The underworld is a realm of only psyche, a purely psychical World. What one meets there is soul, as the figures Ulysses meets—Ajax,Anticlea, Agamemnon—are called psyches, and the way they move is compared with dreams; or to say this in another way, underworld is the mythological style of describing a psychological cosmos. – James Hillman, The Dream and the Underworld
As we have begun this new annual cycle in mid-November, this month’s process is a shorter version of a full monthly cycle. Let’s complete this month by considering how you might combine the Better Endings Life Metaphor of LIFE IS A GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY with the DESCENDER Archetype Ally. How might your Descender traits help you to manifest your golden aspirations?
First we can look for some parallels to this pairing of metaphor and archetype, in popular or mythic tales, or in your own life and dreams. An excellent mythic parallel is Theseus and the Minotaur. In his life adventure en route to assuming his father’s throne in Thebes, Theseus goes to rescue a group of his compatriots who have been captured by the King of Minos to be fed to the monstrous half-bull/half-man Minotaur. The Minotaur and the sacrificial prisoners are hidden deeply within a labyrinth; a maze nearly impossible for one to escape from.
Theseus receives a special gift from King Minos’s daughter, Ariadne, who is taken with the handsome lad. She gives him a skein of golden thread that Theseus can unwind as he enters the labyrinth, so he can escape by following this thread out again after defeating the Minotaur, manos a manos.
Theseus, as fate would decree, does kill the monstrous foe, freeing his compatriots, who all escape with him by following the golden thread. Theseus and his men depart Minos (without Ariadne). As they approach Thebes, accidentally a wrong colored flag is displayed on the boat, leading Theseus’s father to believe Theseus has died. The King attacks and is killed in the ensuing battle, resulting in Theseus assuming the throne sooner than otherwise.
Entering the mysterious Labyrinth is a classic image of Descent, as walking a religious labyrinth likewise can guide you pensively to a heartful core or Center from which you may then re-emerge. So, how can your Descender help you to achieve a golden opportunity in your life? What does the golden thread of Ariadne represent to you? What is it in your own life?
For me, for example, I would say it is spirituality. This is a thread I have followed for as long as I remember in this life, and I continue to follow its winding Song.
One flake from the wall of a gold mine does not give much idea what it is like when the sun shines down inside and turns the air and the workers golden.
– (Rumi: “Word Fog”, The Big Red Book, pg. 149-150)
I welcome your Comments and Stories!