Skip to main content

Encounter the Animus

“The kingdom of God is not coming in ways that can be observed, 21 nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.” - Luke 17:20b-21

The next stage in the Hero's Journey is often called "Meeting the Goddess".  I find this language restrictive though because this stage of the journey is not about encountering the "feminine" but about encountering the ultimate good in one's opposite.  It's about the Hero being judged for their virtues or their moral character before receiving a great boon.  

In Star Wars, Luke encountered Leia and she judged him to be virtuous so they connected immediately. On the other hand, Han Solo was judged to be selfish and Leia talked down to him and poked fun at him until he signed on to a moral cause and was worthy of the attention and blessing of the "goddess".  

Aaron Lowry pointed out that the "goddess" does not even need to be human, and this is why I call it the "animus".  In the case of the Marvel Movie called "Thor", Mjolnir serves as Thor's "goddess".  The hammer named Mjolnir will only respond to Thor when it judges him to be worthy. When he meets the ethical and moral standards of a hero it will come to him and offer its power to his cause, but when he falls short the hammer will not respond.  

We see this theme play out with God and the Israelites over and over again.  God blessed the Israelites, but then their morality would slip and God would remove God's Spirit from the people and they would face calamity.  We can see this play out specifically with King Saul and his successor King David.  God's Spirit was with Saul and Saul was blessed with success in everything he did.  God's power protected him, guided him, and gave him strength.  However, when Saul's morality slipped beyond a certain point God had the prophet Samuel anoint a new king.  Samuel anointed a boy named David.  As soon as David was anointed the Power of God left Saul and went into David.  Saul then experienced failure, defeat, and even depression. David experienced protection, guidance, strength, and success in everything he did.  Later, David would experience this same pulling away as his own morality slipped.  

Observers of this pattern came to the conclusion that God blesses the righteous and curses the unrighteous, so all those who are sick or ill must be sinners.  Jesus confronted this thought process head-on in John chapter 9.  When the disciples came across a blind man they asked Jesus if he was blind because of his own sin, or the sin of his parents.  Jesus replied by saying that neither the man nor his parents sinned, but that God would use the moment to bring attention to the message of Christ.  Then Jesus healed the man and that healing drew many followers to Jesus.

So what does Jesus' condemnation of a morality-based blessing leave us with?  What is the boon that can be found from being judged virtuous by an encounter with our animus?  Here I can only reflect on my own life and say that when I am able to look within and know that I am living true to myself that there is a light in me that shines out and spreads to those around me.  When I betray myself, acting against the divine within, and the animus within me judges me harshly, I find myself sinking into the same despair that I see in King Saul as he threw spears in fits of rage at his successor David.  

The Kingdom of God is so close, it is pressing through into this world.  It is not here or there, but inside of you, waiting to get out, waiting to be released by you.  When we honor the voice within by living like the children of God that we are, then we release a pocket of the Kingdom.  But, when we turn inside and betray our own interests, we give into the ruler of this world and increase the enemy's domain.  This is the animus within, it is what judges us and what blesses us.  Our inner life reflects its state.  Are you living true to yourself as a child of God? Or are you betraying yourself?  


Popular posts from this blog

Death Will Lose it's Sting

Our reading from the Narrative Lectionary this week is 1 Corinthians 15:51-57. In these verses, Paul reveals a mystery, that in the end some will be transformed, given a new body, instead of facing death.  In other words death is not one of life's two certain terms.  It seems taxes may be the only guarantee.   " this world nothing can be said to be certain, except  death and taxes ." - Benjamin Franklin. Ok, all jokes aside, these verses are difficult to read.  Paul looks forward to a time when death will have no victory, it will have lost its sting.  But today, we are in the middle of a pandemic, surrounded by death.  Many are scared for their lives, or their loved ones, and too many have already been lost.  Death does not seem to have lost its sting at all, it feels as if it is closing in. When I worked in wilderness therapy I remember holding a child who was desperately trying to kill himself.  We cried together as he struggled to end it, and I struggled

Fool for Christ

Our reading from the Narrative Lectionary this week is 2 Corinthians 5.  Verse 13 stood out to me. If it seems we are crazy, it is to bring glory to God. - 2 Corinthians 5:13a (NLT) John Wimber, the founder of the Vineyard churches did a famous sermon called "I am a fool for Christ, whose fool are you?".  Reading this week's text reminded me of this wonderful sermon.  Wimber's sermon reminds us that, as christians, we are called to something truly radical.  The christian walk is strange and counter cultural.  Jesus once explained this to his disciples in John 15 "If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. You don't belong to this world, I have chosen you out of it.  That is why the world hates you."   Peter, in a letter to the church, later referred to all of us as strangers just passing through this world.   Do you feel like a stranger?  Do you feel like the world hates you?  Are you a fool for Christ? Here is the thing, you are going t

Deeper Discipleship

Our reading from the Narrative Lectionary this week is Mark 10:17-22.  A wealthy man approaches Jesus with great respect and asks what he must do to have the abundant life Jesus has been preaching about.  Jesus reminds him of the commandments, but the man claims to have followed them since childhood.  Jesus looks him in the eye and something changes.  Mark tells us that Jesus loved him in this moment, so he invites him to sell all of his belongings, and follow him.  He invites him to become a disciple.  All of the other disciples had to do the same thing in order to follow Jesus.  They dropped their nets, left their family, and followed Jesus.  In this case, the man could not do it.  The scriptures tell us that he had a lot of wealth, a lot he was unwilling to let go of.  He left that encounter disappointed, because the cost of discipleship was too great.  I notice that Jesus starts with the law as the answer to the question, almost giving a basic book answer.  It is only after