On Fairytales II – Cinderella

So, that (British) Royal Wedding is a part of history. If you’re wondering – yes I watched it. And I was going to say I don’t know why,  but I do. It’s the power of fairy tales. I’m not saying Kate Middleton is exactly Cinderella or Prince William Prince Charming or even that marrying in an intimate private ceremony watched by two billion  people is what every ‘Little Princess’ wants. But what the Royal Wedding did, and what that particular fairytale does are the same, and we all want it: to be recognised for how wonderful we are as we go along in our mundane lives, and to be lifted up by this recognition.  

The story of Cinderella is one where through the transformational processes of like attracting like, the soul recognises its rightful and honoured place, even from within the lowly physical sphere. The Prince is pure Spirit, or an emissary of the Gods or, even, an attribute of Jesus (the story predates Christianity but it works – Jesus is also called the Prince of Heaven). Only Spirit recognises the Spirit of Cinderella. To her family Cinderella is useful, like raw coal but through her experiences, the pressures of her (martyred) life becomes Diamond, which represents the Spirit the Prince sees in her. Her glass slipper is another giveaway, glass lets light through and both are media related to spirit (it is why cathedrals are full of stained glass windows). Like any hero(ine) there are trials to go through. Cinderella is not ready to meet her Prince until she has undergone trials. Diamonds are not diamonds until they undergo pressure. Thus, hers is an allegory of becoming – from child to bride, from physical to spiritual, from coal to diamond.

As for her family, mired as they were in the everyday physical world of ambition and greed and selfishness, there was never any hope her step-sisters would be recognised by the Prince – of course they would not ‘fit’ the glass slipper. The Prince and the step-sisters are in two different spheres – unatuned if you like. This also fits the ancient idea of how individual humans are half a spirit – and can only be whole with their destined partner – it is where the idea of a Soul Mate comes from. (It certainly predates the hippie era).

The idea of a Fairy God Mother is not especially unique. All traditional cultures have their teachers, guides and muses to help them along the way. Sometimes they are human. Hesiod called them, in their otherworldly forms, Daemons and Plato in the Symposium described them as spirit guides somewhere  between the gods and humans. Socrates had one which guided him. Other cultures called them totems or familiars and their role is to help. In Christianity they took the negative aspect of some and they all became Demons, but retained their positive aspects as Saints.

At its symbolic best the story of Cinderella is the one of truest fulfilment. It is a human destiny – not necessarily to be married – even to a prince – but to be united with the Gods/or the Truest Part of Ourselves, or be taken up by Heaven. (Depending on your culture, religious background etc.).  It is mostly why this particular fairytale has persisted for thousands of years across multiple cultures and regions. It is a tale of hope. Which is why two billion bought into one particular ceremony.

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