The story of the journey home, or the way back, is a red thread that runs through many cultures, stories, myths, and the Mysteries. Here I will use the story of Demeter to illustrate this journey we all will make.
Once upon a time there was an earth goddess, Demeter, who was the personification of fertility and growth. She ensured that all things grew and prospered on the land. She also had a young daughter, Kore, who went missing one day when she was out in the meadow gathering the flower narcissus. She had been abducted by the underworld King Hades. The grief of her loss was immense and the mother searched far and wide for her missing daughter but with no success. In the meantime, the fields and the earth were neglected and all growth came to a stop.
Finally, Demeter found her daughter deep in the underworld. By then the girl had grown up somewhat and had become the wife and Queen of the Underworld. Her name was no longer Kore but Persephone. Now, King Hades was unlike most of the other mythical kings who were often found lacking in integrity. He was a good and essential king who reigned well over the domain of death. Persephone had no plans to leave. So, Demeter extracted a promise instead where Hades would allow her daughter to visit for one part of the year. During her visit, the land would blossom again.
The Hero(ine)’s Journey
The red thread in this story and all other similar stories is when the hero or heroine descends into the abyss. This is the symbol of the dark before the light which every person taking to the path would have to go through. As without, so within. As above, so below. The cycles and rhythm of nature are reflected in the journey home. We start with the search for self-knowledge, symbolised by Kore plucking narcissi. The narcissus is the symbol of the search for self-knowledge. Then we have her descending down into the depths of the underworld. The underworld is the symbol for the subconscious.
A lot of the work we do on the journey home is taming the mind, transcending it and learning to tap into the vast potential that resides there. Indeed there are many treasures that await us in the underworld if only we knew how to access them. The young Kore is like us at the beginning of the journey. We are immature and we stand on the threshold, very much like an initiate. Much awaits us on the way ahead and how will we fare? Will we grow and mature and be crowned queen? A lot depends on how much work we put in to ensure that the domain we rule over thrives.
Masters of our domain
We are indeed masters of our individual domains. If there are four elements then you are the fifth, Spirit. You are king of the kingdom of your life. You who stand in the middle of the four cardinal points that represent the four elements, north – earth, south – fire, east – air, west – water, you hold absolute power over how you want your life to turn out. How do you want it to turn out? Look into the mirror of your life to understand what needs healing. When the king is cured, the land heals as well. Remember that life within you mirrors that on the outside.
In nature, there is a season for everything. There is a time to plow the land, then plant the seeds. You water and tend to the growing plants. In time, you reap the harvest. And till the land again to prepare for the next cycle of planting. Death is always followed by birth and new beginnings. You will find yourself dying and being born again and again on the journey home. When we die and our coffin is lowered into the ground, we are essentially planting a new seed. When we find our lives not turning out quite the way we would have preferred it’s time to lower the sarcophagus into the ground.
Self-knowledge is therefore very essential to your journey. What do you do at any one time depends on what is mirrored back to you. Are you prepared to descend to the underworld of your own mind to face yourself? If you are willing to enter through the portal of death, then the only thing awaiting you on the other side is redemption and resurrection. With that comes new life. A better way of operating and functioning. A higher way of existing that gives you meaning and purpose. In this sense everyone who embarks on the journey home is an initiate who is twice born. The seed that the sarcophagus represents grows in the womb of the great mother to await ascension and final union with the Divine. That is a promise made by the gods and as such the universe will move to support you. Have no fear then because your journey will surely bring you home.
~ ॐ ~