Monthly Archives: June 2011
A no-nonsense, simple step by step guide to reaching your goals, achieving greatness, and creating your world.
First and foremost, just because you master manifestation does not mean that you will no longer have challenges. Challenges are what life is all about. And in fact, manifestation mastery can present a whole new set of challenges.
I hesitated writing this post for a long time because manifestation really can be dangerous and mess up someone’s life, but on the other hand, sickness and health have a lot to do with manifestation, and manifestation mastery can lead one to wellness.
This is not for the lazy. Manifestation is word, thought, and deed. As long as we are in these physical bodies, sitting on a couch just focusing on what we want is not likely to bring us closer to our goals.
Manifestation is not ignoring reality. You can create your own world, but it is a world in harmony with everyone else’s. That doesn’t mean that you can hurt other people and choose to ignore it. Karma will come back to you one way or another. It also doesn’t mean that you should choose to ignore drama or other people’s plight. Instead, try to “be the change you want to see in the world.” And manifestation can make your actions have a greater, more positive impact.
And word of caution: I have gotten so deep into the ability to create my own world that I was beginning to leave my loved ones behind. While this choice is not wrong or right, just know that you can go down a path that could be difficult to come back from.
Another word of caution: Surely you have heard the phrase, “Be careful what you wish for.” Imagine making a wish that you thought could never come true. You make this wish casually, without a second thought. And it does in fact come true. Maybe you wish you had waited to get married, longing for the single life, and six months later you are in the middle of a divorce losing everything you think you have. I speak from personal experience; the most important thing you can do before you start learning to manifest is to align your mind with positive thinking. Make sure your thoughts are conscious and purposeful. What you think of, you will attract. Imagine having the power to attract anything you think about easily and relatively quickly. It’s not easy to undue something you’ve started. I cannot stress this enough, “Be careful what you wish for.”
his is a step-by-step guide to learning how to manifest anything you want. Spend lots of time on every step, especially the first ones, regardless of how boring or easy they may seem.
- Learn to see things positively
If you think negative thoughts you will attract negativity. You may try to achieve something positive for yourself, but negative thoughts will taint it, like a mutated achievement.
- Learn to appreciate what you have now
Understand that one way or another you have brought everything that is in your life, into your life by your choice. If this is a hard concept to understand or accept, take your time, because it is a necessary concept to grasp in order to learn how to properly appreciate yourself and your own power.
Cherish your life. Appreciate your challenges. Thank whatever deity or force you believe in for your path, your karma. Look at life as a game. It’s time to take control and start playing by your own rules. It’s as if you are now taking control of the paddle. But don’t forget that your life, for better or for worse, brought you to this point.
- Redefine yourself
It’s all relative.
You are rich. Don’t believe it? Consider the fact that you have access to the internet, which is more knowledge than anyone had up until recently. And knowledge is power.
You are healthy. Compare yourself to people that are dying and chances are you will realize that you are very lucky to be as healthy as you are.
You are lucky. There are people born without arms and legs. There are women stoned to death for nothing but false rumors. If you are reading this page on the internet, then in all likelihood, you are luckier than more than half the people living this world today.
And don’t let stupid little things get you down or ruin your day. Besides, it’s all stupid little things in the grand scheme of things, right? If you have what you used to call a “very bad day,” focus on the positives of the day and be happy about it.
2. Rid yourself of desire
If you “want” something, you have just made a declaration to the universe that you want something, which comes with the fact that you do not have something. This will continue to be, so long as you want it. Desire is weak. Wanting is weak. You will learn to choose.
3. Begin thinking about goals. Envision vividly without “wishing” for them
Instead of wanting something, choose it. Spend lots of time fantasizing about it; envision yourself with this thing you choose, and know that you already have it. It’s just a matter of time before you actualize it. And do not spend a second worrying about how much time it takes. That is completely irrelevant (the more you realize how irrelevant time is, the faster things happen for you).
4. Get a book
This is the routine I recommend, but you can develop your own. I got a book made with unbleached unrefined paper put together with fair trade labor. I wanted nothing but good intensions and positive vibrations throughout my ritual. I sleep with this book under my pillow.
