Wednesday, 16 November 2011
Magic fairy dust and dirt
The image that we have of Fairytales is built over time. All looks so enchanting and magical. It looks beautiful. We aspire to live some of that, or some of us have done. Girls would like to step into the shoes of Cinderella, Snow White, Rapunzel, Jasmine, Aurora, Belle, Ariel and Tiana. When you think of fairytales, either you recollect the stories read to you from childhood, looking at the various illustrations. Or you think of Disney's retelling of classic fairytales and historical romances. Apart from the latter (the animated adaptions based on history), the fairytales are often set in dreamlike worlds that parallel Medieval and Renaissance eras. So if we were to be realistic, and true to the fairytales, regardless of the fact they couldn't have happened, what would the real princesses and princes and places have been like? What would the real Cinderella have looked like? This isn't going to be a boggy scholarly approach but a viewpoint. Here is an idea.
I meditated and went back in time to the Middle Ages. What I visualised gave me some basis on what the fairytale worlds might've been like. I will point out the fairy tales and its glamour, then add the harshness of it's own that was never told about! It also makes clear the difference between how we regard beauty and how people from long ago saw beauty. Here goes:
In the fairy tales, the stories began in glistening castles with pretty gardens but just around the corner were swinging corpses and heads on spikes.
Princesses were externally beautiful and kind, but they smelled, had yellow teeth and were malnourished.
Rapunzel, the princess in a tower with flowing long hair that was also matted and washed in filthy water.
Sleeping Beauty (also called Briar Rose) was a delicate and frail princess who slept for one hundred years but she was perhaps a version of a Valkyrie who appeared to the war dead. The Sleeping Beauty is also a story that echoes the bubonic plague. When she fell asleep, the entire kingdom fell asleep or was it that they were all succumbed by death? It reminds me of this nursery rhyme:
"Ring a ring a roses
A pocket full of posies
A-tishoo! A-tishoo! We all fall down."
The rhyme comes from the plague era.
Snow-White was a delicate and innocent princess, with lips as red as blood, skin as white as snow, hair as black as ebony wood. However, she was also diseased and possibly caught the plague.
The handsome princes came to wake up the Brair Rose and Snow White from death (necromancy?). Yet these princes both had months growth of beards, bad breath and scars too.
When the princesses were saved and married to the princes at the "happily ever after" weddings, at court in the banquet halls, dogs pooed, kids screamed and were sick, people got drunk and urinated, some fell asleep and others got too naughty.
When Goldilocks encountered the three bears, she ran away because she'd stumbled into a dwelling of fierce Berserkers!
Jack climbed the beanstalk and stole the giant's gold. However, Jack was tried for theft and robbery then executed later on. The judge boomed the hearing in court, but what we have is "...I smell the blood..."
With pretty scenes of castles, magic kingdoms, ideal villages, dwarves, giants, fairies, princesses, unicorns, there are even darker secrets.
The unicorn mystery is based upon death, possession or ownership/claiming (raping) and sacrifice. Fairies have an even richer origin as they are considered to be echoes of the old gods and nature spirits. The fairies of Sleeping Beauty who grant wishes are possibly about the Norns. The same might be said about the Fairy Godmother in Cinderella too. Also the Berserkers, werewolves, trolls, demonic entities, witches, sorcerers and cannibalism filled these stories. This wasn't so much intended to be stories for children at bedtime. Now the dwarves are perhaps symbolic of two things: Peasants (with minimal freedom) and benign paranormal spirits. However, not all dwarves are friendly. In the tale "Snow White and Rose Red", the two sisters meet an unfriendly dwarf but were rescued by a berserker warrior. In "Rumpelstiltskin", the dwarf was a menace here. Were these magical dark dwarves perhaps dark elves, goblins and imps? Giants are perhaps a symbol of something magnified that whatever frightened people.
History is full of plagues, warfare, pillaging, excecutions, famine, poverty. Out of that emerged fairytales, which the Brothers Grimm, Anderson, Disney and others have all sanitised and sugar coated. So now we have this civilised version of a pretty, healthy, colourful, gleaming dreamy fairytale stories, which were immunised from it's occult origins.
The picture above is "Once was innocent" by Selina Fenech.