Stage 5: Crossing the Threshold into the UnknownThe Crossing of the Threshold is the first significant action of the hero. Once we have overcome our fears and accepted the fated call, the crossing of the threshold is the point of no return. There is no going back once we step over that line. We often confront an event and after undergoing some trial or implementing some change, we find our eyes opening on what Campbell calls the “Special World”—the world on the other side of our Ordinary World as we know it. This event solidifies the central question the journey is asking: Where will I find the new job? With whom will I spend the next romantic period of my life? When will we become pregnant? After the BIG question is asked into the Special World, the remaining events unfold in answer.
There are often Outside Forces that either push us forward (like our mentors and allies) or attempt to hold us back (obstacles or unforeseen circumstances that must be addressed). All of these become part of our saga. Picture Belle in Beauty and the Beast when she decides to take her father’s place in captivity. Picture Jon Snow turning off the King’s Road to take the road North to the Wall. See any one of our favorite mythological heroes making their first move, from departing the shore in a ship to waking at dawn and marching or riding into the rising sun. All of these are entry points into the Special World.
As we light the fifth flame, we Cross the Threshold and enter the Unknown.
Guided Meditation: Crossing the ThresholdDeep within your seed, you breathe in and out,
Watching the ebb and flow of the flame within you.
You ache to stretch your arms and legs.
You yearn to breathe in the clean air and bask in the light of the sun.
You crave the freedom promised on the other side.
Your shell is pliable, damp, and beginning to give way, and you are ready.
You begin, slowly at first, pushing the shell in front of you,
Watching it mold around your fingers, stretching and pulling.
You straighten one of your legs and feel the tension catch and then give, just a little.
Finally, you take a deep breath and push all four of your limbs outward,
Pressing harder and harder until finally the shell splits apart, rent asunder and destroyed.
Suddenly, the dirt from above spills over you,
filling the safe place where just moments before you were held apart.
It covers your hair, fills your mouth, and you find your breathing obscured.
You cup your hand over your mouth to keep the dirt away
and gasp in as much air as you can in a panic.
Then, you remember, somewhere in the back of your mind,
the cool, clean water that washed over you from above.
You pray silently to your allies that you are pointed in the right direction
and begin to claw your way through,
toward the source of your encouragement and seemingly divine aid.
Slowly, you move upwards, past the rocks and dirt, past the roots of others,
pushing everything aside,
until you feel the dirt beginning to thin and give way.
You reach up, feeling the shock of fresh air across your hands,
And with one final push, your head breaks the surface and you are free!
You stretch and breathe raising your face to the welcoming sun,
Standing tall in the breeze,
And waiting until the shock subsides.
Your eyes are at first unable to see in the bright light of the Special World.
After you catch your breath and feel your body relaxing into your new surroundings, you slowly open your eyes and see this world from your new vantage.
The worries and fears you felt inside your shell and all but memories
left behind for the Earth Mother to absorb,
leaving you open and ready for the quest to find the answer to your burning question.
In this space, the question comes to you in its full gravity.
Ask yourself and hold it. Remember this feeling.
And now it begins in earnest: the journey of the hero.
As you open your eyes, remember your question, and consider a journal entry for your thoughts.