(8) The Temptress
Updated: Mar 3, 2022
In the next step of the Hero's Journey, that Joseph Campbell calls "Woman as the Temptress", the Hero may be tempted to abandon the quest, but finally gets back on track and feels repulsion for material temptations.
After the initial struggles, and having been away for so long from our past comfort zone, we may be tempted to throw away the towel and get back to past behaviors.
Do we have the clarity to see where we're aiming to and stay aligned with our true nature, or will we be swallowed up in the vortex of fears and limiting beliefs?
Even if we try to resist, though, life points in only one direction, which is forward.
There's no going back, since we have anyway changed inside, and what was meaningful in the past doesn't hook us anymore.
Resisting means only taking longer and getting exhausted, and finally we will have to surrender, in a way or another.
Flowing into the Journey means instead joy, fun, and sense of accomplishment.
What are you choosing?
Have you ever found yourself in a similar situation?
As clarified in the previous blog posts, the symbolism beyond the "Woman" as temptress has nothing to do with a real female role.
It encompasses instead the shapeshifting nature of what we know about life.
When we are aligned with the Truth of Nature, this energy reveals as a Meeting with the Goddess, as a union of opposites, as unconditional love.
But there are times when there are still doubts to be dissolved, and that same energy comes to us in form of a temptation or a test.
It's Satan that puts Jesus to the test in what is known as the Temptation of Christ, and described in the Gospels of Matthew, Luke, and Mark.
Right after passing them, Jesus will return to Galilee to begin his ministry.
Rather than the word temptation, which resounds with the energy of forcing to do something bad, I would stress here the word test.
In fact, in the Gospels this Satan is not depicted as an evil creature, but rather as a neutral "assessor", who comes and check if Jesus reminds what being a Son of God means in both his human and spiritual dimension.
No sulphur, no forks, no goat horns.
Just a plain assessment.
Satan asks Jesus to make bread out of stones - his 40-days fasting would in fact have made his human side hungry.
Jesus replies by quoting the Deuteronomy. "It is written: Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds from the mouth of God."
Then, Satan takes him on a pinnacle, and tells him to jump down and rely on the assistance of angels.
"Again," Jesus replies, "it is written: You shall not put the Lord, your God to the test."
Finally, Jesus is taken to a very high mountain, where he can see all the kingdoms of the world. Satan will offer him the dominion over all earthly kingdoms in exchange for an act of worship from him.
Jesus replies with determination, "Vade retro, Satan, get away! It is written: You shall worship the Lord your God and only Him shall you serve."
The test is now complete.
Jesus has shown that he has the clarity of what the path of a Son of God is, and Satan leaves the scene, without a word.
In The Matrix it is Cypher, a member of Morpheus' crew, that gives in to temptation.
In exchange for being put back into the Matrix, with the illusion of a comfortable and rich life and with the complete removal from his memory of all the difficult truth he has learned, he promises to Agent Smith that he will betray Morpheus.
He will afterwards kill several members of the crew, before being killed himself.
In the second episode of the saga, Matrix Reloaded, Neo is put at the test by "The Architect", the creator of the Matrix itself.
Neo can choose either to save himself and a bunch of other people, who will populate again the city of Zion after its incoming destruction, or try to save Trinity who is under attack in the Matrix. If he takes the second choice, the Architect says, the Matrix would crash, people connected to it would die, and this would cause the extinction of the whole humanity.
Neo doesn't betray his human nature nor the leading guide of his love for Trinity, and has no doubt on what choice to make.
As a human species we are still here, so it looks like Neo has in the meantime found a third way to fool the Architect and save humanity.
In Cupid and Psyche, the maiden is tempted by her envious sisters.
In fact, after she has been transported to Cupid's castle, her family has no more news of her and is worried. Cupid then asks Zephyr to bring her home.
There, she tells her sisters that she's living a beautiful life with the lovely castle's owner, who sleeps with her at night but whose physical appearances she doesn't know, since they meet only in the dark.
The sisters become envious, and suggest her to have a dagger and a lamp besides her at night, since he could be a monster.
Psyche falls into this temptation.
Back to the castle, one night, while Cupid is sleeping with her, she holds the dagger and lights up the lamp. So stumbling is for her the vision of the beautiful Cupid, that she spills hot oil from the lamp upon him.
Cupid, burnt, wakes up abruptly, understands that his trust has been betrayed, and flies away.
Psyche, in despair, understands what she's done. She won't have peace until she'll be able to rejoin him.
You already know what a Road of Trials is waiting for her.
My frustration, caused by the lack of results in my job search following the completion of the job in Switzerland and my return to Italy, was growing day by day.
Companies couldn't "compartmentalize" my polymorphous job profile nor understand it, and didn't follow up with my proposals of collaboration.
On the other side, I was still under the "testing phase" with my soon-to-be Mentor Entrepreneur, and I couldn't make a living yet from our few activities together.
I was fed up with begging Companies to take me onboard.
I was fed up with needing to convince them on how good my skills were.
In fact that was not the point - I just wanted an opportunity to show them that I could enter their world and, with intelligence, creativity, and my multi-shaped background, bring value to them and their clients. It's what I had always focused myself on, and this time it would have been no different.