5. Write down all long term goals on the first page
This is the first thing you do when you get the book. You write down some long term goals. Only write down goals which you believe you can and will achieve! You can add more and more advanced goals into the book later, but if you question your ability to win the mega-millions lottery then this is not the time to put that goal in here as it will make this whole manifestation program feel disingenuous.
6. Read the goals every night before bed
And fantasize about life when you have achieved these goals. Know you will manifest all of these goals. Live it in your head. Meditate on it. Then sleep on it.
7. Write down in the book a small goal for the next day
Pick things that you have complete control over. For instance, “I will have a good workout tomorrow, and I will have fun at work.” Date it. Know it will happen. Envision it. Stick to what you have complete control over for at least a week. And don’t add too much too fast. Maybe you almost always miss your workout, have bad days at work, and you never make it home in time for diner. Don’t try to conquer all of these in one day. Baby steps. This phase can take a week or a few months. Never move too fast and do not let anything go down on that paper that you don’t make come true!
8. Write down a goal for the next day that requires a bit of luck
Once you completely trust yourself it’s time to start picking things like “I will not be late for work today.” This is mostly under your control, but you could get stuck in an traffic due to an accident or get a flat tire. But not once you put it in this book!
Make the goals more and more challenging, like, “I will squat at least 10lbs more than I ever have,” or “I will make bob laugh at work.”
9. Continue with one to two goals a day, progressively moving towards more advanced goals
Begin adding goals that have slightly less to do with what is within your conventional control and more to do with what you would have referred to as luck before you started this program.
For instance, “I will get a good parking spot when I go grocery shopping,” or “”I will meet someone interesting at yoga, “or, “I will hit the light at that busy intersection at green on my way home from work today.
10. Reassess original long term goals
Maybe they have changed slightly or significantly. Make them as specific and descriptive as possible. Start focusing on them as often as possible.
11. Make individual daily goals contribute to long term goals
Every night some of your daily goals should coincide with your long term goals. You should also start adding weekly and monthly goals as well. For instance, if you have a long term goal to make six figures, then you may have a goal to get a raise by the end of the month, and a goal to do well on a project by the end of the week and a daily goal of being focused and excellent at your job. If your goal is to get down to 8% body fat or to run a marathon or to get a raise or to start a business, it’s time to start focusing on these major goals by breaking them down into smaller goals and focus on the whole picture and its pieces.
12. Prepare to take it to the next level
At some point you will not need the book. At some point you will just be one of those people that everything just seems to work out for (provided you followed the first steps properly and are careful and consciences about your choices). I don’t know what path this kind of success will lead you to. For some, they may run for office. For others, they may learn to see love and/or God in every being and before you know it they end up meditating 24 hours a day on top of a mountain before they starve to death with nothing but divine energy pulsing through their body.
There is no right or wrong in this case. Just be careful and conscientious.
- The Body-Mind Connection (joyofspa.com)
- How To Manifest The Results You Want From Your Marketing [Fraser J. Hay] (ecademy.com)
- How Your Consciousness Defines Your Reality By Jafree Ozwald (colinobwellness.com)
- Law of Attraction – The Secret to Manifesting Faster (socyberty.com)
- How to Become a Super Manifestor (colinobwellness.com)
Know thyself. That good advice goes back all the way to the days of Plato and Socrates, and the ancient Greek inscription at the Temple of Delphi. But sometimes, knowing yourself is a lot harder than it should be, especially if you are out of touch with what is going on at the subconscious level.
Even though our conscious, rational mind determines what choices we make in life, the hidden part of ourselves, our subconscious mind, is equally important. If these two halves of your mind are out of sync, you may find that everything becomes more difficult. Illnesses, accidents, anxieties, and fears are some ways the subconscious tries to get our attention. If your subconscious doesn’t agree with what you’d like to do, making changes becomes nearly impossible.
Dowsing is the perfect tool to talk to the subconscious mind and find out what’s going on beneath the surface. In many ways, it’s like the old-timer walking a field with a forked stick, trying to find water. In this case, you will use a pendulum to explore the subconscious and try to strike those deep veins of truth that are flowing beneath.
