Monday, September 13, 2010

When Fairytales Collide

In my previous post, I described how to do the Fairytale Village reading, so now I’ll try to offer a few insights on interpreting fairytale themed tarot cards in this context. Actually, this exercise does not need to be done with fairy tale cards, as ordinary tarot cards will do. However, by matching fairytale cards with fairytale places, we can see how our different life stories—as we are all living out multiple narratives—may be harmonious, or may be colliding.

I also want to mention that when I’m interpreting peoples’ cards at my chat session/workshops—or wherever—I’m just giving them some potential interpretations based on whatever pops into my mind at that moment, but those are by no means all of the possible interpretations for those cards, or even the most relevant interpretations for the individuals in question. Because I’m dealing with a high level of distraction due to trying to attend to all the group, (and as an Asperger’s person, I have a lot of mental noise, anyway), I often overlook the obvious, or don’t think of other things that would be good to mention. So, whatever interpretation I give you, that’s just something to use as a jumping off point, to help you start pondering some of the different meanings that could apply. Likewise, the interpretations that I discuss in these blog posts are just meant to be food for thought, but by no means conclusive. As always, you have to think about how a card’s different traditional interpretations and visual cues, as well as the emotions the cards evoke in you, can apply to your own life situation.

So, to get on with a sample interpretation. If I recall correctly, one person got “The Empress” from the Mahoney deck, which uses Cinderella as its illustration, in association with the Gingerbread House. The dominant figure in this card is the fairy godmother, (though Cinderella is also present), so this deck emphasizes the Empress’ abilities to help make dreams come true. I don’t remember exactly how I interpreted this card, but I think our discussion touched on the querent’s managerial job, and images of strong women leaders. As a general interpretation, one could look at whether this querent has some high expectations of the leadership role she would like to model, perhaps using her position to help other people fulfill their potential. This is a good thing—don’t get me wrong—but one then has to consider what this means in terms of the temptation and potential danger that the Gingerbread House stands for. Among other things, it could mean that you are being tempted to overextend yourself in trying to help others, or to make more promises than you can keep. This could also apply to promises you make to yourself—or to your Inner Child, as the Inner Child has to be considered in these fairy tale readings. Note that the combination of story imagery here also gets into a lot of Mother issues: your mother, your mothering techniques, your internalized mother, other mother figures in your life, etc. An alternative interpretation might focus on the “idea” of “the Cinderella story,” which is the hope that some big, lucky break will transform your way of life, and having that distract you from more practical goals.

Because a playset invites us to be playful, one can also think of approaching these things with a playfully proactive magical mindset. So, you could say, “OK, this is my gingerbread house, I’m taking ownership of this gingerbread house, so I’ll make the rules and assert my Empress powers productively. So, I’ll let you have just enough of a taste of the sweets to revive you if you’re feeling low, but I won’t let you go into sugar shock.” And if you are going to take charge of the gingerbread house, you can also take charge of the stove that is at the heart of the house as your special challenge. One thus transforms this from a story about temptation to a story about nourishment.

The stove is a traditional symbol of transformation, and Cinderella is also a story about transformation. In her book, “The Mother: Archetypal Image in Fairy Tales, Sibylle Birkhauser-Oeri mentions that “in Silesia, the flames licking out of the oven door are called the fire mother” [70]. The witch in “Hansel and Gretel” is an evil fire mother, but there are many positive expressions of this archetype. In the fairy tale “Frau Holle,” the oven serves as one of the vehicles of initiation which test the heroine and prove her worth. Oeri notes that, “The property of fires or stoves to give spiritual rebirth is founded on a psychological fact: if a person draws near to some inner passion, it causes a lowering in the level of consciousness and thus facilitates contact with the unconscious. In a powerful emotional state a transformation can take place, which always seemed like a rebirth or liberation.” She illustrates this with the Austrian tale, “The Young Wolf,” in which a girl, “in conjunction with various strange rituals,” throws the young wolf into the fire in the stove to transform him into a handsome young man. “He is exposed to the fire of passion by the anima and changed by it” [71]. (The anima is the idealized feminine soul-self, or a man’s inner feminine self.)

Well, that shows how when we combine these fairy tale themes and images, one train of thought leads to another. Now, not only are we considering the interaction between “Cinderella” and “Hansel and Gretel,” but we have “Frau Holle” and “The Young Wolf” as subtexts. This also goes to show that a cheesy cardboard playset can be a tool in making deeper psychological associations.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you very much Janina for telling us about your chat session for those who can't be present at Triple Goddess. (Madrid is a bit far from Okemos :-) ). The spread that you explain is very interesting. I will try it.