In this male-dominated society that we live in, the role and nature of women has been drastically diminished. As women, we have lost faith in or contact with a lot of our instinctual, cyclical nature and instead we have taken on the performance-based, linear mindset of the male. In many ways we have lost ourselves as women, but in doing this, we have lost not only one another as a tribe, but our connection to nature.
The myth of female inferiority and dependency of the 50’s and early 60’s was traded for the myth of the superwoman of the 80’s and 90’s. Those are the women who sought political, economical and spiritual equality with men in academia, business and in the home felt an initial rush from their daily successes, but eventually we began to feel a weariness in our hearts. Some of us faced burnout and divorce, and some of us health problems including depression, anxiety and even addiction.
We do things alone and try our utmost to be superwoman. We reward over-performance and isolation and regard a call for help as a sign of weakness. This incredible course will not only empower you as a women in this world, but will reward you with a new tribe in the process.
This course is to guide us into re-defining the role of Women in today’s modern world. We come together to form a tribe and learn how to satisfy the demands of the cacophony of outer voices calling for our attention and allegiance, to come into balance with the need for personal time, family and spirituality and finding the still, small voice within.
Using questions for you to consider, guided imagery, writing, art and movement, we will find, we will go through the process of finding clarity and understanding of our journey both as individuals and as a tribe. As a guide we will be using Maureen Murdock’s model, described in The Heroine’s Journey: Woman’s Quest for Wholeness, which is divided into the ten stages:
1. Shift from Feminine to Masculine
During stage one, the heroine rejects the feminine in favor of the masculine. She may still be tied to the feminine, but she increasingly resents that attachment.
She could have any number of reasons for rejecting the feminine, but a unhappy relationship with a feminine role model, known as the mother, is chief among them. To the heroine, the mother represents the worst of the feminine end of her duality. She might be powerless, unhappy, flawed, or just interpreted that way. The mother is threatening to the heroine because she’s afraid of becoming her.
Alternatively, the mother may be intimidating in her strength and perfection, particularly if you decide to make the feminine more privileged than the masculine in your story. The heroine may reject her to avoid feeling inadequate next to her.
As she rejects the mother, the heroine will embrace a metaphorical father. The father represents whatever the heroine admires in the masculine. He may have a dark side, or be a despicable person altogether, but she isn’t aware of that yet. He opens to the door to a path that leads away from the mother, and makes the heroine feel like she could succeed on that path. In turn, she does her best to gain his attention and approval.
He offers an escape from the mother, but at the same time he might rub in that the heroine is tied to the lowly feminine. He could praise her strength and brilliance as he tells her the feminine makes her weak and stupid. This will only spur her harder to prove herself in his eyes.
As a result of this dynamic, the heroine discards the feminine, and any part of herself tied to it.
2. The Road of Trials
In stage two, the heroine sets off on a journey, departing the ordinary of the feminine and fully embracing the masculine. This might mean she actually leaves home, sword in hand, or it could just mean that she abandons sewing classes and goes fishing instead.
Regardless, she has something to prove to herself and others. In her new journey, she is surrounded by masculine allies. They still think she is less, or at least not one of them. In her heart, she believes they’re right. But that doesn’t mean she’ll give up. She’s fixated on showing everyone that they’re wrong.
For that, she needs big victories. She wants something to show others, like a trophy or treasure. In pursuit of her prize she will face threshold guardians who try to deter her, and battle real or metaphorical monsters.
In her enthusiastic pursuit of the masculine, she forgets to stay in touch with her inner self. All her actions are designed to make her look better to her masculine allies; she never does anything because she simply wants to do it. She’s always compensating for the feminine lurking within her.
3. The Illusion of Success
By stage three, the heroine has faced great trials and emerged victorious. She feels the thrill of success, and her confidence is bolstered by the applause of others. She has built an impressive, masculine reputation.