A pendulum can be anything that can dangle in a balanced way on a chain or string. Hold your pendulum in your dominant hand and tell yourself, “Show me a yes.” You are programming yourself to recognize a positive answer. My yes response is a clockwise circle, but yours may move counter clockwise or back and forth. Once you’ve established your yes, ask for a no. It may take some time to get your pendulum moving with just your thoughts, but you’ll eventually find that it gets easier with practice. For more help in learning to dowse, see my book, Intuition in an Instant.
Once you become comfortable with dowsing, you will have a valuable tool to help you explore your hidden motivations, much like a therapist might in a counseling session. You will want to get in the habit of talking to your subconscious on a regular basis. To do so, take a few moments to center yourself. Close your eyes, and take a few deep breaths. Once you are in a relaxed state, hold your pendulum and ask if you can connect with your subconscious mind. Then ask yourself for the name of your subconscious. This will help you access your subconscious more easily. Once you have a name, use your pendulum to confirm that this is what your subconscious wants to be called. In general, you may find it best to talk to your subconscious as if you were talking to a child. Be gentle with yourself and offer thanks for all the hard work it has been doing on your behalf. Then be quiet and ask what it is feeling. Something might come to mind quickly, an emotion or a thought. If you are having problems with a particular project or goal, you might want to check in with your subconscious and use your dowsing skills to explore what’s going on. Deep-rooted blocks, false assumptions, and self-limiting attitudes can be buried deep in the subconscious. First you have to identify these blocks, and then you can begin to release them with the help of your pendulum. For instance, if you determine that the phrase, “I don’t deserve,” is rooted in your subconscious, you can do a clearing to help erase that from your mind.
Get settled in your favorite dowsing place. Take a few moments to center yourself and take a few deep, complete breaths. Calling upon your higher self to assist you, say out loud or to yourself, “I ask my higher self to examine my subconscious mind and remove the blocks that are related to ______ (the negative statement). Fill the space that is created with love and whatever I need most at this time.”
Dowse again to check and see if the block remains. If it does, you can talk with your subconscious and present reasons why that statement is false. Someone who deep down feels she doesn’t deserve all the success she has experienced might say to her subconscious, “We do deserve all the good we have in our life. We have worked hard to achieve our goals. We are a good person and we always try our best.” Then dowse to see if the subconscious is now ready for a clearing, and repeat the process.
Another way to use dowsing to interact with your subconscious is when you want to make a major change in your life. If you are calling on willpower to lose twenty pounds, or quit smoking, or tackle a big project, check to make sure your subconscious is in agreement. If your subconscious doesn’t want the change to happen, most likely it won’t. That is worth repeating: you will not be successful in reaching your goals unless your subconscious is open to the idea.
Anytime you call upon willpower to make some sort of change, you are using your logical, rational, conscious mind to set it in motion. You will spend a lot of time thinking about your goal, perhaps drawing up a detailed plan that you can put into action. You tell yourself, “I can do this. I will put these steps into action and I will succeed.” But there are many times when that’s not enough. Is it lack of willpower, or is it a tug of war between the conscious and subconscious mind?
As a dowser, you have a distinct advantage. You can get in touch with the underlying motivations and beliefs of your subconscious simply by asking questions and using your pendulum.
Start by asking, “Are there subconscious blocks to this goal I would like to achieve?” If you get a positive response, you can follow with other questions to understand what exactly it is, and then clear it. Call upon your higher self to assist you with removing whatever obstacles the subconscious has placed upon this goal.
Understanding what is going on inside the subconscious mind is a good place to start dowsing, because the process helps to remove obstacles—both to the goals we want achieve and to the intuition we want flowing in our lives. The clearer we are, the more accurate our dowsing will be. That journey starts by “knowing thyself.”
Kathryn Klvana is an actress and writer. Her voiceover work includes documentaries for National Geographic Explorer, The Learning Channel, and the Discovery Channel. Kathryn teaches dowsing in the Washington, DC area, and has presented dowsing workshops… Read more
As the temperatures rise, be sure to give yourself the cooling, minty refreshment that Young Living’s peppermint essential oil provides. One of the best things to do during a hot, summer evening is to rub some soothing peppermint on the bottoms of your feet.
There are very few things out there that can soothe and relax while also giving you the clarity, focus, and pick-me-up that you need during a day when you feel just a little off. Peppermint falls into that rare category, which makes it such a vital and outstanding part of your aromatherapy and essential oil options.
