You listened to the Call and are on the road to the Gate In to your next transformation. The first Gate In is conception, the first Road of Trials the maturation process in the womb, the first Gate Out being born, and going to a new Home. The gate Gate In to the rest of your life is the moment you are placed in the arms of the person responsible for raising you.
This blog is part of a series expanding on the Hero/Heroine’s Journey, the e-booklet you received if you selected to signup to stay connected. Previous posts in this series are: Where is Home for you? and Exploring the Call.
There may be helpers or hinderers on the road. They may know what is before us and give us gifts to help, or they may attempt to block us from the Gate In. In the Fairy Stories the Hero/Heroine often meets an Old Man or Old Woman who tests their attitude and manners. If polite, cheerful, willing to share a gift is given that helps on the journey. In a lot of the stories the Hero/Heroine meets an animal who, if befriended, knows key information, or takes the person faster, or rescues them later when in trouble. And in the stories greedy, jealous, mean and rude brothers or sisters don’t get to the Gate In. Maybe they become Gate Keepers and work hard to keep others from success.
I attended the University of Wyoming in Laramie for B.A. and M.A. The motto over my Arts and Sciences building door read “Prepare for Complete Living”. My undergraduate professors were male, and loved teaching, related to and encouraged students. Just before my oral defense of my Masters’ thesis my major professor left. His female replacement had just earned her Ph.D and her first words to me were “I won’t allow you to write an original thesis.” It took me a full year to meet the requirements she demanded. The Shakespeare professor mentored me, including asking me to understand she had just gone through very rigorous rules to earn her Ph.D and she saw an original thesis as an “easy walk”. She applied her experience to being my Gate Keeper for my degree. This repetition of experiences occurs a lot; do to others as it was done to you.
In your current reality there can be cultural, monetary and racial norms that prevent entering a Gate In. Gate Keepers are found in (a bare list):
- families – supportive or repressive
- teachers or guidance counselors – help you or stop you in your ambition
- need to pass a major test (G.E.D./college entrance exams/apprentice applications)
- upper management – witness the white male “glass ceiling”
- laws – some prevent, some enable
- reviewers – peer reviewers, accepting publication reviewers, etc.
- old boy/old gal networks
- religious leaders – guru, preacher or priest
- societies – from holy to hate, from wine making to flower gardens
- red, blue or green “lines” – no houses above this line, no people of color inside this box, stay inside the lines to vote or lose your place
The list of Rules and Regulations can be endless, and shift under your feet as you put out your hand to lift the gate’s latch.
Feed the Dogs
I was raised with the saying “take bread to feed the dogs.” It’s about the Old Man/Woman’s gift of bread that gets thrown to the Gate Keeper dogs at the Gate In, satisfying them enough the Hero/Heroine makes it through to the other side. In my family the saying meant to find out what “entrance” required, and go prepared to satisfy. Bread might be obeying the rules of a contest or application or submission process. It might be taking a class to pass a test. It might be coaching. It might be having a person or entity give you enough “bread” to go to school, or mentor you on how to succeed where you are.
The Call may be to not do any of these things, and walk a different path. The Hero/Heroine in many stories does not follow the rules, or attempt to be like the rest of the family. To choose to accept a Call to not pay the usual Gate Keepers is a Gate In. There is still a Road of Trials. What do you have to do to Feed the Dogs? In the stories it’s important to be clever, and let love guide rather than anger. Anger is rooted in fear, and it is easier to be angry than walk through the Gate In. The awake Heroes/Heroines see the traps and avoid them or turn them into advantages.
Light and Dark Journeys
It is possible that there are journeys of light and ones of darkness. Suppose a Light Gate In is to a loving family where their Gate Keeping encourages you to thrive. The Call and Journey may be to understand and defend against evil. Some Gates In are temptations and best avoided: drug Gate Keepers range from physicians with prescriptions to street suppliers with rules. And suppose the Gate In is the first person to strike, invade or insult you, and you accept a powerless view of yourself. The journey then will be one to self-respect and strength. It is possible that inside the Nigredo, wrapped in the cocoon, you discover light, warmth, acceptance, strength, and courage, and come to believe in yourself.
Faced with a Gate In, sometimes we stand before it for a long time, inner resistance like its own wall. I think resistance is wisdom. We know that to go through the gate will change everything. Be very careful – it’s from your unexamined self that the resistance is coming. Fools rush out. Resistance is for a reason, and generally it is for your protection. Ask yourself “What is my resistance protecting?” Once the source of the resistance is discovered, it can be honored or left behind. I describe my own process for listening to resistance and searching for its warning here in Lying on the Ground.
You are your own Gate Keeper – you are the one saying “Yes, going in” or “No, not now, maybe never.” There are a lot of gates to many places. The Call is to transformation, to seek to reach the Gate Out more fully you, aligned with the Creator’s design in you, and bringing back something needed in the world.
What is the Gate In you are coming to or just passed through? What happened, what advice would you give to other Journey Makers?
Next in this series will be the Temenos: the liminal world on the other side of the Gate In. It isn’t the same place as daily reality.