Stage 6: The Characters of the JourneyNow that we are firmly grounded in the Special World, the quest for the answer unfolds in detail. We move from theoretical assumptions about what our trials and issues will be to the cold-hard facts of reality—and we do not move alone.
There are several types of characters we may meet along the way:
- Threshold Guardian. This is the force that protects the secrets of the Special World and keeps them from the Hero. In order to move forward on our journey, we must overcome the guardian of The Way.
- Allies. These are the folks whose purpose aligns with ours, who believe in our cause, and provide encouragement and aid as we move forward.
- Shapeshifters. These are the folks whose purposes are cross to ours; those who desire the maintaining of the status quo and do not wish to see us succeed.
- Herald. This is the force that announces each new obstacle or success along the way. They may appear simply as the voice of the Call to Adventure, or they may accompany us and seemingly narrate our journey. They often bring us news from the Ordinary World or other parts of the Special World that play an important part as our path unfolds.
- The Shadow. These are the innermost pieces of ourselves that serve to undermine our movements. They are the deep-seated fears, the patterns of behavior, the cycles we are here to break. The do not always see them until evidence of their presence is visible in our wake. Once we arrive at the Inner Cave, we will have to face The Shadow of our Inner Selves.
- The Trickster. These are those whose role is making light. The Trickster holds no alliance to us or against us. They bring humor and lift, often using sarcasm to guide us toward or away from an idea or step. Every once in a while, their antics shift our perspective just enough for us to see something we may have missed without them. They often arrive after the presence of the Shadow has departed.
- The Talisman. Finally, there may be a special object that serves to guide and protect us along our journey. It may be a tangible item or a mantra. It may be clothing or jewelry or even a belief in what we know to be possible.
As we light the sixth flame, we consider our traveling companions along The Way.
Guided Meditation: The Way and The TalismanIn the light of the sixth flame, we find ourselves walking along our path,
Taking step after step toward our goal.
Putting one foot in front of the other, even if slowly and methodically.
This is the way of The Way. Each step echoes in our lives.
Each movement brings us closer to who we are meant to be.
Each thought guiding us toward (or away from) our best selves—
So we must consider them carefully, decisively.
In this quiet place on our road, we stop to sit on an inviting boulder in the shade of a tree.
We sip from our water and sigh in relief at the weight taken off our feet.
Our mood is contemplative, thoughtful, considering.
As we rest, we reflect on our journey and those we’ve encountered along the way.
Consider those faces appearing before you.
Are they an ally? A shapeshifter? Have they been feeding your fears or dispelling them?
Do they cast your path in light or shadow?
Many questions float through your mind, and answers seem to be forming.
You are not attached to any of them, simply allowing them to pass through you.
As you witness these tidbits of insight, you place your hand in your pocket,
And find something there that was not there before.
You pull out the object, turning it over in your hand,
Trying to remember when you had placed it there and deciding that you did not.
This gift, small enough for your pocket, feels heavy and significant in your hand.
You feel it pulling you to standing, urging you onward in your travels.
This is your talisman, your unseen gift of guidance and surety,
Right in your pocket.
You may not yet have all the answers, but the path to obtaining them feels clear.
With a nod toward the heavens, and sending love into the earth,
You move forward once more, resting in the strength of the knowledge you have obtained on such a short pause on the side of the road.
Inspiration and certainty showing up just when you needed them in a place unexpected.
As you open your eyes, consider the following questions: How has your path unfolded thus far? Who is accompanying you, and what roles are they playing? What is your talisman, and what does this mean to you? Consider a journal entry for your thoughts.