In all my years of practicing, learning and teaching about the heroine’s journey, here’s what I know for sure: It is not gender-based.
Women embark on the hero’s journey and the heroine’s journey all the time (remembering how we talked about how they weave together like DNA strands?). Men cycle through the hero’s journey and the heroine’s journey in the same way.
The reason it feels less familiar to men is because we don’t really have a common language for it. So when men feel moved to go on a retreat, shift their lives so it’s more passion (and less profit) motivated or do something outside of the “norm” to heal themselves, they don’t usually know what to call it.
(For the record, we call it the Heroine’s Journey!)
It’s been an incredible experience to not only cycle through the heroine’s journey myself but to also watch my husband, George, cycle through his own version of it.
My shamanic teacher, Dawn Eaglewoman, once explained that most of humans are stalkers. We see an animal in the forest and immediately become goal oriented and focused on the hunt.
I’m a stalker, and most of the Western world appreciates the stalkers.
But George is a dreamer. Dreamers like George go into the forest, see the animal and start to hunt… but then a butterfly comes and they follow it. Then they see some new flowers and stop to sniff the flowers.
The dreamers are very much rooted in the teachings of the heroine’s journey—they dive inwards, the exploration, the presence of the here and now.
So George has been cycling in and out of his own heroine’s journey for as long as I’ve known him.
For example, several years ago George was curious about John of God in Brazil. In hoping to improve his eyesight, George underwent “visible surgery,” where John of God scraped his eyeball with a knife while George was completely conscious.
It was a nearly indescribable trip with many magical, hard to believe experiences—and it was George wanting to heal and cycling through his own heroine’s journey that led us there. I share more about this experience in my second Memoir Yearning for Magic—out soon!
Many of you know that I spent many, many years as a homeopathic leader. What you may not know is that it was George who was first interested in holistic healing. He, again, felt an urge to explore other healing opportunities outside the “norm” and came across energy healing. It was his involvement in energy healing in NYC that eventually led us—and me!—to homeopathy.
George’s heroine’s journey has been very intertwined with exploring his spirituality. While this is one way of exploring the heroine’s journey, this isn’t always what the heroine’s journey looks like for us—men or women.
For example, when we were on our book tour for A Journey Through War and Peace earlier this spring, a man who attended one of the readings asked if grieving was part of the heroine’s journey. I said absolutely. He explained that his mother had died recently and he had appreciated the support the hospice program had give him, his mother and his family, and how we felt called to set-up a hospice program in his Middle Eastern country because of his experience.
That’s very much the heroine’s journey, too.
I’ve always been fascinated by the discoveries any woman or man makes on their heroine’s journey because they’re so unique to us. Obviously, in George’s case, I’ve had a front row seat to his journey and what he’s learned, and he’s had a front row seat to mine. Sometimes we share the same journey (like living in the spiritual community of Auroville), and other times we give one another space to explore what feels right.
It’s a rich and meaningful commitment to both the heroine’s journey and to one another.
So here’s what I’d love to know: Can you identify when the men in your life have cycled through their own heroine’s journeys? Maybe it’s been your husband, you Dad, your brother or your best friend. What did that look like for them? I’d love to know.