” Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.” C.S.Lewis
Fairy tales are very ancient stories not initially intended for children , containing hidden teachings which can give us a very clear understanding of the human Psyche if we delve deep enough. Marie Louise Von Franz colleague of Carl Jung, , wrote on the analysis of fairy tales within the Jungian concept of the collective unconscious , archetypes , shadow, anima and animus . Many fairy stories also reveal Alchemical symbolism and illustrate various stages of the Great Work , which can be understood on a psychological level to raise consciousness.
RAPUNZEL: I have chosen here to show Rapunzel in the Tower representing a place of contemplative isolation . The Tower , like the tarot card Tower, also represents the time for Truth , uncomfortable realizations which are needed to shock the psyche out of denial. The tower often represents a link to heaven, and the impenetrability of the building to virginity and /or sexual chastity. Rapunzel was locked away in this doorless tower by her stepmother as soon as her menstrual cycle had started. Here she is walled off from reality and life itself . It is a place of maturation however so Light and revelation will eventually dawn as the psyche is forced to see the truth. The alchemical oven is shown symbolically as a tower and represents the alchemical search for inner healing and renewal.
THE FAERY QUEEN: The Celtic Goddess Danu led the Tuatha de Danann , who it is said, were an Irish race of supernaturally gifted peoples. Many of the ancient tales refer to this race of beings as the Fae- or the sidhe. In later years the Goddess Brigit birthed from an aspect of Danu – The Great Mother. In this print can be found the alchemical symbol of the RED ROSE – representing the stage of RUBEDO – the red stage. The great work took place in the ROSARIUM. The red rose also represents the Faery Queen and is also a Jungian symbol for the Self.
The story of Sleeping beauty might be seen as a story of a passive unconscious woman awaiting her prince to come and awaken her , so they could live happy ever after. In the older versions of the tale she conceived and gave birth to twins whilst she was still asleep, and it was the twins who awoke her. So is this story to be interpreted as one of patriarchal dis-empowerment and a collusion of the repressed Feminine ? Or perhaps seen from an alchemical stance a tale of ‘the sacred marriage’ – Herios Gamos. A tale of union and the re balancing of male and female energies within our own Soul and within our global community. Without the raising of feminine influence our world remains unbalanced, asleep and unconscious.