There’s a quirky thing about the hero’s journey, especially in fairy tales.

When the hero begins his journey he often receives a sword.

Heroines, on the other hand, get shoes.


The Magic Talisman

When Dorothy arrives in Oz she’s given a pair of ruby red slippers.

The Wicked Witch covets them, but Dorothy is instructed not to remove them.

Tension mounts, causing a great deal of anxiety for everyone involved – Dorothy, the Witch, and even the unlikely helpers Scarecrow, Lion and the Tin Man.

What Dorothy doesn’t realize is that she’s been given a talisman, a special gift to help her return safely home.

The truth is, throughout her entire quest, throughout all of her longing and fear and doubt, Dorothy has the very thing required to make her dreams come true.

A few clicks of the heel and Dorothy could easily be home without all the hassle.

The problem with the shoes is that they’re rather ordinary. Other than their sparkly ruby color, they feel and look just like shoes. There’s nothing extraordinarily useful about them, at least not in Dorothy’s mind.

But the deeper truth is that they’re magical. These colorful shoes can take Dorothy exactly where she wants to go as soon as she recognizes their power.

What talisman would the wise woman give you?

In myths and fairy tales the heroine doesn’t get to choose her talisman. The talisman is given to her by someone like Glinda, the Good Witch of the North (or South, if you read the book).  She’s the wise woman, after all, the guide who knows the heroine better than she knows herself.

The word talisman comes from the Greek root, “telesma”, which means, “to initiate into the mysteries.” This sacred object initiates or activates a latent, inner gift the heroine doesn’t know she has (or takes for granted) until it’s brought to her attention.

Of course, the reason the heroine doesn’t recognize her special gift is because it seems ordinary, average.

Besides, sometimes it’s just easier to accept a physical object from someone else than an intangible inner gift you have to claim yourself.

So what talisman would the wise woman give you?

It must reflect a gift you already have. Possibly a talent you take for granted.

It must be something that can easily get you “home” which is a metaphor for feeling more connected or aligned with yourself.

Take a moment to imagine your wisest self giving you a talisman.

Then leave a comment below and tell us what you receive. Describe how you might use it to grow your lifework.