What happens when we refuse to grow up?

As we continue our journey into fairy tales and the wisdom they show us, let’s look at Peter Pan or The Boy Who Would Never Grow Up. This was written by the Scottish dramatist JM Barrie and published in 1904 and describes the natural transition from childhood freedom to adult responsibility and what happens if we refuse to grow up.

Image by Lalelu2000 from Pixabay

In this period of lockdown, we are all facing the consequences of not growing up and so this seems to be a particularly pertinent fairy tale for our times as the story warns of the balance we need to achieve between personal freedom and social responsibility.

The story tells of Peter Pan’s life in Neverland where he looks after his gang of Lost Boys, the youngsters who have fallen out of their prams in Kensington Gardens. When he meets Wendy, he asks her to fly away with him to become the boys’ mother as they need looking after. Together they have many swashbuckling adventures but when Captain Hook tries to kidnap Wendy, Peter eventually summons his courage and kicks the evil Captain into the jaws of a waiting crocodile. This enables Wendy to return home to her relieved mother who agrees to adopt the Lost Boys, including Peter himself. But Peter refuses to be cared for because living in a family would mean finally having to grow up so he chooses solitude and flies away on his own.

Image by Oberholster Venita from Pixabay

There are many symbols and lessons for us in this vivid tale. Peter himself was named after Pan, the Greek god of woods and mountains who played the pipes and was rather wild. The word pandemic comes from this god and it is this that we are facing at the moment.

In our modern society there are lots of Peter Pans who live in Neverland and refuse to grow up, whether it be physically or simply as a human being. Michael Jackson even named his ranch Neverland and his use of cosmetic surgery to hold back the natural aging process is legendary.

So what happens when we refuse to grow up? It means that we refuse to learn wisdom or face the consequences of our actions. It means that we allow aging people to become invisible because they are no longer productive. It means that we never fully open our hearts and therefore only think only about ourselves. How short sighted is this! Our current hero, Captain Tom Moore, has been an inspiration to us all by raising millions of pounds for the beleaguered NHS and he celebrated his 100th birthday yesterday. Growing up means embracing age and the grace, wisdom and courage that it so often brings.

In the story of Peter Pan, it is Wendy who represents altruism. Captain Hook wants to capture her precisely because she is a “Princess of Heart”. He knows he lacks heart, but rather than develop it in himself, he thinks he can just kidnap it.

Image by Oberholster Venita from Pixabay

Opening our hearts takes time, effort and often emotional suffering. We can’t simply take it from someone else. We have to earn the right to feel deeply for ourselves and others. Often, it also means recognising our shadow – the one Peter Pan lost when he tried to escape and which Wendy reattached.

We are all made up of light and shadow, the opposites of good and evil, and part of growing up is learning how to recognise and integrate the two. If we refuse to grow up, we only acknowledge our light and become over-indulgent. Then the shadow grows bigger and bigger until it finally leaps out to claim us and forces us to recognise it often with brutal clarity.

Image by Emily_WillsPhotography from Pixabay

The environmental crisis that we and the planet are now facing is a result of our having refused to acknowledge our shadows and take responsibility for our actions. As a result the oceans are clogging with discarded plastic, the air is chronically polluted and our forests – the lungs of the earth – are being destroyed. It is perhaps no coincidence that Covid-19 is also attacking our lungs; an apt symbol for the devastation our greed is causing.

To be a child is to fly free within our imaginations and dreams. This is wonderful and magical but, as we grow up, we must balance this part of ourselves with learning responsibility, understanding consequences and facing our shadows.

The tale of Peter Pan shows us on one hand that, to defeat evil, we need equal helpings of imagination, courage and appropriate action. But we also need to accept growing up gracefully and we most often open our hearts to do this by learning how to look after each other. We are not separate beings as Peter chooses to be, but part of a human family which has a responsibility of care. It is this care that teaches us how to live with heart. These lessons come with caring for our children, the vulnerable, the sick and the elderly. We also need to learn how to care for our environment which, after all, is our larder and our home. The tale of Peter Pan might show us what happens when we refuse to grow up but it also shows us that we can balance our dreams with our shadow.

Next time, we’ll look at Beauty and the Beast and what happens when we are forced to face our mind and all the craziness that happens inside it.

