Pretty funny to run across this quote from the TV show The Office ! Dwight Shrute plays the over competitive geek who lives through the intellectual mind, discounting the heart. We can definitely use the concept for this LRRH interp, because our little girl stands for untainted love, and the wolf is standing in for greed.
We left off from the fairy tale in the last post where Mom has instructed LLRH how to walk to Grandma's; start early before it gets hot, make haste but don't run, walk nicely and properly or the wine flask will fall and break and Grandma won't get her spirits (Grandma won't be able to maintain a "higher vibration"). When arriving at the door say "Good morning" rather than peering around to see what's there; "staring about you" in my version, "peep in every corner" in the online version I linked to here. I'll reference the peeping later.
But alas, that's the way of it. I shall have to wend my way around it. The wolf is "a bad sort of animal" because he represents an aspect of human behavior that we are conditioned to cover up with our social behaviors, our "niceness"; he is greed. The wolf is sly, clever, in his greed; unlike a real wolf, he manipulates the situation in humanly socialized ways to get what he wants, as we all do. He speaks perfectly politely to LRRH, asking questions about LRRH's journey, while figuring out how to eat both her and her grandmother, surely a ridiculous amount of food for one wolf. That the wolf is an aspect of human character, Mother's and Grandmother's, is clear in the scene where the wolf dons Grandma's clothing. In some sense we are all wolves in Grandma's clothing, as greed is part of human nature. But when we understand that, we can make conscious choices in the moment about whether we will act on our wolfish impulses or not.
Not to insult wolves; surely they all exercise more or less restraint, just like all animals do. They are subject to conditioning, have different personalities, and develop wisdom throughout their lives as well.
The problem is, she doesn't quit there. She keeps getting more and more flowers, gathering "as many as she could hold", just as the wolf plans to eat both people. In this subtle dramatic cameo, love and its connectedness shifts silently and subtly to greed. This is the core lesson in the tale, the centerpiece. This inability to stop at "enough" is a behavior that is modeled for us in our development by lots and lots of folks, but also seems to be an innate human tendency.
While she gathers, the wolf is running to Grandma's to play out his voraciousness, his greed. It all begins lovingly enough; through the passionate enjoyment of the senses and the use of the body, the eyes and ears and hands later mentioned when the wolf is in Grandma's clothing. And while we are children, it is usually innocent.
Increasingly children leave the innocence behind earlier and earlier through lots of exposure to the possessive, objectifying paradigm behind market driven media. Children are designed to absorb stories of any kind, because they are learning the ways of their people, the ways of Earth. Stories can either free us or enslave us, depending on which you believe in. The ones we believe in are internalized, and then we replay them, fitting ourselves into the roles we believe suit. Dwight's story about love and greed orders his individual miniuniverse.
From the alchemical perspective, LRRH is using her feeling sense, which comes from tuning to the ethereal, to energetics, to vibrations. It can often clash with the intellectual mind's input, Dwight's ridiculously rational approach to love vs. greed. We call it intuition in my culture, but that word can include some other types of human intelligence, so Jungians call it the feeling sense. It can dovetail with emotion, but it is not emotion. For one thing, emotions are very prone to social conditioning, while the feeling sense operates beyond (or beneath) social conditioning. Thus it is more available to a child than an adult, who has less conditioning.
In the advertisement for Telstra's phones above (Get that new phone feeling...), feeling sense is appealed to, and lots of folks will feel good, high, for a while after obtaining the new phone. However, it will be fleeting, because that feeling is based on a thing, and perhaps most importantly, the person who believes they can feel better through ownership is somewhat disconnected from true self. Disconnection with true self, with soul and spirit, is a baseline experience we eventually settle back into. I think most of us in a consumer culture have to get that disconnection issue straightened out before we can really use the feeling sense.
In psychological terms this disconnection can be called a lack of self esteem; in Christian terms it is sin, as the hunter puts it. One reason the feeling sense is paid so little attention is because its proper use is truly an art; it requires self reliance and the ability to distinguish feeling from emotion. Etcetera. But that's true of all of the 4 elements, I guess. Feeling sense is earth element, because it's felt in the vicinity of the energetic body- it bypasses the mind's frontal lobe filtering and interpretation used with all the physical senses. The intellectual mind, with all its frontal lobe work, is highly responsive to conditioning.
This is made clear in the conversation at Grandma's bedside, for LRRH remarks that her good feeling sense (no, I don't think she got a new phone) has shifted into a negative feeling sense. She does not trust her gut feeling; she enters the house despite her detection of a very low vibration, and thus falls prey to the wolf, to Greed personified, to an experience that is focused on the use of the physical senses. The physical senses are then listed in the famous "O grandmother, what large ears" and eyes and hands "you have!" The better to hear, see, and take hold of you, says the wolf.
The ability to take is emphasized in the hands, though of course the sense of touch is an important one in developing our physical experience. The sense of taste is fourth, but it gets an extra emphasis since the mouth also represents greed and voraciousness; it not only tastes but (like human hands) seizes, and then devours. LRRH says, "But grandmother, what a terrible mouth you have!" "The better to devour you!" says the wolf.
The use of the eyes, of seeing, is way back in Mom's instruction to LLRH to say "Good morning", actually a ritual behavior of sorts; greetings and "goodbyes" are a bestowing of a blessing. Mom tells LRRH to desist from looking around everywhere in the house, "sniffing around" like a dog would, theoretically to see if there might be something worth scarfing up, something desirable that could be taken and consumed. We can equate it with the American past time of shopping, habitually cruising the mall or internet just to see what's out there, what will make us feel better about ourselves and our lives, often looking for love in all the wrong places.
