Secrets of Transformation, Part 1
Lipstick and Booze
As we begin to look toward a new year, the lure of transformation beckons. New beginnings seduce us with the possibility that dreams might come true. New diets, new jobs, makeovers, holiday parties and the possibility of new friends…new, new, new. We love it and we want it as soon as we can get it, Whether we enjoyed this year, chances are it didn’t go the way you planned, did it? Thus, new offers hope, and that is what the human spirit must have in order to endure. Today let’s take a look at four ways fairy tales have morphed into the stories we have today. Everything old is new again.
Fairy tales, those folkloric stories which are so appealing have a universal appeal. That is part of their enchantment. Sure, they are stories we share with children today, but did you know the original Grimm’s Fairy Tales were written for adults in 1812?
Yes…the timeless stories we tell children, were written for older readers and slowly edited into stories for children to read by the mid-1800s. Fairy tales have been criticized in modern culture as being unrealistic, and questioned for their portrayal of women as weak and helpless. This negativity shows how difficult it is for the modern mind to distance itself from literally believing fairy tales as if they were contemporary stories about modern individuals.
This paradigm is easy to separate in order to understand the true meaning of fairy tales, and that is our first step. The next step is being able to understand fairy tales and derive moderns concepts from these by understanding that they are not literal stories. They speak to higher Truth, not to actual truths. They are in the category of Mythology and Folklore, not stories of real human beings.
What are fairy tales then?
Fairy tales are timeless stories of the human condition, and what actions the characters exhibit along the way in order to learn life’s lessons. While fairy tales can be enjoyed and are instructive without an understanding of the meaning of these features, it is interesting to note how many of us have been conditioned by the stories we have been exposed to from childhood. As “Fables and Fairy Tales,” the first blog in this series stated, characters are noticeably underdeveloped in fairy tales, almost so that we can fill in the missing pieces with our own lives. (Or words to that effect.)
One of the features of fairy tales is that they are told to children, and that they have a magical affect. The appeal is so powerful, that these stories have survived from various cultures around the globe. Their appeal is timeless due to the symbols used in the stories. We will have more about that in the future blogs.
Disney changed the game with its sharing of these timeless stories in movies. The Happily Ever After not only altered movie endings, but it affected books, television…practically every entertainment media we have wants a Happily Ever After ending. Of course, we really don’t know if the ending lasts forever, do we? Do we really care? That’s part of the Disney magic.
As our culture has changed, Disney is right there with us. Remember Pretty Woman? It’s a contemporary Cinderella story. Add designer clothes, lipstick, expensive champagne, two beautiful people fall in love-she wanted the fairy tale-and Hollywood gave her one.
Once Upon A Time
Another feature of a true fairy tale is that the setting is …“Once upon a time.” This makes it a story outside time and space, a story which time cannot hold. This should also be the first clue that these stories are not to be read literally. These speak to Truth that goes beyond time and space, and therefore beyond our literal human lives.
Let’s return to the Grimm’s Fairy Tales. Princesses and Princes were the main characters. These stories speak to ideals and to archetypes, symbolized by royalty.This is another point showing us that these stories deal with matters beyond the literal world which we can touch, feel and see. These stories carry us to a world of dreams.
Curses, Witches, Evil Queens
A common feature of fairy tales is the role evil plays. The struggle between good and evil is a concept we all accept as a part of our daily lives. This is a paradox. A necessary evil, as it were, but one that is necessary to accept. Evil is as much of a part of manifestation as good and always seeks to destroy good. This is seen in that there is a form of “curse” that is placed on the protagonist. Interestingly, the types of curses upon the Princesses and the Princes are quite different. Princesses are trapped in poverty (Cinderella) or asleep (Sleeping Beauty). Princes are turned into creatures (The Frog and the Princess). More on these stories in my next blog.
True Love & Transformation
In fairy tales, the curse is always lifted or the Princess is freed or rescued. Love removes the curse. Love is magical. Love has a transforming power. Indeed, only love that can defeat the evil antagonist. Love heals.
Happily Ever After
As fairy tales begin with “Once Upon a Time,” they end with the protagonist “living happily ever after.” In a sense this is the resolution of the paradox of the curse and Evil Queen. Good ultimately triumphs over evil although it takes sometime. While evil is inherent in manifestation, the only Truth is Love. “The greatest of these is love,” so we are told.
Evil must be overcome, the curse must be lifted, the Prince and Princess must come together, and they must “live happily ever after.” The stories come alive to an audience when a prince or a billionaire, or CEO or whatever falls for the girl or woman because she is who she is.
Or even better if she is the CEO or billionaire, or Princess. She is strong enough to break the spell and stand on her own, evil queens and curses be damned. Everything old is transformed into new stories for a new millennium. We can have Prince Charming, should we choose and we can have a career as well. Just give us our lipstick and champagne, should we want it.
And Disney keeps making movies to appeal to us and our daughters.
Look for my newest addition to The Dreams, based on fairy tales, folklore and woven with a dash of Reconstruction Era Southern Victoriana, now available for pre-order.Snag a copy now for only 99c/99p!
Past, Darkly – The Dreams, Story 2