Thursday, February 14, 2013

Fairy Tales

I have been reading a little book called "The Poetry and Meaning of Fairy Tales" which is actually two lectures given by the philosopher and seer, Rudolph Steiner, in 1908 and 1913, and I want to share a little of this here.

"Because fairy tales belong to our innermost feeling and emotional life and to everything connected with it, they are of all forms of literature the most appropriate for children's hearts and minds.  It is evident that they are able to combine the richest spiritual wisdom with the simplest manner of expression.  One has the feeling that in the magnificent world of art there is no greater art than this one, which traces the path from the unknown, unknowable depths of the soul to the charming and often playful fairy tale pictures.

When what is most difficult to understand can be put in the most clearly perceptible form, the result will be great art, intrinsic art, art that belongs as a fundamental level to the human being.  Human nature in the child is linked to the life of the whole world in such a primary way that children must have fairy tales as soul-nourishment.  The expression of spiritual force can move much more freely when it comes towards a child.  It should not be entangled in abstract, theoretical ideas if the child's soul is not to become dry and disturded, instead of remaining linked to the deep roots of human life.

Therefore there is nothing of greater blessing for a child than to nourish it with everythig that brings the roots of human life together with those of cosmic life.  A child is still having to work creatively, forming itself, bringing about the growth of its body, unfolding its inner tendencies; it needs the wonderful soul-nourishment it finds in fairy tale pictures, for in them the child's roots are united with the life of the world.  Even we adults, given to reason and intelligence, can never be torn away from these roots of existence; we are most connected with them just when we have to be fully involved with the life of the time.  Therefore at various parts of our life, if we have a healthy, openhearted mind, we will happily turn back to fairy tales.  Certainly there is not a single age or stage of human life that can take us away from what flows out of a fairy tale, for otherwise we would be giving up the deepest and most important part of our nature; we would be giving up what is incomprehensible for the intellect: a sensing within ourselves, a sense for what is pictured in a simple fairy tale and in the simple, artless, primordial fairy tale mood.

The fairy tale is like a good angel, given us at birth to go with us from our home to our earthly path through life, to be our trusted comrade throughout the journey and to give us angelic companionship, so that our life itself can become a truly heart- and soul-enlivened fairy tale!"

Happy Valentine's Day!  And may you all be touched by fairy dust.

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