The Belly of the Why

Author: Matthew I. Wanner

After an unexpected, but honestly welcome, week off, we are back to The Hero with a Thousand Faces and the subchapter The Belly of the Whale. This is going to be a bit shorter than usual since this is the last subchapter before we get into Chapter Two.

First line and we’re already talking about wombs. This should be fun.

We dealt with crossing the threshold last time, and here we go into what that means very, very briefly. Which, at this point, should be no surprise. Essentially, our hero is crossing the threshold into a place of sacrifice and rebirth. He primarily equates it with a place of rebirth. In order for the hero to grow and become more than they are, Campbell posits, they must first die, then be reborn.

The rest of the subchapter he talks about myths where kings sacrifice themselves. He also talks about supposedly historical examples where kings would sacrifice themselves every eight years or so in the BC’s. I don’t know how much of that is historically accurate, but I have a feeling he’s exaggerating things somewhat. We do return to King Minos briefly when discussing kings that sacrifice themselves, or that it’s implied that he was supposed to every eight years, but he sacrificed the people the Athenians sent him in his place, which does track with his habit of sacrificing one thing in place of another.

I do like that we’ve been seeing a lot of King Minos throughout. One of my major criticisms has been that there’s not a lot of cohesion between the myths he uses to demonstrate his points in each subchapter. King Minos’ frequency goes some small way towards making that right. Not far though.

This closes Chapter One. Next week we’ll start on Chapter Two: Initiation. I am going to be very busy between now and then finally getting my Patreon set up properly, adding the short stories, writing the overdue thank you letter for all the backers that got me to my $50 goal, and working on a couple other things. If I haven’t mentioned it elsewhere, I also started classes again this week, so I’m still working out how to manage the increased workload. Never fear, this will continue to be a weekly post, there will, eventually, be other posts that I keep promising. My Patrons, I have a couple ideas in the works for you, and those of you with access can expect another chapter of “The Old Lands” next Wednesday. If you haven’t checked out my Patreon yet, head on over to There are early (rough draft) chapters of my upcoming novel available there in .pdf, and you can see kind of what I’m all about.

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