Some exciting research has been done with peppermint essential oil that studies an increase of concentration and alertness and even memory. Simply take your bottle of Young Living peppermint oil and place a drop of the oil on your tongue or add it to flavor and cool your water, lemonade, or favorite tea.
Let’s examine a few other exciting and versatile ways you can utilize your peppermint oil and reap the benefits of nature’s living energy:
- Add a drop of peppermint essential oil to herbal tea to help aid normal digestion.
- Massage several drops of peppermint essential oil on your abdomen, place a drop on your wrists, or inhale to soothe the minor stomach discomfort associated with travel.
- Rub one drop of peppermint essential oil on your temples, forehead, over your sinuses (careful to avoid contact with your eyes), and on the back of your neck to relieve head pressure.
- Place two drops of peppermint essential oil on your tongue and rub another drop of oil under your nose to help improve concentration and alertness.
- Apply peppermint essential oil to the back of your neck and shoulders throughout the day to keep energy up.
- Inhale peppermint essential oil, apply topically to your temples or neck, or put a drop on your tongue or in water to jump-start your morning routine.
- Diffuse or inhale peppermint essential oil mid-morning to curb the desire to snack.
- Inhale peppermint essential oil or rub a drop onto your abdomen to soothe minor stomach discomfort.
Keep in mind that Young Living’s peppermint oil is a great way to introduce your neighbors, friends, and family to the wonderful and exciting world of essential oils. Help others see what they’ve been missing by introducing them to the versatile world of peppermint!
—Derek Cullimore, YL Product Marketing Manager
- Congested? Get Steamy (fitsugar.com)
- Peppermint Soothes Gastric Pain and IBS, Study Says (fitsugar.com)
- Jane G. Goldberg, Ph.D.: More Than A Scent: Essential Oils Aid The Immune System (huffingtonpost.com)
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Truly, I haven’t touched a bottle of either, and I don’t plan on using them anytime in the foreseeable future. My hair is as clean as a whistle, and to be honest, I don’t know if it’s looked this healthy in years.
A few months ago, I started reading around the web about going shampoo-free, and I was intrigued. But like many of you right now, I was also perplexed. Why would you bother? What’s the harm in using shampoo? And isn’t your hair greasy and smelly?
So I read for a few weeks, just taking in info, and one night, after reading about the shampoo-free concept on like the twelfth blog I enjoy, I decided to give it a shot. If I hated it, then no harm — I’ll just keep to my shampooing ways.
But if I liked it as much as everyone else seemed to, then I’ve found a frugal, easy, toxic-free way to care for my hair. So I took the plunge.
Why Go ‘Poo-Free?
Before I go in to the how of no shampoo, it’s a good idea to tell you the why. There’s a lot of valuable information on the Internet, so I’m not going to reinvent the wheel. But here are the reasons that spoke most to me.
1. Shampoo is a detergent.
Shampoo cleans your hair, but it also strips it of all the healthy oil your body naturally produces. These oils protect your hair and keep it soft and strong.
Shampoo was only introduced in the early 20th century — before that, people relied on good-old soap, which can wash hair just as well without removing important oils. But soap doesn’t work well in alkaline water, and when water in civilized areas started becoming more mineral-heavy (read: alkaline), soap became a challenge. It made the scales on hair stand up, making it weaker and rougher. So shampoo was introduced, marketed with its only benefit of working in both hard and soft water.
Detergent is harsh. I doubt we’d use the same type of stuff to wash our bodies as we would our dishes, but that’s essentially what we’re doing with shampoo.
2. Shampoo has all sorts of chemicals.
Our family typically goes out of our way to not eat boxed chemicals disguised as food — we stick to the natural, whole foods that either come from the ground or once ate things that came from the ground. But skin is our largest organ, and it’s extremely porous — substances can easily enter the bloodstream directly through our skin, and they can stay for a long time.
Since we try to avoid food that has unpronounceable ingredients, we thought it only made sense to adhere to the same standards for the stuff we slather on our skin. Since this includes shampoo, we sought out an alternative.
