Author: Jan Scholten
2.6.5 Stage 5: Praseodymium
Labor 2: The Hydra of Lerna.
The Hydra was an enormous serpent with nine (in some stories the number is 100) heads, living in a marsh near Lerna on the Peloponnese, ravaging herds and crops. Its breath was deadly poisonous. Heracles forced the Hydra to come out of the marsh with flaming arrows, striking off the heads with his mighty club. But two (3) heads then grew where one was struck off. Heracles managed to conquer the Hydra with the help of his friend and nephew Iolaus, who burned the neck immediately after the heads were struck off, so they couldn't grow again. The last head, though, was immortal and Heracles buried it with a big rock on top. He soaked the tips of his arrows in the blood of the Hydra, making them deadly poisonous.
Here the task is immense, almost insurmountable. The task can never be ended as more heads grow when Heracles kills one. This is the typical feeling of Stage 5, that their task is too much and that the goal cannot be reached. So they keep avoiding and postponing doing what they have to do.