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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Secret Symbolism of Myth

                                                                 The Serpent and Cave
































   There is a giant elephant in the room, yet no one can see the obvious. The symbolism of myth and religion so engulfs our culture we have forgotten its' true meaning. One would think, a theory interpreting religious symbolism would have been discovered by now. The great scholar of Mythology, Joseph Campbell said that;“Religion is Mythology Misunderstood,”  a motto that implies the true meaning of religion is obscured by the literal perception of ancient myths, while their original spiritual intent lays hidden.

   I believe that Mythology and Religion were organically created to narrate the natural path towards higher consciousness. Unfortunately, the esoteric meaning of the symbols and motifs has been hidden from the general public. The initiates and neophytes had to become mentally and morally purified before any powerful secrets were revealed. No initiate was allowed to use such esoteric knowledge to serve their ego, as the ancient mystery schools reserved the death penalty for those who divulged the details of their secret ideology.

  Over a period of thousands of years, the whole concept of "Spiritual Enlightenment" fell into the territory of the unacceptable-ignored and forgotten. Countless adverse forces such as religious institutions, politicians and the banking industry sought to control civilization by forcing a literal interpretation of religion upon the world; by destroying the ancient libraries and applying the ill-usury power of propaganda. "Enlightenment'' is a very specific level of consciousness first delineated in eastern yogic philosophy. It is a very real state of bliss and ecstasy that has biological roots in the transformation and circulation of one's sexual energies.

Our society is slowly decaying because of a general lack of knowledge pertaining to the brains continued evolution and the proper lifestyle necessary to achieve higher consciousness. Religion has become impotent, unable to set a reasonable goal for life, a goal which every single person can achieve regardless of their monetary status. The major western religions are centered on death and reward in the afterlife, not on higher consciousness. It’s a complete misunderstanding of our biological possibilities and our shared spiritual destiny.

The underlying evolutionary meaning of mythology and religion has been lost. This is a gigantic oversight preventing humanities peace of mind and happiness, as both, religion and myth were meant to guide humanity towards a simple and moral lifestyle living close to nature so that the brain could evolve under the stress of modern culture.






Symbolism

  Religion and mythology share the same motifs and symbols; such as the serpent, tree, virgin birth, cave, an evil king, death and resurrection. There are common references to the sun and moon and to the numbers three (Trinity), seven (such as seven chakras) and twelve (astrological houses). Once these enigmatic symbols are connected to the effects of a Kundalini Awakening and the evolution of consciousness, the underlying content breathes like a living language, generating new insights into the proper path to expanded consciousness.

  The metaphoric triangle of the serpent, tree, and immortality signify the spiritual rebirth processes. Using these images one can see how the transformative processes unfold in literature. The serpent, the most universal of religious symbols; depicted in the greatest number of myths and religious narratives, refers to the creative and destructive power of cosmic prana, in the form of the spiral or serpent. Kundalini is depicted as a serpent that ascends the tree,( a symbol of the spine) which leads to the experience of immortality. "Kundalini" is the key concept to unlocking the secrets of mythology. It is found throughout the ancient civilization, particularly in Greek, Christian, Hindu and Egyptian texts.

Kundalini In Mythology


   In Greek mythology, Hercules' eleventh labor required him to obtain the golden apples of immortality, by slaying the hundred-headed serpent Ladon. Implying the negative elements of the personality need to be conquered before the positive benefits (immortality) can be achieved. Similarly, in the book of Genesis, the serpent offered Eve knowledge of good and evil. While Jehovah was afraid of them eating from the tree of life and becoming immortal, which would challenge his rule.

KJV 3;22 "And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever".

   When the biblical creation myth is interpreted as an allegory with regard to   Kundalini, the meaning completely changes from the traditional perspective of a literal evil serpent or devil to one implying a spiritual transformation. "Even now personifies the feminine aspect of Shakti, she offers Adam, wisdom, and immortality. The tree symbolizes the spinal column and brain, the serpent is Kundalini. The fruit represents higher consciousness and immortality. Adam and Eve discover their nakedness because this is a parable on the ancient belief that sexual activity was adverse to spirituality, yet it also implies an advancement from a limited sense of awareness into full consciousness.


                                                          Lawrence Alma Tadema





























  From a nonjudgmental viewpoint, the "Garden of Eden" passage is a parable based upon the relationship of Kundalini and sex to higher consciousness. Once Kundalini is awakened there is a period of indeterminable time in which the Pranic energies ascent up the spine transforming the brain. It took twelve years of constant upgrading before Gopi Krishna became fully enlightened. This ascending Pranic energy has many names, in Indian scripture, it is called Soma or Amrita.


  Sexual activity and disobedience to God were condemned as sinful in the Judeo-Christian version of mans' fall because of a complete misunderstanding the concept of temporary chastity. Women have been blamed for the downfall of humanity, instead of being associated with the primal power of the feminine energy that creates all life. If there was an original sin it was ignorance of sexual regeneration and enlightenment. It is interesting to note how modern religion has literally demonized the feminine energy, symbolized by Satan-Serpent, considering that it is the intelligent force responsible for enlightenment. At the other end of the psychological spectrum, the secular and superficial media are addicted to a pursuit of sexual license and power. In essence, both attitudes are bound together by blind obedience to the past; now dominated by humanity's unwillingness to change.

