As I have been quite busy working on two papers for my graduate program in mythology, I have not be able to blog as regularly as I would like this week. This evening, I completed the first draft of a paper for my class in Folklore and Fairy Tales, an essay attempting an archetypal interpretation of “Beauty and the Beast.” Much as I love the Disney version, as I read older versions of the tale, I realized how much it had strayed from those “classic” versions of the story. For example, it was an evil fairy who had cursed the dashing prince to live in beastly form — and not (as in the film) a beautiful enchantress masquerading as an ugly old woman trying to teach a lesson to a “spoiled, selfish and unkind” young man.
The Disney movie does offer a power message about learning to see with the heart and about one’s ability to change, to overcome one’s faults, but in straying from the various fairy tales, the film alters the story’s original meaning.
I have just begun to outline and write my second paper for my class in Jungian Depth Psychology and as I prepare to write on individuation, I again came across a letter a patient wrote to Carl Jung which he included in his “Commentary on The Secret of the Golden Flower” in Volume 13 of his Collected Works. Reading that letter fourteen years ago (in a book on Jung by the celebrated British psychiatrist Anthony Storr) helped me overcome my doubts about accepting my feelings for men and so helped spring the proverbial closet door. I thought I would share this powerful passage with y’all:
Out of evil, much good has come tome. By keeping quiet, repressing nothing, remaining attentive, and by accepting reality-taking things as they are, and not as I wanted them to be-by doing all this, unusual knowledge has come to me, and unusual powers as well, such as I could never have imagined before. I always thought that when we accepted things they overpowered us some way or other. This turns out not to be true at all, and it is only by accepting them that one can assume an attitude towards them. So now I intend to play the game of life, being receptive to whatever comes to me, good and bad, sun and shadow forever altering, and, in this way, also accepting my own nature with its positive and negative sides. Thus everything becomes more alive to me. What a fool I was! How I tried to force everything to go according to the way I thought it ought to!
Perhaps it will have an effect on some of you similar to the one it had on me. And perhaps later, I will write a little more about how these words changed my life.
-Dan (AKA GayPatriotWest): GayPatriotWest@aol.com