Monthly Archives: September 2011

The "Hero’s Quest" and the "Hierophant" – Part 1

The Warrior’s Road to Wisdom: Going from the “Hero’s Quest” to the “Hierophant”

In Star Wars, Luke Skywalker, beholding the devastation that once was his uncle’s farm, has no choice. Not only is there no “going back,” there is nothing left to “go back to.” He seeks out his new teacher, Obi-Wan Kenobi, more out of desperation than desire to go off “adventuring.” Yet, as his training and his travels unfold, he finds himself on a Hero’s Quest; one of the grandest sagas of our time.

Princess Isabelle, in a “The Embryo Goddess and the Morpho,” a short story written by Nicole Cutts, Ph.D. (in Many Paths, Many Feet, edited by Phyllis Wilson), leaves the safety of her Queen Mother’s love and her King Father’s castle, and ventures off to reclaim a portion of her father’s lands and restore the kingdom.

The young Tamino, in Mozart’s The Magic Flute, undergoes the trials of initiation into the priesthood of the Sun God worshippers. In The Karate Kid, young Daniel simply wants to survive the daily humiliations of martial arts-skilled school bullies.

Is there something is common to all these stories, and to many other stories of heroic adventure?

As it turns out, they share a great deal in common – so much so that the great Joseph Campbell identified the underlying story-structure of all of these as the monomyth. As he described it, there is only one great story or grand saga. It has a consistent structure. And it underlies all the great stories of human “becoming.” The monomyth describes the journey of Jason and his Argonauts, as they searched for the Golden Fleece. This monomyth similarly underlies many of our current “grand sagas” – both in myth, movies and books, and in our personal lives.

The reason that certain monomyth retellings achieve huge cultural resonance (Star Wars-like resonance) with us is not just the quality of the movie or the book. Rather, it is that the movie, book, or even someone’s personal history faithfully adheres to the core monomyth storyline.

Monomyths are compelling. They pull us along; they sweep us away. When we go through our own Hero’s Quest or Heroine’s Journey, we undergo a profound personal transformation. We have left the warmth of nurturing love, and the security of a known environment. We even give up our “identity.”

Think of Aragorn, in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Yes, the monomyth there is being largely carried out by the young hobbits. However, Aragorn as much as the hobbits is on his Hero’s Quest. In classic heroic manner, he travels – not as a prince of the realm, with servants and retinue – but under an assumed name, as the Chieftan of the Rangers of the North. He has relinquished identification with his “true name” and “true heritage” until he has successfully concluded his Heroic Quest; reuniting the kingdoms of Gondor and Arnor.

We have many Heroine’s Quest stories as well; Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz is an early prototype. Sarah in the Labyrinth, and Lyra in The Golden Compass are other young heroines. Each of them steps into their quest to rescue someone whom they know and love. Dorothy wants to rescue her dog Toto, and Sarah seeks to rescue her baby half-brother, Toby. Lyra searches for her friend Roger, and for other children taken by the Gobblers.

Heroic Quests can take on many forms and guises. Consistent to all of them – Hero’s Quests and Heroine’s Quests alike – is the moment when the young Hero/Heroine leaves safety, security, and a well-defined (although limiting) role.

Similarly, we each take on a Heroic Quest – often many times in our lives! When we leave home to go off to college, or join the military, we are beginning a personal Heroic Quest.

When we start a new business, leaving behind the safety, security, well-defined structure, comforting companionship, and certain role of corporate life, we are beginning a new Heroic Quest.

We can undertake Heroic Quests within a corporate structure as well. If we champion a new product or idea; whenever we go into Warrior mode, we are questing.

Questing, although arduous and dangerous, is exciting, More than that, it is self-defining. It is the process by which we individuate; become our own person. We find courage, step out from our parent’s home, or the security of a corporate paycheck, and forge our own pathway. It is through this forging – which may take many years, and require severe and lengthy training (think Luke Skywalker; think Aragorn) – that we become that which we were meant to be. The higher the calling – be it Jedi Knight or Ruler of the united Gondor/Arnor kingdoms – the more difficult, lengthy, and perilous the journey.

