We covered many stoney topics of: issues of trust, food for love, crazy mommies, weak daddies, grand illusion, learning confidence and ingenuity, yes and even touched on darker subjects like abduction, stranger danger and child pornography.
We were brave indeed.
In digging down to the roots of this story though, some research emerged that was bigger than all of these things put together.
Like Joseph Campbell talks of Hero's Journeys...this story is one of a Magickal Path of a Shaman in making.
There are elements that make up a Shaman's journey and all are represented here in this simple (?) childhood fairy tale.
The elements of a Shaman's Journey (like the Native American's "Vision Quests") include:
1) an experience of separation or isolation from society and culture
2) an encounter with extreme mental & physical suffering (including experiences of being eaten or killed)
3) an encounter with death
4) an experience of nature (through creature/ancestor/spirit/God /element)
5) a return to life (sometimes featuring Celestial/World Tree or bird flight)
6) a return to society as healer
As you can see, from those, the story of Hansel and Gretel is so much more. They are pushed out onto a path by the "evil" (step)mother(witch) and forced to find their way. Hansel, the man-child is full of more courage than his own father in standing up for himself and his sister.
In encountering the illusion of the gingerbread house and the witch's promises, they befall calamity. Or is it? Gretel is now "apprenticed" to the witch. In order to save her brother Hansel, Gretel is forced to cook for and feed her brother, who feigns starvation but gets fat, indeed. (We must all fill our own hunger for our own fulfillment and not for the fulfillment of others- thus prove the "bony finger" of Hansel)
Gretel now feigns ignorance, but deep within, finds her own power and kills the witch by forcing her to accept the same fate she would deliver.
Thus Gretel has "stolen the power" of the witch....
and is now a witch herself.
The "children-witches" now have access to the treasure within, and have also received a new power of speaking to the animals (which they did not have on the original setting out of their journey). They come home to "heal their father." They also find that the "evil step mother-witch" is gone/dead. They have overcome their fears.
Kewl beans, huh?
But while we didn't have beans to eat at our Grand Gingerbread Feast we DID have GOODIES!!
There was crusty bread and decadent garlic oil to dip (bread crumbs for the story and garlic to ward evil :), there was German noodle soup (with a nod to the German roots of the story), an edible Gingerbread house (and yes, we ate from the house as Hansel and Gretel would have :), Celery root with mustard sauce (a tonic and a potion for our strength, no doubt :), Chicken wings in Slathering Sauce (for Hansel's bony fingers and basting), Stuffed Clam shells (Gretel's Moon Goddess dinner), Roasted Veggies (to fatten us up with some veg),
Snicker doodles and Roasted Chestnuts (for our German woodsy dining pleasure) and Hot Cocoa and Rum and Pumpkin Spice Vodka (to give us heart and to ward off the night air chill).
Oh and enough candy and assorted cookies to choke a White Swan.
Lots of fun company!
All in all, a VERY magickal night with brilliant conversation, decadent food and drink, delightful companionship and even some festive Heimlich maneuver and grip of clenched dog face, (to dissuade Monty the dog that clam shells are not good for his colon.)
Well, after this wondrous strong female role model in fairy tale (FINALLY!!)
we thought we'd visit yet another kind next month.
The bitch. The snooty, spoiled, promise breaking little Princess.
That's right, we will undertake the psychological, class division and economical aspects of...
Some research came from this site about the Shaman journey:
the rest is group speculation gathered from many many versions of the Grim fairy tale of Hansel & Gretel.