The hidden message of my favorite fairytale
Updated: Dec 13, 2018
At the start of a counseling process, I often ask participants, what their favorite fairytale was in their childhood, or is at the moment. The first tale that comes to mind then is always important, and working with and processing that fairytale is already an important milestone in one's process. Here's how we work to unlock the message that your fairytale is conveying to you.
What's my favorite fairytale? There are many possible answers to that question, and of course, all of them are relevant answers. Many people recall having one particular favorite tale when they were kids – that one tale that their parents were asked to read to them, hundreds of times! Some will have several favorite ones and will find it difficult to choose one. Then again, others have no recollections of experiencing fairytales in their childhood. Some will remember Disney movies or cartoons rather than stories being read to them. And some of them will remember absolutely anything from their childhood, but will have a tale that comes to mind right at that moment. And all of these are perfectly fine.
Whatever the source of the fairytale is, the question that really comes up is: why is that my favorite fairytale? Or rather: why did it come up now, why is it that one that I want to work with at the moment? If we accept that the fairytale that I mention at the moment is not random, but a message from my subconscious, then there must be a theme in that story that is particularly relevant to me right now. If a story is especially important to us, then there is definitely something in it, that is very much in tune with our soul's needs. And this is particularly important in case of the favorite childhood tale. Some of the major themes and tasks of our lives are already formed in our childhood– such as my relationship with my mother and father, which later have an impact on my relationships, or the relationship with my siblings, which will be a blueprint for my horizontal relationships, or unexpected events, like the sudden death of a loved one, which may make me feel insecure in the world, or a major move or changing life circumstances, all of which will make it difficult to feel grounded, and the list goes on and on. Children are unable to express their emotional needs directly while processing such events, but they will automatically, instinctively choose fairytales to speak to their soul, that provide them with healing, that give them hope in the given situation, and which are ultimately a positive example and a source of energy. Finding out why that particular fairytale is important is not a straightforward task, as tales use a highly symbolic language. And perhaps it is not all that important for them, either. When we're children, what is most important for us is to actually receive the healing source that we automatically select.
Decades later, that child is still in us, but now there is also an adult in us, ready to understand the message that that fairytale was conveying through all those years. And this is why we work with one's favorite fairytale. And how do we unlock this message? Once the story is remembered, retold, brought back into our awareness, we will try to zoom in on aspects of the story that seem particularly important or interesting. We may do a relaxation exercise, and see if there is a character, or a particular location or scene, the image of which first comes to mind. We may draw, paint, use clay or other art techniques.
→ Interested in why working with images and art is often used as a method in combination with fairytales? Read more about that here.
We might explore things that we like or dislike about the story and try to understand why. We might write our own alternative fairytale ending, or introduce new characters. We might try to directly decode the meaning of particular symbols. And whatever we do, we will definitely see how all of this applies to our life at this moment, and how this is relevant for us specifically. In short: we will see how this is practical and usable for us right now, in order to make sure that the fairytale actually translates to change that we feel enabled to bring about in our own lives.
There are many ways to tap into the healing power of any fairytale we are working with, and the ways that are used are partially based on what fairytale we are working with – but much more on how you and your soul relate to that particular tale. That's why each fairytale exploration is a unique, one-of-a-kind experience co-created by you, who brings the fairytale, and me, the facilitator.