Because it is so intense and so self-defining, with such a clear end in sight, we might think that questing leads us to our final goal; that it is the “single defining journey” of our adult lives.

Surpisingly, not so. In fact, even if we undertake successive Heroic Quests, there is still a realm beyond. So suppose that we leave home to go to college, and then get an advanced degree. That’s one Quest. Suppose that we get a corporate job, and spearhead a new initiative within the company. That’s another Quest. Suppose that we then strike out and form our own company; yet another Quest. We can go questing all our lives.

But there really is more. There is indeed a “life beyond the Heroic Journey.” And it is not at all staid and boring! Rather, the journeys of a mature adult, while often more “inner” than “outer,” have just as much challenge as our youthful, self-defining questing – perhaps even more!

A Heroic Quest is obvious. Everyone – including ourselves – knows what we are doing. We are re-uniting the severed kingdoms, getting the “Ring of Power” into Mordor, writing a dissertation, climbing a mountain, or rescuing someone in distress. Our goal and our focus is clear. Further, we shape who we are in the process.

In contrast, the “journeys” that we may undertake as mature adults – something that we may do after we’ve successfully completed a Heroic Quest (or two or three) can be much less overt. Those around us may not even know that we undertaking some sort of “inner journey.” In fact, we ourselves may not even know it – until we come through the other side and say to ourselves, “I really have changed!”

So how do we know the difference? How can we tell if we are on a Heroic Quest, or doing something different? What lies beyond questing? And are there signposts or guides, so that we can know what we’re doing?

That will be the theme of the next blogpost – and perhaps a few more afterwards!

In the meantime, if you have a copy of Robert Moore’s King, Warrior, Magician, Lover – take a look. There’s an error in the basic premise. See if you can discern it. (It will help if you’ve read Chapters 7 and 11 of Unveiling: The Inner Journey.)

More to be revealed in coming posts.

To your health, and the success of your journeys!


P.S. There’s a clue – and it’s in the title of this post. What’s the role of the Hierophant? How does the Hierophant relate to our Heroic Quest (if at all)? See if you can figure this out before my next posting!

Your Six "Power Archetypes" – What Happens When One Doesn’t Function?

Six Core “Power Archetypes” – The Key to Personal Power

Imagine that you’re John Wayne, with the thundering power of six galloping horses under your control, as he had in the movie Stagecoach.

Your six core power archetypes take you through life, just as six horses pull the stagecoach.

Your six core power archetypes take you through life, just as six horses pull the stagecoach.

Such stirring, viscerally exciting stagecoach “powerhouses” still exist; and are still drawn by six powerful horses. There are still people who are excited by real stagecoaches and the power of their six-horse “engines.”

Now, imagine that you’re in the driver’s seat, thundering along at full speed. Your “six horses” are in fine form, as you cover dusty plains, heat-seared deserts, and mountainous terrain. You know each member of your team; each is integral.

And suddenly – one of your horses takes a stumble; he breaks a leg, and you no longer have that essential horse on your team. That crucial “balance of power” that enables you to move at top speed, easily covering the most difficult terrain, is broken. Now, lacking just one of your integral “powerhouses,” you are much more vulnerable – to attacks by Indian war parties, to raiders and bandits, and even to rivals who will beat you to the next town with important news.

The value of archetypes?

You are the stagecoach. Everything that you are, that you value, that carries you through life, is your “stagecoach.” It’s your job, and the skills and abilities that enable you to perform on your job. It’s your special interests, and the skills that you’ve built up over a lifetime that lets you cultivate your interests. It’s your role in your community, your church, your family, and society at large.

The six horses that get you through life? These are your core power archetypes. You need each one. Doing without a single core power archetype is like driving a six-horse stagecoach with only five horses. It can be done, certainly, but not nearly as effectively as when all six are in harness.

From the last blogpost, we remember advice from author Michael F. Andrew, in How to Think Like a CEO and Act Like a Leader, which talked about “treating issues coldly and people warmly.”

