Welcome to "Straw Into Gold"!
Rumplestiltskin is one of my all time favorite fairy tales. Lately, I have been pondering why and would like to share some of my thoughts with anyone interested in fairy tales.
What is Rumplestiltskin? Who is this obnoxious little man? Well, as in all fairy tale characters, he is an aspect of our own self. He is a minaturized version of the "shadow self" or Doppelganger.
Every fairy tale character is really a certain part of our spiritual and/ or psychological self. Here is a very brief outline. If you wish, we could go into depth in future posts.
King/ Queen - our Highest "Self" or "Ego", our "I AM"
Kingdom - the state of full psychological and/ or spiritual integration
Prince/ Princess - our developing Soul Force, our current personality in a particular lifetime
Kitchen Maid, Goose Girl, Dummling, Youngest Prince, etc. - new soul force or aspect, not yet developed heart, mind, or will force within us.
Fairy Queen, Fairy Godmother, Good Fairy - spiritual gifts given without our having to earn them
Wicked Fairy, Witch, Evil Enchanter - our untransformed lower impulses such as anger, greed, fear. Being "enchanted", put under a spell or "turned to stone" is the force of negative outside impulses on our own sense of self.
Rumplestiltskin is an aspect of our own nature which is capable of "turning straw into gold", my interpretation of which is to turn the dry, dead "straw" of thinking or thoughts into the "gold" of wisdom.
So here goes the story -
The Miller - a force of the daughter's heredity. He has an ability to transform, but only in the most earthly way. He transforms wheat, which whole is a living seed into the dead but digestible substance of flour. Thus, life will be sustained on the most mundane level. He has a dim view of the importance of his task, but he blows this up through conceit into the boast that his daughter has elevated transformative power (i.e. can turn straw into gold).
The King - in this case, the King can be seen as "greedy" for gold. Or else, he may be the Higher Power that puts us to the test. The spiritual world that demands proof that we are as spiritually progressed as we say we are.
The Daughter - the young, innocent Soul Force within us. There is another Soul Force within us that actually can turn straw into gold, but we don't know anything about it (yet). This innocent Soul Force does not seek advancement, it is thrust upon her by her earthly hereditary forces. We are pushed, as it were, to develop spiritually by the karmic circumstances of our present earth incarnation.
Rumplestiltskin - our "lower self" - our un-redeemed, un-transformed spiritual powers carried over by the spiritual strivings of our past lives. If these powers remain unconcious, they will only be able to act on a lower level in our life. We will be able to spin straw into gold, but only to satisfy earthly demands. And there will be a price.
The Ring - How does a poor Miller's Daughter come to have a ring of any value? I think it is symbolic of a wedding ring from the past - spiritual vows and karmic ties created in past lives. So, in demanding the ring, Rumplestiltskin is "stealing" one's spiritual and karmic past.
The Necklace - again, this is something of value, a "chain" sings Rumplestiltskin. Could it be the "chain" of present life connections with other people, community, with humanity in its entirety?
The Child - always, the newborn child represents the Future. This is both the Future spiritual progress and reward of one's own life and also that which is being born as spiritual impulse among humankind in general. Rumplestiltskin wants to "own" the future!
The Messenger - we have a special soul force in each of us, our ability to investigate, question, obtain information and knowledge. These blogs are an amazing manifestation of this insatiable human curiosity to know more about ourselves, each other, the physical world, the imaginative world and the spiritual world. Our soul sends out its (hopefully) loyal, persistant and honest Messenger to look for answers to our burning questions and the truth of the situation we find ourselves in. The queen's messenger must search for the name of the little man.
The Name - in the Bible, Adam is given the power to Name every living being. By being able to identify a person, creature or thing, we have power over it. We know who or what it is and we can control it or come into a relationship with it. Faust must be able to name Mephistopheles in order to get him to do Faust's bidding. Rumplestiltskin is a kind of "mini-me" of Mephistopheles. One rarely sees "the Devil" openly in the world of fairy tales. "The Devil" is not really part of our own soul make up. Like "God", "The Devil" is a macrocosmic entity. But each has its own representatives - angels and good fairies for God and witches or "mannekins" for the Devil. There is a little devil in each of us! Our untransformed lower self or lower ego. Only each of us can know our own true "name", can know who we really are inside. The Messenger can only hear Rumplestiltskin's name from his own mouth as he dances around a fire (passionate soul force).
The Naming - now that the Young Queen knows the true name of the little man, he has no power over her. She is in control now. She is no longer the Miller's Daughter. She has become a Queen by finding unity with her Higher Self (the gold was gold, after all) and by giving birth to the spiritual impulse of the future (the Child). So she can play with the little mannikin a bit - he's no longer frightening, but rather amusing. Once she finally does name him, though, he becmes enraged, stamps one foot deep into the earth and pulls on the other until he tears himself in two. No one has to punish us for having been less than "good". We don't even have to punish ourselves. Once we truly and honestly recognize a negative impulse in ourselves, know where it comes from and to what extent it controls our lives, it will sooner or later destroy itself, leaving us free to possess our own future development and self realization.
Pretty cool, huh?
It should go without saying, but just in case, please never present a story to children in this fashion! The soul of the child takes a true teaching story into the subconcious and even deeper. I wholeheartedly recommend Bruno Bettleheim's, "The Uses of Enchantment" as a great starting point and confirmation of what I just said on a psychological level. He also emphasizes the dangers of exposing children to images - pictures or films of these stories due to the fact that one cannot filter images. They go right in whole. When we hear the story, our soul or psyche can create only the images it is developmentally ready for.
Let's use this blog as a forum for turning "Straw" into "Gold", for spinning our thoughts until we get little flakes of wisdom from time to time.