The Liberty Academy for Kids: Short Stories – Sleeping Beauty (including its deeper esoteric meaning)
As I recently re-launched The Liberty Academy, I want to start referencing some of its contents, more specifically lessons and courses I am adding.
Some of you may have children and I have a section Liberty Academy for Kids which is ideal for those who wish to access rich content for either homeschooling or enhancing the learning of their children. Note that several of these short stories are also suitable for teens.
This Kids section has many Short Stories that are captivating for youngsters and will enable them to expand their vocabulary, foster imagination, and sharpen both reading and writing skills, as many post-reading tasks accompany the stories.
Kids & Teens – Short Stories – Sleeping Beauty (Briar Rose)
Though many of you may vaguely remember the story, having a second look at it as an adult may surprise you in just how much it is packed with timeless wisdom about human consciousness and fate.
To this effect, I will cite from a couple of splendid resources that deep dive into the true esoteric symbology of this timeless tale.
Stick around, for what you will discover will absolutely blow your mind.
The first gem I found is The Secrets of Symbolism in Fairy Tales – Sleeping Beauty . Here are some key excerpts from this marvelous resource [emphasis added] along with additional commentary on my part.
The story is built on the universal theme of the psyche’s search for self-realization, or in other words, the soul’s path toward self–knowledge. The story has many connections to the concept of reincarnation.
Considering (Briar Rose) - Sleeping Beauty personifies the human soul, we can infer her predicted death is symbolic of the end of a cycle related to reincarnating through the twelve signs of the zodiac. The number thirteen is unlucky because it infers a new octave of energy, as the passage from 12 to 13 is considered dangerous, one must enter a new reality. this trope is why it was the thirteenth guest who cursed Sleeping Beauty.
Basically, we can say the central theme with the soul’s destiny, which the ancients thought must reincarnate through the twelve signs of the zodiac, before it enters a new and higher level of consciousness.
In esoteric teachings and circles, the 12 signs of the zodiac indeed represent an evolutionary progression, or elevation of one's consciousness (both external and internal).
The Three Fates that Spun Destiny
In Greek mythology, the Moira known in English as the "Fates" were the white-robed Demi-gods of destiny that held the power to limit the soul’s lifespan, which they determined at the moment of birth.
“Lachesis” – The "allotter" or drawer of lots measured the thread of life allotted to each person with her measuring rod, a staff with which she points to the horoscope on a globe.
“Clotho” – The "spinner" who spun the thread of life from her distaff onto her spindle (the book of Fate).
“Atropos”- means inexorable or inevitable. She personified the cutter of the thread of life who chose the manner of each person's death; and when their time came, she cut their life-thread. She held a scroll, a wax tablet, a sundial, a pair of scales, or a cutting instrument. At the birth of each person, they appeared spinning, measuring, and cutting the thread of life. (2)
Spinner, Athenian red-figure oinochoe 5th Century B.C., British Museum, image source
The ancients associated spinning with the soul's destiny. Yarn must be wound on the spindle and spun into a net or loop. They deemed this process of 'spinning a net to catch the soul,' as a spiritual metaphor for fate.
In Sleeping Beauty, the symbology the spindle represents from the story is extremely in line with that of the Moira, the Greek Demi-gods of fate.
In the tale, Briar Rose's father, the King, had ordered all the spindles in the kingdom to be destroyed, for if his beloved daughter were to prick her finger from one (as was prophesized), she would fall into a deep swoon.
The fact that she eventually did prick her finger indicates that you can't fight fate no matter how hard you try.
Moreover, the King is overly protective of his daughter which is not realistic; she is becoming a young woman and will venture out into the world regardless of the dangers it may thrust upon her.
Next, the author's analysis touches upon some important – numerology.
The number twelve has great significance in reference to astrology. Ancient sages believed the soul reincarnated through the twelve houses of the zodiac to gained specific traits associated with each house. “Lachesis” portrays the concept of destiny by holding a staff as she points to the horoscope on a globe, indicating a belief that the stars affect the destiny of the soul.
Each of the twelve guests brought wonderful gifts, one “bestowed virtue, one beauty, and a third riches”, which is a metaphor on the soul's qualities acquired in each astrological sign.
For example, Taurus gives one a sense of beauty. Gemini teaches the soul to communicate. Cancer relates to the home, Leo expands the heart and friends. In Virgo, one develops a discriminating mind and so on through all twelve houses of the zodiac.
So the whole affair of receiving gifts alludes to the evolution of consciousness, through the twelve astrological signs.
Next, the thirteenth guest condemned Sleeping Beauty to death if she ever touched the spinning wheel. The thirteenth fairy is like the Greek Atropos, as she determines the length of Sleeping Beauty’s life. Number thirteen is unlucky because it denotes the end of the twelve cycles, and the beginning of a new cycle or next octave.
In Western culture and civilization, the number 13 has long been associated with bad luck. This belief does indeed make sense, as the author further notes:
Moving to a new cycle may be dangerous as one's psyche has no foundation on which to stand, it is like jumping between two cliffs with nothing underneath.
Life is all about cycles; and though we may feel good or complete after achieving some kind of cycle or life milestone, proceeding from there is filled with uncertainty and risk. It's really up to fate, although we do have a chance to direct it somewhat through destiny (which, unlike fate, is slightly controllable). Or do we?
It is worth noting, biological and psychological changes occur at thirteen when puberty kicks in. In the human growth cycle, the thirteenth year denotes a transitional year and indicates a change in one’s body and mind. Therefore the year is transformative and denotes the time when a boy becomes a man and a girl becomes a woman. In that, the body can now reproduce.
