The bad fairy in Sleeping Beauty

bad fairy sleeping beauty Mar 03, 2021

Sleep is a remarkable symbol in fairy tales. From a spiritual perspective, which is the viewpoint of Magic Mirror, sleep marks a change in consciousness that is paradoxical. In the story of sleeping beauty, it is the curse of the one bad fairy – the one who is not invited to the birth celebrations – that leads our Princess Beauty to fall asleep. When she does, so does the whole castle.

Most fairy tales have one moment when a big shift takes place, and the pricking of the finger on the spindle, when Beauty ascends the forgotten tower, is the important shift (in consciousness) in this tale.

It is significant that this happens when she reaches puberty.

So what does this symbolise?

When in the tale Beauty falls asleep, she is awakening to the world of things, separated apparently, from their real (spiritual) origin. As the things of this world become real so the Princess falls asleep to the realties of the world of her own soul. The whole castle joins her because – from one point of view – the whole castle is her.

But without this shift in consciousness, actually she will be unable to manage in the world of things and appearances. For they have to be treated as real, as they are real in their consequences.

Notice that before she pricks her finger, she ascends a forgotten tower. There she finds an old woman spinning. Now in the Disney version this is the bad fairy, but the Grimm story, which is intriguingly subtitled Little Briar Rose, it is just an old lady who did not know of the King’s edict to destroy all spindles.

Ascents and descents in Fairy Tales usually indicate a shift in consciousness. The ascent in the tower suggests the ascent into the head where the power of sensory thought is enough to send the higher faculties to sleep at least for the duration of adolescence.

Real conscious spiritual awakening tends to take place later in life. The hundred years’ sleep indicates a very long time (a lifetime for some). Something has to enter in, past all the thorny bushes of nature, to cause Beauty to awaken.

Enter the Prince.