Embarking on the Hero's Journey, Together
Hello, fellow Wayfarer!
My name is Virginia Cathleen Schmidt. I am so very glad to be meeting you here at divinity ranch!
In being here, you are joining me on this Hero’s Journey — mine, yours, the collective’s; literal, metaphorical, mythical; physical, psychological, spiritual. Together, we accept The Call to Adventure to begin the trek on which we discover ourselves as the heroes of our own lives. (And, from there, we can truly be heroes in the world as well as acknowledge and support those who act as heroes in our worlds).
Merriam-Webster definition of hero: "a mythological or legendary figure often of divine descent endowed with great strength or ability."
My own literal, physical Hero's Journey on which I am about to embark begins on the Spring Equinox: Saturday, March 20, 2021 at 3:37 am Mountain Time. At this moment, I will depart from my hometown (Ordinary World) of Cody, Wyoming, and head South toward the Special World of my first destined destination of documentation (tbd).
My steed: the trusty Metal Ox, Fey — a 2002 Ford E350 mini RV soon to be purchased from my best friend, Meredith — and my cohort: two canine co-captains, Peter and Roslyn, and one feline navigator, Lady May Lynn.
In the Chinese Zodiac, 2021 is the Year of the Metal Ox. And why am I naming my faithful Metal Ox Fey? For the play ... of meanings, of course :) Some Merriam Webster definitions of the adjective fey (pronounced fay): 1. (chiefly Scotland): "fated to die : DOOMED" (which fits with the idea of how a Hero's Journey leads to death -- of the old self) 2. "able to see into the future : VISIONARY" 3. "excessively refined : PRECIOUS" 4. "quaintly unconventional : CAMPY" Merriam Webster definition of the verb, fay (pronounced identically): "To fit or join closely or tightly." Spanish definition of the noun, fe (pronounced identically): "faith" Chemical symbol for iron (metal ox vibes!): Fe
And so, together, Fey, Peter, Roslyn, Lady and I soon (t-minus one month!) head South into the Great Unknown to chase warmer weather, discover and document real life magic, and eventually, as all completed Hero's Journeys end, to return with the Elixir.
Merriam Webster definition of elixir: "a substance held capable of changing base metals into gold."
That's cool, then, that an elixir is basically something that allows the magic of alchemy to take place. Magic is everywhere. So, magic and alchemy lie not in things or even processes themselves, but in how we cast them. To borrow a genius designation from one of my favorite authors, Carolyn Elliott (thanks Kesia for the rec), the key to magic + alchemy lies in context, not content.
So, the task of we divinity ranch hands is to corral (contextually frame) places, people, events, ideas, etc. (content) within a pen (lens) of magic so we can work them through the chute of alchemy.
Some of my own definitions of alchemy being, the process of: ~ creating worth out of what seemed worthless, ~ finding hope in what seemed hopeless, ~ making magic out of what was only mundane, ~ discovering inspiration in what seemed to impede, ~ receiving enchantment from that which disenchanted, ~ identifying virtue in that which seemed vulgar, ~ resurrecting eroticism in that which was reduced to explicit (this idea inspired by Audre Lorde in her essay "Uses of the Erotic: Erotic as Power", thanks Nic for the rec) ~ finding home in places first felt as foreign, ~ shining light where shadow once seemed to reign.
As we set out to document specific happenings, universal themes emerge. We begin to discover the context through which all content can become magical ... aka meaningful. The lens through which all temporal things become eternal, through which all little things become Big.
We may be little -- Fey, Peter, Roslyn, Lady May, and myself -- and yet, we and all those wondrous microcosmic beings we encounter on our journey physically and temporally exemplify the macrocosmic ethereal and eternal archetypes that we truly represent, that, in a larger, magical, mystical context, we truly are.
Your metaphorical, psychological journey begins in how these documented divinity ranch adventures reflect your Hero’s Journey. You begin to locate yourself within the phases of your own Hero’s Journey. And when you’re finding yourself in my story (and those stories I share), then we really know we’re onto something! ...
We know we’re onto alchemizing our own experiences into something bigger than ourselves. We know we’re meeting in those places where we remember we’re actually all the same.
The collective, mythical, spiritual journey begins as I share the specificities of our journey through such larger frameworks as the Hero’s Journey, Jungian psychoanalysis, various spiritual and religious traditions, current and historical sociological and political climates, customs, revolutions, and trajectories ... and more!
I am setting out on the process of casting myself as the hero of my own journey. For me, always one for adventure -- and keenly aware that our surroundings and material life metaphorically reflect our personal and collective inner life -- it is indeed literally, metaphorically, and mythically ... physically, psychologically, and spiritually .... time for me to set out on the Hero’s Journey.
