Inanna/Ishtar. Enoch. Melchizedek. Imhotep. Elijah. Jesus. Mary Magdalene.
All are ascension heroes, Masters of Two Worlds. They crossed the threshold between worlds and now hold open the door for us.
All completed the journey of ascension we are on…and which is now dramatically accelerating.
In my continuing quest to provide guidance during our coronavirus crisis, and our metapmorphosis into the New Humanity, I am offering this updated version of an episode from my 2016 Gaia series, “The Awakened Soul”, in which I presented my ascension-based take on Joseph’s Campbell’s “Hero’s Journey”, the epic underlying story structure all great myths follow.
According to Campbell, “a hero is someone who has given his or her life to something greater than oneself.”
The hero’s journey is not just for superheroes of old. Nor are the ascension stories of the past something that once upon a time happened to certain people. The hero’s ascension journey is for all of us.
Every story, like every life, has a beginning, middle and end. In the middle is the crisis that makes or breaks the hero. Often, this crisis is symbolized by a dragon or a powerful creature that the hero must overcome.
Our present crisis is, metaphorically, the dragon we must step up and overcome.
Knowing the hero’s journey can make our present time more meaningful and sensicle. Rather than hoping or wondering if/when it will be over, it can guide us to a higher source of light/wisdom and lead us through the pain that inevitably results in our greatness.
It is a path to conscious awakening and illumination. Our present crisis is the fuel for this fire.
This process requires a (metaphorical) death and a resurrection to a more highly evolved state. This involves a change in our consciousness.
The One Goal of this process is to become more whole, holy, complete, and compassionate (or awakened heart and mind).
Make no mistake. We are in the greatest crisis of our time. We are the greatest heroes. We will grow as a result what we experience in the days ahead. The ordinary will become extraordinary.
Knowing this makes it easier to be brave.
The dragon is before us.
It is time to rise and shine.
It is time to lift the dragon and use it for our healing.
THE ASCENSION JOURNEY
In my view, the hero’s journey could easily, and perhaps more accurately, be called “The Human Ascension Journey” (go here for more on ascension). Though Campbell never discussed it in these terms (he wasn’t a religious man), or through this lens, the hero’s journey is a formula for our ascension…our journey back to God (which Campbell thought was an ‘idea’ and that all gods are within you).
All stories can be interpreted on seven levels: the historical, the metaphorical, the allegorical, the astronomical, the anatomical and the anagogical.
The anagogical is a method of mystical or spiritual interpretation of statements or events that detects allusions to the afterlife and ascension. This is my specialty.
My take is further unique in that I analyzed the Gnostic ascension text, “The Song of the Soul”, through the lens of the hero’s journey.
As I will share momentarily, this text is one of several ‘Ascension Simulation Texts’ that map the awakened soul’s journey and connects us to our Higher Self, our Ascended Self.
I only wish I could have presented my findings to Campbell himself.
More importantly, I offer them to you.
THE HERO’S JOURNEY
The hero’s journey is one that Campbell brought to life in 1949 when he published his first book: The Hero With A Thousand Faces.
Campbell traveled deep into comparative religion and mythology the world over, and discovered dozens of coded stories of heros of ancient myths told by visionaries who spoke in symbols that crossed time and cultures.
He returned with a realization that they were all the same hero.
More, he discovered a formula, a map, or a framework that all these stories followed. He called it the monomyth, or the hero’s journey. Basically, the hero goes on an adventure, and at a critical moment, an ultimate crisis, wins a victory and then returns home transformed.
THE HERO’S JOURNEY IS AN ASCENSION JOURNEY
At its core the hero’s journey maps the progression of a person from a ‘normal’ world to higher, ascended state of consciousness through a series of trials and tribulations. The stories of Buddha, Moses, Christ all fit neatly in the framework.
The journey, like our ascension (or quest for wholeness, holiness and completion) is often represented as a circle, because it is a cycle.
The hero’s journey is a powerful tool to help understand our soul’s incarnation and cosmic travels. Even more, during a time of crisis it provides a navigational tool. It motivates us to take extraordinary actions to insure the victory that is before us.
