Visit the beauty parlor and click on the sections to learn about Rapunzel and her hair! Learn the significance of Cinderella’s cleaning the ashes, which are connected with death. And discover why fairy tale women so often get involved with beast-men!
Do you love fairy tales? Either in their own right as interesting stories, or because of their fascinating psychological aspects and history? That’s why I love them: I love exploring their manifestations of the psyche, and discovering how these stories manifest in different cultures and in different times.
Well. If you love fairy tales for any or all these reasons, you must visit this interactive site, pronto: RE-ENCHANTMENT.: An immersive journey into the hidden meanings of fairy tales.
It’s based in Australia, and is connected somehow to a TV documentary about fairy tales. But you don’t really need to know about any of that, because the site itself is so fascinating. It’s very interactive, and delves into the psyche, history, symbolism, and anything-else-you-can-name in connection with a few major fairy tales. (Red Riding Hood, Snow White, Bluebeard, Rapunzel, Cinderella, and Hansel & Gretel)
I was particularly interested in the Cinderella constellation of information, because I know from my own myth & folklore studies that there are at least 365 versions of the story — one for every day of the year! And the basic story is almost always much darker than the sanitized Disney version or one that might appear in children’s books today. (The original Grimm Brothers’ fairy tale books were quite true to their family name.)
In fact, the origins of most fairy tales tend to be quite dark, and the reason is that they seem to be the means of working dark things out of our psyches so we don’t act them out in reality. And that applies to children too.
That theory was propounded by psychoanalyst Bruno Bettelheim, who specialized in working with problem children that no other doctors could help. He wrote the most fascinating book — The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales — on the subject, and in fact, it’s referenced occasionally in the bits of the website that I’ve visited so far.
So anyway. Have a visit! I bet you’ll get as engrossed as I did.
[This production was written by Sarah Gibson, a practising Jungian Analyst and a Senior Lecturer at the University of Technology, Sydney, Australia. It was produced by award-winning screen and digital media producer Sue Maslin, of FilmArtMedia. To learn more about this production, visit the RE-ENCHANTMENT FilmArtMedia site.]