May this journey inspire you to cast yourself as the hero in your own life. May you realize that discovering and documenting — seeing and sharing — the magic in your own life will allow you to work magic in the world as well. You too can alchemize the seemingly darkest and ugliest parts of yourself into the brightest and most beautiful.
May any and every waypoint of divinity ranch -- be it this blog, my YouTube channel, my personal instagram (@beingvirginia), or my newly-made divinity ranch instagram — inspire you to be the hero of your own life, and therefore heroic in the world.
Merriam-Webster definition of heroic: "of or relating to courageous people or the mythological or legendary figures of antiquity."
divinity ranch is all about the never-ending Journey, and the never-ending stages and cycles of that Journey, which we embark upon again and again. It is about active evolution, raw authenticity, and ever-expanding perspective. It is about starting out with lots of stuff not figured out — in the dark — and figuring it out along the way — shining the light.
It is about documenting real life magic --- the places where magic becomes real life, and where real life becomes magic; the places where we realize the two are not opposed.
I promise to be honest with you along the way so that you can observe magic does happen in real life -- quite practically, and quite humbly. My wish is for my own transparency and vulnerability to encourage these same (heroic) qualities within you.
Money, Though ... An Example of Real Life Magic in the Making
I bet you’re wondering: How’s she gonna make money, though? And, maybe, how is she affording to buy this RV? These are great questions to answer, and their answers reveal both my great privilege — which I hope to utilize (alchemize!) to serve the world as best and as authentically as I can — as well as revealing places where I still have so much (magic ;) to work on.
Both the purchase of the RV and the funds to initially support myself on this journey are coming from a small nest egg of savings that was graciously given to me by my parents in the form of a life insurance policy that I cashed out on earlier this year. (THANK YOU MOM AND DAD, #firstpatrons!!!). After buying the RV, these savings might last me six months if I'm lucky and careful. And so, I will need to find other ways to support myself as soon as possible.
Don’t you worry, though, I have some ideas ;) ...
One (more practical variety) of which is of course to find temporary work along the way, preferably with animals and the land, as I did when living in Australia for the year of 2019.
The whole figuring out how to make (or receive!) money thing is a tangible example of what I desire to do on this Hero's Journey as well as on divinity ranch — tangibly figure out how to embody -- or make real -- BIG ideas through small, actionable details and steps.
(Magic or alchemy works both ways, then: in meaningfully making the little Big, and in manifesting the Big into the little ... in making the material mystical, and in making the mystical material!).
For instance, I have this Big (less practical) idea, à la the likes of Amanda Palmer (go watch her TED Talk, The Art of Asking — thanks John for the rec) and Maria Popova of brainpickings, that maybe it’s not so much about asking how do I make money as, how do I allow myself to receive money? It's all about the art of asking, as Amanda explains in her TED Talk.
Instead of asking: how do I make people pay for what I'm offering to the world?, you ask: how do I let people pay me for the value they feel they are receiving from me in what I am already offering?
So one of my Big idealistic ideas of how to support myself on this journey is to have a donations tab on my website (stay tuned!!!) through which I let or allow those of you who are finding value (in currencies like hope, inspiration, invigoration, joy, incitement, curiosity, etc.) in what I’m sharing to, in turn, share value back with me in the form of donations (in the currency of cash money ;P).
This seems like a pretty sustainable system that could well work if I'm upholding my end of the bargain. I provide inspiration; you, my audience and community, if you feel so moved, provide resources to help me continue providing that inspiration, and on and on and on ... :).
I’m going to take you along the way with me as I document my own experience of figuring out how to magically manifest (allow, reframe, alchemize, etc.) the intangible into the tangible, the impossible into the possible, the unrealistic into the very real, the Big into the little and vice versa ... and as I document others out there in the Great Unknown who are doing the same ...
In this way, you might say divinity ranch is a place to find the documentation of and connect with a community who still believe in magic. Who live in a magical realm even while here in the material world. Who are out there making, giving, receiving ... real life magic... and support each other in living magically, for real.
My purpose is not to show that I have everything together, but to be honest about where I am starting, and what stage of the journey towards self actualization, or heroism, I'm currently inhabiting. I am beginning because I am at the beginning (ignorance), not because I have already reached the destination (that elixir of Enlightenment).
My hope is that this journey shows you that if I can (un)consciously embark on the Hero's Journey (becoming evermore conscious along the way) and become the hero of my own journey, then so can you! I know I've still got a looooooong way to go. And that's not stopping me.