Into the underworld

I haven’t posted in a while. There’s been a range of factors behind this, some technological or geographical but also psychospiritual.

When I started planning this trip I envisioned a kind of Hero’s Journey structure to frame it. Separation in the first six months, an underworld journey in the second and the last third, Return, although a return of what or whom I didn’t put much thought into. To support this, I’d crammed most of the intensives and workshops into the middle third of the trip (South and Central America) in addition to a few other intensive and immersve experiences. A tarot reading before we left also seemed to indicate that this period would be one of crisis and transformation.

It’s a case of be careful what you wish for.

In Japan my computer stopped charging properly but the pace of travelling was so frenetic that there was little space to take heed of it. By the time we arrived in the US my laptop had died completely and would not charge at all. Simultaneously, my phone had also started playing up and so I decided to do a factory reset on it. Something went wrong when backing up my data, which I didn’t realise at the time. When I did the restore I had lost much of my information including access to chat apps, my sources of connection with people back home. Apple were useless in assisting me fix my computer. There was an issue with the logic board, which meant sending it off to the factory. As I was travelling around they couldn’t pinpoint a location to send it to and so for six weeks I carried an oversized paperweight in my pack.

Adding to this was a slow withdrawal from my old life in Australia. Back home I realised had a definite social identity. I knew who I was with some certainty as well as my place in a well-established community. I had passions, plans for the future, strong social networks and a sense of community. The further I travelled the more abstract all of this felt. I became acutely aware of how our identities, our egos, are socially constructed and the further I went the more I sensed the Self residing underneath (more on this to come). Social media, politics and current affairs seemed increasingly irrelevant to who and where I was in life. The message coming through grew louder: withdraw and sever the strings binding me to my old life. And so I did.

One cannot undertake the Hero’s Journey without honouring the stages and their import. How could I enter an underworld, even of my own making, if I wasn’t willing to sacrifice that which bound me to the old world? In the myth of Orpheus, Orpheus is instructed to walk through the underworld and not look back at Eurydice, who is following behind him. Orpheus cannot help himself and at one stage looks back to her. She is condemned forever to dwell in Hades. The message is clear: when you walk into the underworld you cannot look back. There is only forward.

The past couple of months have been one of disconnection and focusing on the road ahead. Interestingly however, my computer was repaired only once I accepted that severance was necessary and took steps to make it so. The underworld journey has begun. I am loath to post about it while I am still in its belly. My priority at the moment is finishing the next draft of my novel and documenting as much of this journey as I can in my journal with the aim of constructing a longer work. So while I will post here from time to time it will be of intermittent frequency.

Deeper into the underworld, I descend…