The Road Back

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On Day 6 after Ayahuasca, February 15th, I was finally feeling “just normal”. Before I would leave Arraial d’Ajuda, I had to finish an ultimate task for my host: nourish the wooden stairs and floors. I bought the oil at a construction shop few steps from the house and sanded down the wood before I started applying the product. As I was spreading the oil, I let my thoughts flow freely. They wandered a bit and hung on to an interesting topic: movies that caught my attention during childhood, between age 6 and 8.

The two movies that would get all emotions out of my children soul – infinite sorrow and joyful love – were The Lion King and The Beauty & the Beast. Those movies that caught my attention during early childhood were already defining my path: my biggest fears, my biggest challenges and my mission. At age 6-7, I would watch The Lion King over and over, everyday, having to flee far from the TV when Mufasa would die, leaving Simba without guidance. It was too much pain. Far from the TV, I would cover my ears and eyes, but would still cry as if it was just me, losing the most important person in my life. Many years later, Mufasa would come back to Simba in the form of a cloud, and tell him: “Remember who you are”. As I was a bit older, I started watching The Beauty and the Beast. I related to Bella. Always a book at hand, not interested in men. A strong woman with pure values. She would overcome her fears and exert infinite compassion to find her True love. By seeing the beauty in people, beauty arises in them. Internal beauty becomes external beauty. The soul’s beauty transforms the matter.

* Which were your favorite movies in early childhood? Aren’t they intimately related to your personal path? What are the lessons they teach? *

Nowadays, I very rarely watch movies: too many of them only create confusion. When I do watch one, I always choose a “True story”; at least I sure I’m not going to hook on erroneous ideas about life – the phantasms and paradigms of an author’s blurry mind. But movies I still love are those for children: most of them conceal profound teachings about life. Also, it is said that most Walt Disney movies are based on ancient mythology. I haven’t done my research yet and won’t deepen the subject here, but am just strolling towards another subject: MYHTOLOGY. During my Creative Writing program in University – which was overall pointless –, I discovered a wonderful book, which would help me reinforce the structure of my first novel: The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure For Writers. The author Christopher Vogler describes the fundamental structure of most stories through mythological allegory, defining a series of narrative structures (Ordinary World, Call to Adventure…) and character archetypes (Hero, Mentor, Shadow, Ally…). As I read Vogler in 2016, I was amazed to realize that my novel, based on a 10-month travel to London (UK), was following the Mythology structure! And, guess what? Unsurprisingly, my trip to Brazil is matching again the mythic hero’s journey!

So, on February 15th, I had just survived THE ORDEAL. In Vogler’s words, the ORDEAL is when “the Hero stands in the deepest chamber of the Inmost Cave, facing the greatest challenge and the most fearsome opponent yet”. In my case, through Ayahuasca: my own self (mind and ego).

DEATH AND REBIRTH. The simple secret of the Ordeal is this: Heroes must die so that they can be reborn. […] In some way in every story, heroes face death or something like it: their greatest fears, the failure of an enterprise, the end of a relationship, the death of an old personality. Most of the time, they magically survive this death and are literally or symbolically reborn to reap the consequences of having cheated death. They have passed the main test of being a hero.

***

I went for a last night out with my host. There was a rock band playing in the Praça Caminho do Mar, and some live samba at Armazém Santo Antônio. But we left early. We were tired, and I had planned to go for a last Mysore Ashtanga Yoga practice the following morning. On the way back to the house, as we were walking side by side in silence, as usual, I thought about all that I had learned from my host in the last two days. The situation was like so. The Earth is governed by Illuminatis, amongst which the Reptilians alien race – of whom the English Monarchy. To restore the World economy, this secret government is planning a Third World War. Very soon, all banks will crash, the Northern Hemisphere (Europe and North America) will be the center stage of the War and a very little fraction of humanity will survive. After this War, a single Mundial government will be implemented, with a single money currency and official language. A good idea to increase our survival chances would be to withdraw all money stored in banks to invest it in something “solid” – Gold bars, for example, or a house in a little town of the Southern Hemisphere – and try to be as sustainable as possible – use solar energy, grow grains and vegetables, have access to water from a well, etc. So, I thought, if there were Reptilians feeding themselves with our blood, eating parts of our brains and organizing rituals to kill children, if there were many other alien races visiting Earth and even getting involved in politics…

  • What are we? I asked my host.
  • Humanity is a race amongst others, she answered simply.

Ok. Just another race, cuter and defenseless. Maybe nicer… More humans. I smiled. Felt happy to be a human. As we were crossing the muddy land that separated the center of Arraial d’Ajuda from our Bairro, called Campo, I raised my eyes and gazed at the stars in the black sky. There was so much more happening there than we could ever imagine.

  • What about the other planets? I asked my host.
  • There is already so much to understand about our own planet! She answered.

I laughed. What else could we do? We had both feet deeply sunk in the mud. The situation was unbelievable but at the same time so obvious. And my spontaneous emotional response was laugher. A true, joyful, free laugh. Totally inappropriate. But maybe because now, my human worries had shrunk to their true ridiculous size.

Before going to bed, I sat on the toilet seat and, gazing at the wall in front of me, was driven into a meditative state. Tears started flowing on my cheeks. They were tears of happiness, saying: “Enjoy it”. Sitting on the toilet seat, underpants around the ankles, I was glowing love and well-being. Even with the Illuminatis. Even with the Reptilians. I could feel all the work I had done over the last years. All that I had survived. And I felt that now, I had washed it all. I had washed everything. Now, said the Tears, Life is going to be just fun. Rewarding for all the work.

THE REWARD. With the crisis of the Ordeal passed, heroes now experience the consequences of surviving death.

You pull apart from the rest, strangely quiet. In the leaping shadows you remember those who didn’t make it, and you notice something. You’re different. You’ve changed. Part of you has died and something new has been born. You and the world will never seem the same. This too is part of the Reward for facing death.

On February 15th, it was exactly 7 weeks after my arrival in Brazil. As I was sitting on the toilet seat, I felt – as Brazil had already overwhelmed me with information and experiences –that half of my journey was done here. I would now be on The Road Back.

THE ROAD BACK. Once the lessons and Rewards of the great Ordeal have been celebrated and absorbed, heroes face a choice: whether to remain in the Special World or begin the journey home to the Ordinary World. Although the Special World may have its charms, few heroes elect to stay. Most take The Road Back, returning to the starting point or continuing on the journey to a totally new locale or ultimate destination. This is a time when the story’s energy, which may have ebbed a little in the quiet moments of Seizing the Sword, is now revved up again. If we look at the Hero’s Journey as a circle with the beginning at the top, we are still down in the basement and it will take some push to get us back up into the light.

(Christopher Vogler, The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure For Writers)

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