Your Emperor archetype is the one that “treats issues coldly.” However, without your Isis/Empress archetype, you wouldn’t be able to to “treat people warmly.” Many of our most masculine heroes – from Ronald Reagen to yes, John Wayne, had the ability to “treat people warmly.” They had a fully-developed feminine Isis/Empress archetype. In fact, they each had a complete set of all six power archetypes. Having and using all their “core power archetypes” was what let them be so effective.

How about you? Do you have, know, and use at will each of your “core power archetypes”? Check through your core masculine archetypes. How strong, potent, and effective are your inner masculine roles? These are your: Magician (visionary and strategic thinker), Emperor (organize, lead, and get-things-done), and Hierophant (teacher, mentor, guide).

How vital and well-formed are your three core feminine archetypes? These are your: High Priestess (wise, contemplative, intuitive; your deepest sense of internal-steering), Isis/Empress (nurturing and caring), and Hathor (fun-loving, sensual, and playful).

Are each of these functioning in good order?

For more, read Chapters 7 and 11 of Unveiling: The Inner Journey.

Alay'nya - author of "Unveiling: The Inner Journey"

Alay’nya – author of Unveiling: The Inner Journey

Very best wishes as discover and empower each of your core archetypes during your own inner journey!

(Alianna J. Maren, Ph.D.)

Author of Unveiling: The Inner Journey
You are the Jewel in the Heart of the Lotus. Become the Jewel!

The Unveiling Journey blog details the theory – archetypes, life journeys, integration.

To experience your own Journey in a structured, safe, and gentle (yet effective) setting, visit Alay’nya’s website, and consider either a workshop with Alay’nya or one-on-one coaching.


Connect with Alay’nya and the Unveiling Community

Unveiling, by Alay'nya, currently has an overall five-star Amazon rating.

Unveiling, by Alay’nya, currently has twenty five-star Amazon reviews.

This blog series develops themes originally published in Unveiling: The Inner Journey, published by Mourning Dove Press.

Unveiling currently has twenty 5-star Amazon reviews, and has been recommended by luminaries:

  • Dr. Christiane Northrup – “This book is delightful”
  • Midwest Book Review, in Bethany’s Books – reviews by Susan Bethany – “highly recommended”
  • Nizana al Rassan, writing for (the now out of circulation) – “a fascinating read with so much wisdom and solid advice.”



Julie Marie Rahm, aka America’s Mindset Mechanic on Unveiling: The Inner Journey

What does Julie Rahm, America’s Mindset Mechanic and author of Handle Everything: Eight Tools You Need to Live Well and Prosper have to say about Unveiling: The Inner Journey?

Julie writes:

Unveiling is the definitive guidebook for women who want to experience lives of joy and fulfillment, and who just want to exhale into each day. Alay’nya reveals powerful, personal stories of her own life journey to fascinating womanhood, sensuality, and self-acceptance in ways that struck me like a velvet hammer. Her fresh approach to living illuminated my own bind spots. It is impossible to read Unveiling without awakening to new and possibly shocking self-awareness. For women ready to make real and lasting changes toward enlightenment and bliss, Unveiling is a must-read..”

Read this and more reviews of Unveiling: The Inner Journey.





Julie Marie Rahm, America’s Mindset Mechanic

Check out Julie Marie Rahm!

Julie Marie Rahm, America’s Mindset Mechanic and author of Handle Everything: Eight Tools You Need to Live Well and Prosper and also Military Kids Speak (great for parents, teachers, and coaches of military kids) uses a great technique that can help you clear energy blockages, ranging from those from this life through the influence of your ancestral karma. Connect with Julie at info (at) americasmindsetmechanic (dot) com to learn more about how she can help you.

Books by Julie Marie Rahm, America’s Mindset Mechanic



Copyright (c) 2013, Alay’nya (Alianna J. Maren, Ph.D.). All rights reserved.
Blog originally posted September 15, 2011. Revised and updated, October 22, 2013.

Related Posts: Archetypal Roles and Everyday Life

Book Review – "The Survivor Tree" by Cheryl Somers Aubin

“The Survivor Tree,” by Cheryl Somers Aubin, and beautifully illustrated by Sheila Harrington, has warmed, melted, and deeply touched my heart. The core message of this book is that “survivors can heal” – and that even though those of us who survive any kind of life-ordeal may be scarred and damaged, we can still be beautiful.

