I'm starting off slow with this story. I love it so much. I used it for a client's Story/Reading when I was offering that form of coaching, and it was so right for her. This week, I'm going to talk a little about why I love this story. Next week, I'll share what some other writers have said about it.
There are a whole slew of European fairy tales about people being turned into birds. One of the main themes of these stories, is that someone has to complete an arduous task in order for the transformed ones to be returned to their human form. So often, we are willing to set off on an adventure that we'd never consider otherwise, because someone else's life or well-being, or even just convenience, is at stake. In this story, it is a little girl who faces a journey far from home. She is not an adult, not even a maiden of marriageable age. She's a child, one who is determined to set things right.
I love how there is no question in her mind, as soon as she learns of her brothers' existence, that she is the one who will save them. She is ready for her journey -- she takes food and drink, a ring from her parents to remember them by, and a chair. A CHAIR!!! She is ready to rest herself. This is the kind of practical thinking that fairy tales are sometimes thought to lack, but in reality, they have it in spades. She is going to save her brothers, and it's going to be hard, and she'll need to rest. So she needs a chair. Of course.
The little girl journeys to the sun, the moon, and the stars, and it is the stars, the ones to whom little children sing, the ones who are so gentle and so insistent in their shining, who offer her welcome and help. I love how they are ready to tell her how to find her brothers, and to give her a gift to help her get there.
Gruesome as it seems, I love the moment when she realizes that she will have to give up part of herself to see this adventure through to the end. Having lost the chicken bone the stars gave her, the little girl cuts off her own finger to open the lock on the glass mountain's door. She has a knife, which was not mentioned before, and does what needs to be done, with no drama.
When I tell this story to little children, not one of them flinches or even blinks at the need to cut off her finger. In storyland, it's not a problem. She probably grows it back instantly. Or perhaps she will get a silver finger. It's not important. What is important, is that a dwarf comes and tells her the ravens aren't at home.
I love that it is the print of her lips on the glass that gives her away, and that the ring she brought along alerts her brothers as to who has come. The brothers regain their human form, just like that. I imagine a great ruffling of feathers, and a whirring of wings, and then a gradual settling of the air, and seven young men now appearing, for they will have grown older in the time since they were transformed.
This story is about love. It is about love that seeks us out, even when we are lost. It is about love that sends us searching for what, until just now, we didn't even know we lacked. It's about trust, and magic, and bravery. It's about how quickly things can change, and how our words can have such powerful impact that they change the world forever, and change the lives of others, for good or ill. It's about our journey through life, perhaps our journey before birth, and perhaps about the underworld or the unconscious. It's about life.
more to come...
**the seven ravens fairy tale exploration has been delayed a week by illness. look for it this Friday**
I'm so tired, but I don't want to go to bed because I feel like I haven't done enough yet today. Yes, I did a lot of stuff, but there is something beating its wings in my chest, longing to be set free, and until I have created something, I can't rest. The wind is blowing hard today, and clouds are racing across the sky, which is clearing at last. I am longing to make things, to create things, to be active in adding beauty to the world. Someone once told me how happy they were to be in their 40s, because they felt so much more at peace with themselves. I just feel more urgency."You are no longer young! You cannot live on potential now, you must act! you must create!"
And not knowing what it is that I must do, what it is that I am to create, that is a hard thing, so I keep flinging things out there. Courses. Stories. Little ideas and offerings.
Do you know that for nearly 20 years now, I have longed to have a picnic at Kenwood park, with flowers and flowing skirts, and stories, and fairy cakes, and bubbles, and magic? And I still haven't had it.
Around 8 years ago, I lost something of myself. I became so sad, so stressed... I've been fighting to recover it for years, and blow after blow has pushed me back. Job loss. Financial loss. Loss of a parent. Loved ones in accidents. rejections. I have made countless huge mistakes and done so many things wrong. And still, I press on, because the wings in my ribcage keep fluttering, beating against the walls of my heart. I am stubborn.
And I keep coming back to these fairy tales, the ones that enchanted me so long ago, before all of this, back when I was full of potential and becoming. There is something comforting in their starkness and simplicity. I feel like I am starting out on my journey over and over again. So confused and afraid and yet unable not to press on. And maybe someday I will find the key that unlocks the cage of that bright, winged thing in my heart, and it will sing, and soar.
I am so excited for my Everyday Fairytale workshop tomorrow night! I plan to make this the start of a series of in-person and online workshops. I envision building community through storytelling, art, singing, and talking. Conversation is an art form; we don't get enough of deep, real conversation these days, and I want to cultivate some places for true sharing. The inaugural workshop is IN ONE WEEK, on MAY 30 here in Minneapolis, at Heartfelt. Please call (612) 877-8090 to register.
Next, I am delighted and full of eager anticipation as I announce a new blog series. I will be exploring themes in some of my favorite fairy tales, and offering my own personal take on the insights and gifts they have to offer. The first tale will be The Seven Ravens (of course!), and clicking on the title of the story will take you to where you can read a version of it in preparation for Friday's post!
So much energy and joy -- it must be spring!!!
I'm quiet around here, because I am working away on my latest project: an in-person workshop!
May 16, 2019, 7 pm
Journey from feeling dull, stuck, and overwhelmed, to a life full of wonder, ease, and contentment. We’ll reconnect with the magic and sparkle in the everyday, and learn to read our lives like a fairytale. Storytelling, artistic work, and conversation will shape our time together. Sara will guide you through playful and potent activities that will start you on a path to your heart’s desire.
This workshop will take place at Heartfelt, in Minneapolis. Preregistration is required, and you can sign up by calling Heartfelt at (612) 877-8090
I'm really looking forward to meeting people in person and sharing these wonderful tools for fairytale living! If you have questions, please drop me an email!
Heartfelt is at 4306 Upton Ave S, Minneapolis, MN, 55410
Sara lives in Minnesota with her wife, their son, and a lot of cats and turtles. She coaches waldorf moms and other sparkly unicorns, helping them find wonder, ease, and contentment. Sara writes about parenting, storytelling, and about living a life with stories.