The Hero’s Journey: Descending into the Underworld

Feeling Stuck?

In the archetypical journey of the hero, the first half of life is about individuation – building a self – birth, childhood, growth, education, striking out on life’s adventure to claim one’s stake on the world. The second part of life is about dismantling the self – being discontent with what was once desired, trying to find deeper meaning, departing into the wilderness / the enchanted forest / the underworld – pick your myth – to confront our deepest fear / retrieve the golden fleece / rescue the princess and hopefully, transcend into wisdom / ascend to the throne / enlightenment – again, pick your myth. 

Symptoms of having reached what pc people call the mid-life transition, others call it the mid-life crisis:

Middle-age gent in red ferrari installed with young blond in front seat

Successful corporate exec suddenly looses all sense of self – retrenched, identity-less, worthless, lost

Men and women living lives of quiet desperation – grinding to a halt.

Everything feels stuck, stagnated, stifling. Life becomes disenchanted, meaningless, directionless, demons come out and play with our fears. Our shadows overwhelm us. We loose faith in ourselves and the world. We escape into online games, tv, illness, dramatic love affairs…. Or we seek wisdom, solution, resolution.

Depression, despair, desperation, defeated. Welcome to the descent. It’s the opportunity to drop all your baggage.

Relishing in your drama? Losing yourself? Running away from the world?

Relishing in your drama? Losing yourself? Running away from the world?



It’s not a nice place to be. It will be hard. It will be painful. The danger is not the pain you will face, cos you are equal to that which you create. The danger is not that you won’t find the golden fleece cos that is pre-disposed to be found. 

The danger is you might get seduced by the wilderness / underworld / enchanted forest and wish to dwell there forever.

Themes: Carl Jung, Joseph Campbell, Collective Unconscious, Tarot and the Journey of the Hero

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  1. Pingback: Journey to the Dark Side | Gallery Helios, Center for the Art of Mind-Body Wellness

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