Most shampoos also contain mineral oil, which is a byproduct when gasoline is distilled from crude oil. It’s added to shampoo (along with hundreds of other products) to thickly coat the strands, giving hair an artificial shine. And since it can’t absorb into skin, like the other ingredients, it acts as a barrier on our scalp, preventing oil from being released — thus requiring more shampoo to strip away the grease. This is why the more shampoo you use, the more you need.
3. Shampoo is an unnecessary cost.
So because shampoo isn’t really necessary, using it creates this cycle that requires a dependence on the stuff, along with other hair products. In order to combat the stripping of protective oils, we need an artificial protectant called conditioner. And because now my hair is coated with unnatural substances, it requires more unnatural substances to keep it styled, strong, and workable. The list of hair pomades, waxes, gels, mousses, and detanglers available could take up pages on this site.
Since we’re a frugal family, seeking a simple life, it made sense to eliminate something we didn’t truly need. We’d rather spend our money elsewhere.
There are plenty of other reasons — shampoo caused my husband’s dry, itchy scalp, and we had another added expense of buying a tear-free type of shampoo for our kiddos. While this wasn’t a life-or-death situation for us, by any means, it made more and more sense for us to give a shampoo-free life a shot once we read about it.
How to go ‘Poo-Free
I don’t like writing doom and destruction on this blog — I’d rather give you useful, practical information that might make your life simpler. So that’s enough on the why not to do something — here are helpful tips for how you can give going ‘poo-free a shot.
Baking Soda is Your Friend
Like many natural cleaners, the recipe isn’t static — it can be tweaked to suit your needs. The standard amount for hair care is one tablespoon of baking soda to one cup of water. Those with curly or thicker hair might need a bit more baking soda, and those with thin or fine hair might need less. Experiment, and see what works for you.
I use a simple 8-ounce squeeze bottle, pour in a tablespoon of baking soda with a funnel, then fill up the rest with water from the kitchen sink. I give it a good shake to dissolve the baking soda, and it’s ready to be used.
In the shower, I soak my hair with water, then I squeeze a bit of the baking soda mixture on my scalp, starting at the crown. I massage it in as I go, squeezing a bit more here and there, concentrating mostly on the scalp. I include my hair as well, but since most of the oils originate from the scalp itself, the hair will naturally get cleaned once the scalp is clarified.
After a few minutes, I rinse it out, just like I would shampoo.
For my husband and I combined, this amount will last us about a week or week and a half. He has fairly short hair, and mine is just below my ears.
Apple Cider Vinegar is Your Next Friend
Apple cider vinegar is a mild acidic, working well to counteract the baking soda, and thus acts as a great replacement for conditioner. It detangles the hair folicles, seals the cuticle, and balances the hair’s pH balance.
A little goes a very long way, just like the baking soda. The standard recipe is also one tablespoon apple cider vinegar to one cup water. For this, I use an old conditioner bottle, and fill it with the vinegar and water via funnel, then finish it with a shake.
My hair tends to rest a little on the oily side naturally, so I don’t use much of this. I pour a little on just the ends of my hair, let it rest for a few seconds, then rinse it out.
And that, from start to finish, is my current hair care routine.
• You might have a transition period that lasts from a few weeks to a few months, where your hair reacts with excess oil to the lack of shampoo. This is perfectly normal. It’s used to having its oils stripped, so it might take time for the oil to stop producing so heavily in protest. My transition period only lasted about two weeks, and it wasn’t any big deal, really.
• I hear that eventually, you can wean off baking soda and vinegar all together, relying only on water in the shower to remove dirt and oil. I haven’t gotten there yet.
• If you find that your hair is too oily (after the transition period), try using less vinegar, or not using it all together. Some people also use lemon juice instead of vinegar as their acidic clarifier.
• If your hair feels too dry, use less baking soda, or try using honey instead of vinegar.
• I don’t need anything else for my hair. I stopped using pomade, which I previously used religiously to cut the frizzies. My hair is amazingly pliable, and can hold styles without my needing to do much of anything. I’m thrilled with the results!
• We also use this mix on our kiddos’ heads, though we only use it once a week or so. Sometimes we’ll even go two weeks, since their scalps don’t really produce much oil at this age. We clean more ketchup and oatmeal out than we do oil.
For more information:
- Megan of Simple Kids wrote about her no-poo experience on her other blog, Sorta Crunchy.
- Stephanie of Keeper of the Home has some excellent info on going shampoo-free.