But that opportunity was not coming.
And I was fed up with the economic crisis that had hit Italy several years before and from which the Country hadn't recovered. No surprise that those Companies were themselves striving to remain afloat.
So I made a decision - I wanted to work as an online instructor, for clients and users from all over the world, monetizing on the skills and know-how I had gained thus far.
That was highly tempting to me.
First, with an online platform I would have skipped the need to go office door to office door to showcase my services.
Second, I wouldn't have needed to perform in-person activities to earn my money.
In fact, what after the 2020 pandemic has become so common - remote working with the spread use of digital tools for the whole workforce - wasn't so much and so generally accepted by companies at that time.
Third, with an online product - namely, a structured online course or a portfolio of courses - my professional profile would have become much clearer and easier to communicate.
On my side, I had the working knowledge of the English language that could skyrocket myself far beyond the boundaries of my own Country, and I had already tested it with my online teaching experiments.
I just needed some more professional training and coaching to deliver courses at a much higher price point than Udemy's.
I was not seeing something fundamental though - that decision was hiding in itself my desire to run away from people.
I was tired, I was disheartened, I was scared to get another "no" or an even more desolating silence. I didn't notice at the time, but my choice to go online was bringing with it a defeating sense of withdrawal from reality.
I wasn't realizing that probably I just had to ask people for their help. I was "programmed" to do it all by myself.
I didn't have to wait that long, though - this lesson would dramatically show up just a few months later, with almost deadly consequences.
I was quite at the end of a tunnel with no sight of light yet. Professional online training would have probably been for me the last opportunity, the last possible door to break out of it.
And, in a very timely manner, the advertisement of a Masterclass, a professional online program to learn how to launch a product or service with success in 90 days with coaching included, popped up in my email.
I danced around it for some days in order to learn more about the provider, their actual success, and the free initial training they provided.
Their quality level was extraordinary.
Their ability to hook me in front of the screen, and to actually have me work out the items they were suggesting, filled me with enthusiasm about the experience that I would have then been able to create with their help for my prospect students.
The amount requested for participating was very high to me - a large share of my very poor earnings of that year. But I felt that it was worth the investment, and if things were as extraordinary as they seemed, I would have regained it in a very short time. They also had an amazing guarantee - they would refund it at the end of the program in case I didn't earn my investment back by selling my online product. I couldn't miss that. I was convinced. My last chance was coming also with a guarantee.
I checked in with my wife, I paid, and I dove into it.
The training was glorious. I was feeling that just by applying their same training techniques to the material that I would have later created for my courses would have been sufficient to call that Masterclass a success.
As a goal I decided to create a course for professionals who wanted to become certified as a PMP® - Project Management Professional. I had already taught those same principles at a basic level before, I was myself a PMP® Credential holder, I had hands-on work experience as a Project and Program Manager, and I was confident I could raise my bar to do that too.
After the first month and a half spent on being trained on the basics, making some market researches, and sending out via "Facebook ads" an "opt-in freebie" (a short ebook describing the process for being certified, aimed to collecting email addresses of potentially interested buyers), I realized that I was entering a world for which I was not prepared yet.
I realized that something was missing - my credibility as a "PMP online instructor".
I hadn't performed that role yet, so I had no story and no testimonials for it.
Besides, being the PMP exam a big investment in itself for the prospective candidate on top of any additional training, I sensed that no one would have risked taking a course with me without any success history yet on my side.
The PMP exam is also gigantic, and I realized that even creating the study material would have been a titanic effort.
I had aimed too high.
My ground was starting melting.
In addition to this, I discovered that I would have had to make several more investments - not to the organization that was providing the training and coaching, but to providers of my choice for setting up a platform, marketing email automation, and any other service I would have needed.
I didn't expect that, I wasn't ready for it, and I simply didn't have any additional fund for them.
I simply wasn't ready yet for the self-entrepreneurial life they were promoting.
Illusion and delusion.
My heart sank, my ground crumbled.
I didn't apply for a refund.
I felt that it wasn't their fault, that it wouldn't have been fair asking my money back, and that anyway what I had learnt with them, someday, would turn useful.
But I was devastated.
That last door, that had been looking like my last chance for breathing again, wasn't taking me anywhere.
Everything became dark.
I had fallen to temptation, and it had brought me to a desperate and cold hell of a silence.
I had deluded myself and dear ones, I thought.
No more hope. There was only one more thing to do, I thought. Leaving the scene.
And this, will be the subject of the next post.
Is there anything that is tempting you and derailing from your Call?
What are the fears that this temptation is hiding? What is it that you don't want to admit to yourself?
Imagine to pass through this temptation, land on the other side and soar to the sky: what do you see?
Are you seeing life as it is, or are you pushing for making it resemble what you think it should be?
Close your eyes. Stay in silence. See your thoughts come and go. Focus on the space between them, and beyond them. What Potentials show up for you, right now?
Is this post lighting you up? Are you willing to Open Up to Your Potentials?
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The Journey so far:
(8) The Temptress - This post
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