I am going to ask you to think about it in terms of your own soul journey and how your birth, life, trials and tribulations, and ascension follow this pattern.
It is my thesis that the hero’s journey is describing the journey that an ordinary soul goes through in order to become the hero in their own life and ascension story.
My exploration/explanation of the hero’s journey is from the view point of the soul and its ascension.
THE TWELVE STEPS
Campbell describes 17 stages of the monomyth. However, the popularized version of the hero’s journey usually has twelve steps. Generally speaking, the journeys are divided into three acts: Departure. Initiation. Return.
So, let’s take a look at these steps.
The hero’s journey begins with hero in his ordinary world, the comfort zone. If we think of the circular hero’s journey as a clock, this is twelve o’clock.
Twelve o’clock. Our hero is restless, maybe wishing for a higher calling, something is missing in her life, but what? Usually she is oblvious to what is to come.
One o’clock. The hero’s adventure begins when she receives a call to action, such as a threat to her safety, her family, her way of life. It could be a phone call, an email, whatever the call is, it shakes up the ordinary world of the hero and presents a challenge, a quest or a journey that must be undertaken.
In Campbell’s research he noted that often the hero refuses to accept the quest. She has fears or doubts. She prefers the comfort of home. Or, the problem ahead seems too big.
Two o’clock. At this stage, the hero needs assistance. She is seeking courage and motivation, something. This something is provided by the Mentor figure, who gives it to her. Often this is a book or a piece of advice. This figure can be a friend, family member, colleague or a stranger, a blog.
Soul translation. The Mentor figure is our angelic higher self.
Three o’clock. The hero is now ready to take the next step and act upon her call to adventure. This is known as crossing the threshold. She leaves the known world and enters the unknown country, the far away land.
Soul translation. This is the moment when our soul leaves its cosmic home, call it heaven, the Pure Land or the otherworld. The soul is originally composed of light. When it crosses the border or threshold it leaves behind the known world and enters the unknown world of the flesh.
Four o’clock. Having left the ordinary world behind there is no turning back.
On earth the hero soul must overcome challenges, travels and tests thrown her way on the road of soul trials.
Allies begin to appear, too, fellow souls, fellow wanderers, fellow questers. The soul awakens to its predicament. It realizes it is trapped in matter. Its powers are diminshed.
Campell viewed these challenges as the food of the soul. ‘Opportunities to find deeper powers within ourselves comes when life seems most challenging’, said Campbell.
Five o’clock. As she progresses toward her ultimage goal, the hero approaches the inmost cave where the ultimate big battle will take place. This is where the hero gathers her forces in preparation for the big ordeal.
The cave is called the dragon’s cave, the dark night of the soul.
It is the place of the soul’s rebirth and the cracking of the reptilian code.
Six o’clock. The Supreme Ordeal, as Campbell calls it, is where the hero faces her greatest fear or most deadly enemy and the possibility of certain death. In this crisis, she is called upon to utilize all her skills and wisdom gained from previous smaller challenges.
This doesn’t have to be a negative situation. The cave could be your desk. The ordeal is staring at the phone and being afraid to call the person you just met who you know will be your future wife.
Joseph Campbell said, “The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.”
What is your greastest fear? What are you dying to do that you haven’t done?
The promise here is that by experiencing a sort of “death” the hero can be reborn, experiencing a metaphorical resurrection that gives her even more spiritual power than before.
This is the soul beginning to acquire its light body powers.
Seven o’clock. After conquering the Big Ordeal the hero is now transformed into a new state. She has a treasure to prove it, too. The treasure was gained by slaying the dragon in the inmost cave.
Soul translation. I believe the treasure is the robe of glory and the other soul apps, as these are the super powers of the soul and are needed to be reborn. This is Padmasmbhava riding on a serpent.
The treasure he gained by conquering the serpent is the rainbow light body.
Eight o’clock. Next, comes the return home. This is where Campbell often saw that there may be one more remaining test or challenge before the door to the ordinary world opens.
This is where the dragon that was slayed is reborn for one last fight, or the enemy we thought was neutralized suddenly attacks or manifests.
