The Story – Beauty and the Beast
After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.
-Phillip Pullman –
Modern individuals tend to see fairy tales and mythological stories as simply another form of entertainment. Even the modern definition of the word myth has reduced the word to meaning “falsehood” rather than its historically accurate meaning as being a psychobiological pattern that reveals meaning and purpose.
The earliest storytellers were bards, seers, shamans, magi. They had the courage to wrestle with the great questions of human existence and encode them in stories that helped their community to live through difficult times and to keep their eyes open and set their hearts alight.
These storytellers lived on the edge, metaphorically and sometimes literally, too. Theirs was the language of poetry, dream, paradox, riddle and parable. This is the language that the mystic poet Hafiz called “that sweet moon language.” It is not the language of the sound bite or the voice of the will to power but the language of the heart’s desire for union with the Beloved.
“Beauty and the Beast” is part of the story of every individual who has ever entered this world of form. The essence of this story is about the power of Love to transform that which appears beastly or ugly. The storytellers, magi, and seers and mystical poets see what is beyond appearances. They are breakers of spells. We are each under the spell of the separate sense of self. This is the illusion that each of us feels is central to our existence. In the mythology of the Bible this spell is called original sin. Each of us eats from the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil in each moment. This is the fruit of duality where we continually make choices that are judged good or not so good (evil).
The woman in the story of Beauty and the Beast is a rare individual. She is a heart-centred individual. In the story her wish is for a rose. This is the symbol of completeness. She represents not just the physical feminine but the psychological feminine. Symbolically and potentially she resides in the hearts of men as well as women, just as it is clear that the sense of the beastly resides in the wounded hearts of women as well as in men. She has the power to commit her word. When she makes a promise she keeps that promise. She is a woman of great courage and great compassion. She remains true to her essence which is beauty and therein lies her transformational power.
The beast is put under a magic spell cast by a wicked witch The wicked witch represents the failure of the feminine psyche to Love. This is a spell of judgement. We all do this. We all judge ourselves in various ways. We ingest the knowledge of good versus bad (evil) and move through life promoting one against the other. Despite our best intentions the beastly in us reappears in unexpected ways and very often appears in its full demonic power in our most intimate relationships.
Many think it arrogant to consider ourselves beautiful. Living from a sense of beauty is not arrogance. It is the natural outcome of living from essence. The Greek story of Narcissus tells about a beautiful young man who falls in love with his own reflection in a pool. He cannot turn away from the beauty of his own reflection; neither can he touch this image in any real way. He pines way and starves to death. Narcissus didn’t love himself. He loved the image of who he thought Narcissus was. This is not real beauty as understood in the many mythological stories and fairy tales that are found throughout the world.
Those who are able to invoke the invitation “May you walk in beauty,” do so through their presence. These are the beautiful people. In Ireland we call these people the Tuatha de Danaan. They are the Shining One’s. They shine into the world the radiance of Love. They are the people of the shining brow. Such people are the healers of the spell of separateness that keeps each of us from the direct knowing that we really are created in the image of Love.
This is not the image approved of by the media or culture. There is no requirement for this image to be approved at all. There is only the heart’s desire to radiate love into the garden where the beast lives pining to be released from the spell that says he (or she) is unworthy of feeling the beauty of Love as their essential Self.
When you know who you truly are then you walk in beauty. This is not the beauty attained through the latest techniques of plastic surgery or the images on the front covers of various beautiful people magazines. This is beauty that shares itself with the world. This beauty been has awakened within the individual who owns the beastly aspects of themselves and through the fire of personal transformation and forgiveness alchemises them into the power of compassion. In the story of Beauty and the Beast the major part of the transformation takes place in a rose garden. The sacred marriage of opposites takes place in the dynamic of compassion that has the power to break the spell that makes the beast appear as real.
Do Beauty and the Beast live happily ever after? Probably not. In this everyday world of duality there will still be the tension of opposites but Beauty knows that this tension is necessary in order to birth that which cannot yet be imagined. Beauty is not static. She is growing or dying. What is more likely is that Beauty continues to live her commitment to Love. This is her greatest challenge and opportunity to be fulfilled beyond the dualistic idea of happiness versus unhappiness In the original tale by Joseph Jacobs the character of Beauty is referred to as Bella meaning beauty. Here is the story of Beauty and the Beast.
Beauty and the Beast
By Joseph Jacobs
There was once a merchant that had three daughters, and he loved them better than himself. Now it happened that he had to go a long journey to buy some goods, and when he was just starting he said to them, “What shall I bring you back, my dears?”
And the eldest daughter asked to have a necklace; and the second daughter wished to have a gold chain; but the youngest daughter said, “Bring back yourself, papa, and that is what I want the most.”
“Nonsense, child,” said her father, “you must say something that I may remember to bring back for you.”
“So,” she said, “then bring me back a rose, father.”
Well, the merchant went on his journey and did his business and bought a pearl necklace for his eldest daughter and a gold chain for his second daughter; but he knew it was no use getting a rose for the youngest while he was so far away because it would fade before he got home. So he made up his mind he would get a rose for her the day he got near his house.
When all his merchanting was done he rode off home and forgot all about the rose till he was near his house; then he suddenly remembered what he had promised his youngest daughter, and looked about to see if he could find a rose. Near where he had stopped he saw a great garden, and getting off his horse he wandered about in it till he found a lovely rosebush; and he plucked the most beautiful rose he could see on it. At that moment he heard a crash like thunder, and looking around he saw a huge monster — two tusks in his mouth and fiery eyes surrounded by bristles, and horns coming out of its head and spreading over its back.
“Mortal,” said the beast, “who told you that you might pluck my roses?”
“Please, sir,” said the merchant in fear and terror for his life, “I promised my daughter to bring her home a rose and forgot about it till the last moment, and then I saw your beautiful garden and thought you would not miss a single rose, or else I would have asked your permission.”
