Identifying with the Virgin In The Virgin's Promise

(This is a two-part blog. Part 1 explained the concept of the Virgin’s Promise. Now, two weeks later, Part 2 invites you to put your own life into the framework of the Virgin’s Promise.)

“The overall arc is a journey from dependency to shining your own bright light.” Christopher Vogler 

Two Weeks Ago

Two weeks ago I wrote Part 1 of this blog focused on my new “discovery” of The Virgin’s
Promise archetype, after reading Kim Hudson’s book, The Virgin’s Promise: Writing
Stories of Feminine Creative, Spiritual, and Sexual Awakening. As a coach, I use the
journey archetype to help real-life women walk their transformative journeys. I coach
women using the same “pathways” and their associated “milestones” as the pathways
used by the archetypes of the Hero, the Heroine, and now, my new one, the Virgin. I’ve
found that it’s powerful for women when they can see their own life reflected in these
mythic patterns and archetypes that live in our collective unconscious. Part II of this blog
will help you see this for yourself. You will feel the power of the archetypes (which is
why writers put them in their novels and films) when you learn more about them.

Authors, especially, are drawn to archetypes that delineate life patterns because they
can apply that framework to what they write. The scriptwriter, Christopher Vogler, wrote
his book The Writers Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers based on the archetype of
the Hero’s Journey. Volger writes, “Storytellers instinctively choose characters and
relationships that resonate to the energy of the archetypes, to create dramatic
experiences that are recognizable to everyone.”

Kim Hudson, author, and teacher developed The Virgin’s Promise structure to reveal a
feminine journey archetypal framework in stories. I think it’s important in this time, in
real-time, with real-life women to get this feminine archetype to wake up out of
dormancy. I believe we do that by awakening it one woman at a time and the resulting
groundswell (firestorm?) will make a huge impact in our world today. In the language of
Hudson’s framework, it will Reorder the Kingdom and as a result, The Kingdom will be
Brighter.

Yes, if understanding and adhering to this archetypal framework will give us that - that
would be positively enlightening in our currently dark world.

Unburying an Archetype

This archetype is struggling to come to the surface in our time – it’s been buried for
years in our patriarchal society. It’s time for all Heroines to see ourselves in this model,
too - to see if the “slipper fits!”

Here’s how Christopher Vogler speaks about Hudson’s Virgin Promise journey points in
his introduction to Kim Hudson’s book, The Virgin’s Promise:

“Suffice it to say that the overall arc is a journey from dependency to shining your
own bright light. Light is a uniting metaphor in the framework Hudson gives us.
She writes: ‘Just as the Greek goddess Aphrodite was known for her radiance,
the shining forth of an internal quality rather than any physical attribute, the
Virgin’s beauty is often described in terms of light such as shining, glowing,
brilliant, dazzling, and iridescent…In other words, the Virgin’s beauty represents
the shining forth of her soul."

I have seen this in the journeys of the women I coach as they actually become what I
call “points of light.” The main reason women seek to coach with me is that they want
support during a transition period in their lives. They could be leaving a marriage or a
job or contemplating a new career as an entrepreneur or wanting to finally give in to a
long-time passion to create art or write a book. I believe that what prompts a Heroine to
follow her passions and dreams and go on a journey comes from within. That very soul
that Vogler writes about is what is leading the way. It sends nudges, clues, and longings
and if we follow, we will shine as we’re meant to.

The Markers or Points of The Virgin’s Promise

So what is the path of the archetypal Virgin? Is there something we can track from
stories that will show us how to walk? Definitely. Hudson has done it and it traces the
very steps that my coaching clients have told me they’re struggling with.

Laurie Schnebly Campbell teaches writing (as does Hudson) I like how she summarizes
Hudson’s story points or steps of The Virgin’s Promise:

“This character’s story opens in the:

(1) Dependent World,

(This is an external authority that somehow provides for the Virgin’s existence) where she's busy paying the…

(2) Price Of Conformity.

(She is suppressing her true self because of the views of the people around her.) But then along comes an…

(3) Opportunity to Shine,

(This is the action that leads to the chance to reveal her talent, her dream, or her true nature.) and as she tries on this new behavior she even…

(4) Dresses The Part.

(This is the physical manifestation of bringing her authentic self to light.) It gets tricky balancing her…

(5) Secret World

(A secret place in which her dream can thrive. At this stage, she still thinks she can please everyone but finally, she’s added herself to that list. This is a big step!) with the dependent one, which soon…

(6) No Longer Fits Her World.

(She has become more empowered and sees her dream as a real potential but now she knows she can’t keep a foot in both her Dependent and Secret Worlds.) Only after she gets…

(7) Caught Shining

(This is when reality hits and the Virgin needs to face it that her two worlds are colliding. Her dream is no longer secret. Consequences ensue.) and can no longer be her old repressed self does she finally…

(8) Give Up What Gets Her Stuck,

(A major turning point in her psychological growth, she gives up a belief or behavior that has been holding her back.) which results in such upheaval that she sees her…

(9) Kingdom In Chaos.