Often, he noted, the hero must choose between their own personal goals and that of a higher goal.
Choosing the higher goal raises the stakes considerably. Now, with everything on the line, the hero faces her final and most powerful encounter with death.
This seems to be a test. Our mentor or higher self wants to be sure that we learned the lesson. So, a pop quiz is called.
When doing consultations for people I often help them to identify their challenges, but more importantly, I help them to identify how they will know when the challenges they are facing are overcome.
I did this by asking two questions.
One. How will you know when your challenge is overcome? How will your life be different then? What new things will you be doing then, mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally that you are presently not doing?
I would encourage them to write down these new things and then list them from perceeived easist to perceived most difficult and then begin doing those things. The goal is to get a snowball effect going.
The second question I would ask is, at what point does the marathon runner know if they have trained enough for the marathon? The answer is when they finish the race.
The race is the inmost cave for the marathon runner. Crossing the finish line, she emerges from the cave reborn. If she is given an award, this physical token or treasure, say a gold cup, is merely symbolic of the inner treasure, the inner gold, she has gained. The treasure is a reward for past achievement, but also a tool for future use.
Getting the golden light body and the other spiritual apps is the reward for the successful soul.
Nine o’clock. The final stage of the Hero’s journey is the return home. It is at this point that the hero reflects on their self transformation. This is the ascension. This is when the soul crosses the threshold and enter the heavenly realm.
The hero, the soul, what Campbell would now call “The master of two worlds”, has come full circle and returned to the Ordinary World.
Only now the soul is awakened and is now called a traveler.
She has a story to tell and wisdom to share with the dwellers of the Ordinary world.
Ten o’clock. New life. New light body. The hero has been transformed by the quest on earth. Her soul has been upgraded.
Eleven o’clock. Everything suddenly makes sense. The reason for the journey. All the ups and downs and trials and tribulations.
Twelve o’clock. The hero begins life in the new, upgraded ordinary world.
THE LOWEST BECOME THE HIGHEST AND HIGHEST THE LOWEST
During the hero’s journey of the soul the lowest become the highest and the highest become the lowest.
What does this mean?
We can think of this process in terms of school.
We start out in kindergarten at the lowest point. As we grow, we go from first grade to sixth grade, from low to high. But, we can’t stay there, because we graduate to the next higher level, 7th grade, where we are low again, until we reach 9th grade, when we are high again. But, we can’t say there either. We graduate to 10th grade where we are low again and will be until the 12th grade when we really feel like we know it all.
In life, the clear graduation shifts are not clearly marked, but they are there. By learning to read them, we can better navigate earth life. This is the map the hero’s journey provides.
Now, if we upgrade this map to the soul level it is equally valuable. Maybe even more so.
From this brief exploration of the hero’s journey we can see why stories are vital to our soul. If the story of a people is controlled or incomplete it will be hard for them to move forward. Politicians refer to this as controlling the narrative. Control the story. Control the people.
Likewise, change the story. Change the people.
For example, if we are told we have no souls and that we live and we die, and that’s it, then one kind of life will be lived. That’s the scientific viewpoint.
On the other hand, if we are told that we have a soul and that after we die we are reborn again, a different kind of life will be lived, a different kind of culture will emerge. This is the spiritual viewpoint.
If we are told that the way to leave this eternal ring or cycle of rebirths is to ascend by living our light body as a state of being, then yet another kind of life will be lived.
That is the life the Awakened Soul is seeking.
THE RAINBOW LIGHT BODY : THE HERO’S QUEST
As I have documented, the Tibetans teach that the only way to ascend from earth is for the divine spark, our soul, to spin the flesh and blood body into a ‘born again’ rainbow light body, our ascension body. This is the hero’s quest.
We all have been spending lifetime after lifetime working on this realization. Our learning is cumulative. We carrry it with us.
The light body and ascension can be attained in one lifetime, say the Tibetans.
It may even be this life time.
Some of us believe we can do this, others don’t.
This reminds me of the story of the two caterpillars chatting on Facebook. A beautiful butterfly suddenly floats by. One caterpillar says to the other: “You’ll never get me up in one of those butterfly things.”
