Turns out that Squidoo is being consumed by HubPages, so not sure when and if I will pursue that venue again. There's a bit of song and dance involved in the transfer, of course, and they may not even have interest in my "lenses"; I have to wait to find out. And then figure out how to use HubPages's software, etc.
Editing can get tiresome. A friend asked about Little Red Riding Hood. I thought about it a bit, but interps really need to be a whole hog project or something gets missed. Some things aren't even discovered except as part of the interpreting process. If it was doable without any deeper exploration, the symbolic part would not serve its purpose; the point is to enter into the subtle realms, to dive into another consciousness. Once I get started, the treasure hunt begins. So here we go!
LRRH begins with a blessing from the elders, which signifies that we have a tale about the development of wisdom:
"Once upon a time there was a dear little girl who was loved by everyone who looked at her, but most of all by her grandmother, and there was nothing that she would not have given to the child. Once she gave her a little riding hood of red velvet, which suited her so well that she would never wear anything else; so she was always called 'Little Red Riding Hood.'"
Let's imagine this bestowal of a red hood in a ritual context, as we might the hoods PhD students are given, or a nun in the Catholic church, or the robes of a sannyasin. That it comes from Grandma means it confers upon the girl support for a life of wisdom seeking (elderly folks, even scary old witches, in these stories represent wisdom), as well as the fact that our self developmental challenges often come from family dynamics.The fact that it's a riding hood, for travel, adds a detail that correlates with the fact that one of the settings in LRRH is a path in the woods; I'll get to that later. Let's just say that, since LRRH wears it all the time, she is a person who is blessed with the awareness of her life as a journey whose purpose is the development of wisdom.
In the picture below of a hooding (some law degree) the hood affirms that person's focus on mastering some aspect of wisdom, in this case regarding the law of the land. It is a visible marker of a commitment to a certain path. The colors have meaning, just like LRRH's hood does. Love that purple! Appropriate for law in the sense of purple being 6th chakra (forehead- pineal gland)- but then anything that uses lots of pure intellectual power would fit that chakra.
Desire and passion can be imagined as a strong "urge to merge", and in the merging something new is created; it's the core power of creation itself. The new thing might be a new way of relating, it might be a baby, it might be a new level of consciousness concerning some aspect of life experience as is the case in this story. It is the same attraction that lovers have for each other; it is the power behind the merging of our inner masculine and feminine described in fairy tale marriages, in the hieros gamos or sacred inner marriage. This sort of love, passion, and desire is the proper use of the word "erotic" meaning belonging to Eros's realm, the ancient Greek god of this loving energy that holds the universe together.
The confusing thing for LRRH'S interpretation is figuring out exactly what's going on with this next bit, in the symbolic sense, for the beginning of these stories is always crucial:
"One day her mother said to her: 'Come, Little Red Riding Hood, here is a piece of cake and a bottle of wine; take them to your grandmother, she is ill and weak, and they will do her good. Set out before it gets hot, and when you are going, walk nicely and quietly and do not run off the path, or you may fall and break the bottle, and then your grandmother will get nothing; and when you go into her room, don't forget to say, "Good morning", and don't peep into every corner before you do it.' 'I will take great care,' said Little Red Riding Hood to her mother, and gave her hand on it."
The action being initiated by a mother is so common because she is markedly an adult, and most of our human journey consists of adulthood. It is during those years that we seek and develop wisdom, which developmentally ripens when we're in the last human stage of elderhood. Relatively young adulthood (the "mother" stage above, whether or not a person has fulltime responsibility for a child or children that is "theirs") is when most of us do the "work" of looking inside to discover where we made choices that led us away from truth, authenticity, and freedom, away from creative exploration and inner connection. The philosophically precocious ones begin in adolescence, but adolescence as separate from adulthood is a very recent invention.
Since my interpretations are all Jungian style,there's a different perspective depending on whose viewpoint you're standing in, but the most useful overarching viewpoint in this tale is that of the adult stage of life, the mother. Learning such flexibility of perspective is one of the key skills developed when learning alchemical symbology, one of its great gifts. We learn to let go of judging perspectives as right or wrong and open up to the beauty of a limitless number of perspectives on any given event or experience, etc.. Life is then an adventure, multifaceted and light, like wine and cake, not dull, heavy, dark and stoney like the rocks in the wolf's belly. We don't live stuck in one perspective like these two chickens:
At the same time, our triune protagonist already knows quite a bit about passion; using inner guidance we have access to all the wisdom in the world, anyway. In a sense wisdom is a reconnection with what we already know. Mom tells LRRH to leave "before it's hot" (passion is fire element, one reason it's depicted as masculine). She instructs her to walk in a very determined way which implies paying attention, being conscious of what she's doing, though her instruction sounds like a bunch of social conditioning rhetoric. It sounds like "You be a good little girl, now", which is the case in Cinderella. This is what confused me initially, since wisdom tales are often pointing out ways in which we must step outside of the conditioned persona, and that could be the case here. But it's not.
