Everybody is experiencing significant moments of transition in his life: to be born and to die and in between so many moments that we are not always even remember them. When I looked up the meaning of “transition” I found a long list what transition can be, for example, transition being “adolescence, transitional phase of growth and development between childhood and adulthood”. I wonder if life isn’t a transitional phase itself. If we remember the many stories of pilgrimage, people walking hundreds of kilometers, these are stories of transition. Usually somebody leaves his comfort zone and as the landscapes he will enter constantly change there is often a change of the person’s character during the journey.
The stories about pilgrimage are strong because there seems to be some universal truth in it. It’s the struggle of being strong willed enough or giving up and often about unexpected encounters or experiences which leave a deep impression in the soul of the wanderer.
Of course the well known hero’s journey comes to mind, which according to Joseph Campbell is a story of transformation. The hero always has to encounter some sort of Otherworld and returns to his ordinary world with a gift. Very often he is not able to tell his listeners about the experiences in the Otherworld and he has become somebody who is not any longer understood. He has become a daemonic man.
Usually most of us are not doing a hero’s journey into the “Otherworld”, however nearly everybody has moments in his life when he enters some unknown or different world, some sort of Forest Dark. It might be the tourist getting lost in the labyrinth of Venice’s canals, or you have to deal with strange customs in a foreign land. A simple power cut can put you in a strange land, where normal rules not any longer apply.
These experiences happen in our everyday world, but maybe there are moments of transition when we experience an invisible world around us and we are getting changed. It might not be dramatic or spectacular things like alien abductions or near death experiences but the moments when we are alone and get a strong feeling that things might not what they seem to be. Sometimes we get these experiences in nature and this might be one reason why people do so many journeys into their life. Some people need to climb the highest mountains. Others want to conquer a desert or go diving into deep sea. Any explanation about a (genetic) drive to explore isn’t sufficient enough.
Maybe we are looking for lost knowledge. According the old philosophical idea of Anamnesis birth would be a moment of transition where we actually loose our knowledge (about the Otherworld). What if our individual journeys or our drive to explore are attempts to get back that lost knowledge? Then indeed life would mean a “transitional phase” itself.