That is our essential predicament. We don’t BELIEVE we can morph. We resist morphing. We are afraid of morphing. Therefore, we don’t.
Seeing is believing.
What is needed is vision. A goal. We need to see the way forward. We need a north star in the sky to guide us.
To me, images of ascended beings are “north stars.”
Knowing that these images can hand off the codes for our own ascension make them even more powerful.
“Where the mind goes the biology follows,” says Dr. Mario Martinez.
I would modify this to say “where the soul goes, the biology follows.”
For the human species to achieve ascension and transcendence we must have stories, plots, narratives — and images — that can guide us from initial conception to final goal.
This is why the Gnostics rehearsed stories like the Vision of Isaiah and Song of the Pearl or The Robe of Glory over and over.
THE SONG OF THE PEARL
The Hymn of the Soul, also Hymn of the Pearl, Hymn of the Robe of Glory, written by a little known Syriac mystic named Bardesanes, c. 155-233 AD, and found in the apocryphal Acts of Thomas, describes the soul’s descent into matter and its return or ascension. (I will be discussing this in detail during “Awakening the Pearl”, to be held in Nashville on August 15-16, 2020.)
Both stories tell of the believer’s attainment or acquisition of a glorious robe or garment of light and soul rising or soul ascent to the Throne of God.
“And I stretched forth and received it, with the beauty of its colors I adorned myself. And in my royal robe excelling in beauty I arrayed myself, wholly,” reads the Song of the Pearl.
It is obvious to me that his Song is describing the Rainbow Light Body. This unique take is the basis for my workshop “Awakening the Pearl”.
These stories told the Gnostics what to do and how to do it.
The repetition of these ‘mind maps’ actualized ascension as a reality for the Gnostics who were unwavering in their belief that they would receive the Robe of Glorious Rainbow Light. I call them ‘Ascension Simulation Texts’.
Our souls come from what Campbell would call the ordinary world.
The ordinary world of the soul is not on earth. It is elsewhere.
Fascinatingly, the Gnostics believed the seed of light or Divine Spark was the essence of our soul, and possibly, was ejected from the center of the galaxy.
Our ‘soul drop’ washed ashore like a fish out of water. Once on Earth it grows the physical body as a vehicle for incarnation.
Human beings enter Earth through the womb. While in the nurturing waters of the womb the Divine Spark encases itself in the human fleshly garment. It is inches away from a new domain. It absorbs the rhythms of this place. Then, it enters the birth canal (the portal of light/star gate).
Once we are born into earth life, many, if not most, souls forget their former ordinary world.
In effect, our bodies and brains are a device or vessel ‘birthed’ by our Divine Spark out of DNA to act as information gathering equipment, as well as earthly transportation vehicles and as energy harvesting and processing devises. Additionally, the Divine Spark is capable of “morphing” our bodies into a star or light-gate for re-entrance to the Ordinary World and to be able to function there.
From the wealth of the treasury, Thomas’s soul is given five coverings for its descent into creation. These coverings are made of gold, silver, rubies, agate and adamant forming a garment “which can crush iron.”
A pun is indicated here. Adamant is immovable and unyielding. So is the soul’s isolation from its Source and divinity once in the human body. Some swear the material world is all there is.
These five jewels correspond to the five layers of the soul, we explored in the Robe of the Soul episode.
In the poem, just before Thomas descends into the physical universe his parents removed his bright robe and the purple toga. The bright robe is the light of the soul that is removed or forgotten when we incarnate. The purple toga symbolizes royalty and divinity. It is one of the garments put on Jesus just before the Crucifixion.
Jesus discusses the light of the soul when He tells the disciples in Matthew 5:14-16 to shine brightly:
“You are the light of the world.
A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. (That’s Sion.)
Neither do men light a candle,
And put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick;
And giveth light unto all that are in the house.
Let your light shine before men,
That they may see your good works,
And glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Thomas’s parents made a deal with him, and wrote it in his heart that when he gets to “Egypt” (the human world), and he finds the one pearl which is in the midst of the sea (a Gnostic term for consciousness) and guarded by a loud-breathing serpent, that he could, once again, put on his bright robe.
