Author: Jan Scholten
2.7.5 Stage 5, Praseodymium: the Sirens
Odysseus and his men have to pass the Sirens who can put on a spell on people with their singing. Odysseus closes the ears of his men with wax and tells them to bind him to the mast of his ship. This way they can go safely past the Sirens. Although Odysseus gets under the spell of the Sirens, he cannot do anything and his men don't hear his orders.
In Stage 5 the task is seen as impossible. The goal is too far and difficult to reach. The Sirens can be seen as the voices that keep the hero away from his task. They cast a spell by saying that the task is impossible, that there is no home to reach, that it’s better to stay where you are and have fun, that one can best enjoy life and its beauties moment by moment.
To overcome those voices the men have been shown the trick of not listening to them. Odysseus uses the trick of going steadfast, being bound to the mast, which transforms the force of the wind into the driving force of the ship. It's symbolic of the way how to overcome the problems of Stage 5: don't listen to the problems and just go on.