Joseph Campbell said, “We’re not on our journey to save the world but to save ourselves. But in doing that you save the world. The influence of a vital person vitalizes.” As healers, we travel through different stages of our own evolution and growth. It always begins with our own wound, often received from childhood, making us ever more aware of the pain and suffering of others. Not only does it make us compassionate, it also drives us to be of service to others.
Joseph Campbell often used myth to convey deep universal truths. He is most known for the Hero’s Journey, which I’ve affectionately re-named “The Healer’s Journey.” There seems to be an overwhelming surge in healers, shamans and lightworkers.. people who feel called to help others. Why are there so many people who are rising up to serve? What does it mean to be a healer?
Lets explore through parable: The Healer’s Journey.
In a land far away there lived a man named Aleron. He was a fine, kind man who lost his parents when he was young, but maintained a healthy and positive disposition towards life. Aleron was a laborer in his village, but always knew that he had a destiny that was more than working in the fields.
One day he received a call from deep within his heart. It was a call that came from within and from without. He left his village, following the inner compass of his spirit.
After many uneventful days of traveling, Aleron happened upon a cave. Little did he know, it was a magical cave. Inside the cave were many side roads, lots of opportunities and temptations that led to some exciting promise. Despite so many allures, Aleron decided to stay upon the main road, exiting the mountain, conquering his first test.
He continued to travel alone, when after some time, he was confronted by a river. Since it was Spring time, the river was strong and deep. There was no way to cross the river, but Aleron was determined to continue his journey. He fashioned a great kite, and together with the forces of nature, he was lifted high into the sky and crossed safely to the other side of the river.
People witnessed this great feat, and Aleron’s deed did not go unnoticed. Word of his abilities spread across the land, and Aleron was considered a hero. When he came upon a great land without a King, the people begged him to be their King. Was this not a significant calling, to lead so many people? Aleron accepted their plea and became their King.
Aleron had everything. Maidens, horses, servants at his bidding. It wasn’t long however, that Aleron realized that he had not reached his destiny. His health became worse, and he realized he could not stay. He knew he had to leave. The day he departed the Kingdom, his strength and health returned.
Aleron had passed his third test.
After traveling barren lands for which no man had gone, Aleron was set to face his final challenge, for which he knew he had been truly called.
He came upon a 3 headed dragon in a cave. The dragon had been expecting him. Aleron knew that the dragon guarded some kind of treasure, a treasure that had initially called Aleron and led him through a mysterious journey.
Aleron knew he had to fight the dragon, and a fierce battle ensued.
A strange thing happened. Everytime Aleron pierced the dragon with his sword, the dragon’s strength grew! Everytime he cut a claw or scale, 2 more would grow in its place.
There was no hope of winning. Aleron knew he could not kill the dragon. But the same inner knowing that drew Aleron to the dragon, also knew that the dragon must die. He realized that the only way was to surrender himself to the dragon and allow himself to be eaten. In that way, the dragon would be poisoned and would die.
Aleron ceased fighting.
In one fell swoop the dragon swallowed him whole, and in that moment, the dragon died and the treasure was set free. There, behind the lair, was a beautiful woman named Kendra, Aleron’s twin sister, who had been separated from Aleron at birth.
Emerging from the dead dragon’s lair, Kendra picked up her brother’s sword, and was called to take a piece of the flesh of the dragon and consume it. As she ate the flesh of the dragon, she ingested the essence of her twin dead brother. As she consumed the flesh, all the experiences and memories of Aleron’s journey flashed through her consciousness.
Kendra set off on her own journey. She returned to the Kingdom where her brother led. She shared with the people the story of her brother’s story. The people recognized Kendra’s great beauty and wisdom and proclaimed her Queen of their Kingdom. There she ruled for the rest of her life with great humility and self-surrender, as shown to her by her twin brother, Aleron.
The story of Aleron is the story of returning back to ourselves. It is a journey of healing. It conveys the power of following our true inner voice, regardless of external distractions and temptations that try to lead us astray. Conquering our own demons and obstacles, self-doubt and ego. Ultimately, facing our greatest fear – death. It is death (of ego) that leads us to our true liberation. In the end, Aleron was only able to save himself by surrendering. The feminine aspect of letting go, of deep surrender, is the way of healing. To become truly whole, to have integrated both the feminine and masculine aspects of self, the light and the dark, we save ourselves, and in saving ourselves, we save others.