  The “Virgin Birth” is another motif which underscores the symbolic aspects of religion. The ideal of celibacy-sublimation is a theme that runs throughout the ancient mystery religions, such as Greek, Gnostic, Hindu, Taoist doctrines. Historically, paganism accepted that many gods were born of a virgin, within a cave and protected from some evil king or god. A “Virgin” birth simply is a symbolic phrase to express the sublimation of sexual energies. Being born in a cave is an allegory on the birth of higher consciousness that takes place in the brain, where the two lobes intersect, called the "Cave of Brahman." While the adverse forces are portrayed by the "Evil King," who tries to resist or kill the "Divine Child."


  The "Evil King Motif" is a universal psychological truth based on physical matters opposition to spiritual growth and humanities reluctance to face the truth. The motif is found in the Bible when Herod attempts to prevent Christ's birth by killing all the firstborn Jewish males. Many other divine children were attacked in a similar manner. Krishna was almost killed by the evil King Kamsa. Zeus had been swallowed alive by his father Cronus but survived. Hercules had to strangle a serpent in his crib sent by Hera. Moses as a child had to hide from the Pharaoh who attempted to murder all the first-born Jewish boys. Osiris and Dionysus, Romulus and Remus, Athena and many other gods were attacked by evil kings or demonic forces as very small children.




  


The theme of sexual sublimation was also delineated by the castration motif. For example, Aphrodite, the Goddess of beauty was born after Greek God Uranus castrated his father Cronus, whose phallus fell into the sea, birthing Aphrodite from the waters foam. Thus, the virgin birth and castration motifs are metaphors indicating sexual restraint is a practice leading spiritual birth, and Godhood.


The Great Mother, Goddess Cybele, was a personification of the serpent power who was worshiped for thousands of years in Anatolia, modern day Turkey. Attis, her son-lover took a vow of celibacy in order to become Cybele's' consort and priest, but being human, Attis was commanded by the reigning king to marry his daughter. Jealous of his future marriage and because of the broken vow of celibacy; Cybele appeared in her transcendent power at the height of the marriage. ceremony. This drove Attis mad resulting in his "unmanning" or self-castration, causing his death underneath a pine tree. But, Attis achieved a type of immortality in that Zeus wouldn't allow his body to decay. The castration motif is very similar to the 'virgin birth' by alluding the need for chastity and sexual sublimation.

The symbol of the "tree" in mythology is associated with death, immortality, and wisdom. The structural image of a tree is a mirror image to the neuronic structures of the brain and spinal column, with the tree trunk representing the spinal cord and the branches and canopies the brain. Therefore when the serpent and tree are found together the image-symbols can be traced to Kundalini and the nervous system-brain.

Attis achieved Godhood after death underneath a tree. Krishna, the Hindu avatar was killed underneath a tree and ascended to heaven. It was written in scripture that Christ was crucified on a tree, died and was resurrected while Buddha became enlightened underneath the Bodhi tree. Thus the symbol of the tree denotes the human nervous system on which the initiate suffers an intense regeneration, involving a psychological death and rebirth.

Beneath all the cryptic signs and prophetic utterances of prophets, saints, sages and artistic genius there is a universal truth, or “Prisca Theologia”, which is the foundation upon which religion and mythology originated. The secret key to unlocking the mysteries of spiritual evolution rests on the existence of subtle energy or Prana, the highly intelligent conscious force that pervades all existence. In the personal realm, Kundalini follows the movement of Prana in a distinct spiral motion that ends in the creation of higher consciousness. It acts by regenerating the whole of humanity according to unseen cosmic laws while slowly guiding the human mind towards expanded levels of consciousness.


Author Joseph Alexander 9/23/14  All rights reserved 

Updated 5/27/2015@ 11/14/2015

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Cinderella


 In a poetic style similar to the ancient mystery religions, fairy-tales are symbolic allegories built on the theme of the soul's path to self-discovery. This theme is presented in  terms of a childlike protagonist.  Usually in fairy realm  one or both are parents missing. In addition, the child must leave their rich kingdom or castle  to find their true self and help others. There are many b adverse forces and being try to prevent the child’s spiritual evolution. By the end of the story,  a balance of the male and female energies occurs which is symbolized by a sacred marriage - which denotes the integration of the individual with the divine, Shiva with Shakti, the Male and the Female.

The Secrets of the Dragon Legend.

Myths and Legends make use of iconic images such as a Dragon, virgin, cave, gold, tree and sacred marriage. The central theme centers on a brave Knight who slays a dragon then saves a Virgin from sacrificial death and is rewarded with a golden treasure and finally marries his princess. The Knight is a character who symbolizes a masculine archetype. His task is to attain the golden light of cosmic consciousness which will slowly evolve into a permanent mental feature after the integration of all aspect of the Psyche. This occurs by conquering the Dragon, which is a metaphor for overcoming the lower desires, such as anger and hatred. Rescuing a virgin maiden is a poetic metaphor on the sublimation of one's sexual energy. The cave is where the dragon holds its golden treasure; it is the feminine matrix comparable to the center of the brain called the “Cave of Brahman.” In esoteric lore, it is within this center that the pituitary and pineal glands are located that one experiences higher consciousness.

Cinderella 

In general, “Cinderella” is a fairy tale is written as a spiritual parable that teaches self-reliance in the face of adversity, a story of suffering and redemption on the surface, yet with an in-depth view of the human spirit's search for love and enlightenment.

