Make Life a Mythic Journey
Marriage is not a simple love affair, it’s an ordeal, and the ordeal is the sacrifice of the ego to a relationship in which two have become one.
—-Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth
Once upon a time not so long ago I had been a knight of the Round Table. But the time came, as it always does, for me leave on the quest for my personal Holy Grail. The great wizard, Jung, had opened the doors to the mystery of the inner journey. And so off I rode into the dark wood of the unconscious on this noble, spiritual quest. Until one day just after the bells heralding the noontime Sabbath Angelus, a message arrived informing me that my Lady Camille was in great distress and in immediate need of my knightly services.
Camille had been abducted in the kingdom of Florida and was being held in the Indian Rivcr dungeon near the duchy of Vero Beach. O, how I had pleaded with my lady not to undertake this fearsome journey, but the sorcerer, David the Dark, had given her a powerful potion and urged her to venture forth unaccompanied. Now she was imprisoned and languished in some remote, foul cell. And I, as her prince and knight protector all these many years, had once again to gird my armor and make the noble quest.
I had always believed that for every evil deed there was a good and had led my life in the purity of this noble pursuit. I knew nonetheless that it would take more than just chivalrous courage to overcome the obstacles that lay in waiting on the path ahead. I called upon the invisible hand of the power that guides us all through the cosmos. It was to that hand that I submitted and began my quest.
First, I called David the Dark to see if he would assist in obtaining Lady Camille’s release. He informed me that unfortunately he was away in the kingdom of Texas selling his potions. All that he would do is put me in touch with his personal counselor, and all his counselor could do was offer me advice: Be prepared to pay a considerable ransom.
My son, squire Andrew, then agreed to ride with me to the embarkation point at Islip where he’d obtained passage for me on a Southwest airship to Florida. As we rode full-speed down the darkening highway, we found it suddenly blocked. Was this David’s doing I wondered? There the hand intervened for the first time to guide us quickly through a nearly hidden side path around and past this attempt to waylay us.
Upon arrival at Islip I had to arrange for transportation in the kingdom of Florida. The line to the Hertz livery was occupied with an irate customer intent on bargaining for a lower price. Once again, the hand nudged me over into the Avis line where I quickly obtained a vehicle that would, unlike Hertz, await me inside the Orlando air terminal. And so, five hours later at the time of King David’s midnight prayer of “Iczot Hallelal” honoring the splitting of night in half, I arrived at the inn where I was escorted to Lady Camille’s abandoned chambers. There, amidst the chaos, I found notes of encouragement from David and by the bed an empty bottle of the potion he’d recommended. We, too, had been split in half by his dark sorcery.
I passed a restless night there and the hand gently nudged me awake in the early morning just in time to learn that the ransom was about to be determined. I rushed to the court in nearby Vero Beach where the bailiff informed me that the ransom had just been set at $100,000. She directed me to the dungeon a few miles away where she said bondsmen would be available.
Just as I arrived a vehicle sped past and a man jumped out. I hailed him saying, “Sir, would you be able to help me to find a bondsman?”
He replied, “That is my profession and I’d be glad to offer you my good services. Wait here a few minutes and we’ll go to my office.”
Upon his return, I followed him around the corner and we entered his sparsely appointed suite. After ascertaining that it was Lady Camille whom I sought, he informed me that the actual ransom would be $10,000 in cash or check since she was from another kingdom along with $1,000 for his services. With luck, the ransom, unlike his fee, would be returned upon proper adjudication. I eagerly paid and he escorted me to the dungeon’s entrance where he obtained Camille’s release.
After a tortured hour, my lady emerged. She was wearing the thin blue garment of a prisoner that matched the many bruises visible on her arms and face. She embraced me and offered thanks for her rescue. Then we proceeded back to the inn where I helped cleanse her many wounds and she changed her attire. Afterwards we left the premises for a reunion meal. There it became clear that her bruises were more than physical as the poison of the potion still lingered in her mind.
We flew home to meet with our good sorceress Shukla who provided infinite compassion along with healing potions. It took two weeks for the poison to clear during which time Andrew and I held constant vigil. Camille suffered greatly during this time with many moans and sighs and frequent chilling shrieks over the humiliation she had endured.
Now one would expect, at this point, that the quest had ended happily “ever after” as is oft said. But, a knight’s journey and his quests are often fraught with additional challenges. And so it was with me as Lady Camille upon her recovery insisted, to my heart’s distress, that she continue seeing David the Dark. The invisible hand had abandoned me and my own visible hand was of no avail. It was only with the aid of the wizard Jung who cautioned care and patience to allow this “tension of opposites” to work through to the transcendent third, that a final reunion occurred. …. To be continued
Paul Marshall Wortman
February 29, 2012