Meanwhile, Happy May Day and here’s wishing that we all take this extraordinary period in our history to learn how to move towards a more sustainable, caring and balanced future.

Love Laurelle

Coronavirus – attack or opportunity?

If someone had told us at Christmas that in only a few weeks, the world would be on its knees and that many of us would no longer be able to work and be forced to stay in our homes, we’d have ridiculed the notion as something out of a science fiction novel.

Image by Stefan Keller – pixabay

And yet that is exactly what has happened. Covid 19 – short for “coronavirus disease of 2019” has become our enemy.

But it doesn’t have to be. As long as we stay virus-free, we have a choice about how we view the situation that the Coronavirus has created. We can see it as an attack on our way of life and our bodies, or we can see it as an opportunity to change the way we live so that, when we leave lockdown, the social norm will be different.

The Earth has given us an extraordinary opportunity to slow down and even stop but if we go back to the way things were before the pandemic, our over-consumerism and self-serving ways will destroy us. Instead, we have the opportunity to consider the bigger picture and allow this microscopic virus to give us the breathing space needed to turn things around and save the planet on which we live.

Image by WikiImages – pixabay

Change often only happens with extremes and in this light, we have gone to war, not as one of a few countries but as a global community. For those who choose to view the pandemic as an attack, it’s a war of fear in which language such as ‘the front line’ and the sick fighting their way to victory is used. For the medics working night and day in horrific conditions in hospitals, it is a war of endurance. For those who are succumbing to the disease, it is a war of life and death. For those in poverty, this is a war of survival. And to most of us, it’s a war we want to end so that life can go back to normal.

Image by Alexander Antropov – pixabay

Covid-19 is a disease-driven war which affects us internally as well as externally. It is not about bombs but about an attack on our cells. It is not about weapons but about an attack on our way of life. It is not about taking hostages but about an opportunity for us to clean up from the inside out.

The climate catastrophe is on the brink of no return so, for our children’s and their children’s sake, we must do some serious thinking and Covid-19 has given us an opportunity to pause for reflection.

So here are some of the questions we could be asking ourselves:

Are we prepared to share our resources? There are some surprising statistics available. For example, I had no idea that only 6% of the world’s population has ever been on an aeroplane. Also, if we have a roof over our head and food on the table, then we are in the top 8% of the world. 26 of the world’s richest people own as much as the poorer 50% of the entire world, and the richest 1% own half of the world’s entire wealth. This degree of inequality is unsustainable and will continue leading to unimaginable suffering if we do not change.

Image by Mona Tootoochinia – pixabay

Next, are we prepared to alter our views about what really matters? In other words, which are we going to put first – earning money and a desperation for personal advancement, or values such as love, community, health and education?

And if we are prepared to put values ahead of wealth, then what changes do we individually and collectively need to make, to allow for these values to thrive?

We all need to learn how to love ourselves and our communities and live simpler lives without an excessive need for material possessions and this means cleaning up our act, not only the cleanliness of our hands but also the cleanliness of our minds and Covid-19 is really helping us here. Since the lockdown, air pollution in the UK has reduced by a massive 60%. Now boats are no longer polluting the Venetian canals, dolphins have reappeared. Now we can no longer shop for that temporary fix of retail therapy, we are becoming more creative and inventive and enjoying physical exercise in nature.

Image by pasja1000 – pixabay

For the privileged, there are some gentler opportunities as well. We are being given the time to breathe a little more slowly and deeply so that we can become healthier and enjoy life again. We can learn how to take better care of ourselves and each other with cleaner nutrition, rest and exercise and accept that a happier you means a happier me. We can put ourselves aside and learn how to enjoy having more quality time with our children and families. We can use this time to recreate our businesses and find new ways for them to operate which will help the many rather than the few. We can choose to start a new, creative project that we haven’t had time to consider before in sufficient detail. We can give thought to how people who have far less are coping. And we can volunteer our services to those in need.

Image by Ashely Barli – pixabay

There is no doubt that, if we accept the challenge, Covid-19 is giving us the opportunity to do all of this and more. It is bringing us into the present moment because the past is obsolete and, let’s face it, we have no idea about the future. So let’s use the lockdown as an opportunity to create our future in the unknown.

