A Hero’s Journey: Meeting the Mentor and Crossing the Threshold

A Hero’s Journey: Meeting the Mentor and Crossing the Threshold by Michelle Katz

It’s dawn, and I am awoken by the soft quiet stirring of living beings and the crack of light on my face.  This is a morning of no dawdling, I wiggle out of my sleeping back, and collect my limited belongings of the night to stuff them into my pack.  I hoist my pack on, with the few belonging I need, knowing everything else I really need, I will meet out there. And with haste, I walk toward the line.

It is in this moment when the speed of the moments before falls away, and everything seems to stop, the world seems to simultaneous standstill and change into the unrecognizable. It is the moment of knowing that nothing will ever be the same.  And yet, there is a desire to stay in the make-believe that it just might if I lingering for just a moment longer.  But something makes me take the step forward across the threshold and I am not able to turn back. 

There are many moment of change when we realize the world we knew no longer exists and we must learn to live in a new way: the moment we recognize our own power or efficacy, the moment we fall in love, the moment of becoming a parent, the moment we get the job we really wanted and the moment we lose it somehow, the moment of betrayal or loss of innocence, the moment we lose trust in someone we once trusted dearly, or the moment we realize our body will not allow us to live as we previously did and we need to manage it for the rest of our lives.  These are big pivotal moments that invite us to grow or step into our experience of living soulfully.

The Threshold Crossing of a Hero’s Journey, is about this pivotal moment. And it is coupled with the Meeting of a Mentor.  This Mentor is a guide, protector or magical helper, a seasoned traveler to the other world on the other side of the crossing. A being that offers knowledge, confidence and advice to aid the journeyer. 

I reflect on my Hero’s Journey, of meeting my mentors and guides, and crossing the threshold myself.  I recall the wisdom of those that revealed themselves to me:  The wilderness guide that taught me what to do out on the land by myself for 4 days and nights to mark the end of the life I once led, and when I came back from the fast, she warned me that my incorporation would not be what I expected.  (She could not have been more right.) The coyote that told me that the world is not as it seems to you in this moment as it lured me to a certain type of death. The woodpecker that kept/and still keeps showing up at the most opportune times to let me know it’s time to move to the beat of my own drum in order to find my sustenance.  The Jungian therapist that helped me see into my own psyche/soul in my dreams and writings.  The clinical supervisor that stood by me through thick and thin when I felt I was not worthy of her kindness.  The lawyer with long tales that teach lessons of perspective.  The dog that asked me to keep going when I wanted to give up.  The family that saw me, when I had fallen to my knees and could not see myself in the darkness, who nourished me back into confidence.  The Rites-of-Passage Facilitator who's words I can hear always, that I am living the work I am truly meant to do in the world. These incredible mentors helped move me toward the Threshold Crossing of my journey, and their words have echoed in me across the duration of the journey. 

If I take one more step, it will be the farthest away from home I’ve ever been.
— Samwise Gamgee, Lord of the Rings

When the moment of my departure from the Ordinary World came, though I may have gathered all I may need, the other side is wild and unknown, and it is seemingly impossible to feel ready.  The pause, before the crossing, is one of the most potent moments in life.  The innocence of wanting to stay in the known is sweet and endearing, and the dangers and uncertainty ahead is daunting but impossible to avoid and there is something enticing in it all.  For me, the most incredibly element of this significant crossing, is that we cannot truly cross unless we are ready, unless we have somehow proven ourselves worthy of that passage.  A life has been lived and knowledge has been gained in ways that can lead us through the challenges to come.  I was ready, the time came, and I was never the same after I took that essential step.

Who are your mentors?  What is your threshold crossing story?  What knowledge have you gained and how did you prove it to the guardians of the Unknown World?  Whether you have or have not ventured there yet, share in the journey, or the story of it, with Oaks Counsel.  Join us for our Hero's Journey Day Quest on March 25th to cross the threshold.