Wednesday, December 7, 2011

VP4W 13 The Kingdom is Brighter

The Virgin's Promise for Writers

The best atmospheric metaphor for the culmination of the Virgin's Promise is a sunrise: the dark night has ended and the day begins with renewed life and energy.

At the end of the arc, in a collective parallel to, and catalyzed by, the Virgin's personal transformation, The Kingdom is Brighter. In an important sense, the community has also chosen its own light.

As Kim Hudson* explains:
"The Virgin has challenged the kingdom and thrown it into chaos. They have accepted her back and made adjustments to accommodate her authentic nature or her dream. When the dust settles, the kingdom comes to realize that it is better off for having gone through this experience with the Virgin, for it was in need of change. In some way it has adjusted itself and benefited. The most common benefits include that evil had been revealed and removed, new life has been injected into the kingdom, others are inspired to follow their dreams, and unconditional love binds the kingdom."

The Virgin doesn't ride off into the sunset, as we discussed in the Re-ordering, because the problem all along was internal to her community. While the arc of the Virgin's Promise is, at one level, a story of coming into one's own as an individual, it is also about doing so in the context of a community--one that is neither wholly good nor bad. And as the Virgin had to stretch and grow and make a new place for herself to escape the web of expectations that kept her from realizing her dreams, so too did the Kingdom: whether because of complacency, traditions growing rigid, or a festering social evil, the Kingdom was also trapped and unable to realize the dream of its potential.

Like curtains thrown open to flood a room with the crisp light of a new day, the Kingdom blossoms with new life--figuratively and sometimes literally. More importantly, now that the social malignancy has been healed, there is an outpouring, at least in the Virgin's immediate circle, of unconditional love.

The beautiful thing about coming to the end of a satisfying and well-told story is that we're left to savor that final, perfect image. Life outside of the story has a tendency of marring a perfect, culminating moment through the simple fact that it goes on. The morning after you receive the Nobel Prize for Literature you'll still have to get up, get dressed, and do something useful.

I can't begin to imagine all the ways in which your kingdom will be brighter as you realize your writing dreams. But I can tell you that light is a fleeting thing. If you don't fix it in your memory, the time will come when no one remembers how bright the kingdom was.

But rather than despairing that it didn't last, take inspiration from the hope that what once was may be again. For one brief, shining moment, there really was a Camelot.

And in a larger sense, this is why the Hero's Journey and the Virgin's Promise are archetypes: these are stories that are always unfolding. Coming to the end of one cycle means that soon we will begin another.

* Kim Hudson, The Virgin's Promise

Image: Simon Howden /

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