Men’s Soul Tavern – Letting The Wild God In


  Cultivating The Courage
To Open Wide The Tavern Doors

Embracing Complexity & Paradox When Entering Uncertainty

 Surrendering To Something Larger & Other

Paradoxdefined – a seemingly absurd or self-contradictory statement or proposition that when investigated or explained may prove to be well founded or true.


There is an unknown territory, a mysterious area where
the presence of death does not equal the end of life….

 The point is to be able to undergo a little death
in order to find the genuine thread of one’s life.

 Michael Meade


Rilke says that when we can face that which is most threatening to our well-being, or even to our very sense of existence, when we can tolerate the intense powerlessness we may feel, then that which now still seems to us the most alien will become what we most trust and find most faithful.

This is a transformative dynamic that comes into awakening inside of us. 

We begin to grow stronger right at our broken (open) places, deeper at our most threatened (vital) places, and more solid at our mot insecure places, when we do not remain small or defended. 

The hero task is to embrace our most inferior aspects of our nature, and to not rely on our dominant functions for every challenge we face in life.  By doing so, we grow more broadly, more foundationally, and we rest more deeply into what Joseph Campbell called the privilege of our lifetime – to be who we really are.

‘We can trust our ability to encounter people, places and things which are increasingly different from our ways, without losing ourselves, or without having to eliminate the other, or the ‘otherness’ from our minds, or from our lives.   This is how we mature and grow, as vulnerable and as magnificent as human beings can become.


How should we be able to forget those ancient myths

about dragons that at the last moment turn into princesses;

perhaps all the dragons of our lives are princesses

who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave.

Perhaps everything terrible is in its deepest being

something helpless that wants help from us.

How does something within us remain so easily threatened?  What makes us fear going beyond our ability to control other people, places and things?  How do we find the strength to change our minds, and thus our experience, about inner deficits and demons?    

How do we learn to open ourselves to those threatening encounters with other-ness, that which is “not-yet-me”?    How can we stay present to ourselves as we are taken, or swallowed by, our emotional reactions to unpleasant or hostile situations, to the things in life we cannot control?

These are the questions we begin to explore whenever we Let The Wild God In.

In the end, what allows us to realize, from a larger perspective, that all the dragons and ‘gods’ of our lives have contained within them the beauty of our inferior selves who have gone unattended to for so long?   Can we gradually learn to recognize that buried within each Wild God ready to bring forth that which is most real, most enduring, and most refined, once we let it live in the house of our awareness.

This awakening requires of us the hero’s valor of courage – a certain strength of heart in the midst of threat or fear – which will awaken the ‘sleeping beauty’ in our lives; and which will bring forth all that is beautiful in this world, as well. 

Joseph Campbell once said that “any disaster you can survive is an improvement in your character, your stature, and your life”.   He would speak of this heroic way of developing one’s self as a privilege, as something that provides us with the opportunity of becoming who we truly are, and providing us with a chance for a spontaneous pouring forth of our own nature.

In the ways of the hero’s adventure, as we embrace the journey of living, there is room for failures, fallings, losses, downward arcs, and the ego deaths that come with them.  

These places of failure and defeat seem to be the polarized opposite of the ‘apotheosis’ point, the highest culmination of one’s true potential.  Yet paradoxically, by bearing these dark inner spaces, one can be made ripe and ready for surrendering and softening into states of love, acceptance and peace that would not come through any other means.

Campbell speaks unequivocally of this, in Hero With A Thousand Faces.   When we enter a state of surrendering over to what is divine and eternal, we can do so through suffering or through joy.  Through whichever doorway will open us, and can be made open to us.  Both deep suffering and deep joy can bring forth the profound sense of reverence, right at that very threshold point of joining with something frightening, beautiful and mysterious.


Perhaps what Rilke says in the last line of his prose is true, that everything terrible is in its deepest being something helpless that wants help from us.  Or, in the least, something that needs help from someone who is in a better space or position than the ‘terrible-ness’ one finds themselves in. 

Both the science of modern day systems theory, as well as the ancient wisdom teachings on compassion down through the ages, have stressed this very point: That a larger force of nature, when moved by both its ability to respond (agency), and its desire to respond (compassion), can bend towards and accommodate the weaker force.  This in turn, allows for an opportunity for the weaker force to adapt itself towards, and join with, the stronger force – until it can identity that larger presence within itself. 

We all tend to reflexively do whatever is most familiar when placed in our greatest stress positions.  Here, the heroic action step is to move from beyond the most familiar pattern, to the one most appropriate and necessary for the current situation, especially when that has been foreign or alien to one’s historical sense of self. 

This Jungian Life Podcast


There is a crack in everything / That’s how the light gets in.
-Leonard Cohen

The inferior function pushes in through the cracks in ego’s efforts at supremacy and opens us to what is unknown and unlived. For Jung, however, this seeming weak spot in the personality was also “the treasure hard to attain,” for it is also the source of our aliveness, freedom, and fun.

Entering the Dark Forest of the Psyche

Entering the Dark Forest of the Psyche

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 The Hero's Journey® Foundation presents a series written by Michael Mervosh, taking a deeper dive into living the myth of the Hero's Journey, and re-discovering the meaning of myth for our lives we live in the every day. Download the PDF for your e-reader here. A...