The name “Cinderella” (Lady of Cinders) is a play on the word "Cinder" suggesting a link to the purifying power of fire or Agni. Once Kundalini is awakened, it starts by circulating subtle Prana throughout the body, purifying the organs and nerves. The increased flow of Prana reaching the head is called Soma (food of the Gods). Soma reinvigorates the brain cells with purified blood and rewires its' structure. This transformation creates a definite amount of internal heat. It is metaphorically signified by the fireplace hearth Cinderella watches over and sleeps next to at night. Tending the fire actually corresponds to the tendency of those undergoing the transformation to pay particular attention to the heat of the moving prana within the body, by feeding the internal fires with a clean organic diet, and always keeping the stomach full.



by Annie Leibovitz
The Missing Parents



The death of a parent is a common motif in the fairy-tale genre, as its purpose is to push the child towards individualization and heightened awareness; the tale begins by mentioning the death of Cinderella’s mother:


“The wife of a rich man fell sick, and as she felt that her end was drawing near, she called her only daughter to her bedside and said, "Dear child, be good and pious, and then the good God will always protect thee, and I will look down on thee from heaven and be near thee." Thereupon she closed her eyes and departed. Every day the maiden went out to her mother's grave and wept, and she remained pious and good.”


Cinderella’s wealthy father marries the proverbial evil stepmother, who has two spoiled daughters of her own. The stepmother impedes any chance for Cinderella’s happiness. In fact, the way she was treated would be labeled criminal today.

“The woman had brought two daughters into the house with her, who was beautiful and fair of face, but vile and black of heart. Now began a bad time for the poor step-child. "Is the stupid goose to sit in the parlor with us?" said they. "He who wants to eat bread must earn it; out with the kitchen-wench." They took her pretty clothes away from her, put an old grey bedgown on her, and gave her wooden shoes. "Just look at the proud princess, how decked out she is!" they cried, and laughed, and led her into the kitchen. There she had to do hard work from morning till night, get up before daybreak, carry water, light fires, cook and wash. Besides this, the sisters did her every imaginable injury -- they mocked her...”

Nonetheless, Cinderella's Father was traveling to a fair soon and asked his stepdaughters and Cinderella what type of gift he should buy for each of them.

"Beautiful dresses," said one, "Pearls and jewels," said the second. "And thou, Cinderella," said he, "what wilt thou have?" "Father, break off for me the first branch which knocks against your hat on your way home."


Cinderella's choice of a tree branch fits perfectly with her character which alludes to a genuinely humble and heart-oriented and indicates her closeness to nature. This decision was the major turning point that opened the door to higher possibilities than life as a Cinder maid. Conversely, the stepsister's beautiful dresses and pearls are extravagant and undeserved gifts. From a Karmic viewpoint, they will be unable to hold such superficial trappings.


Two Stepsisters

Interpreted from a moral standpoint, the two stepsisters are expressions of a nasty attitude that leads to destruction. They are portraits of superficiality devoid of any beneficial traits such as compassion, sympathy or even human decency. The two contrast Cinderella’s honesty and hard work

For example, there are parallels of the evil stepsisters found in Christian Scriptures...……According to an article by Dr.John Mumford; in the opinion of one his teachers, Yogamaharishi Dr. Swami Gitananda Giri Guru Maharaj, the Ida and Pingala are pathways that "steal" Pranic energy which should be channeled into the "Sushumna (the Crux) thus achieving “Krishna (‘Christ’) Consciousness."

The thieves  or sisters should be considered metaphors of the Ida (feminine) and Pingala (male). The two Nadis  siphon away life energies into worldly desires making it difficult for Cinderella to find her Prince and achieve a "Sacred Marriage''. Only when the two sides Nadis are balanced will prana flow up the spine toward the crown chakra. Adding support to this theory is the fact that in the original German version of "Cinderella" the stepsisters were named ‘Ida’ and ‘Pingala’. Because many fairy tales can be traced originally to ancient India, it’s clear that Indian spiritual beliefs were embedded into the narratives.

 The Tree of Life 

Cinderella's odd choice, a branch from a hazel tree, was planted in the earth and finally produced many spiritual fruits. She planted it on her mothers' grave and cried every night watering it with tears of sorrow. The hazel tree was home to wonderful birds; turtle doves and pigeons, all of who accomplished the difficult tasks and showered her with beautiful silver dresses and golden shoes. This magical "tree of life" fulfilled Cinderella’s deepest wishes.

“And it grew, however, and became a handsome tree. Thrice a day Cinderella went and sat beneath it, and wept and prayed, and a little white bird always came on the tree, and if Cinderella expressed a wish, the bird threw down to her what she had wished for.”

Symbolically the "Tree" is one of the most critical images in all the ancient texts from fairy-tales to mythic religions; it is an image that refers to the human nervous system and energy Nadis. Basically, the tree symbolizes the human spine that is a conduit to higher consciousness.

After Kundalini is awakened, subtle Pranic energy ascends the spine into the brain and spreads outward through thousands of neurons shaped like a canopy of a tree within the brain, which looks precisely similar in design to tree branches that fan outward becoming more delicate at the circumference. Therefore the "tree in the Garden of Eden or Hesperides which was guarded by the serpent, (Kundalini) is analogous to Cinderella tree that satisfies all her wishes.

Cinderella's simple choice of a tree branch from a literal viewpoint characterizes her humbleness and honest simplicity. But allegorically points the type of life and character traits that are necessary to develop. Her choice of the lowly hazel branch opened the door to possibilities other than being a Cinder maid. The stepsister's beautiful dresses and pearls were extravagant and undeserved gifts, and in the long run, they're unable to hold such superficial trappings.