In the space of a few short weeks, the Earth is already showing signs of regeneration in this time of human crisis. If we take the lockdown as an opportunity to open our minds and change ourselves for the better, then perhaps we can create a plan for the future which will enable us to step forward positively and collaboratively.

And if we take this time to think, dream and create new visions then maybe, just maybe, we can join together across all generations and all countries to find sustainable ways of living that will enable the Earth’s and our own healing to continue and create a fairer, more just, more equal and, at last an exciting future that will be in the interests of all.

Image by Luisella Planeta Leoni – pixabay

Support During These Challenging Times

As we find ourselves in such a challenging and unprecedented time, I am looking to offer help to any of you who are feeling anxious or stressed. Being in isolation can be very lonely but fortunately the brain cannot differentiate between seeing someone on screen and seeing them in person.

I therefore propose to run a meditation and relaxation session on Monday evenings from 7.30pm – 8.30pm via Zoom while this situation continues. This will not only enable you to ‘see’ friends but also give you some helpful techniques which you can take away with you and use to keep yourselves calm. The fee will be only £5 and will include email back-up if you need it. If you would like to join this session, please email me – laurelle@laurellerond.com – and I will send you a link and my bank details.

I am also running therapy sessions for individuals over Zoom for an hour which will enable you to discharge any anxiety and during which I can balance your chakras, thereby enabling you to deal with whatever you may be experiencing at the moment. In acknowledgement of the financial difficulty that many of us are facing, this will only cost £49. If you would like to book an individual appointment via Zoom, please also email me and we can discuss dates.

Let’s embrace this strange time together and help each other to move forward. And remember, growth only happens when we are out of our comfort zones so let’s support each other in welcoming in the much needed change!

Looking forward to hearing from you and hopefully ‘seeing’ you, too.

Be well.

Love Laurelle

How do Hansel and Gretel teach us the meaning of Love?

As we continue our journey into fairy tales and the wisdom they show us, let’s look at Hansel and Gretel. This well-known German fairy tale was published by the Brothers Grimm in Germany in 1812 and belongs to a group of European stories especially popular in the Baltic regions in which children outwit ogres who want to eat them. It is also a profound story about physical union. However, the origins of this tale shine a rather different light on its meaning. It started in the medieval period of the Great Famine (1315–1317) when desperate people abandoned young children in order to survive. When the stepmother decides to leave the children in the woods, the Grimm brothers portray her as wicked, but might she simply have been trying to increase the odds of her and her husband’s survival by dividing their scant food rations between two rather than four?

Image by b0red from Pixabay

Once upon a time, a poor woodcutter lived with his wife and two children but the children’s mother was dead and their stepmother was very cruel to them. Because they had so little food, the wicked stepmother persuaded her husband to take the children into the forest and leave them there. Confused and frightened, the children wandered away from the path for many hours until they arrived at a cottage made of sweets. Starving, they ripped at the walls and roof and ate as much as they could.

But they didn’t realise that this was the home of an old blind, crippled witch. When the witch invited them into her home and gave the exhausted children beds to sleep on, they willingly agreed but when they found they had been tricked. Hansel had been put into a cage to be fattened up so he could be eaten while Gretel was now forced to become a servant and do all the cleaning and cooking.

Each day, the blind old witch would ask Gretel to give him one of Hansel’s fingers to see if he was becoming chubby but Gretel outwitted her, giving her a bone to feel instead so that he never appeared to put on any weight. Eventually the witch grew tired of waiting for Hansel to grow fat so she ordered Gretel to heat the oven so she could finally cook her feast. Gretel did as she ordered but managed to push the wicked witch into the hot oven and kill her instead. She rescued her brother from the cage and, reunited at last, they returned home.

Image by Couleur from Pixabay

There are many teaching morals in this story. One is not to trust strangers and another is not to disobey your parents but it is also about unconditional love. Hansel and Gretel demonstrate trust and loyalty in a committed relationship and they also show us how to balance physical and spiritual love. There are also many symbols in the story. Hansel represents the spirit – the eternal consciousness of a human that exists even after death, while Gretel represents the soul – the divine spark in each of us. The father represents weak willpower while the step mother represents selfish desires. The woods are the unknown paths in life world which take us away from the straight and narrow. They lead the children to the cottage made of sweets which represent the temptations of the material world.

