If you haven't read the previous post, this won't make a lot of sense to you; it's about the song Dreadful Wind and Rain, which has a lot of different versions. Here's a link to the lyrics of the version I sing. It's an Irish version; I used the band Altan as my primary source.
We're also clued in to the alchemy by the very, very simple fact of the colors that are used. Again, the poster from the last post:
The alchemical colors of black and white are also used in the manner of a philosophical pointer to the nature of human conditioned consciousness as ordered dualistically. This is what's signified in the now popularized yin/yang concept. Our intellectual minds split experience into dualistic categories, and so we judge things as good-bad, or black and white as we colloquially observe in some folks who don't seem capable of straddling the two and perceiving life as having grey areas. In the alchemical philosophy worldwide, this dualism is experienced and depicted as including the split of masculine-feminine, the opposites that are magnetically attached to each other as well as repelled. The magnetism, a sometimes palpable energy, is what the ancient Greeks honored (ideally) as Eros and his mother Aphrodite (Venus and Cupid to the Romans). The healing of the split and its experience of oneness, which can be experienced temporarily in the experience of love's infatuation, is often depicted in story. In the Jungian tradition this inner joining is called the hieros gamos, or sacred marriage.
So here we go with the song:
There were 2 sisters from County Clare...one was dark and the other was fair...
They both had love of the miller's son...but he was fond of the fairer one...
The dark one is representing the shadow, in Jungian terms; that in ourselves that has been suppressed, repressed, forgotten or unexplored. In the most simplistic sense, that's why death and shadow are partners, the dark, the color black in the arts; death is quite naturally NOT life. So there. Never the twain shall meet- EXCEPT in the case of the unitive experience, of transcending duality consciousness, of leaving behind identity as one-or-other, including leaving the experience of identifying strictly as a man or woman and all that means within our society. The light and dark shall not meet EXCEPT in the human imagination, in alchemical story. Because transforming towards a life of wisdom involves both loss (death), and the bringing to light of our shadow (death) stuff. It's being in the dualistic world but not of it.
In this song's case, the light sister is the conditioned personality, the one we make to please others, essentially, or the one that we have created in order to feel safe and/or powerful. The conditioned persona is often cocreated according to what we have been taught to think is "fair", good. That's why he was fond of the fairer one. However, light color here is also the "daylight" persona. Sometimes light is used to that effect in symbolism. One of the reasons for humans to be fearful at night is that our shadow is more likely to arise at that time, with its unwanted and rejected and wounded aspects of our psyches, when the daylight persona is no longer needed.
This conflict between the fair and the dark is the dilemma we all find ourselves in, and any story's antagonist, the "bad guy", is nothing more than a cruel sister or brother at the core. They're bad because they are the stuff we've not embraced internally, not understood. This is why self-exploration and self-contemplation can be healing. Shadow is the cruel stepsisters of Cinderella, the waiting-maid who overrides the bride-to-be in The Goose Girl, the ogress in the Finnish story I interp on Cabinet des Fees. That's what the dark and the fair in the song are representing. Simple, eh?
More in the next post, now that we've set up the story "bones".