The Tree and Serpent

The tree and the serpent are conspicuously apparent in Greek mythology. Both are depicted in the Garden of Hesperides, where Hercules conquered the hundred-headed serpent Ladon who guarded the tree of immortality and its golden apples. This was Hercules eleventh labor labors. He must overcome all the lowest forces of his animal nature and particularly the negative aspects of sexuality. Another famous example of the tree and serpent motif is found within Buddhist iconography, where Buddha is depicted meditating underneath the famous Bodhi tree, the place where he reached enlightenment. There are many sculptures of Buddha sitting in a meditative Asana with seven upright serpents or Nagas that hover above his head. Both images of the tree and snake reinforce the theme of a spiritual transformation particularly since the visual language refers to his enlightenment.

Again the tree appears as a significant image of the death and resurrection of the Phrygian God Attis, the son-lover of Cybele also called Magna Mater (Great Mother). Attis died underneath a pine tree (castrated himself), yet Zeus allowed him to achieve a type of faux immortality in that his body would never decay. Krishna also died underneath a tree when he was accidentally struck by an arrow in the foot. In a similar manner, Christ was crucified on a cross or tree, as translated in certain passages. It can be found in scripture as “Hung on a tree" in Acts, Peter (5:30;10;39;13:29), also the first letter of Peter states;

"He himself bore our sins in his body on a tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds, you have been healed '' (2;24) "The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree." (Acts 5.30.)

The Egyptian God Osiris was deceitfully tricked into a coffin-like a box then lowered into the Nile River by his evil brother Set. Isis, Osiris' wife, and Virgin Goddess searched everywhere until she found the coffin embedded in a tamarind tree trunk at Byblos off the Phoenician coast, but Osiris was already dead. Eventually, the Gods resurrected him, and he became the Judge of the Dead and Resurrection. The symbol of the tree is a central image in the mythic realm of death/resurrection. Since the tree symbolizes the body’s Nadis, spine and nervous system, then death on the tree metaphorically applies to the body’s physical resistance and psychological inertia to the spiritual transformation process.


Interpretation

Mythology, religion, and fairy–tales are identical in many aspects of symbolism because the narratives were written in an allegorical style and not as a literal reconstruction of events. What binds Religions, Myths, and Fairy Tales together into a literary collective is there are real biological effects of Kundalini which underlies all the narratives.

Intellectual and Moral Discrimination


“It happened, however, that the King appointed a festival which was to last three days, and to which all the beautiful young girls in the country were invited, in order that his son might choose himself a bride. When the two step-sisters heard that they too were to appear among the number, they were delighted, called Cinderella and said, "Comb our hair for us, brush our shoes and fasten our buckles, for we are going to the festival at the King's palace." Cinderella obeyed, but wept, because she too would have liked to go with them to the dance, and begged her step-mother to allow her to do so."

The two stepsisters were able to able to attend without difficulty, but her stepmother required a very demanding task of Cinderella before she could leave. She poured out a bunch of lentils onto the floor into dirty ashes for Cinderella to quickly sort out. Cinderella called on her secret friends, the turtle doves, and pigeons. The birds accomplished the task very efficiently giving her time enough to attend the festival dance. In most folklore and Myths birds bring messages and deliver news of some important event. From this view the birds indicate communication with the higher mind allowing Cinderella to intuitively discriminate between good and bad, expressed in her saying;

“come and help me pick: All the good into the pot, The bad into the crop.”

Her intellectual and moral development is implied, as this sorting and purification by boiling heat "(All the good into the pot)," must happen three times before she finds her Prince. Every time Cinderella needs help she calls out to nature, to her tree and birds and is never let down. Finally, after finishing her tasks without any reward, she goes to her mother’s grave and calls.

“Shiver and quiver little tree, Silver and gold throw down to me.’’

THE GRADUAL PROCESS OF GROWTH

The bird sitting in the tree dropped a silver dress with silk and silver shoes. With her precious cloths, Cinderella danced all night with the handsome Prince, but her enchanting encounter didn’t last long. She had to return to wretched servitude under the thumb of her faux family. After the ball, the Cinderella attempted to leave alone,

“But the King's son said, "I will go with thee and bear thee company," for he wished to see to whom the beautiful maiden belonged. She escaped from him, however, and sprang into the pigeon-house. The King's son waited until her father came, and then he told him that the stranger maiden had leapt into the pigeon-house.”

The father destroys the pigeon house looking for the mysterious maiden, but Cinderella had already escaped through the back entrance. She ran to her mother’s grave

“and there she had taken off her beautiful clothes and laid them on the grave, and the bird had taken them away again, and then she had placed herself in the kitchen amongst the ashes in her grey gown.”

The short duration of their bliss together parallels the short period of the first vision and ecstasy of higher consciousness, as it takes many years before the initiate’s consciousness is permanently transformed, it is a gradual growth. A similar event is found in Lord Krishna's life whose arrival affects his followers the Gopis to such an extent they swoon in his presence but are sadly disappointed when he leaves. It is also the secret of the mystical Camelot that quickly disappears and leaves King Arthur searching for it the rest of his life.

Also interesting is the fact of Cinderella’s return to her own magical tree, where the bird takes back the silver and gold cloths. It is a scene reminiscent other myths were gold appears hidden by some animal, Except in Cinderella, her gifts are hidden from the exterior world by her spirit guides, the birds, in a tree; which alludes to the return of ordinary consciousness after a sweet but short dance in heaven. The third day of the ball, Cinderella again attains a beautiful golden dress and golden slippers and continues to dance every dance with the enamored Prince.

