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A Roadmap for the Hero, Part 8: Ordeal

8. A Matter of Life or Death

The Ordeal can be a deep inner conflict that the hero must face to survive or for the world she lives in to exist. This can also be a physical or intellectual test. To face this ordeal, the hero draws upon all of her skills and experiences in life to overcome this difficult challenge. A “death” has to occur for the hero to be reborn, and a “resurrection” results where she embraces and acknowledges her greater powers and insight to fulfill her destiny or successfully end her quest. This is the climax of the hero’s story and where everything she holds dear is put on the line. If she fails, she will either die or life as she knows it will never be the same.

What did this look like for Doris?

“Her lair became very, very quiet indeed until the honey dissolved in the bats’ mouths. Then the whole lair filled up with belly laughter. The belly laughter of bats and fairies is unlike any sound you’ve ever heard, shrill and sweet.”

Doris dies to herself here in the silence of her lair and the uncertainty about the future. She has faced this ordeal with all the powers she has––hospitality, baking and a positive outlook on life and the belief in the power of peace to build community. But will her love in action be enough? She feeds the bats when the sweetest sound you’ve ever heard, shrill and sweet. In the laughter of both the bats and the fairies, Doris faces and overcomes her deep inner conflict of wanting to fit in as a duck-sized fairy in a bat-infested world. 

Have you faced and overcome an ordeal that tested your limits? Has an ordeal you suffered given you an emotional, intellectual or physical test that you had to endure? Have you experienced a kind of “death” in your life that caused you to resurrect your life in a new way? Write about how you experienced an ordeal that granted you greater powers (insight, physical strength, wisdom, position, wealth) to fulfill your destiny or successfully help to bring your quest to completion.

This is Part 8 of a 12 part series.

Be sure to read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, and Part 7 if you missed it!

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Hero’s Journey
Life or Death
Roadmap
The Ordeal
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