude for life.
After a while of living our new way of being, with our newfound strength and wisdom, we find ourselves in another moment of disconnect. The soul cries again for something new. And then, the journey begins again…and again…and again…as we continue to become fully ourselves, fully human.
Wherever you are on the journey, remember that it is perfect, and that there is always another treasure waiting to be discovered. Where are you on your evolving and expanding soul journey?