Part 15 of 36
Throughout our lives, there are people and situations that influence us either for the good or bad. Let’s look at the different types of characters who appear on a “Hero’s Journey”.
One type of character is an ally who is someone accompanying the hero on the journey and serving in a variety of capacities. The journey is long and hard so it’s nice to have someone to share it with. Someone to be there when you don’t know what to do; to listen, understand where you’re coming from, and to have faith in you. Sometimes this ally is a side kick who has a similar course in life and always seems to be there with you through the trials as well as the victories. An ally can appreciate who you are and knows the story behind your story.
My husband fits this role in my life journey. He’ll push me when he knows it’s good for me. More than that we can bounce ideas back and forth trying to find the best decision on how to approach life, interests, attitudes, family, and the future. Even though we may inadvertently hurt or annoy each other, we grow our hearts and mature together.
Another character in a “Hero’s Journey”, the Threshold Guardian, seems to cause problems for the hero but if the hero overcomes the test, the hero proves he is worthy to pass the threshold and has the necessary commitment to embark on the journey. The Threshold Guardian can be a character or may be an animal, a force of nature, or an object such as a locked door or vault. To get past these barriers, the hero can use any number of methods. If the hero uses his strength, he will overcome it. Other ways the hero can deal with the Threshold Guardian are: wise techniques, evasion, persuasion, conversation, or bribery. These tests often let the hero know he is progressing. Each test or threshold builds on skills or beliefs and often serve as a warm up for the next significant test or a major hurdle.
When I hear about a Threshold Guardian, I think of Father Moon’s course to find the Truth. He not only studied and desperately searched for the Truth through earnest and desperate prayer, he said he had to fight myriads of spiritual influences including his own temptations. Finally, he found the Truth regarding the Garden of Eden. He used wise techniques asking Satan questions and cornering him for the answers as to what happened in the Garden of Eden. Then, Father Moon offered his findings to God. It wasn’t until the third time he presented the Truth did God accept it. I imagine each time Father Moon put in more energy to discover how and why the actions happened in the Garden of Eden. In time Father Moon probably knew details without any doubt. Only then did God confirm his theory was correct. This was the first time this Truth was found! However, this was only the first step of his journey to resurrect the hearts and minds of humanity and to establish world peace through ideal families.
The next character from a “Hero’s Journey” we’ll discuss is the shapeshifter. From the hero’s point of view, the shapeshifter keeps changing its mood, appearance, or behavior. This often misleads or confuses the hero causing doubts and questions in the hero’s mind. It’s hard to figure out the shapeshifter’s intentions or loyalty thereby making life seem like an intense drama. The shapeshifter can be both the hero and heroine in a romance as they deal with internal and external predicaments. The purpose of a shapeshifter is to enchant, confuse, mislead, or to assist and support. There are times when you wonder which side the shapeshifter is on. This is often a sign of self-centeredness or lack of maturity on the part of the shapeshifter(s).
To succeed in becoming a person of honor, we need to act our true self no matter what the situation is or who the person is around us. This is when the vertical connection to a higher presence is important. We may be able to fool ourselves, but the higher standard of heart never changes. Children may say they didn’t do anything when they just pestered their sibling, but the parent usually points out the action that caused another to be irritated. Children usually have their parent around but when we’re older we need that inner heavenly parent to keep us in line. If we ignore that inner guide, we gradually become oblivious to how we affect ourselves and others. In that case, even if we are parents ourselves, our heart fluctuates from the ideal loving parent to the type of person we eventually regret. We’re all growing internally so we need to be aware of this process yet forgiving of ourselves and others. The true hero learns from his mistakes and gradually becomes able to break through his inadequacies.
In a “Hero’s Journey” there is a character representing the energy of the dark side called the Shadow. It could be another person or force, but it can also be something inside the Hero that can destroy him if not dealt with. Voytilla Stuart, author of Myth and the Movies: Discovering the Mythic Structure of 50 Unforgettable Films, describes the Shadow:
The Shadow can represent our darkest desires, our untapped resources, or even rejected qualities. It can also symbolize our greatest fears and phobias. To use Star Wars as an example, the Shadow is the Dark Side, personified by Darth Vader. Since the Shadow is a reflection of the Hero’s qualities, it may represent positive qualities that the Tragic or Loner Hero may have suppressed or rejected. Shadows may not be all bad, and may reveal admirable, even redeeming qualities… Or the Shadow may be an inner demon lurking within ourselves that must be accepted or purged.
Whether our personal shadows stem from inside of us or an outside force, the best way to defeat them is to bring them out into the open and to get support and accountability. There was a summit recently called “High Noon” because that’s the time of day when the sun doesn’t cast any shadow. This conference addressed the unwanted addiction to pornography. When we have problems or addictions we often try to live in the shadow and hide it just as Adam and Eve hid from God and covered their lower parts with fig leaves. During the High Noon Summit participants took the first step toward freeing themselves from their shadows. It is building momentum. “High Noon exists to create a culture of sexual integrity, joy, openness and true sexual intimacy.” Sex is meant to be the greatest blessing and bring the highest joy. Unfortunately, when sex is misused it can bring misery, conflict, violence, and hell on earth. Pornography is a perverted view of sex and love. People are becoming addicted and trapped in a cycle that perpetuates the opposite of love; self-centeredness, enslavement, and violence.
There is true love only when honesty, integrity, and freedom centered on the greater good exists. Freedom isn’t being able to do whatever you want to do in the moment. Freedom respects the value and dignity of others. To get back on track with pure love and overcome our shadows, we may need to reach out to find services such as accountability partners, support programs, and mentors.
Who are your allies and how do you relate to them?
What kind of tests have you had where you had to confront a Threshold Guardian?
What kind of breakthroughs have you had?
How have you experienced being a shapeshifter?
How has a shapeshifter affected you?
What are your shadows and how can you overcome them?
What influences you in your life?
Stuart Voytilla, Myth and the Movies: Discovering the Mythic Structure of 50 Unforgettable Films, 1999. Michael Wiese Productions, Page 16.
High Noon is a venture of the Blessed Marriage Project. 2017. https://highnoon.org/