If you are like me, you can’t resist a good story! In this post, I will reveal how popular fairy tales contain secret maps to your authentic success.
Why do stories fascinate us so? They are a language deeply rooted in the Soul. When you hear a good story, you imagination and your senses are awakened. You live that story. You connect and empathize with its main character. It becomes part of your universe. You may forget principles, methods and facts. But I’m sure that you seldom forget a good story!
That’s why I am a storyteller. That is why storytelling –both in the written and performer versions– is one of my favorite ways to share my knowledge as a spiritual teacher.
Storytelling is an art that women have used for centuries to pass on their wisdom to their daughters, even in the most repressive circumstances, when their voices were silenced and their presence and contribution clouded in the shroud of invisibility.
Take popular fairy tales, for example. There’s more to fairy tales that meets the eye. Many years ago, when I was beginning my training as a shaman, I realized three things:
- The fairy tales I grew up with had hidden wisdom passed on by our grandmothers and by the artists that picked up their trail.
- But the wisdom in those stories had been distorted by the values of patriarchy to keep women “in their places” –which most often meant pregnant, barefoot and in the kitchen.
- Imagine my horror, then, when I realized that after two decades of fighting for my rights as a woman and for the right to freedom for all people, I carried, embedded within me, the wrong interpretation of these magical fairy tales!
Thus began my exploration of fairy tales. It became part of my healing journey. I began to create board games, enactment and storytelling to explore how these stories where embedded in my psyche and energy fields and to find out what they were doing there.
My exploration began with two stories that I loved: Cinderella and Rapunzel.
Why did I love Cinderella?
Well, the first thing I realized was that I IDENTIFIED with Cinderella.
But why? My mom was not dead. I did not have a step mother. My dad was not rich or traveled away.
My dad DID travel away. First, we moved constantly because of his job. Ok, we were going with him, but my friends stayed behind, until I had no more friends and did not want to make new friends just to lose them again. But there was a way in which my father was traveling away, each day farther and farther away: emotionally. As things got worse in the marriage, my father drifted into his land of books and was not present to me anymore.
Now I was curious. I rewinded further back into the Fairy Tale, to the death of Cinderella’s mother.
My mom was not dead when I was growing up. Quite the contrary. She was a good mother who took care of us.
“Oh oh!” I suddenly realize as a chill went up my spine. “But my joyful mother was dead. Remember how her beautiful smile had wilted? How she no longer made delicious desserts or played with us? The mother that ran our household when I was the age of Cinderella was a sick, depressed and overwhelmed shadow of her former self.”
“But I was not made to clean the house and slave over others!” I protested.
“Didn’t I?” A tiny voice within me whispered. “Who was my mother’s nurse; Her counselor? Who was always doing things to alleviate my mother’s pain and misery? Who stayed in the house and did not go out to play to be available for mother’s migraines?”
That’s how I became a caretaker. Addictive caretaking is the “curse” in Cinderella.
Little by little I realized that these fairy tales were not so much literal as metaphorical. They contained metaphors that revealed deep states of being experienced by our Soul when we allow ourselves to be oppressed or sequestered from our organic, true self. They told the story of women across centuries; the unwritten story of female disempowerment.
Then, when I finally saw the map to women’s suffering in the fairy tales, they open up to reveal their vast complexity.
It was at this point in my exploration that I discovered something extraordinary. The Fairy Tales with which we grew up as children, and believing them simple stories to entertain the innocent, are complex creations that have three layers ~almost three universes ~of perception.
The first layer in a fairy tale is a fairly recent patina of how the story was distorted to domesticate women into servitude. It is the surface value, the story that we’ve been fed. The slave girl needs Prince Charming to become a princess. It’s the way we’ve learned to interpret these old stories. This is a fairly recent veneer and it is usually literal, so that the girl listening to the story believes that she needs Prince Charming to kiss her awake.
The Historical Map
Under this layer there is a hidden map that reveals women’s emotional wounds and tells the story of our disempowerment through time. Cinderella began somewhere in China, and the shoe was very small, as the girls’ feet were bound. Rapunzel talks about the sold daughter and the imprisoned heiress, two fates common to women even today.
This level reveals the “curses” or wounds that women have suffered archetypically and historically. It helps us open our eyes, so that we can wake up from the Sleeping Beauty trance.
The Map to the Wisdom of the Sacred Feminine
Yet, under that historical layer, there is a deeper layer. It is the original story of female power. This layer contains the archetypes of the Soul and its journey to female individuation. It is the ancient map to the wisdom of the Sacred Feminine.
Here is where each fairy tale becomes a map that reveals your personal and heroic quest to unleash your greatness and become the Queen of your life.
Once Upon a Time
Once Upon a Time is an archetypal phrase. It brings us back into the world of storytelling. But it is also a reminder that this childhood time is still alive inside our real life, here and now. It is trapped in a stupor, like the kingdom in the fairy tales once the princess falls asleep. It ~and us!~ will not move forward as long as we are under the spell of the ‘curses’ or wounds that cover our radiance.
I have deeply explored the “curses” or wounds in 5 of the most popular feminine fairy tales. They are:
- Snow White
- Sleeping Beauty
- Ugly Duckling
Each of these fairy tales reveals a set of “curses” or wounds embedded in the female psyche. Each story can also be read as a map to “cure” that curse, transforming your limitations into your tools for mastery. In my book Rewrite your Fairy Tales for Success: Unleash your Greatness I reveal how these five fairy tales can help you rewrite your life and assume your authentic success.
Once Upon a Time also reminds us that magic is a real life affair. That we were born as unique creators and the process of assuming our power is the process of kissing ourselves awake and assuming our Throne of Authority.
Click here to see a video that helps you identify your core fairy tale curses. I invite you to rewrite your fairy tales for success, so that you can find the “cures” to your “curses” and unleash your greatness.
Light and love,
The Dream Alchemist