In Disney’s, The Lion King, the filmmaker vividly captures the emotion of The Hero’s Journey.
Simba’s carefree, happy childhood is abruptly interrupted with a crisis. For him, it was the tragic death of his father, Mufasa. His uncle, Scar, who orchestrated his brother’s death, convinces Simba that he is to blame for his father’s death. Simba believes the lie, picks up a mantle of shame, and runs away far into the jungle, leaving Scar to reign over the pride.
In the jungle, Simba meets up with two new friends, Timone and Pumba, who convince Simba to stuff his feelings, to stuff his shame of the past and adopt their philosophy of “Hakuna Matata,” — no worries. Why worry about the past? It’s in the past. Live for today … the here and now. Enjoy!
Simba’s past catches up with him when he bumps into Nala, his childhood friend. She relays the consequences of his decision to run away. How when Simba made the decision to run, leaving Scar in charge, the Pride was now in trouble and near starvation. Nala challenges Simba, to step into his gold and take up his mantle of kingship and power and return to the Pride.
Simba’s wrestles with Nala’s challenge through the night. Shame resurfaces as he acknowledges his wound (that he caused Mufasa’s death). As he wrestles, his anger surfaces toward his father, “You said you’d always be there for me! It’s because of me. It’s all my fault.”
Rafiki, the crazy, sage baboon with a walking stick, helps to guide him.
“Who are you?” asks Simba.
Rafiki replies, “The question is, ‘Who are YOU?” Simba’s healing begins as Rafiki says, “I know you. You’re Mufasa’s boy!”
“You knew my father?” asks Simba.
“Correction. I know your father,” replies Rafiki and he takes off into the jungle.
Desperate to find his father again, Simba follows Rafiki into the deep, dark jungle full of trees and brambles until they both abruptly stop at the water’s edge. He takes a journey alone, where there is no path, into the darkest part of the forest.
“Look down there,” Rafiki says.
Disappointed, Simba sighs, “That’s not my father. It’s just my reflection.”
“Look harder,” says Rafiki. “You see, he lives in you.”
As Simba notices his father’s reflection in him, Mufasa’s voice imparts him with the gold he sees in his son. “You are not just what you’ve become. Remember who you are. You are my son.”
It’s when Simba realizes who he is and whose he is — the truth of the gold inside of him — that he can return to the pride, take his rightful place as king and face his enemy Scar.
In the end, Simba wrestles with Scar to take back his rightful place as king of the Pride. As he wrestles, Scar reveals the truth; the truth that Scar was actually responsible for Mufasa’s death and not Simba. It’s then, when truth is revealed, Simba takes up his full mantle of kingship and power as he defeats his enemy and the lie — shame — is put to death.
Doesn’t this story capture our own work, our own hero’s journeys?
Many times we think like Pumba and Timone, “The past is in the past! What does it matter?” Leave the past in the past and live today like there are no worries. Hakuna Matata!
Until one day, the past catches up to us. Some of us are fortunate to meet a wise sage who leads us to our heavenly Father until we can see His reflection inside us, revealing our truest selves. It’s then we gain the power to wrestle with our lies and the Accuser until the truth and our gold are revealed.
- How many men do we know that need to take this journey?
- What if we led them to the wise sage and helped them remember who they really are?
- How many kings would take up their rightful mantle of power and fight the Enemy of lies?
The lives of these men, their wives, their children, need them to remember who they really are.
By Peter & Dawn Aldrich
Peter completed his initial weekend in March of 2015 and also completed the Two-Year Transformational leadership program. He has staffed various Crucible Project weekends, including Kenya in February of 2018. Peter is also a catalyst in bringing The Crucible Project to men in the northeast and building a community of Crucible men there. He is part-owner of Cage Data an Information Technology, Managed Service Provider located in Connecticut.
Photo Credit: Corey Leopold via Creative Commons