Inside the Belly of the Whaleis a visual narrative of the spiritual transformation of the author and artist/ photographer, L.L. Griffin, triggered by the death of her mother. It is designed as a right-brained approach to processing grief, which is so rarely acknowledged and so frequently pathologized in modern life. By bringing grief into consciousness and honoring it, grief becomes part of a larger, positive experience of transformation and rebirth.

Carl Jung called this kind of transformation the “night sea journey”; the great mystics called it the “dark night of the soul.” Such experiences bring the soul to stillness, thus readying it for profound spiritual change.

“In creating these scenes, my intention was to make sense of my dreams. But grieving and simultaneously creating these images required me to shed my mental skin, get raw and become my authentic self. I moved into and through the belly of my pain, to a place of new beginnings — a place in which I was healed from the loss of my mother.”

Inside the Belly of the Whale follows L.L. Griffin into and through the belly of her pain to a place of new beginnings by the progression of these dream based images. The images she uses is often expressive of ideas rarely spoken or acknowledged in public. This body of work offers an honest, penetrating exposure of feelings that is her story but at the same time everyone’s story — “the hero’s journey” if you will.

“True to the nature of art, you may be touched in ways that one cannot anticipate.”

Consisting of seven sections of self-portraits, Inside the Belly of the Whale begins with “Blue Dream” — a series of dark, watery images. In “Taking a Long Breath” and “Entering the Belly,” the show progresses through archetypal images of hope and horror. “Traveler’s Embrace” is a progression of scenes evoking images of the orphan, birth, death, and the unavailable mother. “Brought Back,” Living in the Shadow,” “Portal,” and the final image,”The End/Beginning” move the viewer up the steep, stark climb up from the underworld, and ever closer to the possibility of wholeness.

Blue Dream

Taking a long Breath

Entering the Belly

Traveler’s Embrace

Brought Back

Living in the Shadow


The End/The Beginning