“When evening came, Cinderella wished to leave, and the King's son was anxious to go with her, but she escaped from him so quickly that he could not follow her. The King's son had, however, used a stratagem, and had caused the whole staircase to be smeared with pitch, and there, when she ran down, had the maiden's left slipper remained sticking. The King's son picked it up, and it was small and dainty, and all golden.”


   The gradual increase in the beauty of Cinderella's attire from silver to gold reflects on the steady growth of intense beauty experienced in higher consciousness. The chronological sequence of three alchemical colors identical to those experienced in deep meditation; first black, then white or silver then gold (as found in Sleeping Beauty.) similar to those experienced in deep meditation; A fact well known to mystics and alchemists as the metal gold was always represented the ultimate sign of perfection. Cinderella’s transformation is implied by the progression of images from the lowly dirt and ashes to silver clothes, then to the highest point perfection with the golden shoes and dress. So both the increase in beautiful clothes and her gradual steps towards marriage are explainable in terms of internal events within the initiates' consciousness and are comparable to other archaic myths.

“Next morning, he went with it to the father, and said to him, "No one shall be my wife but she whose foot this golden slipper fits." Then were the two sisters glad, for they had pretty feet. The eldest went with the shoe into her room and wanted to try it on, and her mother stood by. But she could not get her big toe into it, and the shoe was too small for her. Then her mother gave her a knife and said, "Cut the toe off; when thou art Queen thou wilt has no more need to go on foot." The maiden cut the toe off, forced the foot into the shoe, swallowed the pain, and went out to the King's son. Then he took her on his horse as his bride and rode away with her. They were, however, obliged to pass the grave, and there, on the hazel-tree, sat the two pigeons and cried,

"Turn and peep, turn and peep,

There's blood within the shoe,

The shoe is too small for her,

The true bride waits for you."


In alchemical texts when seven blackbirds are drawn it is a symbol of seven distillations, which result in the purification of the sacred stone. In fairy tales, Birds carry messages or communications from higher levels of consciousness. Cinderella again is saved by these messengers, which in all respects alludes to the necessity of keeping a quiet mind that is open to intuition.

“Then she (Cinderella) seated herself on a stool, drew her foot out of the heavy wooden shoe, and put it into the slipper, which fitted like a glove. And when she rose up, and the King's son looked at her face he recognized the beautiful maiden who had danced with him and cried, "That is the true bride!" The step-mother and the two sisters were terrified and became pale with rage; he, however, took Cinderella on his horse and rode away with her. As they passed by the hazel-tree, the two white doves cried --

"Turn and peep, turn and peep,

No blood is in the shoe,

The shoe is not too small for her,


The true bride rides with you," and when they had cried that, the two came flying down and placed themselves on Cinderella's shoulders, one on the right, the other on the left, and remained sitting there.”

Cinderella is finally rewarded by finding her prince. In addition, the two messenger birds came to rest on her shoulders. This indicates a return of her rightful inheritance, as it symbolizes the concept of left and right energies, Ida and Pingala, returning to their proper position.

Cinderella began life with hard wooden shoes but finished with golden ones, a clue to the last enigma to be revealed. The shoe motif also occurs in Sleeping Beauty. It can be explained by the fact that the feet (and hands) are the last part of the body from where Pranic energy is siphoned from. Once subtle energies start to flow from the extremities and are collected to enable the final transformation is near. Krishna was shot by an arrow in the foot underneath the tree just as Christ was nailed to the tree/cross in his hands and feet which is the last act of their death and resurrection. This fact parallels the appearance of golden shoes which fit on Cinderella and no one else; it shows that the process of enlightenment has succeeded in that penetration of Kundalini has reached the feet. And in a very enigmatic style, the two stepsisters are have bloodied feet trying to find their prince.

In contrast to the ideal women or Goddess, the Prince uncovers the stepsister's worldliness, an indication of their superficial persona. They were excluded when their feet didn't fit into Cinderella's golden shoes, even with bloody force. According to Dr. Mumford's article, their resulting blindness is a metaphor that indicates turning one's outlook inward, quote;

"Cinderella’s wicked stepsisters, in the original 1800 manuscript, were punished with having their eyes pecked out by pigeons. Which symbolically pertains the transmutation of Ida and Pingala in which the lure of the outer world is ‘blinded’ (forced ‘Pratyahara’ or sensory withdrawal) so that the inner alchemical work of Kundalini uniting with Shiva may take place within an interior space. Ida and Pingala no longer dissipate energies into the material ‘earth’ but rather extract the gold of ‘realization.’"

Golden Shoes

Cinderella began life with hard wooden shoes but finished with golden ones, a clue to the last enigma to be revealed. The shoe motif also occurs in Sleeping Beauty. It can be explained by the fact that the feet (and hands) are the last part of the body from where Pranic energy is siphoned from. Once subtle energies start to flow from the extremities and are collected to enable the final transformation is near. Krishna was shot by an arrow in the foot underneath the tree just as Christ was nailed to the tree/cross in his hands and feet which is the last act of their death and resurrection. This fact parallels the appearance of golden shoes which fit on Cinderella and no one else; it shows that the process of enlightenment has succeeded in that penetration of Kundalini has reached the feet. And in a very enigmatic style, the two stepsisters are have bloodied feet trying to find their prince.

