The Hero’s Journey can often be described as the masculine path of transformation. It is a Call to Adventure, a slaying of dragons, a battle between good and evil. It is ultimately a quest to be reunited with the lost feminine within us, for men and women alike.
The Feminine’s Journey looks quite different. The Yin aspect of the path is not a Call to Adventure. It is a Call to Surrender. A call to quiet and stillness, receptivity and patience. While the masculine braves a treacherous world, the feminine weaves herself a cocoon. Where the masculine seeks to achieve a goal, the feminine waits in uncertainty. She waits in darkness. Not knowing. Not doing. Just being. And enduring. Enduring suffering that is sometimes so great and never-ending it seems unendurable. But it is here, in this cocoon, that the feminine will ultimately be reunited with the lost masculine.
To be clear, the feminine is not doing nothing in her not doing. Nor is she a victim of her suffering. There is much going on but it is invisible to the eye. She is active in her passivity. Strong in her surrender. And she must strike the miraculous balance of being with her suffering without seeking to control the outcome - and also without completely giving up.
She is pinned to a cross in which there is no solution. Her task is to bear the heavy tension. And submit to the eternal injustice that befell her. Until hopefully, maybe, one day... grace comes from deep within and all around and the cross is reconciled.
But day after day she waits. Often hidden away. Usually in solitude. How long can this possibly last? It could be years. There is no end in sight. And the possibility that it will never end is part of what brings her to her knees. She realizes, finally, she is not in charge here. She cannot incubate this egg of potential on her own. She must hand it over to the Great Mother. It is she who holds our fate in her hands. It is she who we must entrust our lives to. It is she who teaches us just how much control we do not have - and how much we truly do.
And unlike the epic battles of the Hero’s journey, the Feminine’s tasks in myths and fairytales are tedious, time-consuming, take commitment, seem trivial and require the help of animals and magic. There are no dragons to slay, but rather beans to sort, stinging nettle to weave, straw to spin into gold. She is not sure anything will come of all of this but neither is she sure nothing will. She only knows she doesn’t know, and she must do her part. She must keep following the breadcrumbs on the inner path of her psyche.
This slow, unexciting path goes against almost every aspect of our culture. The Hero’s Journey, while treacherous and not for the faint of heart, is worshipped as the myth of our time. This is not the case for the Feminine's way. It does not make for million dollar blockbusters and best selling novels. It opposes our busy and fast-paced society. And to the immature masculine - both in the culture and in the person themselves - it can appear as if the one on the Feminine Journey is doing nothing and wasting her time. These voices will constantly exclaim: "You need to do more! You need to solve this now. You must stop feeling that. Nothing is happening! You're being lazy. Hurry Up!"
But if we listen to these voices, we will either refuse the call or find ourselves stuck along the way. Unable to surrender, unable to move forward. Our suffering then will grow exponentially and our bodies will protest and our lives may become impossible, or maybe barren. Or, if we have begun the journey already, but wish to rush to the end, we could break the incubating egg and kill the potential.
One of the keys on this path is to teach the masculine within to be a comforting and illuminating companion in the darkness rather than an obstacle. When he learns to honor and help the way of the feminine, the resistance melts, the way unfolds and the union draws nearer.
And then one day, a day we never knew would come, the cocoon begins to hatch. Just enough to feel a ray of sunlight on our face. Just enough to breathe in the fresh air and hear the new life calling. While the Hero's Journey ends in surrender, like Yin springing from Yang and finding the passive in the active, the Feminine's Journey ends in action. Yang springs from Yin, the active from the passive. And as the cocoon opens, so too does the world. While returning may not be easy and our life still not perfectly sorted, we will make our way with the strength of the matured Masculine by our side, and the Feminine herself transformed.
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED HERE
Art | Cocoon by Vanessa Lemen