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Quotes of the day

“The best thing for being sad," replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, "is to learn something. That's the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds.

There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the only thing for you. Look what a lot of things there are to learn.”

― T.H. White, The Once and Future King

The Hero's Journey ~ The Belly of the Whale

Journal Entry: Wed Apr 20, 2016, 2:00 AM

"Now we must brave the long dark of Moria.  Let us hope that our passage goes unnoticed."

- Gandalf the Grey, Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

In the Belly of the Whale by hogret

It is dark.
You are alone, abandoned, lost.
This feels like the loneliest place in the world. 

Panic Room by WantToDream

The Belly of the Whale is the point in the story in which the hero reaches her lowest point, or rather her "point of least self".  All the things she has known about the world and about herself must be transformed or discarded for her to re-emerge ready for the rest of her journey. The imagery of being "inside" something here is important. The hero appears to those outside the Whale as dead or gone, but where she has really gone is inside herself.  Her old self has died.

Void by SachaKalis

"Inside" in movies and stories often is a literal whale (as in Finding Nemo, or Pinocchio) or a tomb, a cave or a pyramid.  In ordinary life, this place is probably the deepest, loneliest reaches of the hero's mind. It is depression. It is despair. It is shame and loneliness and overwhelm-ment.  It is the long dark night of the soul.  Two o’ clock in the morning and you are staring into the abyss. 

"Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster... for when you gaze too long into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”

~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Abyss by IMustBeDead

This stage of the hero's journey can be depicted many ways - Hansel and Gretel being taken in by the evil witch who hopes to eat them, or Indiana Jones entering the secret tomb to steal the legendary idol, or Marlin and Dory inside the whale in Finding Nemo, or Luke and company trapped in the trash compactor on the Death Star.  The psychological aspect is always the same:  the Belly of the Whale is a place where the hero must go to lose those parts of herself that were holding her back in fear or ignorance.   What this inside represents is a place of transformation. Death and birth are one in this stage. It is a return to the cosmic forge, where personality and character are redefined and re-conceived. The hero will emerge with new knowledge of self and powers of understanding that will carry her through the rest of her quest.  The Belly of the Whale is not the place where the hero conquers her ultimate enemy (that comes later), but is the place where she contends with parts of herself.  It is a transformation from who she is to who she needs to be. This is a painful, but necessary process, for if the hero encounters her enemy or attempts her great task (the Supreme Ordeal) before she has dealt with herself, the quest will end in failure.

The Clown by negateven

This is a bleak place.  In movies or in books, we know that this is a transition:  we will not stay here for ever, there is a happy ending ahead, and we know the story will take us there soon enough, while we watch, and bite our nails in pleasurable excitement.  In real life, this is not so certain.  Sometimes we feel we will be trapped here forever.  That this is the end of the story.  That there is no easy way out, no happy ending.  It is all too hard.

De Profundis by GothicNarcissus

And yet, if we know anything, it is that we have the potential to be powerful beyond our own imaginings.  That significant transformation occurs through suffering and times of despair, and that these can be followed by a profound joy as we arrive at a surer place of self knowledge and self acceptance.  The Belly is not a place you visit only once.  You will return many times, and each time you re-emerge you are more... .  I know this about you, and I hold it for you, until you can take it and hold it for yourself.

 from tight rope to life 12 by CanDaN

And brace yourself, now, for things are about to get really hectic. 

The Supreme Ordeal lies ahead. 

You are ready. 

You are. 

 Transcendent by venetas

This is Stage Six of the Hero's Journey.
The earlier stages are here:
Stage One – The Call to Adventure
Stage Two – Refusal of the Call
Stage Three – The Helpers Arrive
Stage Four –  Crossing the Threshold
Stage Five –  The Road of Trials
Next up is Stage Seven – The Supreme Ordeal

The Hero's Journey ~ The Road of Trials

Journal Entry: Tue Dec 1, 2015, 1:33 AM

"We'll never survive."

"Nonsense, you're only saying that because no one ever has."

