Psyche and The Heroine’s Quest

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In concert with the Hearth Fire: Re-Ember Your Soul’s Truth group that I’m currently facilitating, I’m writing a monthly Goddess blog to correspond with the course content.  Each month we will meet a new Goddess, her mythology and symbology.  Hearth Fire’s intention is to explore how these myths and powerful symbols relate to and inform our lives.  How we at times can experience ourselves as unconsciously overpowered by such forces, and also how we can intentionally cultivate the Goddesses’ unique wisdom and medicine.

In the future, I plan to unveil a downloadable online course that enables participants all over the world to directly engage and experience the Hearth Fire way.  Until then, you are invited, via these blogs, to explore each month’s theme alongside the group.

(An aside, Aware House Books, in Regina, is also publishing this Goddess Blog monthly, as a wonderful collaboration we are both excited to be endeavoring.)

My intention with this blog, and those proceeding it, is to introduce archetypal forces, via Goddess mythology, to support contemplation of how these forces show up in and effect our lives.  My hope is that through awareness of such forces we can liberate our individual psyches and learn to live in co-creative harmony with Goddess forces, never extinguishing our unique voice in service of theirs.  So, kicking off this monthly Goddess blog series, I’d like to start with the end in mind and introduce the story of Psyche and Eros.  This myth, as a template of the heroine’s quest, is particularly useful for modern day seekers.  But before we go delving into the mythological goods, it is paramount we first do a little housecleaning.  To get the goods from these blogs its best to untangle any binds in the mind that exclusively yoke the feminine with women, and the masculine with men.  This may or may not be news to you, but men and women both contain feminine and masculine qualities.  And though in the Psyche myth we consider the female protagonist as the model of the feminine, ultimately, we want to integrate her heroinic example into each of our lives: men, women, and all genders alike.   So, with all that in mind, let me introduce the story of Psyche and Eros.

Psyche was a young woman of unparalleled beauty.  Her beauty inspired the mortals of her time to forget their homage and sacrifices to Aphrodite, Goddess of Love and Beauty.  This unprecedented praise for mortal beauty invoked the jealous rage of Aphrodite, and Psyche not only found herself condemned to what appeared to be her death, but alas also faced with a series of impossible tasks that, in the end served as rites of passage for her to claim her divinity.  Psyche’s story is that of initiation and realization of one’s innate divinity.  This feat of Psyche, a mere mortal activating and claiming her place amongst the Gods and Goddesses, is of extraordinary importance for our own souls’ journey.  No coincidence then, that the word psyche means soul in Greek.  Psyche’s myth plants the seed of possibility in the garden of our souls, as to what is conceivable for us in realizing our own innate divinity.

Psyche and Eros’s myth is nuanced, thick with meaning and metaphor, and can hardly be done justice, as a story well told, in the context of this blog.  And because of that reality, I STRONGLY recommend sourcing the book “Amor and Psyche”, by Erich Neumann, to get a fuller handle on it.  But, for now, let it be sufficed to relay that it was Psyche’s commitment to love, and a hopeful reunion with Eros- God of Love, that models for us the essence of a heroine’s quest: a unique quest that it is essential we endeavor to understand.  The way of the heroine is like that of the hero in that both are active seekers.  However, they differ in that where the hero is typically motivated by the opportunity to conquer, revenge, or prove himself, the heroine is inspired by a longing for union, reunion, passion, and ultimately love.  Psyche’s quest leads to a relationship of conscious co-creativity between human and divine.  Yes, one of her super powers is being persistent and committed to her mission, but instead of choosing to slay, force, or actively assert her power over (as the hero typically does), she models the way of receiving support, and actively surrendering to something bigger and beyond her limited and determined mind.  Her journey shows us the power of letting go of willful control, listening to the ethereal deep, and holding true to one’s courage, beyond all rational, until something greater and mysterious comes to the rescue.

