Sleeping Beauty and Snow White — Not Just Fairy Tales!

Prince finds Sleeping Beauty | Prince finds Snow White

The term “Fairy Tale” is synonymous with “untrue.” Fairy Tales are considered the products of human imagination, enchantment and are not based on historical fact. But can stories represent something ontologically real, yet take place in a realm beyond time and space?

If we believe in God, heaven and angels, there certainly must exist a realm beyond the physical world. God’s Holy Word had its origins in heaven, and therefore its sacred narratives and dramas somehow first existed in a non-material realm. Stranger still, Holy Scripture describes giants, unicorns, sorcerers, witches and dragons.

According to scientist/theologian Emanuel Swedenborg, God’s Holy Word consisted of deeper, symbolic levels of meaning. When interpreted into these more abstracted levels, one distills a psycho-spiritual drama—the words of such a story can begin to depict the invisible stages of events that take place in our hearts and minds. A threatening “giant” could therefore represent a huge ego that threatens the innocence of our soul. Such a “giant” would not exist in time and space, but could accurately depict a psycho-scenario taking place deep inside us. What happens inside us is certainly considered real.

Humans have both an outer and inner reality. Allegory and metaphor serve to depict the theater of this inner reality.

Swedenborg discovered that many ancient myths and legends were written in this sacred and symbolic style—to communicate psychological truths rather than historical facts. This led me to wonder whether some of our earliest Fairy Tales were written by individuals who possessed this same sacred and deeper knowledge.

In the famous story of Snow White we have an evil Queen who is constantly looking in the mirror, which symbolizes a person who loves themselves more than others.  Women symbolically represent a quality of love. One day the Queen is told by her mirror (self-reflection) that another woman, Snow White, in the kingdom (belief system) is more beautiful than her, that is, represents a truer quality of love. In the story of Sleeping Beauty we also meet up with a Sorceress who is equally jealous.

The wicked Queen in Snow White plots to trick the lovely princess into eating a poison apple. This is precisely the symbolism used in Genesis where Adam and Eve are tricked into eating the “Forbidden Fruit.” Psycho-spiritually speaking, the wicked Queen or evil Sorceress symbolizes a desire to captivate the minds of others with her evil qualities. The poisoned apple represents contaminated love, which when eaten, causes a person to come under its spell and puts to “sleep” any inclinations in the human heart to seek nobler or spiritual expressions of love.

In the story of Sleeping Beauty, princess Aurora pricks her finger on a spinning wheel. A spinning wheel actually symbolizes something similar to fruit and that which can bring forth or cause something to be produced (fruitfulness). In its negative connotation a “cursed” spinning wheel would symbolize a mechanism for seducing minds through deception. That Sleeping Beauty pricks her finger at the age 15 symbolizes that she has entered into a new mental state of relatively little truth, which is symbolized by a sleep-like state. (The Bible similarly warns us to “awaken” and to “sleep not.”)

In both stories, Prince Charming comes to the rescue.  A “prince” symbolizes a principle or primary truth, which is necessary to combat the falsities of self-love. The Prince in Sleeping Beauty battles overgrown thickets and a fearsome dragon to reach the sleeping princess. (A serpent and thorny thickets are also mentioned in the Adam and Eve story.)  Symbolically, the Prince in Sleeping Beauty represents “Truth” fighting through the stinging evil and false beliefs that can grow unhindered and infest the mind (psycho-thorns) and battling false reasoning derived exclusively from the five senses (Dragon) which grows into monstrous proportions and threatens to extinguish God’s spiritual Truth.

In Snow White, the Prince finds the princess in a wilderness (a mental state of spiritual obscurity) and protected by dwarfs (symbolizing stunted or limited spiritual qualities).

Finally, the Princes in both stories wake up the Princesses with a tender kiss. A “kiss” symbolizes connection and conjunction between truth and love. “Truth” wakes up love and lets the heart open its eyes.

I alluded to this sacred symbolism in an earlier blog post about “Cinderella.” I have also gone through the Fairy Tale of “Jack and The Beanstalk” with a fine-toothed comb and found similar symbolic language (correspondences) operational as well.

I mention this deeper symbolic language to counter the rising post-modern worldview that challenges Holy Scripture’s inerrancy and divine authority—because it seems to express the oppressive nature of a hierarchical, imperialistic and patriarchal model for the relationship between God and humans.

But the joke is on all those hyper-rational and worldly (corporeal) thinkers who today openly state that the Holy Bible is a Fairy Tale!

