Theodora Goss, who is brilliant, has been writing about what it means to really live fairy tales, or, as she puts it, to live a fairy tale life. Many Witches, in my experience, grew up on fairy tales and Witches from the Reclaiming tradition, in particular, focus a lot of their practice upon fairy tales and myths. Theodora Goss says:
[There are] two things [that] fairy tales give us that the real world doesn’t: magic and meaning.
In the real world, things don’t happen by magic. Or most people believe they don’t, but I have often felt magic in my own life. It has felt as though a good fairy is looking out for me, helping me. Living in a fairy tale is often difficult — there are ogres — but there is also help, there are also speaking animals that will tell you the way, good fairies that will show you what to do. And in fairy tales, your actions have meaning. Sharing your food with an old woman will eventually save you. To be honest, I believe that’s true in our world as well. Perhaps what really happens is that in our world, which is not a fairy tale world, we act as though there is no magic, and no meaning, and so they disappear. After all, our perceptions shape, if not reality (and I believe they do, to a certain extent), then our experience of it.
This morning, I was driving, through sun-infused mist, along my beloved Potomac and realized that the wild asters are now in bloom. I once had a very magical experience that involved asters and, this morning, I was thanking them and telling them how much I love them. But I didn’t say anything about it to anyone (except to the asters). This evening, the Green Man came over and made me close my eyes. “Tada!” He had been gifted some asters by the director of a lovely local garden and brought them over to plant in my woodland, next to my magical rock. It was a fairy tale of sorts.
Later, over wine, we were discussing a recent experience that we had of a very magical portal (because to be a Witch is to pay attention and to pay attention is to realize that, of course, we are all living with meaning and magic) and I was saying that the real take-away lesson for me was: that magical energy, that power, that way to move between the world (where what we do between the worlds can change the worlds) is actually available all the time. It’s available when I’m stuck in traffic, when I’m frustrated trying to submit my insurance receipts, when I can’t find time to schedule the appointments that I need, when I imagine that I’m too tired for my daily practice.
Theodora Goss says that:
living a fairy tale life is not easy, or for the faint of heart. But I think what you get at the end is magic, meaning, and maybe even happily ever after.
And, she’s right. But she also puts up a graphic that’s equally right. Its inscription says:
If you want to live a fairy tale, you have to be willing to climb the glass mountain in iron shoes.
What she doesn’t say is that living a life without fairy tales, which is what too many of us do too much of the time, is also like climbing a glass mountain in iron shoes. Just without the magic and the meaning.
And, speaking of climbing mountains, you do know how Sisyphus kept rolling that big ball uphill over and over, don’t you? Because he found meaning in it.
How’s your daily practice?
Picture found here.