Nimue Brown pointed me to Jerri Studebaker’s book, Breaking the Mother Goose Code, and I’m really pleased she did. I’ve not read it yet but it looks like one I’ll get. One of the things Nimue says that particularly struck me is, “I’d not thought before about the way in which many fairy stories are really at odds with Christian stories.” Indeed they are … I hope that will become apparent to more people and maybe give them to think! One of the things about these old stories – and many of them are far, far older than the 300+ years Studebaker speaks of – is that they come out of the old ways, the ways of folk for the near one million years of human life before christianity happened!
Nimue goes on to say, “At this point, whether or not Mother Goose is really, historically and provably a goddess survival seems a lot less important than what we try to do with her stories, and other such stories, moving forward. It is in the nature of stories to change and evolve over time, being re-imagined to fit the new context. Stories that survive are often stories that can be adapted, or that give us powerful archetypes to work with. So the question to ask may really be, how do we want to work with those archetypes in the first place?”
All my training from family, village and later the transpersonal says precisely this – what do we try to do with her stories? Stories are, and should be, adapted to fit their audience. This is one reason why I’ve never got on with the so-called bardic principles of exact reiteration. What the devil for? Such blind repetition will likely be meaningless to all audiences that haven’t studied with the bardic teller, or else the bardic teller has missionary zeal coagulating his/her soul and is trying to produce sets of flower-pots by his tellings!
Another thought from this … what is an archetype, apart from a long word with a high fog-index! The thesaurus offers model, epitome, prototype, are these aspects of goddesses and gods? They often seem to be in stories, I mean that the goddess (or god) acts in ways that show us things if we’ve the eyes to see. This is certainly how we work with them in the transpersonal. It’s also how they elders of the villages where I grew up got us to think and work too.
Nimue says later, “If the deities are independently real and active, then of course things that look like them will keep turning up in people’s stories and ideas, for all the same reasons that they turned up in the first place – because they are offered to us by the divine as inspiration.”
As this is what actually happens does it give you to think that possibly they might be real? And how are they different from “the divine”?
I wonder sometimes if much of the modern 20th and 21st century magic and druidry and witchcraft and stuff is still clogged up with bits of Victorian romanticism and Christian fear, along with lots of misunderstood eastern stuff that got really popular after the Beatles went to India. It certainly seems so from where I stand. Add in the dire and desperate need for the thinking mind and the academic mind to be put on pedestals as the current gods (or goddesses!) and you seem (to me) to be living in a rather mucksy chaos that has little life in it but lots of need for conformity.