Modern insight from ancient fairy tales
Updated: Apr 10, 2018
Have you ever wondered why we have fairy tales where the beautiful young heroine is captured or is captivated (same result) by the ugly beast or can only awaken from a frozen slumber or isolated tower from a dashing prince/ hero?
A common theme is the rescue of the tender maiden who is innocent, unaware and unprotected - by some handsome, usually strong male figure.
Saved by a man. But who is this man?
In the past when I thought it was some outside figure I was either repulsed or somewhat sedated by the plot but now I realise it’s the inner male. The one who we can always depend on, who comes to our rescue, from masculine energy, that is protective, directive and doesn’t buy into the sob-story (unlike the maiden who usually falls right into that one). I know, I’ve done it many times and I’m sure you have too.
These fairy tales caution us as to what can happen if we don’t integrate the masculine and feminine on the inside and are instructive for both men and women.
I interpret these sometimes grim tales as illustrative and not literal and believe they show us why we need to do the work of growing up, acquire a protective “skin” (which could be as simple as trusting your own instincts) and develop a keen sense of discrimination and piercing far-seeing eyesight.
In some fairy tales it’s the evil woman who plays out the destructive force. In that case I feel it shows that the predator (which are our tendencies that don’t serve) lies inside of us and we need to be just as strong with the feminine and masculine energies integrated to meet the challenges, deal with the “predator” swiftly and deftly and grow up.
The wonderful thing about these fairy tales is that they can instruct about internal challenges and energies and steps to mastery of these.
The gender roles of the characters are not that important, as long as we remember we are complex beings with all the aspects within and growth comes with light being shed upon these aspects, owning these aspects within, challenging the prevailing habitual way of being that is not useful and integrating the new.
And that’s when a much happier ending arrives.