Author: Jan Scholten
2.7.8 Stage 8, Samarium: Charybdis
After 6 days the wind changes and the 7th day Odysseus and his men can leave the island. Soon after they have left a terrible storm sets in. Zeus strikes Odysseus' ship with a thunderbolt. The ship is wrecked and all the men perish. Odysseus grabs the mast and the keel and binds himself to them with a rope. In the storm he’s blown back to the narrows of Scylla and Charybdis. This time he passes Charybdis, a monster that swallows the sea three times. At the last moment Odysseus succeeds in grabbing a branch of the fig tree at the entrance of the cave of Charybdis before the sea with the mast and keel are swallowed by Charybdis. He hangs there for hours and has no ground under his feet until Charybdis spits out the sea again and Odysseus lets himself fall and grabs the keel and mast again. Charybdis doesn't see Odysseus and so he can escape.
Here we see a big struggle, maybe the biggest of all. Odysseus hangs from a fig tree branch for hours. He’s threatened with being swallowed by Charybdis completely. He loses all his men in the storm. Stage 8 has those typical aspects of overwhelming struggle that overtakes one completely.
Moreover, in general one can see that the even Stages have more of a struggle aspect. The odd-numbered Stages are more easy going or have seduction as a theme.