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About thegodguy

EDWARD F. SYLVIA, M.T.S. Philosopher/Theologian Edward F. Sylvia attended the School of Visual Arts in New York and received his Master of Theological Studies at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, CA and a Certificate of Swedenborgian Studies from the Swedenborgian House of Studies. He is a member of the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences (C.T.N.S.) and the Swedenborg Scientific Association (S.S.A.). Award-winning author of "Sermon From the Compost Pile: Seven Steps Toward Creating An Inner Garden" and "Proving God," which fulfills a continuing vision that God’s fingerprints of love can be found everywhere in the manifest universe. His most recent book, "Swedenborg & Gurdjieff: The Missing Links" is an edgy collection of anti-intuitive essays for personal transformation that challenges and inspires. He has been a student of the ideas of both Emanuel Swedenborg and George I. Gurdjieff for over thirty years. Read more about TheGodGuy, his books and his ideas at http://www.staircasepress.com
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16 Responses to Sleeping Beauty and Snow White — Not Just Fairy Tales!

  1. Jim Rigney says:

    You are absolutely right. The holy Bible is not a fairytale. However the interpretation of the Holy Bible has lead to so many divisions amongst Christians, Jews, and others. This confusion has enabled atheists and communists to accuse religion, in general, by saying that religion is the opium of the people.

    What we need now is God’s interpretation of the Holy Bible because there are too many interpretations which cause confusion, dissension, and division.

    God’s interpretation of the Holy Bible will be revealed to us all at the second coming of Christ, in the last days. When the lord comes again, and in the flesh, he will reveal all truth. The Christian Churches will unite finally into one, and they will be the foundation for the second coming to begin the physical Kingdom of Heaven on this earth..

    God Bless us All.

    Jim Rigney

  2. thegodguy says:

    Dear Jim,

    According to Swedenborg, God’s interpretation is already being made available!

    Spiritually yours,
    TheGodGuy

  3. Roger says:

    “God’s interpretation of the Holy Bible will be revealed to us all at the second coming of Christ, in the last days.”

    True – that has already happened in the second half of the 18th century – triggering a series on changes that will lead to God’s kingdom on this planet which will be a pale reflection of his kingdom in heaven. “On earth, as it is in heaven”.

    Roger

  4. PTM says:

    Thanks for this post God Guy! I think it’s awesome that you picked up on the spiritual or esoteric sense of the Snow White, Sleeping Beauty fairy tale. These are many other fairy tales and stories just like this too! Probably everything written and inspired from heaven has the higher spiritual story behind the literal story. I think we need to get away from the idea that the esoteric sense is exclusively found in scripture, specifically in the few cannons selected by men to be included in our bibles. Truth is, as our spiritual eyes and ears develop, or are opened, we find the inner sense present in many even un-seeming sources.

    But, if the Snow White fairy tale had been included in our bibles, just imagine what would happen?

  5. PTM says:

    PS The esoteric meaning is present in many song lyrics and poems too. May the Lord give us the eyes to see and ears to hear.

  6. thegodguy says:

    Dear PTM,

    Prehistoric cave art also falls into this category! :-)

    Spiritually yours,
    TheGodGuy

  7. Anne says:

    “Hidden in plain sight” is the name of the game :-)

    • thegodguy says:

      Dear Anne,

      Yep! The human intellect is designed to “see” beyond the power of the eyeball. Modern life is destroying this deeper view of things. God’s Holy Word contains deeper levels of meaning but its authority is challenged because its stories are only seen through the human eyeball!

      Spiritually yours,
      TheGodGuy

  8. Amie says:

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    • thegodguy says:

      Dear Amie,

      Thank you. My newest book (pub date: Sept 1, 2013) will be a children’s story based on Swedenborg’s ideas! Stay tuned!

      Spiritually yours,
      TheGodGuy

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  11. julia says:

    Hi, cool takes, I’d like to share with you another take on Sleeping Beauty.

    Since this fairy tale is about true love (as most fairy tales are) perhaps we can see true love between humans as a metaphor for Divine love, and thus the spinning wheel and Maleficent the enactor of a broken heart, from when love is not true, but broken.

    Thus she falls under a spell of sleep, and loses much of her life and idealism, until the day that true love does come and re-awakens the possibilities of the fairy-tale truth once more.

    • thegodguy says:

      Julia,

      I am glad you believe Fairy Tales need a deeper look. We are losing the capacity to ponder and probe “higher” meanings within stories that were written to express the predicament of our inner world.

      Spiritually yours,
      TheGodGuy

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