If any of you out there are parents of a young teenager, you will definitely notice and agree with this. It is perhaps for this reason that young teens become at odds with their parents, for they are beginning to "rebel" and "defy" (what we label as simply being unreasonable or stubborn) as their conscious minds become emancipated searching for more independence and freedom during their transition into adulthood.
From the reptilian mind perspective, it can also be seen as a fundamental and necessary survival instinct, for one cannot always be under the watchful eye of a parent or guardian.
In a psychological sense, it may be that the number thirteen is deemed unlucky because one has to pass through a death experience. And symbolically Christ being the thirteenth of a group of twelve apostles died and resurrected into a new cycle in the heavens.
Once again here, the symbology of the number 13 is extremely powerful and potent.
Sleeping Beauty has the freedom to enter every room except the one which holds the spinning wheel, as the spinning wheel is symbolic of destiny and controlled by the “Clotho.” The Fate who spun the thread of life. She does just the opposite of warnings and enters the forbidden room. She pricks her finger, then blood appears; a clear symbol of death and sacrifice. Then She falls into a deep sleep as foretold by the thirteenth guest.
It may be her destiny to sleep for a hundred years. However, I see the sleep as an allegory on her own lack of consciousness. As she has to experience the real world, not waste away in her father’s luxurious kingdom. And oddly, her hundred years of sleep denote a wasted life, in which nothing of value is experienced, except maybe dreams. If she stays away from the sorrows of life, she also stays away from its bliss. However, it is inevitable she cannot stay safe and comfortable forever.
When the author states: "If she stays away from the sorrows of life, she also stays away from its bliss., he is exactly right.
This is another inescapable element of existence, or natural law – duality.
Without knowing misery, how can you know delight? Or, without delight, how can you know misery? Both must exist for each other to be complete, or fully understood. This is what eastern philosophy refers to as the Yin Yang principle (of duality or balance).
Yin Yang symbol - The dark side represents evil (or the feminine side) while the white side represents goodness (or the masculine side), among many other dual representations. The smaller [opposite color] dots within each "connect" them. For instance, one cannot be totally "good" and will have a little "evil" in them and vice-versa.
Continuing with the author's assessment:
So we can conclude the King was attempting to avoid any suffering for his daughter, yet no matter what how hard he tried, destiny intervened and his daughter entered the forbidden room. The forbidden room symbolizes the unconscious mind, where the archetype of the shadow exists, and all the psyche’s negative complexes reside. She is forbidden to enter because it will cause the death of her subconscious shadow.
While this particular sub-topic is very deep and would merit its own post, I'll just briefly expand on it.
In our subconscious mind there lies some undiscovered truths. They are there, but we cannot "see" them, for we have either willingly ignored what lurks there or we simply have yet to find a way to reflect upon their existence and contemplate on its contents.
When I do Tarot readings on others, this is what I attempt to help them with. I don't use it to help them "predict the future". Rather, I guide them in the representation, interpretation, and symbology of the cards they have drawn and how they must "reflect" and "contemplate" upon them for a while to better understand what microcosmic and macrocosmic forces are acting upon their psyche (i.e., their soul).
Note that the etymology of psyche (the Greek goddess of the soul) indicates it as an invisible animating principle which occupies and directs the physical body and understanding in the mind (as the seat of thought).
The author references it as an "archetype of the shadow" which is another way to look at it.
Later in his analysis, the author touches upon the reasons why the prince can fall in love with a sleeping girl along with its related symbology. His thoughts on this are rather astute and noteworthy:
Yes, how can a man fall in love and marry a sleeping girl? But we are talking about the levels of consciousness. Her sleep metaphorically implies a refusal to become conscious, as the twelfth fairy cannot predict when she will “wake up.” Only Sleeping Beauty can decide whether she will follow the spiritual path or stagnate.
Another author beautifully encapsulates and expands on this one's assessment:
In a way, Sleeping Beauty chooses to fall asleep, perhaps because of her naivety (also a trait of an overprotected child), and to stay blissful, but asleep, instead of awake and having to confront the sometimes harsh realities of adults life – such as an imminent marriage, motherhood, etc.
This perfectly binds what has been previously explored above in being asleep (unconscious) versus being awake and aware (conscious).
She has yet to integrate her masculine characteristics, symbolized by the prince. We also know that the prince is attempting to find Sleeping Beauty, which suggests there is a desire within the psyche to achieve a balance between the anima and animus.
Again, the principle of duality (Yin Yang) comes into play, as the prince infuses her "darkness" with some of his "light", thus making her more whole and complete.
Her sleep is a prophetic warning signal to those who do not follow the spiritual path and miss their opportunity to evolve physically, mentally and psychologically in the 'now.'
Agreed. I think this is the overall, or larger meaning or message of this tale. And it is another reason why I find it to be a "timeless" tale.
Human consciousness (individually and collectively) is in a constant state of rotation between being "awake" and "asleep". Good versus Evil. Both are necessary and complementary to each other, just like our physical bodies need to sleep each night.
This tale is not dissimilar to Plato's Allegory of the Cave.
Evolution requires this constant flux or flipping between the two; in natural law we can refer to this principle as polarity. Positive and negative charges constantly create fields of energy. I would say "spiritual energy" to be more precise, as our psyche encompasses the "invisible animating principle" as was described earlier which really means our [collective] souls. In Esoteric teachings, we call this the anima mundi, or vital force or principle conceived of as permeating the world.
Concluding, Sleeping Beauty represents the larger state of humanity and freewill; only oneself can decide to wake up and seek a higher level of consciousness, though fate will also have its say.
If you like what you've just read, feel free to read and share this lesson with kids, teens, or parents in your circle.
Thank you and God bless.