Category: Fairy Tale Symbolism

The Mind Behind the Haunted Carnival

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BOY0073800What is it about Tim Burton’s creative vision that resonates with so many of us? In a time when fairy tales have been cleansed of anything scary, violent or even hinting at death, Burton revives the darkness that has been removed, but for the delight of grown-ups, and without removing the magic.

Look back to the original versions of fairy tales—at the least the earliest written ones we can find recorded, such as Grimm’s Fairy Tales, and you’ll see that they were indeed grim. There was violence and horror mingled with the enchantment. Endings weren’t always happy, but they served a social function…several, actually. Beyond scaring kids into behaving, they also fulfilled the purposes of mythology: to offer a metaphorical guide through the journey of life (which, let’s face it, can be messy). It’s a path we all travel, though at different times—from infancy to independence, puberty to procreation, adulthood to aging and finally, death.

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Art and Fashion Enchant an English Palace

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Enchanted_palace_kensington Before embarking upon my recent trip to London with one of my best girlfriends, she told me she really wanted to visit a palace. Though Buckingham Palace does offer tours, it’s only during certain months, and it wasn’t available to us during our 3 days there, so I checked out what Kensington Palace had to offer.  I was so excited with what I found!

Not only do they offer tours through the State Apartments, but a theatre group called Wildworks  has been brought in to bring the rooms to life, not as it was, but an enchante d version that lets you get a *feel* for the lives of the seven princesses that once lived there. The Enchanted Palace is what Kensington Palace has become, through the fashion and art installation that tells their stories. 

(Image from http://ireallylikedaisies.blogspot.com/2010/10/enchanted-palace-seven-princesses-in.html)

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We started our visit with afternoon tea on the terrace of The Orangery, an 18th century building commissioned by Queen Anne (reign: 1702-14)  with French floor to ceiling windows overlooking a manicured garden.  “The building was supposed to serve as greenhouse for over-wintering exotic plant and citrus trees that ornamented the gardens in summer. Its accomplished interior decoration reflects the Orangery’s other uses as a ‘summer supper house’ and a place for entertainment.” 

The only hints toward the Enchanted Nature of what awaited were: 1) the design printed atop a chocolate tea cake and 2) the whimsical archway at the garden entrance.

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Examining Our Shadows – The Symbolism of Monster Archetypes

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How about some Halloween Spirit-uality?

Before we begin examining the monster archetypes, it’s important to realize that they don’t just represent a dark, malevolent side of us, but rather the part of our being that is least familiar to our conscious mind.

They become hostile only when it is ignored or misunderstood–expressing themselves through behavior that often sabotages our wishes or image of ourselves. But they serve us by nudging us toward the light. The important thing is that if you feel some resonance these or any other symbolic roles, you should examine what they represent to YOU. 

Let’s think of our inner monsters as our as unexplored power, bringing light to what is in shadow.

Vampire Monster-Vampire

  • Vampires survive by feeding off the life-force of another. Carolyn Myss describes the vampire archetype this way: “we sometimes form attachments to others because we desire their energy, a desire that manifests through the need to have the ‘other’ take care of our survival.  What has been defined as a co-dependent relationship could easily fall under the vampire template.  You may find it hard to identify yourself as a vampire, yet it is essential to review this archetype personally.  Patterns of behavior such as chronic complaining, overdependence, holding on to a relationship either emotionally or psychically long after it has ended, and chronic power struggles are all indicators of Vampire patterns.”

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Wandering through Wonderland

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Alice-In-Wonderland-Theatrical-Poster

Just in time for its DVD release on June 1st, here are some of my thoughts, plus some gathered tidbits to serve as a little guide to help you as you wander through Wonderland.

Symbolism and Themes from the Story 

• From a child’s perspective the world is full of strange things…. We become jaded as we get older because we think we have it all figured out. But this story tries to take us back to that child-like state of awe, wonder, as well as the confusion and fear that come with it. (And really without all of that, life can be pretty boring. Better to be childlike, I think!)

• Nature themes – The flowers and animals talk, (one of the six impossible things listed by Alice), but perhaps that means we should listen. The Red Queen prefers dominion over animals, (which sounds quite Biblical), using them as furniture and croquet sets (much like Flintstones, but with a bitter edge). However her attempts at control failed her. The lovely white queen befriended the animals and that became Alice’s advantage as well. Nature is a powerful force, so it’s much better when it’s on your side!

• The magic of the growing and shrinking potions that are used to reach things that are up high or walk through small doors makes me think of Western society’s obsession with pharmaceuticals – the instant fix for the smallest of problems.  Though the story does show that instant fixes offer a different set of problems – like clothes that suddenly don’t fit, or otherwise not fitting into a situation.

• Our heroine Alice gets a lot of costume changes this time! Including a shiny set of armor that still manages to look pretty!  Perhaps this symbolizes her multi-faceted personality. She learns to takes charge and forge ahead both in the imaginary world and the real one.

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