As Joseph Campbell famously says, “Dreams are the private myth & myths are the public dream.” Indeed Campbell and other mythologists, such as those delightful Jungians, discovered amazing cross-cultural motifs in Fairy Tales. Those patterns, (or what we now call archetypes), are found repeatedly in stories from around the world, seemingly unconstrained by geography or epoch.
Imagine for a moment that you could strip your ‘local’ story down to its bare essence, to find what you have in common with everyone in the world, and you’ll get archetypes.
From the Greek archetupos, meaning “first-moulded,” fairy tales are the blueprints of our innate, universal experiences.
Archetypes get activated in our dreams during meaningful transitions, but having lost the art of symbolic language in our culture, we don’t recognize (or remember) them when they arise.
Working with dreams & fairy tales helps us to see when we are undergoing important rites of passage, such as initiation, courtship, marriage, birth and preparation for death.
They bring meaningful dimension to our human lives by showing us the chapters in our mythic journey. We aren’t just leading unnecessary lives, but stepping through the same gates with bravery and despair, awe and triumph as the heroes and heroines we grew up admiring in our storybooks.
As the woman who gives birth in a dream at the same time she launches a creative project into the world, she recognizes how long the labour, how precious the outcome, how fragile yet the offering. She comes into contact with the hugeness of her experience, and knowing how fairy tales work, might then follow their maps with greater confidence into the unknown.