- Wesley and Buttercup (when preparing to enter the Fire Swamp), "The Princess Bride"

Visit to dreams by Ebineyland

This is Stage Five in the Hero's Journey.  The earlier stages are here:

Stage One – The Call to Adventure

Stage Two – Refusal of the Call

Stage Three – The Helpers Arrive

Stage Four –  Crossing the Threshold

By the time we reach this stage, the hero has committed to the adventure. 
She is on the plane; she has accepted the new job; she is pregnant; she has said “Yes” to a big opportunity.
(Not all at once, obviously, but you get the idea?)
The die is cast, and the future lies in wait. 
Almost immediately,  the hero begins to face tests, trials and tribulations. 
The road ahead is not a smooth one.

Path or Obstacle? by Zxz328

For instance – you have been offered an internship in Venice. 
You arrive in the middle of the night, after 20 hours of travelling, and have to find your way to your hotel. 
In the dark winding alleyways of Venice you get lost, it starts to rain, and you realise your first year course in Italian has not given you enough tools to ask for – or follow – directions.
Weeping softly to yourself, you drag your suitcase along the labyrinth of cobblestones and bridges over darkly gleaming canals for what feels like a small eternity.
And you wonder why you ever thought you could do this.

Challenge by PauloCarrasco

Tests may include taking great personal risks, battling with monsters, solving puzzles and enduring varying extremes of discomfort. 
(Think about the Twelve Labours of Hercules, for example.  Or the number of levels you have to beat in any videogame.)
There may be a series of events or mini-adventures within the story or there may be deliberate tests, typically by a gatekeeper who will reward the hero either by giving them some magical artefact, or critical information, or otherwise helping the hero along the way.

Support by MartheMa

In stories and movies, the trials and tests steadily build tension and also develop the character of the hero. 
These tribulations are necessary to hone the hero’s skills, to test her strength, to build her confidence and her resilience and capacity to cope. 
She will need all of these, and more, later in the story.  

Flame-Thrower by rojoepeters

Whilst the surface tests may be physical, the actual test is often of the inner qualities the hero will need, including courage, integrity and humility. 
Some of the battles, therefore, are with the hero’s inner self – her own frailties and failings – and allow her to become more truly herself, more empowered, more able; stronger and wiser than she ever knew she could be.

What It Takes To Fly by yuumei

How do you meet your tests, trials, and tribulations? 
Weeping, railing against the fates, crawling under the duvet are all very tempting. 
A sense of humour helps. 
Stubbornness, determination, gritted teeth are useful too. 
Know this.  You will survive, for the ultimate arc of your story is not yet.
And when it comes, you will be ready.

Fight by Inominatus

 UP NEXT -  Stage Six: The Belly of the Whale


South Africa
Lapsed academic
Executive Coach
Collagiste and designer

Many of my digital collages available as prints, phone and iPad cases, etc, on redbubble.
Commissioned work undertaken if it tickles my fancy!…


Add a Comment:
greycom Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2018
hello hogret, it's been a long time
KATZENAUGEN1967 Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Beautiful gallery!!  
artin2007 Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2017
Nice quote from TH White....

One of your collages was so interesting/inspiring,
it begged to be imitated, but this garnered
no interest at all...yours.... remains an
elusive, successful aesthetic...
1547 Man by artin2007
hogret Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2017
Glad I can be inspiring!
Just keep on swimming ...
NighteyesLover Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2017  Professional General Artist
Just a note to say that your work is visually stunning and truly inspirational.  I could stare at it all day (which is NOT good...cuz I might get lost in a really good book).  I hope you never stop making art.  When I look at your creations, they scratch an itch inside that seldom is reached by anything.  Thank you for sharing it with us.
hogret Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2017
What a lovely compliment.  thank you so much.  You made my day.
ismail010 Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2017  Hobbyist Artist
thnks for your cool brushes
hogret Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2017
You welcome indeed!
Canankk Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2017
Thank you for the brushes I do not exist :heart:
hogret Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2017
You are so welcome
Add a Comment: