The Discernment Monomyth

I’ve long been interested in the Monomyth or Hero’s Journey as an archetypal story. I’ve thought about this story as a framework and way of understanding my own journey’s and especially the spiritual journey I am now on. Was this weekend, and this time of waiting crossing the threshold into adventure? In many ways it feels that way. Yet it feels like the hero myth is very masculine, grown out of patriarchy. I’m also interested in counter-narratives. What are the other narratives we should be hearing?

Fiona is reading the Odyssey in school which fits well into the framework of the monomyth, but Odysseus is not the only character in the Odyssey. What about Penelope? What is her narrative? What does she do while waiting?

What do we do while waiting? The question echoes Waiting for Godot. We could do our exercises. What is the archetypal story of waiting? Perhaps it is a very feminine story. Perhaps it is Penelope’s story. Perhaps it is Mary’s story, especially leading into advent. Perhaps it is the story of waiting and giving birth.

I am waiting to hear from the commission on ministry and the bishops’ words that will shape the next steps in my journey, words that will help shape what or who I am being rebirthed into. My experience with the birthing process is limited. I don’t remember my own birth. If I recall the stories, the labor was easy for my mother and I was born fairly quickly. I stood at the side of my daughters’ mothers and did what I could to assist when my daughters were born. But mine was the story of a supporting character.

In terms of the pains of childbirth, the closest I’ve come has been the pains of kidney stones, which some say is fairly close, yet without the joy and endorphins.

So, what do I do while waiting. I remember reading parts of “What to expect when you’re expecting” when my daughters were born. What is the monomyth version of this? What is the version for those of us in discernment, “What to discern when you’re discerning?” What do we do while waiting?

As I await my rebirthing part of my story, or at least the rebirthing around whether or how I become a postulant, I am skipping forward in the lectionary to the readings of Advent. I am listening to Advent music. I am praying, “Come, Lord Jesus”.

I am reading about the peace of Jerusalem, quietness within her towers. I am reading about beating swords into ploughshares. I am reading about laying aside the works of darkness, and living honorably in the day, not in quarreling and jealousy.

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