Image by Pipeman from Pixabay

As for the blind, crippled witch, she symbolises the dark parts of the intellect which are blind to the nature and growth of the eternal in the human being.

Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay

Most importantly, however, is the story of the deep union we all seek with another person which requires us to open our hearts and develop unconditional love. We can see this either as the divine marriage of male and female within ourselves or the sticking together of two people through thick and thin, no matter the trials before them.

So, in this month of St Valentine, look at your relationships, see which are worthy of enduring love and then do all in in your power to enrich them. Be discerning about who offers you things and what it is they offer you and don’t be greedy. Oh, and by all means eat some sweets and chocolate but be careful where they come from…!

Next time, we’ll look at Peter Pan and what happens when you refuse to grow old. Meanwhile, happy Valentine’s Day and enjoy February!

Love Laurelle

 

How does our Inner Wizard help us to find our true power?

As we continue our journey into fairy tales and their wisdom, let’s look at the role of The Wizard. The word ‘wizard’ comes from the Middle English word wys meaning ‘wise’ and first appeared in English in the early 15th century. Irrespective of gender, we all have an Inner Wizard but connecting with it demands courage because that wizard will show us our true inner power.

Image by pendleburyannette from Pixabay

Connecting with power is a huge responsibility. History has shown us far too often what happens when power is abused and the saying ‘Absolute power corrupts absolutely’ has unfortunately become the mantra for most leaders. Wizards decide what their values are and stick to them, however powerful they become, but it is a rare few, like Buddha, Jesus, Mohammed, Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Theresa who manage to keep their integrity intact when they play with power.

Image by 41330 from Pixabay

Another word also describes modern wizardry. Wyrd is an Old English word meaning ‘fate, destiny’ which derives from the Proto-Indo-European base wert which means to turn or wind. Nowadays, Wyrd is used to refer to the direction of Source/God. It has also been turned into ‘weird’ to describe someone who walks different paths from the normal.

It takes courage to be different but if we are to find our true selves – our Inner Wizard – then we need to question what society requires of us and make up our own minds about who we wish to be. Finding our wizard-self means understanding that we are made up of body, mind, emotions, spirit and soul and giving each part of us sufficient attention. In this context, spirit refers to the Eternal Consciousness that exists outside our body and that continues after death while soul refers to the Divine Spark/Higher Self that lives within each of us.

It can help to construct a ‘cloak of protection’ as we discover our Inner Wizard. This will help us to remain strong in our convictions and, at the same time, balanced. The tree is a potent symbol for many modern wizards because the strength of roots that grow down into the earth keep us grounded while the branches that reach up into the sky allow us to express ourselves with confidence.

Photo by Brandon Green on Unsplash

One of the most famous wizard symbols is the dragon. The word ‘dragon’ derives from the Greek word drak which is a form of the Greek verb derkesthai, which means to see clearly. Dragons are made of the same five elements that we are: earth, water, air, fire and spirit. Most importantly, they can fly and breathe fire.

Photo by Thomas Despeyroux on Unsplash

Unfortunately dragons have been vilified over time and turned into shadows, becoming creatures that represent hatred, fear, rage, guilt, jealousy, depression, powerlessness and hopelessness. Wizard energy is needed to counteract this negativity and turn the shadow into light, love and wisdom so that we can evolve and grow in consciousness. Fortunately, a truer image of dragons is beginning to re-emerge so that once again dragons are being seen as spiritual helpers which help us to have a direct connection with Source.

Part of our human journey is to find our Inner Strength which requires us to access our personal power but we must always ensure that this power stays in line with our values and ethics so that we can help both ourselves and others find light and spiritual connection.

So enjoy discovering your Inner Wizard but remember to keep your wits, and your values, about you!

Love Laurelle

How does the tale of The Emperor’s New Clothes help us to dare to be ourselves?

As we continue our journey into fairy tales and the wisdom they show us, let’s look at The Emperor’s New Clothes, a short tale written by the Danish Hans Christian Andersen that was published in 1837. It is about the way we become so proud and yet unconfident in ourselves that we insist on pleasing everyone around us to the point of being ludicrous. It is also a prophetic warning about the current boom in retail therapy which has led to the fashion industry becoming the second largest polluter in the world, second only to the oil industry.