The illustrations are exquisite, and touch me deeply – they perfectly complement the story.

A delightful You Tube video interview with Cheryl shares how she was inspired to write this book, succinctly captures the story line, and shows several of the deeply moving illustrations.

This is a book that I will give to friends who have undergone any kind of challenging life-ordeal, from which they emerge as “survivors.” It has a reach well beyond those impacted by 9/11, to the broader community of those who “survive” harrowing experiences. It will deeply help their healing process.

Mastering the "Power Archetypes" – Essential for CEOs and Strategic Leaders

Using the Six Core Power Archetypes – A Leadership Essential

Why are successful CEOs paid so much more than other key members of a leadership team? It’s not just the responsibility; the “buck stops here” factor. It’s not just business experience and ability to “perform.” Rather, there is a skill required in leadership situations – a very special skill – that very few have. So few people have this skill, really, that those that do command the most prestigious jobs. They have the most influence and leverage. While each of us creates a “ripple effect” in the world around us, those few people who have this unique skill have a “ripple effect” that can travel around the world (multiple times), and persist long after the person is still in place, carrying out his or her role. In some cases, the impact of these people lasts for centuries. They create true legacy.

This skill, I’m convinced, is not just the ability to deal with complexity, but something more complex in itself.

Imagine that you – or anyone whom you know – works within an “imaginary room.” There are different “walls” in this room. Each “wall” represents a kind of interaction that is required for the job.

Suppose that someone has a relatively simple job, in terms of “interaction complexity.” They might be doing a very highly skilled task – such as programming a complex system. But their “interaction complexity” is limited to just a few “walls.” This person has their boss or team leader, their co-workers or those who are providing inputs to the system design, and – of course – the “system” itself. This person may be paid a great deal, depending on the complexity of the system that they’re programming, and the level of insight and skill that they bring to the task. But there is a “cap” on their salary – and on their growth within the organization. This “cap” relates to the complexity of the “room” in which the person lives. In this case, their “room” has just three “walls”; team leader, co-workers, and computer system.

Now, think of yourself in a CEO (or similar leadership) role. Your job requires you to live in a “room” with very many “walls.” There is your Board and the Board Chair, your direct reports, your clients, and – of course – the product or services that your company offers. Within the realm of “direct reports,” there is further complexity. Marketing, for example, is a very different “wall” than is finance, which is different from operations, etc.

What makes your job both interesting and demanding is the need for you to “switch gears” as needed. Your job environment is the Swiss Alps race track; as described in a previous blogpost on Your V8 Power Car Engine.

The most effective, and successful, CEOs manage by calling on their different power modes as appropriate, and as needed.

One good example of this kind of power mode integration is described by author Michael F. Andrew, in his book, How to Think Like a CEO and Act Like a Leader. One of his first points is to “treat issues coldly and treat people warmly.” This is direct advice to combine two power modes; your Emperor (your logical, facts-and-figures, results-oriented mode), and your Empress/Isis (your caring, feeling-oriented, relationship-building mode). These are entirely different modes of being. Successful leaders use both – and four others as well! (They also, for “filling their well,” draw on their two reserve modes also.)

I know of several people who do this kind of “gear shifting” very well. Two well-known luminaries are current Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. (They are both profiled in Chapter 11: “Switching State” of Unveiling: The Inner Journey.

Closer to home, Maestro Dingwall Fleary, Musical Director for both Reston Community Orchestra and the The McLean Symphony, is an excellent example of a leader who can “shift roles” as need be. He finds this ability essential to his success in leading people and in bringing out their “best possible performance.” And just as as business offers quarterly profits as immediate and direct feedback on the CEO’s skill, a symphony’s performance is a direct feedback on the conductor’s skill. It’s partly the quality of the musicians, and it’s mostly what the conductor can get out of them.

For more, read Chapter 11: “Shifting State,” in Unveiling: The Inner Journey.