Sacred Marriage

Legends and fairy tales usually end with a sacred marriage of a Prince and Princess, King and Queen or Knight and Virgin maiden. In Christianity, many of the medieval saints were called to become "Mystical Brides of Christ." A sacred marriage is a significant motif in most fairy tales, such as Sleeping Beauty, Jack, and the Beanstalk, Beauty and the Beast and Cinderella. The marriage refers to the union of male and female archetypal energies, or otherwise called the animus and anima, or even Shiva and Shakti. The Prince perceives Cinderella, as the perfect women goddess at the festival, indicating his inordinate desire for wholeness. However, this is a projection as there are no real women who could ever satisfy the Prince or conversely a real man for Cinderella, as both are seeking an internal union of opposites. Once this union –marriage occurs, the story ends.

Written by Joseph Alexander

all rights reserved
written 3/22/2014
edited 12/8/2017
edited 12/6/2018


Reference Images:  

By Anne Lebovitz

Reference article:


Chakra, Kundalini, Folk Tales and Renaissance Art  By Swami Anandakapila Saraswati (Dr.Jonn Mumford)

This version of  Cinderella is from Grimm's fairy tales


Source, Jacob, and Wilhelm Grimm,
"Aschenputtel," Kinder- und Hausmärchen [Children's and Household Tales -- Grimms' Fairy Tales], 7th edition (Göttingen: Verlag der Dieterichschen Buchhandlung, 1857), no. 21, pp. 119-26.












Thursday, May 22, 2014

Sleeping Beauty


 
                           Artwork by Annie Leibovitz


Sleeping Beauty is a fairy-tale that has enchanted the hearts of children and adults since time immemorial. One reason for its longevity rests on the spiritual intent, which seems to be far greater than the literary content. The story is built on the universal theme of the psyche’s search for self-realization, or in other words, the soul’s path toward self–knowledge. The story has many connections to the concept of reincarnation. Another theme is how the shadow side of the psyche if it is too dominant, can cause a person to fear life.

Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm collected the folktales of Germany and published Grimm’s Fairy Tales in 1812. Their version of Sleeping Beauty called Briar Rose; that was closely based on the French author, Charles Perrault’s (1628-1703), Sleeping Beauty, that was written much earlier.

Other versions include The Petrified Mansion, which originated in India, that tells of a prince that enters a large mansion in which everyone, including the princess, cannot move or talk. There is an Italian version, called; Sun, Moon, and Talia, published the Pentamerone (1634).

Briar Rose

 In olden times there lived a King and Queen, who lamented day by day that they had no children, and yet never a one was born. One day, as the Queen was bathing and thinking of her wishes, a Frog skipped out of the water, and said to her, "Your wish shall be fulfilled, — before a year passes you shall have a daughter."

As the Frog had said, so it happened, and a little girl was born who was so beautiful that the King almost lost his senses, but he ordered a great feast to be held, and invited to it not only his relatives, friends, and acquaintances, but also all the wise women who are kind and affectionate to children. There happened to be thirteen in his dominions, but, since he had only twelve golden plates out of which they could eat, one had to stop at home. The fete was celebrated with all the magnificence possible, and, as soon as it was over, the wise women presented the infant with their wonderful gifts; one with virtue, another with beauty, a third with riches, and so on, so that the child had everything that is to be desired in the world. Just as eleven had given their gifts, the thirteenth old lady stepped in suddenly. She was in a tremendous passion because she had not been invited, and, without greeting or looking at anyone, she exclaimed loudly,"The Princess shall prick herself with a spindle on her fifteenth birthday and die!" and without a word further she turned her back and left the hall. All were terrified, but the twelfth fairy, who had not yet given her wish, then stepped up, but because she could not take away the evil wish, but only soften it, she said, "She shall not die, but shall fall into a sleep of a hundred years' duration." 

The King, who naturally wished to protect his child from this misfortune, issued a decree commanding that every spindle in the kingdom should be burnt. Meanwhile, all the gifts of the wise women were fulfilled, and the maiden became so beautiful, gentle, virtuous, and clever, that everyone who saw her fell in love with her. It happened on the day when she was just fifteen years old that the Queen and the King were not at home, and so she was left alone in the castle. The maiden looked about in every place, going through all the rooms and chambers just as she pleased until she came at last to an old tower. Up the narrow winding staircase, she tripped until she arrived at a door, in the lock of which was a rusty key. This she turned, and the door sprang open, and there in the little room sat an old woman with a spindle, spinning flax. "Good-day, my good old lady," said the Princess, "what are you doing here?" 

"I am spinning," said the old woman, nodding her head. 

"What thing is that which twists round so merrily?" inquired the maiden, and she took the spindle to try her hand at spinning. Scarcely had she done so when the prophecy was fulfilled, for she pricked her finger; and at the very same moment, she fell back upon a bed which stood near in a deep sleep. This sleep extended over the whole palace. The King and Queen, who had just come in, fell asleep in the hall, and all their courtiers with them — the horses in the stables, the doves upon the eaves, the flies upon the walls, and even the fire upon the hearth, all ceased to stir — the meat which was cooking ceased to frizzle, and the cook at the instant of pulling the hair of the kitchen-boy lost his hold and began to snore too. The wind also fell entirely, and not a leaf rustled on the trees around the castle. 

Now around the palace, a thick hedge of briars began growing, which every year grew higher and higher, till the castle was quite hidden from view so that one could not even see the flag upon the tower. Then there went a legend through the land of the beautiful maiden Briar Rose, for so was the sleeping Princess named, and from time to time Princes came endeavoring to penetrate through the hedge to the castle; but it was not possible, for the thorns held them as if by hands, and the youths were unable to release themselves, and so perished miserably. 