Image by Ulrich Dregler from Pixabay

Once upon a time, there was an Emperor who was so fond of clothes that he couldn’t stop buying new clothes. One day two swindlers came to the city and let it be known they were weavers. Their fabrics, they said, were extraordinary but invisible to anyone who was either unfit for his office or who was unusually stupid. Excited to hear about the magical new cloth, the Emperor paid the two swindlers a large sum of money to start work.

It wasn’t long before the Emperor became curious to see how the weaving was progressing. Concerned that he wouldn’t be able to see it and would therefore be shown to be either unfit for his office or very stupid, he sent his honest old minister to view the cloth. Unfortunately, this honest old minister couldn’t see anything on the looms so, scared that this proved he was a fool, he told the Emperor that the cloth was beautiful and when the swindlers asked for more money, happily gave it to them.

Time passed and the Emperor sent another trustworthy official to see how the work was progressing. Yet again, the official could see nothing on the loom and, frightened that he would be declared a fool, he also pronounced the fabric to be enchanting.

Finally, the Emperor decided that he had to see this magnificent cloth for himself. Horrified when he could see nothing, he gave it his highest approval and declared that it should be made into a suit of clothes to be worn for a special procession.

When the great day arrived, the Emperor disrobed and allowed the swindlers to dress him in his new clothes. As he proudly processed naked in the streets, each citizen praised him, too terrified to confess that he couldn’t see anything in case he was declared a fool or unfit for his job. Until, that is, a little child whispered that the Emperor had nothing on. When a second child said the same and then a third, the whispers grew louder until they had travelled round whole city.

Although the Emperor heard the whispers, he took no notice in case this proved he was unfit for his office or unbearably stupid. So he continued processing with his head held high, as naked as the day he was born, while all the children began to laugh…

Photo by Ali Yahya on Unsplash

This tale is about the pride which stops us from speaking our truth. Lack of confidence in ourselves can cause us to doubt ourselves so much that we believe in illusion, however obvious. As our blind and foolish behaviour gets worse, one incident piles on top of the next until we are buried in lies and with our head so firmly in the sand that it seems impossible to look up and see what is really happening. Now we have become invisible to ourselves.

Photo by Jim Gade on Unsplash

In order to put things right, we often need an innocent voice – perhaps that of a child – to tell us how it really is so that we can become visible again. This means that our own Inner Child needs to be set free. S/he has no axe to grind but simply tells the truth. It can be hard to hear the truth but this is a necessary lesson in humility, although humiliation often has to come first.

Humility is a lesson we all need to learn and the longer we leave it, the more painful it can become. We have a horror of being seen to be stupid or not good enough and yet it is only by daring to experience life and make mistakes that we can choose what to wear outwardly and trust that it expresses who we are. The key is to awaken to our real selves and that means building confidence in who we are and daring to be that person, no matter what other people may or may not think.

Image by Prashant Sharma from Pixabay

It can be fun playing with our own Inner Child and seeing things from their point of view. Bringing play and fun back into our lives can be liberating and stop us from taking ourselves too seriously.

So enjoy learning who you really are and daring to be and own your real self in public but also try to become more aware of distraction techniques, such as retail therapy. The excess buying of new clothes is having a hugely destructive impact on our environment and a habit that needs to be curbed if we are to address global pollution.

Next time, we’ll have a look at the Wizard in Fairy Tales and see how we can learn to use our power.

Happy November.

Love Laurelle

How fairy tales can teach us to create the lives we want

As we continue our journey into fairy tales and the wisdom they show us, let’s look at Aladdin and His Magic Lamp. This story was brought from China to Europe by the French translator, Antoine Galland, in the early eighteenth century and is a story of rags to riches. It teaches us that, though life can be very hard and we can have many obstacles to overcome, if we shine the light of our mind and spirit on situations, we can create whatever we want.

Image by Gaëtan GUINÉ from Pixabay

Once upon a time there was a poor widow and her son, Aladdin. One day, a man appeared claiming to be the boy’s uncle but in reality he was a wicked sorcerer. He promised to set the boy up as a wealthy merchant but the truth was that he wanted the boy to steal a magic lamp from a cave for him with the aid of a magic ring.  As soon as Aladdin had found the old lamp, he discovered he was trapped. Desperate to return to his mother, he accidently rubbed the ring and caused a genie to appear who promised to grant him several wishes. In a moment, Aladdin was on his way home with his treasure. His mother was overjoyed to see her son and decided to sell the lamp so she could buy some food. As she rubbed it clean, however, an even larger genie appeared who promised to grant even more wishes.

