I blew the dust off my Joseph Campbell book, The Hero with a Thousand Faces to brush up on the different parts of the hero’s journey. One of the parts of the journey that caught my eye was Belly of the Whale. According to Joseph Campbell,
The idea that the passage of the magical threshold is a transit into a sphere of rebirth is symbolized in the worldwide womb image of the belly of the whale. The hero, instead of conquering or conciliating the power of the threshold, is swallowed into the unknown, and would appear to have died.
What drew me toward this part of the journey was wondering the difference between belly of the whale and the road of trials. The difference is that the belly of whale for the hero is where the hero is presumed dead. There’s a bible story about a man named Jonah(which I think this part is named after). He is called to warn a city about their impending doom. Jonah, out of fear refused the call and tried to escape his calling on a boat. Buuuut then there’s an unavoidable raging storm. To calm the storm, Jonah tells them to throw him overboard, but they didn’t want to kill an innocent man so they tried to avoid it. Alas, there was no way Jonah was avoiding his calling or the storm, so to save themselves, they throw him overboard. As soon as he’s overboard, the storm calms and Jonah’s God has a fish swallow him for three days. Thankfully, Jonah gets another chance to answer the call when the fish spits him onto dry land which Joseph Campbell would call his rebirth.
I find Campbell’s work super inspiring. It makes me wanna keep writing.
2 thoughts on “Belly of the Whale”
Hello, I too am a writer of sorts. I have been trying to set up a blog and not doing so well so I am impressed with yours. I am using WordPress.com. Anyway, great post. It made me think about a lot of things.
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Welcome to WordPress! Glad to know my post made you think! I’ll have to take some time to check out your page. You’re welcomed to contact me with any blogging questions. I’d be happy to answer them if I can