Fnding the pearl is clearly the purpose of human incarnation. The pearl is the gnosis — spiritual enlightenment — or knowledge of life force of the soul, the Divine Spark.
When it is found, so too is the Beaming Garment of Glory.
The use of the pearl as a mystic metaphor is highly instructive. Pearls are formed when an alien substance slips into an oyster between its mantle and shell.
Rather like getting a splinter, the oyster’s natural reaction is to cover up the irritant to protect itself. The mantle covers the irritant with layers of a substance called nacre.
Looking at an oyster, one would never know that concealed within its shell is such a precious iridescent treasure.
Iridescent means ‘displaying a play of lustrous colors like those of a rainbow’.
Hence, the parallels to the human soul in the body.
This idea makes a lot of sense, and examples of the pearl symbolizing the soul and our spiritual goal, the Rainbow Body, abound.
Earlier, we found the blue pearl in the third eye of Padmasambhava.
Meditating on the blue pearl within we can manifest our light body.
Here are Jesus’s words in Matthew 7:6:
Give not that which is holy unto dogs,
Neither cast your pearls before swine.
Again, in Matthew (13:45-46) Jesus says:
The kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man,
Seeking goodly pearls:
Who, when he had found one pearl of great price,
Went and sold all that he had, and bought it.”
Jesus is clearly stating that the pearl of gnosis (and the Beaming Garment of Glory) is of such immense value that it exceeds all the other pearls or aspirations of this world.
Also, Jesus clearly advises discernment when it comes to deciding to whom we choose to reveal our pearl. For some, we’ll want to continue to wear the iridescent self on the inside. And don’t bother trying to convince those trapped in worldly affairs that focusing on the pearl is the only treasure that counts.
No matter what the cost, we want to acquire that pearl.
Five o’clock. Here is the source of the drama in the Hymn of the Pearl as Thomas forgets the pearl. It happens when Thomas goes to live among the “Egyptians”, those who have no interest in anything but the physical world. He puts on their garb to fit in.
Even so, they know there is something different about Thomas. They trick him into eating their food (flesh of dead creatures). Before he knows it Thomas has forgotten his divine lineage, his pearl, and his soul has fallen into a deep sleep. He’s as good as dead.
However, Thomas is fortunate in that some noble beings are watching from on high.
They send their lost soul a wake up call.
“From thy Father, the King of kings,
And thy Mother, the Mistress of the East,
And from thy Brother, our next in rank,
To thee our son, who art in Egypt, greeting!
Up and arise from thy sleep,
And listen to the words of our letter!
Call to mind that thou art a son of kings!
See the slavery — and whom thou servest!
Remember the pearl
For which thou didst speed to Egypt!
Think of thy bright robe,
And remember they glorious toga,
Which thou shalt put on as thine adornment.
They name is named in the Book of Life,
And with thy Brother, whom thou has received,
Thou shalt return to our kingdom.”
This letter is a mystic wake up call for all of us. The “Voice” says remember, you are a Divine Spark trapped in a body. Remember the pearl. Remember the Beaming Garment. Remember HOME.
Suddenly, in Thomas’s story, the letter morphs into an eagle and flies beside Thomas. It begins speaking. Thomas wakes up, kisses the bird and listens to its message.
The appearance of the talking eagle tells us there is an initiation going on here as, in spiritual symbolism, the eagle is considered the highest of all birds. It is similar to the dove that appeared at Jesus’s baptism.
The talking bird that comes from on high actually symbolizes the Messenger of Light. It is his heavenly Light Twin that came to remind Thomas of how to return home.
I remembered that I was a son of kings,
And my free soul longed for its natural state.
I remembered the pearl,
For which I had been sent to Egypt.
The term, Free Soul, was also used by the Native Americans in their Path of Souls instruction.
Finally, Thomas remembered the pearl and the reason why he had been sent to Egypt. His soul began to awaken.
Six o’clock. In the supreme ordeal Thomas quickly subdues the serpent guarding the pearl (with the Name of God),
Seven o’clock, he snatches the pearl, strips himself of his earthly garb and leaves Egypt.