Over time, Aladdin and his mother became very rich. One day, Aladdin fell in love with the princess Badr al-Budur. Ignoring the fact that she was promised to another prince, he lavished presents on her father in a bid to stop the marriage.

Image by Artie Navarre from Pixabay

The sultan accepted his gifts but still married his daughter to the vizier’s son. Undeterred, Aladdin used his genie to kidnap the bridegroom and hold him in a cold, dark cell for two nights until the young man begged to have the marriage annulled. But as soon as Aladdin married Badr al-Budur, the sorcerer learned of his success and returned to steal the lamp. He managed to persuade the princess to give it to him in exchange for a new one but because Aladdin still had the magic ring, he was able to recover it with the aid of Badr al-Budur and kill the sorcerer.

That wasn’t the end. The sorcerer had an older and even more evil brother who disguised himself as an old woman known for her healing powers. Taken in by the disguise, the princess commanded the old woman to stay in the palace but Aladdin was warned by the genie of the lamp. He killed the imposter and everyone lived happily ever after.

 There are some beautiful symbols in this story which show us how to shine our light.

Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay

The magic lamp shows us how an illumined mind can transform us from something that looks dull and ordinary into wisdom.

Image by azwer from Pixabay

The genie shows us the powers of the spiritual world, our genius and extraordinary power of our imaginations and how, when we rub the lamp of our wisdom, we can create magic and wish for whatever we want.

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

This tale is also about the power of language. Aladdin only has to ask for what he wants and it magically appears. The lesson here is that, as long as we know what we want we can create it. However, we need to be disciplined with our thoughts. Negative thinking will sabotage us and bring us back to inner poverty again.

We also learn about the importance of uniting the male and female aspects of ourselves. It is only once Aladdin has married the princess Badr al-Budur that he becomes truly powerful and able to remove anything that stands in the way of his happiness.

 

Image by Gaëtan GUINÉ from Pixabay

 

So enjoy finding your wisest self and shining the light of your mind on your life. Be mindful of the language you use, stay positive and watch your dreams come true.

Next time, we’ll look at The Emperor’s New Clothes and see how people-pleasing never works in our favour …

Happy October!

 

Love Laurelle

Could there be a hidden map of life?

Imagine getting into a car for the first time without a driving instructor, a map or any idea of where you are supposed to go. Tentatively, you reach out and touch the different gears, the steering wheel, the ignition and the pedals and eventually manage to lurch forwards. Inevitably you crash and bump but at least you are moving.

Photo by Frenjamin Benklin on Unsplash

This is what it is like to be born into a human body. Over time, most of us learn how to sit up, crawl and eventually stand and walk. But what about the highways and byways we then have to negotiate? Or the huge motorways or tiny tracks that seem to go nowhere? Some of them have bends that we can’t see around while others are straight and give us a view. Some of them go uphill making us go slow while others plummet downhill, causing us to go fast. There’s also the weather. Driving in the pouring rain, driving snow, thick fog, glaring sun and heavy winds can be a nightmare. And that’s not all. What about the endless emotions and thoughts that plague us? There’s something less definable too, a constant battle between trying to be different from everyone and a craving to be the same as though we’re on an inner journey as well as an outer one.

Image by 95C from Pixabay

In order to drive ourselves more safely and enjoyably, we need a set of instructions. Throughout human existence, humans have created stories to provide such maps and because we create many of the beliefs we have about life from our childhood experiences, fairy tales are amongst some of the most profound of these maps, showing us how to navigate the muddy tracks, swollen rivers and icy ditches of life as long as we learn to unpick them and understand what they are trying to tell us.

Over the next few months, I shall be taking some of our most beloved fairy tales and look at what they really mean in an attempt to unravel some of the hidden truths that lie at the root of our culture. Let’s start with Little Red Cap, or Little Red Riding Hood as most of us know her.