After the lapse of many years, there came another King's son into the country, and heard an old man tell the legend of the hedge of briars; how that behind it stood a castle where slept a wonderfully beauteous Princess called Briar Rose, who had slumbered nearly a hundred years, and with her the Queen and King and all their court. The old man further related what he had heard from his grandfather, that many Princes had come and tried to penetrate the hedge, and had died a miserable death. But the youth was not to be daunted, and, however much the old man tried to dissuade him, he would not listen, but cried out, "I fear not, I will see this hedge of briars !

Just at that time came the last day of the hundred years when Briar Rose was to wake again. As the young Prince approached the hedge, the thorns turned to fine large flowers, which of their own accord made a way for him to pass through, and again closed up behind him. In the courtyard, he saw the horses and dogs lying fast asleep, and on the eaves were the doves with their heads beneath their wings. As soon as he went into the house, there were the flies asleep upon the wall, the cook still stood with his hands on the hair of the kitchen-boy, the maid at the board with the unplucked fowl in her hand. He went on, and in the hall he found the courtiers lying asleep, and above, by the throne, were the King and Queen. He went on further, and all was so quiet that he could hear himself breathe, and at last, he came to the tower and opened the door of the little room where slept, Briar Rose. There she lay, looking so beautiful that he could not turn away his eyes, and he bent over her and kissed her. Just as he did so she opened her eyes, awoke, and greeted him with smiles. Then they went down together, and immediately the King and Queen awoke, and the whole court and all stared at each other wondrously. Now the horses in the stable got up and shook themselves, — the dogs wagged their tails, — the doves upon the eaves drew their heads from under their wings, looked around, and flew away, — the flies upon the walls began to crawl, the fire to burn brightly and to cook the meat, — the meat began again to frizzle, — the cook gave his lad a box upon the ear which made him call out, — and the maid began to pluck the fowl furiously. The whole palace was once more in motion as if nothing had occurred, for the hundred years' sleep had made no change in anyone. 

By and by the wedding of the Prince with Briar Rose was celebrated with great splendor, and to the end of their lives they lived happily and contented.

http://www.archive.org/stream/cu31924006786580#page/n5/mode/2up [1890]. Household Stories. From the collection of Grimm Brothers. Translated from the German by Lucy Crane. Chicago and New York: Rand, McNally, and Company, n.d.


The Interpretation

 Fate and the Fairies

 Considering (Briar Rose) - Sleeping Beauty personifies the human soul, we can infer her predicted death is symbolic of the end of a cycle related to reincarnating through the twelve signs of the zodiac. The number thirteen is unlucky because it infers a new octave of energy, as the passage from 12 to 13 is considered dangerous, one must enter a new reality.  this trope is why it was the thirteenth guest who cursed Sleeping Beauty.

Basically, we can say the central theme with the soul’s destiny, which the ancients thought must reincarnate through the twelve signs of the zodiac, before it enters a new and higher level of consciousness.

 The Three Fates that Spun Destiny

 In Greek mythology, the Moira (4) known in English as the "Fates" were the white-robed Demi-gods of destiny that held the power to limit the soul’s lifespan, which they determined at the moment of birth.

“Lachesis” – The "allotter" or drawer of lots measured the thread of life allotted to each person with her measuring rod, a staff with which she points to the horoscope on a globe.

“Clotho” – The "spinner" who spun the thread of life from her distaff onto her spindle (the book of Fate). 

 “Atropos”means inexorable or inevitable. She personified the cutter of the thread of life who chose the manner of each person's death; and when their time came, she cut their life-thread. She held a scroll, a wax tablet, a sundial, a pair of scales, or a cutting instrument. At the birth of each person, they appeared spinning, measuring, and cutting the thread of life. (2)

  The ancients associated spinning with the soul's destiny. Yarn must be wound on the spindle and spun into a net or loop. They deemed this process of 'spinning a net to catch the soul,' as a spiritual metaphor for fate. The unique characteristics of the Moira are analogous to the good fairies, found in many Indo-European sagas and Celtic folklore. who appeared beside the cradle of the newborn child with gifts, the twelve guests brought gifts to Sleeping Beauty.


The number twelve* has great significance in reference to astrology. Ancient sages believed the soul reincarnated through the twelve houses of the zodiac to gained specific traits associated with each house. “Lachesis” portrays the concept of destiny by holding a staff as she points to the horoscope on a globe, indicating a belief that the stars affect the destiny of the soul.

  
Each of the twelve guests brought wonderful gifts, one “bestowed virtue, one beauty, and a third riches”, which is a metaphor on the soul's qualities acquired in each astrological sign. For example, Taurus gives one a sense of beauty. Gemini teaches the soul to communicate. Cancer relates to the home, Leo expands the heart and friends. In Virgo, one develops a discriminating mind and so on through all twelve houses of the zodiac. So the whole affair of receiving gifts alludes to the evolution of consciousness, through the twelve astrological signs.

 Next, the thirteenth guest condemned Sleeping Beauty to death if she ever touched the spinning wheel. The thirteenth fairy is like the Greek Atropos, as she determines the length of Sleeping Beauty’s life. Number thirteen is unlucky because it denotes the end of the twelve cycles, and the beginning of a new cycle or next octave. Moving to a new cycle may be dangerous as one's psyche has no foundation on which to stand, it is like jumping between two cliffs with nothing underneath.

It is worth noting, biological and psychological changes occur at thirteen when puberty kicks in. In the human growth cycle, the thirteenth year denotes a transitional year and indicates a change in one’s body and mind. 

Therefore the year is transformative and denotes the time when a boy becomes a man and a girl becomes a woman. In that, the body can now reproduce.
In a psychological sense, it may be that the number thirteen is deemed unlucky because one has to pass through a death experience. And symbolically Christ being the thirteenth of a group of twelve apostles died and resurrected into a new cycle in the heavens.

