The Archetypal Journey
Scroll down to watch a video introduction to the archetypal journey.
Our lives are nested in a vast mystery, and we may have only this one chance to live. But, strangely, we offer little support or guidance to each other in how to live, much less how to live a beautiful life. To me, the single, most important factor in living well is found in how we walk the landscape of our soul. This journey does not depend on wealth or fame and does not require magnanimous deeds or massive impact on the world. It is a journey of self-awareness that is measured by the heart and not the head. It can only be manifested by what the poet Mark Nepo calls the "heartwork" of being a spirit in the world and bringing our spirit to the world.
The landscape of the soul intersects the personal and the universal. Your inner world is composed of the particular life experiences that only you have lived. It is unique to you. But those who have walked their own unique landscape have mapped the journey for you. The path is not marked by trail markers or stone piles but by archetypal experiences. Myth and legend describe rewards ad challenges on the journey. This geography has been depicted by pioneers such as C. G. Jung and Joseph Campbell who decoded the myths for the modern wayfarer. I have rendered these guidelines into a Map of the Archetypal Journey, a map for living as a spirit in the world.
Here is a map of the Archetypal Journey. Each quadrant offers a poetic question to explore, and philosophical question to research, a resource or strength to develop, and a set of tasks (not listed) to help navigate that area of life.
Walking this landscape is the only way to become yourself. Until you take the journey, you live only as the world would have you live. You live your fate. But if you wish to seek your destiny, you must encounter the world with soul, which is nothing less than all of you. This means retrieving the neglected and lost fragments of your Self only found on the landscape of the soul. This means welcoming the hero home and living courageously.
The journey is difficult and fraught with danger. You must face your own demons and befriend your own flaws. You must find your way often without guides. You may have to forfeit what you currently prize. And there is no guarantee that you will find what you are after. But avoiding the journey is tantamount to living a hollow life. To walk the landscape of the soul is a risk worth taking because, even if you fail in the tasks given to you, you will live a life true to yourself.