There Is a Duck Inside You
(from Essential Rumi , "Muhammad and the Huge Eater")
...The rooster of lust, the peacock of wanting
to be famous, the crow of ownership, and the duck
of urgency, kill them and revive them
in another form, changed and harmless.
There is a duck inside you.
Her bill is never still, searching through dry
and wet alike, like a robber in an empty house
cramming objects in his sack, pearls, chickpeas,
anything. Always thinking, “There’s no time!
I won’t get another chance!”
A True Person is more calm and deliberate.
He or she doesn’t worry about interruptions.
But that duck is so afraid of missing out
that it’s lost all generosity, and frightfully expanded
its capacity to take in food.
Often the feel bad part comes a bit after our adult "consumption" behaviors. Since we imagine the "thing" or behavior will make us feel better, there is a window of opportunity there to feel great, because after all we are the only ones who control our experience anyway. We just imagine that outside stuff is making it happen, and then we create it, sometimes because the stimulus allows us to remember. But the truth will out; at some point there will be a disappointment, commensurate with our baseline feelings of low self esteem, because when we use outside means to fix an inside disconnection, nothing happens. "Oh man, here it is again", we feel, that lower vibration way of experiencing life that we cocreate through our belief systems, through our stories about self and other.
The bad feeling will usually seem to be the result of more "outside" stuff of course; we are bummed out by our purchases not working properly, we have a hangover, our hook ups with lovers turn to disasters, we look in the mirror and hate what we see, the dress we thought was so great gets no positive feedback so we are deflated, we have a pimple on our face, we are stuck in traffic and blah, blah, blah. That's why the Mom goes in deeply, to her inner woods, to rectify the situation, the sickness, to change her energetic baseline.
Negative social emotions like guilt and shame are different from negative feeling sense. Feeling sense detects lower vibrations and blockages; shame and guilt keep us in the hiding game, wolf in Grandma's clothing, and must be understood before we can move on. So it's important to separate emotions from the feeling sense, though emotions can be pointers, too. Where there's smoke, there's fire...
As an inner aspect of the mother, whose story I claim this is, the huntsman sees the wolf, and "At last I find you, you old sinner!" said he,; "I have been looking for you a long time." Mom was conducting some sincere or fearless personal inquiry (inner hunting for the wolf), and has come face to face with one of the origins of her developmental block; this "old sinner" is her aspect which believes too strongly in the mundane reality. Now she can transform it, and the old way will die.
Since this is really an inner search, we don't have to wonder why the huntsman would search for a particular wolf for a long time. Rather, from the mother's perspective she has been trying to figure out the way her greed, her compulsions, her addictions, operate. The hunt for healing is the same as the healing of the grandmother. The archetype of the hunter fits in here; hunting gods and goddesses are often seekers after enlightenment, after truth.
Grandma is cured by the ritual wine and cake, and LRRH "said to herself that she would never more stray about in the wood alone, but would mind what her mother told her." This smacks a bit of a child's morality tale, or instructional tale, as I said, scaring kids into behaving. It could be worded a bit differently; the word "alone" is symbolically off, for example. Self inquiry is ultimately a one woman job. But we could also interpret LRRH's promise to herself here as the developmental result of inner discoveries concerning the nature of greed, of "straying from the path" of loving passion for her self and her life into the likewise subtle experience of grasping for "too much". LRRH (or Mother) has learned when enough is enough, the wisdom "her mother told her". She has learned how her greed cures nothing, how it drags her down and keeps her from maintaining consciousness of her human ethereal nature, that aspect of her true nature as spiritual being having a physical experience.
Thus ends the first lesson, but we must see if LRRH keeps her promise, if she has transformed her relationship with greed. Next time a wolf (or greed) approaches LRRH on her path, she recognizes him (it); "she thought that if it had not been on the high road he would have devoured her." She has realized it's all too easy to let our passion for love and beauty turn into greed, and so she's on the high (more ethereal, more conscious) road now, and is therefore quite aware of the wolf's dangers.
She does keep her promise to herself. Both the grandmother and the girl close the door against Greed personified, and answer not his calls. Both archetypally feminine elements, stone (earth) and water, are used to fix this second wolf for good and all. Grandma has a big stone trough in front of her house (similar to Baba Yaga's famous mortar and pestle) and she tells LRRH to pour some sausage broth into the trough. The wolf was lurking on the roof, hanging about in "high places", like the high road already mentioned- but not for long. He smells the sausage, falls in the earth element trough, and drowns in it. His greed is his own demise, literally his downfall. Fairy tales often end with puns like that!
I love this story's message- that greed is just love, passion for life and beauty, a part of our inner compass, which has been coopted by (among other psychological purposes) worldly gain, worldly power, the desire to survive and thrive. There's nothing intrinsically bad about it- that's a morality story that keeps us projecting onto others, dodging our own conditioned negative self judgments. It's just a challenge to our development towards a more free and expanded experience here on Earth. The passionate little girl in us is also the one who holds the key to identifying greed in ourselves; she and her innocence are closest to our feeling sense, a sense that is oriented towards our inner world, our energetic world, our authentic selves, as opposed to the outer senses. To attain wisdom we must become (at least in some ways) as children again.
If you want to explore the story some more, a fellow Squidoo writer Tolovaj does a well rounded approach, including folklorist type info: click here. There are many ways to view these stories, mine is just the best- haha just kidding. Something for everyone!