Photo by Šárka Jonášová on Unsplash

Once upon a time, Little Red Riding Hood was sent into the woods by her mother to take some food to her grandmother. She was instructed to stick to the path and avoid any dangers but because she was naïve, fearless and curious she ignored her mother’s advice. As soon as she met the Big Bad Wolf, she told him what she was doing and where she was going. Slyly, he persuaded her to stray off the path and pick some flowers, thereby delaying her so that he could run off and find the old woman’s cottage before she did. It didn’t take him long. He ate up the grandmother and then dressed up in her clothes to trick the girl into the cottage. Once he had eaten her up as well, the wolf fell into a deep, satisfied sleep but, unfortunately for him, a woodsman found him, chopped off his head and his two victims were freed.

This story was first published in France in 1697 by Charles Perrault who dressed the girl in a red cloak but seems to have been in existence since the tenth century from an Italian folktale called The False Grandmother by Italo Calvino. The Grimm brothers changed the cloak to a red cap when they published the story in the nineteenth century. They also took out some of the more gruesome elements of the story to make it more palatable for young children.

There are deep hidden truths in this fairy tale that give us a map for the start of our inner journey. It does this with symbols. For example, the red of the cap or cloak signifies the beginning of menstruation as the girl steps into womanhood. The path is important too as a symbol of the way that society and religion try to show us how to keep safe.

Photo by Charles Black on Unsplash

However, when she is stalked by the wolf, which represents materialism and greed, she is seduced into straying off it and when she naively tells him where she is going, she demonstrates what happens when we fail to keep our counsel or learn who to trust.

It is not until she sees the wolf dressed up in her grandmother’s clothes, however, that her fall into materialism is completed. His big ears represent our sense of hearing; his big eyes our sense of vision, his big hands our sense of touch and his big mouth, our sense of taste and inclination to speak unwisely. In the end, she is eaten up and so loses her connection with innocence and herself as she is dragged into materialism and chaos. However, thanks to the Grimm brothers all is not lost. They added the woodsman who saved both Little Red Cap and her grandmother, suggesting that, with help, we can eventually be reborn into a greater sense of self than before.

Photo by RKTKN on Unsplash

Undoubtedly we are here to experience life and it would be a tragic waste for us to stay shut up in the safety of our parents’ cottage. However, as we step outside, it is imperative that we learn certain lessons. We will undoubtedly be pulled into materialism at some point and lose our sense of self but, as long as we learn to discern the difference between good and bad, we will be fine.

So enjoy this next month and become aware of the ways in which you are learning to drive the vehicle of your life and the lessons you are learning. Next time, we’ll look at Aladdin and his Magic Lamp see how shining light on life can make all sorts of wishes come true.

Happy September.

Love Laurelle

What are rainbows and how do they affect us?

Over the past few months we have looked at many colours. Today we will look at the rainbow which shows us all the colours of the visible light spectrum.

A rainbow is an arc of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. Rainbows are caused by the reflection, refraction and dispersion of light in water droplets and appear in the sky directly opposite the sun when it is raining and sunny at the same time.

Rainbows are fascinating culturally. We have already seen the way the seven rainbow colours represent the seven chakras, the energy centres of the body, a model which originates with the Ancient Indian Vedas. The Celts saw rainbows as the promise of new life provided by the Divine Feminine. In Greco-Roman mythology, rainbows were considered to be a path between Earth and Heaven made by Iris, a messenger. In Chinese mythology, the rainbow was a slit in the sky sealed by the goddess Nüwa using stones of five different colours. In Ireland, leprechauns are said to hide their pots of gold at the end of a rainbow, which, of course, can never be reached. Australian Aborigines say that the Rainbow Snake governs water. Judaism teaches from the Old Testament of the Bible that rainbows are a symbol of divine anger and patience and Christians believe that God put the rainbow in the sky after Noah’s flood as the sign of His promise that He would never again destroy the earth with water.

In some South American cultures, however, rainbows are seen as negative. In Amazonian cultures they are associated with malign spirits that cause harm and in one of the languages of central Peru certain diseases are called ayona’achartan, meaning “the rainbow hurt my skin”. The tradition of closing one’s mouth at the sight of a rainbow in order to avoid disease appears to pre-date the Incan empire.

