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The Myth of Er

Once upon a time, there was a Greek soldier named Er.


Er was killed in battle.





After 10 days his fellow soldiers collected his body and put it on a funeral pyre to be burned. When they lit it, he woke up:




He explained to them that he had been to the afterlife and had returned to tell them what to expect.


He described four doors — two in the air and two on the ground. Souls of the deceased were coming and going through the doors.




The souls that exited the sky doors describe 1000 years of joy and beauty. The souls that exited the doors in the ground describe 1000 years of pain and misery.


Er and the newly exited souls were taken on a 7-day journey to field. In this field, a bright pillar of rainbow light descended from the sky. There were three women surrounding the pillar. These were the sisters of Fate.




The sisters helped each of the souls choose a new life. Some who lived ordinary, mundane lives chose ordinary, mundane new lives — out of habit and comfort. Some who had lived hard lives chose wealth and ease. Some chose to come back as animals.


Regardless of what life they chose, they were each then assigned a Daemon — a guiding spirit who would accompany them, invisibly, and keep them on the path of their new life.



This story was originally told by Plato in his dialogue, The Republic. I don’t believe he told it to teach us about the afterlife — but rather as a true myth; a metaphor for how to live. Each of use comes to this earth with a purpose, a bliss, a calling — A STORY. It is then our mission to live out that purpose — to answer the call of our story. And we are assisted by our subconscious interests and intuitions.


I believe this may be the most important story ever told — because as a hero of mine, Joseph Campbell said, “The influence of a vital person vitalizes.” When we live out our calling, we are vital — and those we encounter are necessarily vitalized by being in our presence.


We don’t change the world by electing the right leaders — we change the world by vitalizing it and everyone in it. And, we do that, by living out our story.





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