Your Hero’s Journey: Apostasis
When you pass on, what words would you want on your gravestone?
Thinking or talking about death in our society can be seen as morbid. It is, and it isn’t. The power is the way we decide to converse about this. Because it is something all living creatures have in common.
A powerful exercise is to float out into the future, to the end of your life, and look back towards now. What do you want to have experienced? Contributed? Received? Connected with?
Who do you want to be?
The biggest challenge with stepping into the creation of what we want to experience is the underlying knowing that we must give up who we think we are.
There is a stage on the Hero’s Journey called Apostasis. It is also referred to in different cultures as shamanistic death.
This is when the hero dies a physical death or dies to the self to live in spirit. In this death, she moves beyond the pairs of opposites to a state of divine knowledge, love, compassion, and bliss.
The death is of the attachment and identification with the ego. As long as we live, we will always have a personality. It’s like our heart or our lungs – it was given to us for a soul to experience life. But when we let go of the attachment to the personality – to the limits we place on who we believe we are, we can experience true peace.
We can do this in seemingly small and big ways. For example, someone deciding to be sober and no longer consume drugs or alcohol is not only letting go of a way of living, they are letting go of an old way of being. Similarly, someone who thinks of themselves as “always anxious” can choose – maybe a little or a lot at a time – to let go of this identity and live as the calm and strong being they truly are.
Apostasis is a letting go, a surrender, and a choice to see the union among duality. To be able to sink into that larger perspective that we have both “good” and “evil” inside of us, but we also have the ultimate power to choose which of those to feed.
This is the kind of death that frees you, the death of fear.
I will leave you with a poem I wrote one day, inspired by life itself.
Thank God I am dying.
For it means I know how to truly live.
To be ripped open by Passion
And devoured. Whole.
Into the abyss of Eternity
And all that lies within
To breath in
And transmute it to Life.
In this Death, there is Joy.
Dear God, thank God
I am dying.