- Babs of Babyslime has a veritable wealth of information on the topic.
Fairy tales. We have known these stories since we were young, likely so young we cannot remember the first time we heard them. Every one of us grew up aware that it was the wolf in Red Riding Hood’s bed; that the house of food in the forest had an evil witch inside; thatwas the true heir to the prince’s affection; that Sleeping Beauty would awaken when her true love turned up. These stories did more than entertain us; they were our constant companions. They helped us define who we were. They molded us into the person we would someday become.
We call them Black Forest as the Eighteenth turned to the Nineteenth Century, labeling them not Fairy Tales but “Household Tales.” The brothers Grimm were not even the first to collect these tales. Indeed, these stories had been collected in many forms by French, Italian, English, and German folklore collectors, with names like Bechstein, Perrault, and Basile, for many centuries. And they were not always the pretty tales we saw in movies or heard from our school books. These tales were often dark, creepy, and perverse.. But the brothers Grimm themselves did not create these tales, as some people I have encountered believe. Those two scholarly German brothers collected the stories in the
Why have these tales survived when so many other ancient things have fallen away? I believe it is because, beneath the creepiness (did you know that in the original tale the dwarfs fight over whose bed Snow White will sleep in?), the darkness (in the original tale the princess does not kiss the frog, but squashes him against the wall), or the perversity (in the original Sleeping Beauty, Talia is raped by the King in her sleep and wakes to find she has given birth to twins), there is a secret language of myth, symbolism, and enchantment. This secret language has spoken to us for centuries, drawing each generation of new listeners into its mysteries, resonating with each listener’s deepest sense of self. It has, I think, kept these stories alive.
Let’s look at a couple of well-known tales, and see if we can discover the mythic and symbolic landscape beneath the pretty story. We’ll start with a familiar one: The Frog Prince, collected by the Grimms as Iron Hans.
In this tale, a princess is in the habit of going into the forest with a golden ball to play at the edge of a certain well, situated in a grove of lime trees. Sitting at the water’s edge she throws the ball into the air, catching it each time. But this time the golden ball falls into the deep well. The girl cries, and a frog crawls up from the depths, offering that if she will allow the creature to eat at her table and sleep in her bed, the frog will dive into the well and fetch her ball. The princess agrees to the bargain.
The frog keeps his word, bringing the golden ball up from the depths of the murky well. But the girl does not keep her promise. She leaves the frog high and dry, so to speak, returning home for dinner without the slimy amphibian.
That evening, the frog shows up at the palace, demanding to be seated right beside the princess at dinner. The girl tells King Dad of her promise, and His Royal Dadness tells her a promise made must be kept. The frog shares her food, and prepares to snuggle into bed with the girl. But the princess is not having any of it. She picks up the frog and throws him against the wall, squishing him like a bug. From the oozing guts comes the handsome prince we all remember emerging at this point in the story. His servant, Iron Hans, pulls up in a coach to take Prince Gooey and Princess Bratty away.
There is a familiarity to this story, deeper than the simple awareness that we have all heard the tale as children. It is very similar to a mythic tale that goes back fifteen centuries or more: the tale of Persephone and Hades. In that myth, Hades, lord of the Underworld, sees Persephone bathing and falls in love with her. He takes her to his kingdom in the lifeless Underworld. To enter there she must divest herself of all of her clothing and jewelery, and once there, she lives in a world of death. In the end she is told she may return to the sunlit world of earth if she has not eaten anything in the Underworld. But Persephone has eaten six pomegranate seeds, so she must live in Hades’ land six months of the year (winter), and return to our world for six months where she may make all life grow (summer).
In The Frog Prince, the princess is life and light, as we see by her possession of a golden ball, the sun. This ball of the sun makes food grow, as we see by the lime trees that grow around our lovely, but maybe a little badly behaved, princess. But as it must do in winter, the sun enters darkness (the winter solstice, the longest night of the year) by falling into the murky well. Enter the Lord of the Underworld, the frog, who will brave the darkness of the Underworld to retrieve the golden sun ball (so that winter may end and summer return). But like the Winter God, Hades, the frog wishes to be reborn with the sun as the girl’s husband and consort, eating at her table and sleeping in her bed (as a husband would).