(She realizes she does have to accept others’ authority over her and she changes. It creates a ripple effect. The old sense of order crumbles.) No longer able to live her former life, she…

(10) Wanders In The Wilderness

(The Virgin is at a fork in the road: should she fall back and return to her dependent world or should she make a new place for herself? She is being tested - can she accept a world that requires her to be smaller than she can be?) until at last, she commits to…

(11) Choosing Her Light

(She decides to trust herself and choose her light, pursuing her dream or her passion, no matter what happens. She would rather shine as herself than be safe or keep the order.) and becomes her true self, which means…

(12) Re-Ordering (Rescue)

(The Virgin has moved from secretly claiming some personal authority to being authentic in all parts of her life. Her true value is recognized when she is fulfilling her dream and she is reconnected with a community.) her world. So now, at last, the entire…

(13) Kingdom Is Brighter.

(The last stage: the kingdom was thrown into chaos because of the Virgin’s authentic nature and dream, but it is better off in some way because of it… maybe evil or envy or patriarchal dominance has been removed. As a result, new life has been injected into the kingdom: others are empowered to follow their dreams, too.)

For the Heroine following this Virgin archetypal path, the greatest challenge isn’t related
to desperate criminals and evil sorcerers and ferocious dragons, but rather to her
children her co-workers, her friends, and her parents. The kind of challenges that most
of us face throughout our lives - happens through our relationships.

Laurie Campbell, the writer, continues, “There’s sure nothing wrong with books where
all the excitement comes from criminals and dragons. That’s why The Heroine’s Journey
will probably never be essential to writers whose books focus solely on hard-core
mystery and physical danger.

But for novelists who care about what’s going on inside the characters as well as
outside…these 13 steps are gold. Because such a heroine is usually involved with other
people who (often with the best and most loving intentions in the world) want her to stay
where THEY think she belongs, rather than where she discovers she can truly become
her best self.”

Now, let’s see if this is something that helps inform you about your particular journey. I
think these milestones or points are very relevant to how women traverse life, and the
journey, today. Why maybe you’re at one of these “points” right now in your life.

Have you been keeping your dream suppressed because of how the people around you
would react? Have you been “practicing” your hidden talent in a “Secret World” and are
you in danger of being “Caught Shining?” Maybe it’s time for you to throw the “Kingdom
in Chaos” for it to be reordered in a better way. Maybe you’re ready to “Choose Your
Light.”

The essence of the Virgin story is that she must follow her dream or authentic nature
despite the wishes of others. The Virgin needs to undo that pleasing part of herself. Part
of her is lying dormant and it’s her journey that brings the dormant part into the light.

Hudson writes:

“The Virgin’s Promise provides a pathway into the feminine archetypal journey lying
dormant in our collective unconscious. The quest to become true to yourself. This theory
offers a new way to view movies, and gives writers of all kinds, and particularly
screenwriters, the resources to invoke this feminine archetypal magic.

But what about you, dear Reader? Can it invoke archetypal magic within you? I think
maybe!

The Virgin is a person who is inexperienced and dependent. The Virgin’s story is one
of empowerment. It’s about her coming into being. Unlike the Hero, who leaves the
the comfort of his ordinary world to test his mettle and in those mythic stories, eventually,
save the world, the Virgin is living in a world that’s holding her back from her true,
authentic potential as a human being.

The Virgin’s story is all about how she empowers herself and thereby changes the world
she’s living in. She must follow her dream or her authentic nature, despite what others
want for her - or themselves.

Hey, Heroine – this sounds like you! The Virgin’s highest purpose is to be authentic and
know joy - to be empowered to be everything she is capable of. She’s about self-fulfillment. She frees herself from dependency on her family of origin by connecting to
her inner world. She is becoming the person she was meant to be.

Can you tell your story using this model?

Fill in the blank with YOUR NAME, dear Heroine, and answer the questions:

_______________’s story opens in the:

(1) Dependent World, - [Whom are you needing to please?]

(2) Price Of Conformity. - [What are you suppressing about yourself to fit in?]

(3) Opportunity to Shine, - [What did you do that shows who you really are?]

(4) Dresses The Part. [What did you wear or try on or use or do that revealed your true self?]

(5) Secret World {Where did you practice being you?}

(6) No Longer Fits Her World. [What’s the hardest for you as you’re trying to appease both worlds?]

(7) Caught Shining [What finally slips out about your true identity that can’t stay hidden?]

(8) Give Up What Gets Her Stuck, (What did you finally let go of from the Dependent World?]

(9) Kingdom In Chaos. [How did you throw your world off-kilter by your changes?]

(10) Wanders In The Wilderness [Where did you go or how was it for you after you accepted yourself and didn’t try to hide it?]

(11) Choosing Her Light [What did you commit to for the sake of your true self?]

(12) Re-Ordering (Rescue) [How has your community re-oriented itself to the new you?]

(13) Kingdom Is Brighter. (How is the Kingdom better off because of your transformation? What gifts has it received because of what you’ve done?

Do you want to change the world? This is how it happens. Follow this track and it will
lead you to the decision - Do I finally want to let go of what keeps me bound to my
Dependent World? Do I want to Choose my Light?

Time To Shine Your Light

I hope this will help you choose to shine your light. Each one of us needs to release
whatever dependencies we still retain and LET OUR OWN LIGHT SHINE. I believe that
this is what the world needs now – this Heroine energy, this feminine energy. Each one
of you will greatly benefit the world - the Kingdom will be brighter - once you achieve in
your own life that “point” of giving up what you are holding back. I think this holding back
is in all of us – because of our conditioning and our desire to please that Dependent
World. I know it’s in me. Let’s do it together, Heroine.