*It is at this point in the blog, I recommend you google search, and play the song “We Don’t Need Another Hero”, by Tina Turner, for affectual resonance. *

Another specifically feminine aspect of Psyche’s quest is how she responds to defeat and dead-ends.  Frequently met by insurmountable challenge, she typically crumbles into a pathetic heap, not very heroic, I know.  Her surrender to defeat, however, is in perfect concert with her feminine quality.  Now hold up, wha!?  I know, I hear ya Sister!  As a strong and fierce feminine force myself, there is a loud voice in me that reels at such a statement.  The idea that pathetic desperation could be considered perfectly feminine feels nothing less than the sad and typical masochistic attempt of a long entrenched patriarchal mindset aimed at relegating the feminine, and thus women, to the lesser side.  However, this is where learning about archetypal Goddesses has been useful!  I’ve come to recognize that it is none other than the honorable voice of Artemis, and/or Athena, within my own consciousness whom rejects the qualities of vulnerability, and thus feels little resonance with the desperate feminine expressed through Psyche.  (We’ll learn more about Artemis and Athena in later blogs).  The truth, albeit uncomfortable for the Artemis and Athena in me to bear, is that surrendering to defeat is a potent medicine that Psyche, in her feminine perfection, brings to the table.  And, as prescribed, this remedy relentlessly brings Psyche to her knees, and reliably opens her heart to the wisdom of the Deep Feminine, the Mysterious Mama, the Great Goddess within.

Psyche’s myth also brings to light the importance of embodying our divinity and making holy our humanity, the outcome of which naturally gives way to Joy (who is the aptly named love child of Psyche and Eros).  Although the myth of Psyche takes place in a story world of dynamic, external relationships, the story is ultimately a path-work for the sacred marriage within, and its potential outcome.  The end of the myth, which is also the promised beginning of joy, is the blessed result of such sacred union.  Joy is what is possible when co-creation exists between two mutually empowered, mutually embodied, and mutually divined partners.  Psyche’s heroinic mission not only activates her own divinity, but also initiates the humanity of Eros, awakening the God of Love to his personal love of Psyche, and the soul.  This story teaches of the uplifting power of uniting our inner masculine with our inner feminine, and our inner divinity with our ultimate humanity.

Embodying our unique and divine soul is key to a life of joyful mystery, and the myth of Psyche and Eros is just the template we’re looking for.  Integrating their story helps us to better engage our own quests, as the heroes and the heroines of every day living.  Although there is value in continuing to learn from the hero’s quest, I hope this blog has inspired a remembering of the wisdom and potency of the heroine’s quest.  The medicine of surrender, the need to listen to the wisdom of the Deep, and the quest inspired by love and union are essential remedies for our time.  How many of us have felt at our wit’s end, having tried EVERY possible, thinkable, rational option to solve a major life dilemma, only to find ourselves pathetically and desperately on our knees, humbled by an insanity that there is no solution in sight?  It is here, in a tantrum of madness, wallowing in the muck, filth, and muddiness of our own hellish bottom, that the heroine can come to our rescue.  With her, we remember, there is only one thing left to do: let go.  Then, surrendered, laying belly to belly and heart to heart with the Earth, we can begin to hear a deeper wisdom, and feel Her eternal beat.  Fed by a previously unthinkable source, we begin to crawl, feel, and find our way forward, through, and miraculously out of the mysterious dark.  Psyche’s myth models the honorable, though oft times irrational, way of the feminine.   The Feminine, the Great Mother, in Her essence is a mystery, which generally evokes all sorts of rational resistance.  But, She is patient and persistent, Her’s is no rush and all trust.  She is not fighting time, nor us, and there is no bottom below Her for us to hit, and no height above her for us to escape to.  She waits with loving, open arms, and Psyche’s myth shows us a way to consciously engage, as we walk, yes blindly, but all the more wisely through the mystery towards joy.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this Psyche story bite.  I invite you to tune back each month, as we continue to traverse the realms of the Goddess to help us discern the differences between archetypal forces and our own unique soul.  Until next time, many blessings and be well.


Jenelle Finch


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