The stages of the artist's journey share one fundamental quality. They are all battles against Resistance. Resistance meaning fear. Resistance meaning distraction. Resistance meaning temptation. Resistance meaning the aggressive self-perpetuation of the ego. Resistance meaning the terror the psyche experiences at the prospect of encountering the Self, i.e. the soul, the unconscious, the superconscious.
We are fortifying ourselves, training ourselves against fear, boredom, laziness, arrogance, self-inflation, complacency.
David Mamet from Three Uses of the Knife. In his analysis of world myth, Joseph Campbell calls this period in the belly of the beast—the time which is not the beginning and not the end, the time in which the artist and the protagonist doubt themselves and wish the journey had never begun.
Her need for third-party validation attenuates. She may still ask you of her work, "What do you think?" But she evaluates your response within the framework of her own self-grounded assessment of her gifts and aspirations—and of how well or poorly she herself believes she has used the one in the service of the other.
Iinterviewed a test pilot once. He told me that over the course of his career he had put more than two hundred and fifty airplanes into deliberate tailspins to test the crafts' physical limits. "Of course you are scared," he said. "But you understand what causes a tailspin. And you know how to pull out of it."
The artist hears the guns. She feels the battle lines inside her and she senses which quarter of the field terrifies her most. She goes there. She runs there.
She acquires humility and she gains self-belief. She learns to self-motivate. To self-validate. To self-reinforce. And to self-evaluate.
The Unconscious (to use the term as Freud originally defined it) is unconscious only to us. We are unconscious of its contents. But the Unconscious mind is not unconscious to itself or of itself. The Unconscious is wide awake.
The superconscious is the part of our mind that speaks in our true voice, knows our true subject, and makes decisions from our true point of view.
What's on the far side of the Stargate? We are.
The legends of the ancient world are packed with monsters—Medusa, Cerberus, the Minotaur. Even the human characters—Medea, Agamemnon, Ajax, Clytemnestra—often embody the monstrous.
Your daimon shields you, protects you, counsels you. It kicks your ass. It will drive you crazy if you ignore it, and yet it is inseparable from you. Nothing in your life is as loyal. It will never leave you, never betray you, never abandon you.
Flesh-and-blood individuals will enter your life at precisely the time and place you need them. These persons will play the role of archetypes—mentors and lovers, boon companions, even animal spirits, tricksters—as will corresponding foes and antagonists, tempters and temptresses, enemies, shape-shifters.