The journey to the Underworld (still) must be made alone

The HermitThe journey to the Underworld must be made alone.

In the last blog entry, River explored this truth of the Underworld in a really beautiful way. As I consider the truths that form the foundation of this place that we will visit, I find myself drawn to the same one, though with a different bent.

I must make the journey alone in that there is nobody there to do my work for me. That’s heavy stuff, isn’t it? Even heavier, for me: making the journey alone means that I can only carry MY work with me. I don’t have the luxury of doing your work, or my boss’ work, or my partner’s work, or my friend’s work. For me, making the journey alone means more than being in solitude. It means, fundamentally, that what I bring with me is mine. Shaped by others, certainly. Impacted by their choices, of course. But the work, the healing, the necessary action…that’s mine.

Why is this the part that’s so heavy for me? In part, it’s a question of distance. When I believe that doing someone else’s work is more important than doing my own, I get to go through the motions of the work, go through the motions of healing, without actually facing what is uniquely mine to do.

I can’t actually do anyone else’s work, of course. But that doesn’t mean that I haven’t tried.

Why would I do this in the first place? Well, here’s the thing. If the work to be done in the Underworld is healing, then when I talk about wanting to “do someone else’s work,” what I’m really saying is that I want someone else to be healed. I want their pain to be lessened, and I want them to be made whole.

Have you done that? Prepared yourself, made the journey, performed the rites, spoken aloud to divinity what you truly and fully believed was most needed…on behalf of someone else?

I believe that there are places where that is the most right action that can be taken. There may be even places where those prayers are answered. But the Underworld, or at least this Underworld, is not that place. Here, I do not have the luxury of turning away from my work to do the work for another, no matter how pure my intentions.  Here, the only work I can do is mine. The only healing I can seek out is mine. The only experiences and attachments that I can relinquish are mine. Here, I will travel on my own. And so, too, will all of us.

The journey to the Underworld must be made alone.

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