LRRH features cake, and the most basic important quality of both wine and cake (and bread) in the alchemical sense is that they are created through natural processes or developments, whereby the original ingredients are truly transformed. There is grinding and pressing, extraction and winnowing, fire in the baking process, the air in the rising of the grain, etc. In the ancient world these processes which are constantly going on within and without us were considered to be magical, sacred. Thus the special baked goods (or other grain based foods) featured in holy days and festivals worldwide. Symbolically, humans are also like cakes and wine, thus all the use of wine metaphor in the Christian gospel and in other symbolic genres, like the world famous Persian poets. Here is a quote from Rumi. Do you see how it dovetails with LRRH's symbolism?
You’ve gotten drunk on so many kinds of wine. Taste this. It won’t make you wild. It’s fire. Give up, if you don’t understand by this time that your living is firewood. ~Rumi
The phoenix is a good symbol for the metaphor of "living is firewood"... fire element's ability to inspire and renew, the element LRRH is going to better understand.
Interestingly, the image of transubstantiation illustrates a sacramental prayer (I'm not going to take the time to confirm if it's Catholic or what) that's symbolically pretty cool. The first bit, which is rendered in Latin in the picture's border, ties in with our interpretation, actually;
Behold the Bread of Angels, made the food of wayfarers, truly the bread of children, not to be given to the dogs.
"Bread of Angels" reminds us that the Eucharist wafer, LRRH's cake, or whatever it might be, has a spirit body (angels) as well as a physical body (bread)- like we all do! "The food of wayfarers" refers to the human life as transformative journey. It refers to our soul or spirit path; we are the wayfarer on our own developmental journeys. Taoism makes this point very clear, since that's one way to interpret "tao": the Way, or the Path. So does LRRH's story, for it's on LRRH's path that part of the tale unfolds, right? And "truly the bread of children" indicates the nature of childhood as soul and spirit connected; it refers to childhood's lovely, sanctified state of innocence, featured in this story as well. "Not to be given to the dogs" is an injunction we can also find, in the wolf who wishes to eat child and Grandma as well as the wine and cake in some versions. I'll talk about the wolf more later.
Sacramental wine and bread are treated with especial care for that reason; we are emphasizing its spiritual reality. We are keeping the higher vibrations of the sacramental food "innocent"; unviolated and pure in the sense of untouched by physical "lower" or slower vibrations. Thus Mother advises LRRH to take care not to break the container of wine; at the end of the tale we will get a few references to the "higher" (faster) vibrations of the ethereal world.
Wine, like all alcoholic beverages, isn't referred to as spirits for nothing. Since it alters consciousness (hopefully in a more "spiritual" direction, but some of us can't get those rocks out of our bellies) it's been used in a ritual sense back beyond history. The most common symbolic meaning for a container (a bottle in this version) in such a context would be the physical body. Our bodies are containers for Spirit. Mom is implying here that if LRRH does not behave as instructed, the result could be she will lose conscious connection with her ethereal self (the spirits will be lost, will spill out of the container). If that happens, our triune protagonist will not attain wisdom in regards to the thin line between passion and greed; Grandma will remain sick. Our addictions and compulsions hinder our development.
Above are two images of alchemical containers and the ethereal or "internal" goings-on that these old wisdom tales depict. Top one is pretty. Notice the little fire underneath, the flock of black birds (did a symbolism of the raven blog here on 9/11/2013), and Hermes' (or Mercury's) caduceus staff, still used in the medical professions, which signifies healing. It reads "Mercurius vivus"; Mercury lives or some form of the verb "to live". Hermes/Mercury, as god of transformation, magic, healing (same thing), is also the god of alchemy in the Egyptian-to-European tradition. The second image (a cell phone cover!) depicts other inner metaphors for transformation- the marriage of king and queen or hieros gamos, the raven, the phoenix, and ouroboros, the snake that swallows its tail (this one has bird features).
to be continued...