  Though cursed to an early death, the twelfth fairy mitigates the outcome by gifting Sleeping Beauty with over a hundred years of sleep. It seems the twelfth guest has similar powers of “Lachesis,” who decides the length of each incarnation, and so could alter the length of Sleeping Beauties many life’s. 
  
Sleeping Beauty has the freedom to enter every room except the one which holds the spinning wheel, as the spinning wheel is symbolic of destiny and controlled by the “Clotho.” The Fate who spun the thread of life. She does just the opposite of warnings and enters the forbidden room. She pricks her finger, then blood appears; a clear symbol of death and sacrifice. Then She falls into a deep sleep as foretold by the thirteenth guest. 

 It may be her destiny to sleep for a hundred years. However, I see the sleep as an allegory on her own lack of consciousness. As she has to experience the real world, not waste away in her father’s luxurious kingdom.  And oddly, her hundred years of sleep denote a wasted life, in which nothing of value is experienced, except maybe dreams. If she stays away from the sorrows of life, she also stays away from its bliss. However, it is inevitable she cannot stay safe and comfortable forever. 

 In the Charles Perrault version, there were seven fairies that rendered gifts of gold while the eighth old Fairy, who was not expected to attend; cursed Sleeping Beauty. “The King, to avoid the misfortune as foretold by the old fairy, caused immediately a proclamation to be made, whereby everybody was forbidden, on pain of death, to spin with a distaff and spindle, or to have so much as any spindle in their houses.

So we can conclude the King was attempting to avoid any suffering for his daughter, yet no matter what how hard he tried, destiny intervened and his daughter entered the forbidden room. The forbidden room symbolizes the unconscious mind, where the archetype of the shadow exists, and all the psyche’s negative complexes reside. She is forbidden to enter because it will cause the death of her subconscious shadow.  

  The number seven is also special because it refers to the seven chakras or planes of consciousness. Each center has to be vilified before the crown chakra is opened, when this happens the old personality undergoes a radical transformation, whereas the ego dies as one enters cosmic consciousness. Both versions of the tale use numbers, twelve and seven that encode themes based on reincarnation (12 signs) and enlightenment
(7chakras). In essence, both versions reinforce the main theme of the evolution of consciousness through a particular cycle.  
                                                                          
 The twelfth fairy avoided the worst effects of the curse, and answered the Queen’s questions;

"When will my daughter waken?"
"I don't know," the fairy admitted sadly.
"In a year's time, ten years or twenty?" the Queen went on.
''Maybe in a hundred years' time. Who knows?" said the fairy.
"Love," replied the fairy. "If a man of pure heart was to fall in love with her that would bring her back to life!"

"How can a man fall in love with a sleeping girl?

   Yes, how can a man fall in love and marry a sleeping girl? But we are talking about the levels of consciousness. Her sleep metaphorically implies a refusal to become conscious, as the twelfth fairy cannot predict when she will “wake up.” Only Sleeping Beauty can decide whether she will follow the spiritual path or stagnate. She has yet to integrate her masculine characteristics, symbolized by the prince. We also know that the prince is attempting to find Sleeping Beauty, which suggests there is a desire within the psyche to achieve a balance between the anima and animus.

   The idea of a hundred years alludes to the many lifetimes it takes to wake up, that is, to bring up to consciousness every hidden aspect of her psyche. If one only identified with the physical senses and the material world it may take countless lives to awake. Her sleep is a prophetic warning signal to those who do not follow the spiritual path and miss their opportunity to evolve physically, mentally and psychologically in the 'now.'

 We find the good fairy worrying about Sleeping Beauty’s loneliness when she awakens from her 100 years of sleep, she says;

"I can never let that happen. It would be too painful for this unfortunate girl."

So the fairy uses her magic powers to put everyone associated with Sleeping Beauty, including the - soldiers, ministers, guards, servants, pages, cooks, maids, and knights into a deep sleep.

"Now," thought the fairy," when the Princess wakes up, they too will awaken, and life will go on from there."

 The fairy’s concern reveals a hidden detail about reincarnation. In that, the ancient's believed that familiar groups and families incarnate together, in the same location, to work out their karma. As then the soul could continue its relationships. This karmic arrangement allows for everyone in the castle to experience their life together ensuring a shared spiritual journey which explains why the whole castle is enchanted by the sleeping spell.   

 The prince symbolizes the archetypal masculine energy and is a counterbalance to the feminine. In “Snow White,” this same motive is symbolized by her death and placement in a glass box until the Prince came to awaken her with a Kiss. When the Prince finally reaches the castle, he struggles through the thorns and bushes; he finds Sleeping Beauty and gives her a kiss. She responds by saying:

"Oh, you have come at last! I was waiting for you in my dream. I've waited so long!" 

Yes, she was dreaming compared to being fully alive and conscious. The story resolves when the Sacred Marriage occurs….which is symbolic of the internal conjunction of sexual opposites (male and female), resulting in the birth of cosmic consciousness and union of the individual with the divine.

“Then the wedding of the Prince and Rosamond was held with all splendors, and they lived very happily together until their lives' end.”

Joseph Alexander  
Rewritten 6/5/2015 and 5/27/2018


 References

1. The three Moirai are daughters of the primeval goddess Nyx (Night), and sisters of Keres (black Fates).

 Links

Grimm Brothers version, Briar Rose

Charles Perrault version, Sleeping Beauty in the wood





 


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