Not all rainbows are single and the Chinese art of Feng Shui tells us that double rainbows are symbolic of transformation and that the earthly world is represented by the first rainbow while the second represents the spiritual world.

The rainbow is used by the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender movement as a symbol of hope and rainbow flags are used all over the world as a sign of a new era of social change. Rainbow flags have been flown since the German Peasants’ War in the sixteenth century as a symbol of the Co-Operative Movement. They have been flown in Italy, Peru, Bolivia and the Middle East as a symbol of peace. They have been used by the Jewish Autonomous Oblast to represent the International Order of Rainbow for Girls since the early 1920s and in the 1990s, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and President Nelson Mandela described the newly democratic South Africa as the Rainbow Nation as its symbol for diversity and multiculturalism.

Rainbows are symbolic not only of hope, peace and a new world order, but also of potential, harmony, expansion, connection, spirituality and the unity of earth and sky, body and spirit.  The Rainbow Bridge is the theme of several works of poetry written in the 1980s and 1990s that speak of an other-worldly place where pets go after death and where they will eventually be reunited with their owners.

If you are in need of rebalancing and recharging, try this rainbow breathing exercise, to be done preferably outside when the sun has just risen. Stand with your feet slightly apart facing the sun with your arms down by your sides, palms open. Close your eyes and breathe in red for three breaths. Then follow with orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. Be still for a few minutes afterwards as the colour courses through you.

Enjoy July and experimenting with rainbows and next month we will conclude our journey into colours.

Love Laurelle

How turquoise and purple can transform your life

As we continue to explore colours, let’s look at turquoise and purple. Both contain mixtures of colours and therefore different frequencies. Turquoise is a mixture of blue and green and imbues the unusual combination of energy and calm. It can therefore be used for both exhilaration and relaxation. Turquoise is a sensitive colour and aids creativity. In nature, it is associated with the beautiful hues of a tropical sea.

Turquoise people are friendly, approachable, empathetic and caring. They speak well in public as they are clear thinkers. Their green base means that they speak from the heart and their blue base means that they are easy to communicate with and will express their true selves. They can often have highly developed intuitive abilities and seek spiritual fulfilment.

However, there is a tendency to swing from one emotion to another, seeming cool and confident on one hand but being in chaos underneath. Balance is therefore really important for turquoises who can also be impractical and idealistic. Turquoises can become easily bored and so like to do several things rather than just concentrating on one but this can mean that they take on too much and become scattered at times.

Turquoise is ultimately the colour of freedom. It controls and heals the emotions and so is useful if you are feeling unhappy. Try wearing turquoise when you are feeling the effects of mental strain or you feel in some way jaded (pun intended!). It will help you to feel refreshed as though you’d had a dip in those wondrous waters or flown in those magical skies so you are inspired to make a fresh start. Turquoise also really helps if you are feeling lonely as it helps you to find emotional balance and release creative blocks.

Purple, on the other hand, takes us up to the sky and the deep beyond.

Unlike violet which is displayed in the visible light spectrum, purple is a mixture of red and blue. This means that it includes and combines both frequencies – the energy and strength of red and the communication and integrity of blue. Together, they are then transformed into something powerful and rather magical. This marriage symbolises the union of body and soul and sits at the third eye, the centre of wisdom. It stimulates the imagination and intuition and helps creativity. It is mystical and musical, spiritual and compassionate.

Purple is beloved by the royal family and is associated with nobility, luxury, power, and ambition. Purple represents wealth, creativity, wisdom and dignity along with devotion, peace and mystery. Purple people can be solitary flyers and are private but they understand the sacredness of the world and are capable of living within it. However their Achilles Heel can be to retreat into a fantasy world and live with their head in the clouds.

Try using purple when you are feeling anxious or need to calm your mind. Purple helps with trauma, helps to pacify obsessions and fears and has a deep, calming effect on the psyche.

You can also use purple to help you connect with your deepest thoughts. It can help you to seek the meaning of life and a more personal fulfilment so that you can expand your horizons and connect with a higher level of consciousness. Purple represents the future, imagination and dreams and yet can help us stay grounded and down to earth.

Turquoise and purple therefore offer a range of beautiful qualities, experiences and ways of healing. Enjoy exploring them this month as the colours of nature burgeon into summer.

Love Laurelle xx