The Heroine’s Journey offers the essence of the female journey.
Women do have a quest at this time in our culture. It is the quest to fully embrace their femenine nature, learning how to value themselves as women and to heal the deep wound of the feminine. It is a very important inner journey toward being a fully integrated, balanced, and whole human being.
Like most journeys, the path of the heroine is not easy; it has no well-defined guideposts nor recognizable tour guides. There is no map, no navigational chart, no chronological age when the journey being. It follows no straight lines. It is a journey that seldom receives validation from the outside world; in fact, the outer world often sabotages and interferes with it.
The Road of Trials
The heroine crosses the threshold, leaves the safety of her parents’ home, and goes in search of her self. She journeys up hills and down valleys, wades in rivers and streams, crosses dry deserts and dark forests, and enters the labyrith to find what is at the center of her self.
Along the way she meets ogres who trick her into going down dead ends, adversaries who challenge her cunning and resolve, and obstacles which she must avoid, circumscribe, or overcome. She needs a lamp, a lot of thread, and all of her wits about her to make this journey.
Why is she out there meandering around in the labyrinth at night anyway? What is the treasure she is looking for, and who is the dragon guarding it?
She is alone at night metaphorically, wandering the road of trials to discover her strengths and abilities and uncover and overcome her weaknesses. That is what leaving home and taking the journey is all about.
No longer can she blame parents, siblings, friends, lovers, and her boss for the outcome of her life; now it is time to look at herself. Her task is to take the sword of her truth, find the sound of her voice, and choose the path of her destiny. Thus she will find the treasure of her seeking.
The dragons that jealously guard the myth of dependency, the myth of female inferiority, and the myth of romantic love are fearsome opponents. This is not a journey for cowards; it takes enormous courage to plumb one’s depth.
The Myth of Romantic Love
Through the endurance of her trials, a woman liberates herself or is liberated from the belief that her fulfillment comes at the hands of a man. Then, she can find a companion who is an equal and enjoy true romantic love.
In the myth of romantic love a woman is said to search for a father/lover/savior whom she thinks will solve all of her problems. She is prey to false notions of fulfillment: ‘If I find the right man I’ll be happy.’ ‘If I find the right boss I’ll move up quickly in the ranks.’ If I’m with a poweful man, I’ll have power too.’ The unspoken message is, ‘I won’t have to figure out what I want to do. I can live his life.’
Women are trained into a state of expectancy. The next time we see our young woman she is a mother nursing her newborn infant as she waits for her husband to come home from work. He is her link to the outside world. He takes care of everything. She is waiting for life to being. She has heard the whispers: ‘You are not enough on your own.’ ‘You need completion.’ ‘You need the other’ ‘You need to wait’
In most fairy tales the heroine is taken out of her state of waiting, her state of unconsciousness, and dramatically and instantly transformed for the better. The catalyst for the magical change is usually a man. When the transformation of the heroine really occurs, however, it is usually the result not of rescue from without but of strenuous growth and development within, and over a long period of time.