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Reply To: THERE and BACK AGAIN,” with MythBlast author Stephen Gerringer”



Reply to Stephen #7453

(and to All)

One of the things I find interesting about the “There and Back Again” journey in so many stories is that even if the protagonist/s goal is to return to their own village…

On the journey. the protagonists may walk through many other villages, communities and peoples.

    In fact Bilbo’s “Burglar Quest” is on behalf of a different people: the dwarves. He goes along to help them reclaim their lost home from the dragon.

And LOTR brings together various peoples/characters in different kingdoms to stand against the darkness claiming the land and give a chance for the anti-boon to be destroyed.

But that brings up a curious thought:

The older idea of the “healing of the land. The wasteland around Camelot comes to mind but it’s certainly not the only story or tale where a sickness or blight in the land exists. (Yes back to Persephone’s time and others.)

What is interesting to me about the “healing of the land,” is the expansiveness of the idea and image both within and without the psyche.

(unless there is only one region of dead forest in the tale.)

One or many can go forth from their own village and return to their own villages after an adventure.

But in these tales, where a darkness or sickness is encroaching, appearing or lingering  in the land (ie Mirkwood was not always spider infested used to be The Greenwood) …

In these tales it’s not just one village affected, it’s all… and it affects people and nature alike (an interconnection someone like author David Abrams might appreciate.)

So whereas a journey where one is focused on a return and integration into a particular community…

Now the fate of all is also tied into the land. And the idea of healing the land is tied into healing more than one community. Or at least breaking a spell.

It’s an interesting More Thanone thing alone perspective and such a journey does take More than one  journeyer as well.

But sometimes, the answer is confounding: seemingly simple but also difficult.

The path to gain a boon or destroy an antiboon can be frought with uncertainty and second and 3rd guessing.
The inner voice is not always heard, when keeping up appearances drowns it out or  when the insidious voice of The Ring clutches at

fears, desires, desperation  AND hopeful dreams. The Ring tempts with False Light too. The illusion of a greater good. Boromir: “It is a gift!”

I know Campbell said the focus of myth would invariably be on man now. (Understood as humans.) And I understand that as focusing on the Here and Now.

Yet with the image of Spaceship earth, the Cosmos has not quite left us or our dreams. And Campbell understood that too.

What I find fascinating about the Healing of the land focus in older and newer stories is that these type of  journey/s expand and include more than one village. Even though each village still retains importance in its own right.

The destruction of the One Ring of Power literally shows this.

And what astounds me is how this seemingly Old storyline of healing the land, is surprisingly close to the modern 20th/21st century and onward view of “spaceship earth,” and everyone on it.

Of course, it could be argued, that “land” was only understood as what a particular group village knew geographically around them at the time. (Looking from a literal perspective.)

But from a symbolic perspective. Land also can equal the world. Why I am partial to the idea of “Middle Earth.”
It takes it beyond “Middle Earth Village.” And there are those other realms at the edge of the horizon as well.

I think of the various Hobbits’ return from adventure that  also acknowledge the other peoples’ story arcs. (Noting some characters like Faramir and Eowyn were fated to create a “new” home/kingdom in the watch place of  Ithilien. (Not to mention a handful of elves.)

Frodo was UNABLE to stay for long, when he returned after the Toll of the Ring.

So SAM carries the Story forward into the next generations.
It’s both beautiful and bittersweet. And Sam points out everyone comes and goes in the story.

Bilbo’s adventure seems to me as much an inner quest as an outer one. And interestingly the experience of adventure itself (something Campbell would appreciate 😉 often seems to be part of the goal.
Yet, Bilbo’s village presumes him dead and attempts to sell his house.
So it’s more difficult to see any sort of boon on behalf of Hobbiton then.   Except the boon of the knowledge passed onto the next generations. More so with Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin who all grow on their journeys.  Frodo leaves, but he leaves the books behind passes them on to Sam, who is the next keeper of the tale.  And Sam’s very humble and brave nature and his acts of kindness,  prove he is a good keeper of the tale.

Except there is that business of “The Scouring of the Shire” and in THAT case the Four Hobbit Adventurers HELP FREE their village from Saruman in the form of Sharky. So they use the gift of all their experience and journeys to work together and help Hobbiton then. And Help the other hobbits to also stand ground and free hobbiton from a slightly disheveled and fallen from power Sorcerer.

On a side note: I wonder if  the Baggins/Took energies could be thought of as sort of an internal twin quest?

The Homebody verses the Adventurer? After all, Bilbo keeps feeling each side pulling him on his quest. And even the AdventurerThe Took” is split between “Foolish and Brave.” Fool of a Took! You will find your courage Peregrine Took.

Well, this is a Wander long enough to become lost. So to ground myself (Laugh) Gandalf’s words to Bilbo come to mind:

You are a very fine person, Mr. Baggins, and I am very fond of you; but you are only quite a little fellow in a wide world after all!”

“Thank goodness!” said Bilbo laughing, and handed him the tobacco-jar.”

Love this! What a healthy way to return from all journeys!