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HANSEL AND GRETEL: A STORY ABOUT OVERCOMING FEAR
It’s a seemingly innocuous story of a boy and girl lost in the woods, who find a house made out of candy and cookies, where they outsmart a cannibalistic witch. But did you ever stop to consider that it is also a story about the power of psychic wholeness to overcome our fears and effect a change in our reality?
In case you forgot the story, here’s a summary:
Hansel and Gretel are abandoned in the woods at the urging of their wicked stepmother. There they find a witch who lives in a house made from candy and cookies. Turns out this old bag is actually a cannibal, and she locks them in cages to fatten them up.
Fortunately, this old witch is also nearsighted. Every day, she checks their weight to see if they’re plump enough for a juicy human roast, but they trick her by holding out a chicken bone for her to feel.
The witch loses patience and finally just decides to cook the kids, but they insist that they don’t know how to climb into the oven, and ask for a demonstration. The witch bends down to show them, and they push her in and close the door.
Running away from this nightmare candy-house, they find a magic swan who gives them a ride across a lake. Returning home, they are greeted warmly by their loving father, and he tells them that their stepmother is dead.
Thoughts on the hidden meaning of this fairytale:
Anybody notice the connection between the stepmother and the witch? They both die.
The dark and scary woods represent fears and concerns. At the core of everything dark and terrifying, Hansel and Gretel find the witch, which represents their stepmother, the person they most loathe. They triumph over her, and when they return to reality, she is actually dead.
What is the thing that you fear the most?
Our fears often lock us in a cage, and try to “fatten” us up to eat us through self-doubt, self-denigration, and obsession over our imperfections.
But we can defeat that fear if we are whole.
Wholeness is represented by Hansel and Gretel, boy and girl siblings, male and female components. They represent a whole and unified psyche, in Jungian terms.
Hansel is the one who comes up with the idea of fooling the witch with the chicken bone, and Gretel is the one who tricks her into climbing into the oven.
When we are settled, peaceful, and feeling actualized, we can conquer our fears. Leaving our thoughts and returning to reality, we find that the effect of our positive thinking has rippled out into the world and produced tangible result: the witch in the forest is dead, and so is the wicked stepmother.
Just remember: your fears don’t have to keep you locked in a cage. When you work on doing things that make you happy and fulfilled, surround yourself with positive people, and develop an outlook of gratitude for life, you can outsmart the witch who’s trying to fatten you up.
It’s a process that may take a lifetime of work, but you can take solace in knowing that you don’t have to let your fears consume you.
Although the Grimm version is a little macabre, the idea is the same: your thoughts have tremendous power. Conquer your fears and you’ll see that the world around you is a different place.
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