“Soul making requires that you die to one story to be reborn to a larger one.”
— Jean Houston
A student of the Power of Myth will easily recognize the mythological thread in the stories and legends humanity has told itself throughout the ages. In the largest context, mythology in all of its variety, helps us understand our place in the cosmos and gives meaning to the changes taking place within us and all around us. The S/Hero’s Journey causes the character to leave a familiar place, to enter into an unknown world and confront challenges on the road of trials. Ultimately, the S/hero is faced with a supreme ordeal which causes the essential self to emerge. On the other side of the ordeal is the spiritual gift that allows the S/Hero to return home. However, s/he returns not as the same person, but as master of two worlds. “The Wizard of Oz” is the classic and iconic story of the S/hero’s Journey.
Spring reminds us of the ever-present reality of the Presence of Life (or God, Higher Power or whatever name you give the Divine). After a period of dormancy, life renews itself and bursts forth into new growth and expression. This is the season for cultivating the soil and planting new seeds. It is a time of preparation and expectancy. It is a time to release what isn’t serving us in order to make room for what will. Ecclesiastes tells us that “unto everything there is a season.”
Throughout the ages, sacred scripture and mythological legends have taught us about the cycle of life — birth, death and rebirth. The old must fall away in order for the new to emerge. Hinduism points to this in the Divine Trinity of Shiva, the destroyer, Brahman, the creator and Vishnu, the sustainer who work in concert to bring forth new creation. Rumi wrote: “The spiritual path wrecks the body and afterwards restores it to health. It destroys the house to unearth the treasure, and with that treasure builds it better than before.” Easter speaks to this Larger Story in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Whatever you personally believe, these archetypical stories remind us that life never really ends, rather there is continuum of transformation from season to season.
Whatever one’s chosen spiritual path, it is good to recognize and appreciate that life is cyclical, not linear. Summer begets autumn; autumn begets winter; winter begets spring; spring begets summer and the process begins anew. Taken in their larger context, the mythological stories of death and rebirth teach us that life is eternal. These stories teach us there must be a willingness to die (at least symbolically) to our little stories in order for our larger story to be born. They suggest that life transcends death and ultimately that love triumphs over darkness.
Coming out is its own version of the transformation story. There comes a point in our soul’s journey when we choose to live authentically and openly as an LGBTQ human/spiritual being. When a person comes out, they are declaring that despite the fear of rejection, or in some cases harm, they will announce their intention to live in alignment with these inner being. In that sense, it requires their inauthentic self to die in order for the more authentic version of our self to be expressed in the world. However, coming out is not the end of the story. If we are committed to our personal and spiritual growth, we must continually be willing to release the limited version of ourselves and replace it with the more expanded version.
Just as the gardener clears and tills the soil before planting, we must cultivate the soil of our mind and consciousness. Spring is a wonderful time to make room for spiritual renewal and to remember our oneness with the Divine. Through spiritual practice we find an inner strength and courage to face and transcend even the most difficult obstacles and challenges.
Let us allow this season to remind us of the Divine Presence within which is seeking Its emergence in every aspect of our lives. There is a larger story seeking to emerge in our lives, but we must be willing to leave the comfortable and familiar and step boldly onto the path of transformation.
Rev. Marty Bacher is a speaker, facilitator and ordained New Thought minister. He has served as an openly gay spiritual leader for over 30 years. Visit MartyBacher.com to learn more.