To be reborn, all things must die. So the princess, in a fit of brattiness, kills the frog by thrusting him against the golden wall of the golden castle. Squish! Now the frog may be reborn as the handsome sun God, Apollo (or Lugh, or Robin Goodfellow, depending on where you get your mythic information).
The servant, Iron Hans, has had metal bands placed around his heart so that this organ did not break with sadness when his master, the prince, was a frog. Now as Hans leads the prince and princess home, the iron bands crack and break. This sounds odd, but it represents the bounds of the soil breaking so that, in the sun of summer, food plants may grow from within the earth (just like those limes).
Okay, you say. I’m catching on to the whole mythic language thing. Let’s examine another tale, that of Cinderella.
You will remember that Cinderella’s mother dies when she is quite young, and her father remarries a woman with two daughters, the dreaded stepsisters who torment Cinderella and turn her into their house maid. You may also remember that word arrives that the prince will hold a ball, to which the step sisters have been invited.
Now you may remember, and perhaps this is your favorite part, that a fairy arrives to give Cinderella a lovely gown, and a coach made of a pumpkin, with footmen made of frogs and mice. Sorry, that never happened. In the Grimm’s tale, it all goes down quite differently: Cinderella plants a hazel tree on her mother’s grave, and waters it with her tears. A magical bird takes up residence in the tree, and gives Cinderella her clothes and shoes for the ball, a party that lasts three nights. Each of the first two nights Cinderella runs off before the prince can ask who she might be. In the end the prince lays tar on the palace steps to catch Cinderella by the shoe, as it were, and so the quest to find the maid who fits the slipper begins (in this case, not glass, but a gold slipper).
There are a dozen magical and mythic elements of this tale, from the enchanted bird to the fixation with Cinderella’s shoes and feet, which are symbolic of her sexuality and blossoming womanhood. But we’ll just focus on one element here: the hazel planted by our heroine at her mother’s grave.
In Celtic lore Hazel is the tree of wisdom. The hazel nut imbues one with great wisdom and magic. This is why in the legend of the Irish hero Finn McCool, Finn is sent by a hermit to catch the salmon who lives in a pool beneath the Hazel tree, and cook the fish so that the hermit may take the first bite, giving him wisdom greater than any other human. But while cooking the salmon, Finn burns his thumb. Instinctively he puts it in his mouth, getting the first taste of the salmon, and all the wisdom. We hope the hermit at least got a tasty dinner out of it.
For Cinderella, the trial of losing her mother and having to become a woman on her own despite the efforts of her step sisters to usurp her place as rightful heir to her father’s wealth and attention, is seen in the guidance of the Hazel tree. Growing on her mother’s grave, we feel that Cinderella is not alone in the world: her mother guides her through the tree’s wisdom, and provides for the girl through the enchanted bird that lives in the Hazel’s branches.
As children and even as adults, we often feel that life is unjust, that we are entitled to things we cannot have, or must struggle for. The Hazel tree represents the wisdom we achieve in this struggle, however hard it may be. It also represents the guidance we receive from that which is greater than us, whether that is through faith, through magic, or through knowledge. Cinderella grows and matures enough to thwart her stepmother and stepsisters, securing her rightful place as wife of the prince. She uses her wisdom (the tree), her budding womanhood (represented by her shoes—ball slippers worn not by a servant child, but by an elegant woman), and her feet (representing her beauty; her stepsisters must each cut off a part of their feet to fit the slipper, marring their beauty while Cinderella fits the slipper perfectly, displaying to the prince her beauty and grace). We learn to prove ourselves through our wisdom and aptitude, securing our own rightful place in our world.
Fairy tales are an amazing body of lore, myth, enchantment, and symbol. Armed with a little knowledge of folklore, symbolism, and mythology, these tales become a labyrinth that one can wander into more and more deeply, taking from them the true magic, meaning, and enchantment. As you read each tale, in its original, you develop an understanding of this secret, mythic language. And in the right frame of mind, one can enjoy the creepiness, darkness, and perversity as well.
Kenny Klein (California) is a musician, performer, and lecturer who has been active in the Pagan community and on the Renaissance festival and folk music circuits for over twenty years. He has recorded numerous CDs of music and performs year round. Visit… Read more