Eight o’clock. He’s headed home, following the light of the letter. Just then, Thomas sees the Messenger or Awakener on the road before him,
“Shining before me in a garment of radiance, glistening like royal silk. And with its voice and its guidance, it also encouraged me to speed, and with his love was drawing me on.”
The Awakener that talks to the soul is the second part of the Gnostic Trinity, the Messenger of Light. Planted within our hearts and present within us is a higher mind called the Messenger of Light. This Messenger is a helper that descends from above and is considered our heavenly ‘light twin’.
In the Gospel of Philip we find an explicit reference to the Messenger and the Beaming Garment of Glory together and their role in our ascension. Jesus said:
You who have joined the perfect,
the light with the holy spirit,
unite the angels with us also, the images.
Do not despise the lamb, for without it,
it is not possible to go see the King.
No one will be able to go to the King if he is naked.
For the Gnostic authors of Philip, and other texts, Jesus was clearly a being who was transposed or translated from the Realm or Land of Light. He was sent here to awaken us to the existence of the Messenger and our ‘Christ Self’, our Higher Self.
The Gnostics are adamant that until we link the lower and the Higher Self we are going to remain on earth, eternally returning or recurring here.
So, now, this brings us to the really big question: How do we open a channel with the Messenger?
I’ll begin to answer with an anecdote. I once asked an audience in Florida if they have contacted their Higher Self and how did they know its voice. A woman answered by saying that, when she’s in crisis or uncertain about what to do next in her life and asks her Higher Self, it always asks the same question: “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” There is the answer. Plain and simple. We open a link to our Higher Self by overcoming fear.
“If you want to know your Higher Self, look at the people you’ve met in the last year,” said Rudolph Steiner. Do the people in your life bring more fear or more love into your life?
“What you are looking for is what is looking,” said Francis of Assisi.
An old Cherokee told his grandson, “My son, there’s a battle between two wolves inside us all. One is Evil. It’s anger, jealousy, greed, resentment, inferiority, lies, and ego. The other is Good. It’s joy, peace, love, hope, humility, kindness, empathy, and truth.” The grandson thought about it and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf wins?” The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed”.
Our soul is fed when we serve others. Coincidentally, or perhaps not, the acts of the good wolf in the Cherokee story are the same as the the ‘Fruit of the Spirit’: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control”(Galatians 5:22).
Doing these works seems a certain way to get the Higher Self’s attention.
Nine o’clock. As Thomas continues his journey he leaves Babel (Earth) and reaches Maishān the great, the haven of the merchants, that sitteth on the shore of the sea. The “merchants” are interpreted as the pure souls. The sea is the great ocean of consciousness and also the Milky Way.
At this point, Thomas is almost home. His inner journey to self-realization has taken him to the place where, once again, he will put on his Beaming Garment.
I saw it (a bright robe sent by his parents) making itself ready. I heard the sound of its tones.
And I perceived also in myself
That my stature was growing according to his labors.
It was spreading itself out toward me,
It hastened that I might take it on.
And I stretched forth and received it,
With the beauty of its colors I adorned myself.
And my toga of brilliant colors
I cast around me, in its whole breadth.
I clothed myself therewith, and ascended
To the Majesty of my Father who had sent it to me.
And I was with him in his kingdom.
And he promised me all that to the gate
Of the King of Kings I should speed with him,
And bringing my gift and my pearl
I should appear with him before our King.
Thomas has achieved his New life. New light body. The hero has been transformed by the quest on earth and returned with the elixir of life. His soul has been upgraded.
Our hero has ascended. It’s time to celebrate.
Eleven o’clock. Everything suddenly makes sense. The reason for the journey. All the ups and downs and trials and tribulations.
Twelve o’clock. The hero begins life in the new, upgraded ordinary world.
That is a happy ending.
But, chances, are he will not stay there. For soon, the call will come and will be time to travel again.
I don’t know where you are at in your soul journey. You may be just beginning. You may be at ten o’clock. Wherever you are I wish you the greatest joy and happiness possible.
Know this. Your soul awakening and ascension is the greatest journey any one can undertake on earth.