But that does not dull her appetite for adventure and victory in masculine pursuits. On the contrary, as soon as she finds success on one quest, she immediately sets out on another. Her victories are never enough, so she tries to do more and more to distract herself. She must maintain the outside validation and applause that makes her feel justified as a person.
Somewhere inside, she begins to realize that something is missing from her life. She feels stretched thin. She looks in the mirror, and isn’t sure she knows the person looking back. Even her victories seem empty. She counsels the great and powerful, but does not feel great and powerful herself.
4. The Descent
In stage four, tragedy strikes. It could be a cataclysm that shakes the world, or a private matter that no one else knows of. Regardless, she is suddenly made aware of what’s really important to her. When her allies come to usher her along on the next adventure, she turns them down.
They tell her she is a coward. Or perhaps that she is selfish, impulsive, or whatever despised quality the masculine attributes to the feminine. But she doesn’t hear them. She is already far away, undergoing her own inner turmoil.
She begins a period of voluntary isolation, descending into a metaphorical cave. There time passes slowly. It’s dark; there are no sights or sounds to distract her. There she searches for herself.
She may have to sift through a maelstrom of emotions. Anger, remorse, and grief may all set upon her. She might be afraid to follow her thoughts and feelings to their conclusion, but she knows she must.
5. Meeting With the Goddess
The heroine begins stage five in her darkest hour. But she is rewarded for her struggle when she encounters the goddess.
The goddess symbolizes the true nature of the feminine, and the best of what the heroine left behind. The goddess imparts a great truth to the heroine about herself and the feminine.
When the heroine parts with the goddess, she feels reborn.
6. Reconciliation With the Feminine
In stage 6, the heroine heads back to the familiar surroundings she left behind. She finds and nurtures her inner child, the part of her left from before she rejected the feminine. She may seek to bond with the mother, and to gain new understanding about her.
She spends her time on simple tasks of a feminine nature. She receives no glory for her toil. Former allies find her and try to convince her to return to the way she was before her descent. Even the mother or others of the feminine may not welcome her back, remembering her rejection of them with bitterness.
But she continues her humble work. She maintains hope that if she continues down the path that feels right to her, she will be redeemed. She waits patiently for improvement.
7. Reincorporation of the Masculine
In stage seven, a crisis erupts in the realm of the feminine. In dealing with this crisis, the heroine once again faces the masculine side of herself, ready to emerge and dominate. She now understands the inner need that the masculine fulfills, and why she lost herself in it before. She recognizes that while the masculine was not her true goal, it was an important part of her journey.
And she refuses to let it take control. Instead, she channels her masculine impulses to positive ends. She solves the crisis with serenity and grace. When it is over, she asks for no rewards.
8. The Union
By stage 8, the heroine has found balance between the feminine and the masculine. But she is not finished until she helps others find that balance as well. She uses her synergy of the feminine and masculine to bring everyone, on either side, together. If they are embattled by a great enemy, her leadership guides them to victory.
If it fits your story, this is also the time to discard your duality altogether. The heroine could reveal that it is false, arbitrary, or destructive.
The Union With the Hero’s Journey
If you’re a structure-phile who’s been wondering this whole time whether your story could be both a hero’s and a heroine’s journey, your answer is “yes!” Mara just did it.
Here’s how the stages of these two structures match up:
|Heroine’s Journey||Hero’s Journey|
|Shift From Feminine to Masculine||Ordinary World; Call to Adventure|
|The Road of Trials||Crossing the Threshold; Tests, Allies & Enemies|
|The Illusion of Success||The Approach|
|The Descent||The Ordeal|
|Meeting With the Goddess||The Reward|
|Reconciliation With the Feminine||The Road Back|
|Reincorporation of the Masculine||The Resurrection|
|The Union||The Return with the Elixir|
Because the hero’s journey focuses on external struggle, and the heroine’s journey focuses on internal struggle, they have a lot to offer each other.
(The above text is taken from this site: http://mythcreants.com/blog/designing-a-central-villain-for-your-campaign/)