The Heroine’s Journey, Part Nine: Heroine Heals the Wounded Masculine Within

Post Author: Pastor Courtney R. Young

This devotional is the ninth installment in what will be a series of ten exploring the kinship between the Heroine’s Journey as established by Maureen Murdock, my lived experience of ministry as a female clergy person, and a few familiar fictional characters. Each devotional ends with a blessing for the Heroine at that stage. In the previous post, we examined the eighth part of the journey where the Heroine reclaims and integrates their lost feminine aspects. 

A subsequent crisis or conflict emerges out of the initial crisis introduced in step six. To rise to meet this conflict, the Heroine makes peace with the masculine other within themself and the skills, strategies, and authority they learned in steps two and three. They renegotiate how to welcome the masculine into their life without being overwhelmed. The Heroine renews their drive to bring their passions into fruition and assert their expertise, authority, and wisdom.

An image of a sculpture by Jun Kaneko, placed on sandy ground with a green hedge, trees, and the sky in the background. The sculpture is curved pillar of white stone, several feet tall, with a blue circle about three-quarters of the way up. The blue of the circle is bleeding down the statue.

A sculpture by Jun Kaneko installed at the Portland Japanese Garden for his exhibit Garden of Resonance.

Personal Story 

I believe this is where I am in my journey currently. My intuition tells me that this season of my life will take years to pass through, just as it took years to pass through the seasons introduced in steps two, three, and four. I can’t share what the whole scope of this season looks like in my life because I haven’t reached a resolution here, but I can share with you what sort of experiences I’m seeking out at this stage.

I am figuring out how to incorporate my writing into my role as pastor and within my ministry life. I built myself a website, which was quite the way to explore how I convey my authority to others. I started blogging. I became a writer-in-residence here at Fidelia. I am still plugging away at my book exploring the spiritual awakening I experienced as a teenager. 

I am participating in a leadership development cohort. While packing for our first intensive retreat, I realized that I felt unusually anxious. Upon reflection, I realized this retreat was the moment that I would be stepping out of the figurative cave that I had occupied since the start of the pandemic and reclaiming my authority as a clergyperson. I had changed a lot since the last time I entered public ministry; I still carry the unease of stepping back in. I’m still not sure how it all fits together. I’m not sure what hopes and dreams I will hold onto and what ones I still need to release.

I am narrowing the scope of duties that I’m willing to take responsibility for and getting better at saying “no” to ministry opportunities that don’t match. I may be whole and rich and deep, but I am not everything. I am getting better at allowing people to be made uncomfortable by my presence or opinions or expertise. 


Narrative Example

Returning once more to the movies of Frozen 2, Captain Marvel, and Kung Fu Panda 3 movies, let’s explore how the Heroines reintegrate their formal authority. There will be spoilers. 

Elsa realizes that the spirits had been calling to her because she is the fifth spirit, the mediator between them and now two people – the Northuldra and the Arendellians. They need her to undo the curse that was placed on the forest because of the conflict between her mother’s people and her father’s people. Now in Ahtohallan, Elsa can view people’s memories, which are stored in the water of her glacier-stronghold. Elsa travels deep down into the dangerous cold, willing to put her life on the line to find the memory that could show her what led to the forest being cursed. As her body is freezing, she witnesses her paternal grandfather murdering the leader of her mother’s people. She understands that her grandfather had set out to weaken the magic of the forest and the Northuldra because he was afraid. With her last bit of energy before she completely freezes, she sends the memory on to her sister, Anna.

Carol Danvers decides that she will abandon the mission that she was issued by the Kree to capture Talos, the Skrull leader, and instead help him, just like Mar Vell did before her. She now understands that the Skrull are actually the vulnerable ones so she goes back to fight in the war, but on her own terms (and with a new look!). She flies Talos to Mar Vell’s hidden laboratory to be reunited with his people who have been hiding there, including his family, and to help them escape.

At the beginning of Kung Fu Panda 3, Po heals the masculine other by being reunited with his biological father, Li, and getting to learn about his panda heritage, particularly pandas’ connection to the use of chi, a way of sharing energy and power. Together they travel to the relocated, rebuilt, and hidden panda village. There he grows a relationship with Li while at the same time his biological dad and adoptive dad form a friendship of their own, establishing what they will later call their “double dad defense.” It is there amidst the pandas and his dads that Po endeavors to transition from a Kung Fu Master to a Kung Fu Master Teacher.


Blessing for Heroine

You are whole, but you must not become an unreachable monolith. You are not the only one in this world, and life is not lived alone.

It is time for you to return by a different route. 

It is time for you to partake again. To join the current. Waves. Wakes. Freeze. Thaw. Ripples. Surges. The turning of tides.  

Champion Heroine, there is so much to you. There is so much for you.

It is time for you to lift your face up and reach out your hand to reconnect with everything that exists on the other side of you.

May your hand not stay empty for long.

Courtney Young is a bi-vocational Lutheran pastor/stay-at-home mom from Minnesota. She was honored to spend the first part of her career in campus ministry. Currently, she is serving as an interim pastor and writing a book. Connect with her at

Image by: Courtney Young
Used with permission
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