“Thieving is thieving,” said the beast, “whether it be a rose or a diamond; your life is forfeit.”
The merchant fell on his knees and begged for his life for the sake of his three daughters who had none but him to support them.
“Well, mortal, well,” said the beast, “I grant your life on one condition: Seven days from now you must bring this youngest daughter of yours, for whose sake you have broken into my garden, and leave her here in your stead. Otherwise swear that you will return and place yourself at my disposal.”
So the merchant swore, and taking his rose mounted his horse and rode home.
As soon as he got into his house his daughters came rushing round him, clapping their hands and showing their joy in every way, and soon he gave the necklace to his eldest daughter, the chain to his second daughter, and then he gave the rose to his youngest, and as he gave it he sighed.
“Oh, thank you, father,” they all cried.
But the youngest said, “Why did you sigh so deeply when you gave me my rose?”
“Later on I will tell you,” said the merchant.
So for several days they lived happily together, though the merchant wandered about gloomy and sad, and nothing his daughters could do would cheer him up till at last he took his youngest daughter aside and said to her, “Bella, do you love your father?”
“Of course I do, father, of course I do.”
“Well, now you have a chance of showing it”; and then he told her of all that had occurred with the beast when he got the rose for her. Bella was very sad, as you can well think, and then she said, “Oh, father, it was all on account of me that you fell into the power of this beast; so I will go with you to him; perhaps he will do me no harm; but even if he does — better harm to me than evil to my dear father.”
So next day the merchant took Bella behind him on his horse, as was the custom in those days, and rode off to the dwelling of the beast. And when he got there and they alighted from his horse the doors of the house opened, and what do you think they saw there! Nothing. So they went up the steps and went through the hall, and went into the dining room, and there they saw a table spread with all manner of beautiful glasses and plates and dishes and napery, with plenty to eat upon it. So they waited and they waited, thinking that the owner of the house would appear, till at last the merchant said, “Let’s sit down and see what will happen then.” And when they sat down invisible hands passed them things to eat and to drink, and they ate and drank to their heart’s content. And when they arose from the table it arose too and disappeared through the door as if it were being carried by invisible servants.
Suddenly there appeared before them the beast who said to the merchant, “Is this your youngest daughter?”
And when he had said that it was, he said, “Is she willing to stop here with me?”
And then he looked at Bella who said, in a trembling voice, “Yes, sir.”
“Well, no harm shall befall you.” With that he led the merchant down to his horse and told him he might come that day each week to visit his daughter. Then the beast returned to Bella and said to her, “This house with all that therein is yours; if you desire aught, clap your hands and say the word and it shall be brought unto you.” And with that he made a sort of bow and went away.
So Bella lived on in the home with the beast and was waited on by invisible servants and had whatever she liked to eat and to drink; but she soon got tired of the solitude and, next day, when the beast came to her, though he looked so terrible, she had been so well treated that she had lost a great deal of her terror of him. So they spoke together about the garden and about the house and about her father’s business and about all manner of things, so that Bella lost altogether her fear of the beast. Shortly afterwards her father came to see her and found her quite happy, and he felt much less dread of her fate at the hands of the beast.
So it went on for many days, Bella seeing and talking to the beast every day, till she got quite to like him, until one day the beast did not come at his usual time, just after the midday meal, and Bella quite missed him. So she wandered about the garden trying to find him, calling out his name, but received no reply. At last she came to the rosebush from which her father had plucked the rose, and there, under it, what do you think she saw! There was the beast lying huddled up without any life or motion. Then Bella was sorry indeed and remembered all the kindness that the beast had shown her; and she threw herself down by it and said, “Oh, Beast, Beast, why did you die? I was getting to love you so much.”
No sooner had she said this than the hide of the beast split in two and out came the most handsome young prince who told her that he had been enchanted by a magician and that he could not recover his natural form unless a maiden should, of her own accord, declare that she loved him.
Thereupon the prince sent for the merchant and his daughters, and he was married to Bella, and they all lived happy together ever afterwards.
Source: Joseph Jacobs, Europa’s Fairy Book [also published under the title European Folk and Fairy Tales] (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1916), no. 5, pp. 34-41. Reconstructed from various European sources.
It is no co-incidence that the central character of this fairy tale where the heart chakra meets the dynamic of the second chakra is a woman called Bella – meaning beauty. Beauty is central to the dynamic of the heart chakra. Beauty sees through the eyes of the heart. Beauty sees beyond appearances to what is beyond appearances.
The work of chakra balancing and alignment is to allow you to awaken from the spell that you are under. This is the spell that has turned you into a beast and for many who are living in this never ending work a day world, a beast of burden. For others the spell they are under is their continuing identification with what they see, and feel, as their beastly inner child.
The word beast here is not to be equated with your animal nature. I live with animals. These pets are beasts of a particular form. They are also the most loving of creatures, and each in their own way, is beautiful. The beast in this fairy tale is you and me. Each and every character in a fairy tale represents an aspect of the human psyche.
We are cast under a spell that isn’t given a name in this story. It is simply referred to as an evil spell. This evil spell makes you live your life backwards. Evil is the word “live” reversed. The word evil is not to be considered as a moral judgement. The evil spell that each of us is under is the experience called separateness. It is where you become identified with the idea of the separate sense of self and forget your connection to the true Self.
This spell of separateness goes deep. It is the spell that tells you many things that can be considered beastly about you such as:-
- I’m not good enough.
- I am unlovable.
- I am bad.
- Life is a struggle.
- The world is a bad place.
- I’m not beautiful.
- I’m not smart enough.
Whatever the words of the spell they create the idea that you are not good enough just as you are. The wicked Witch (and it could have been a wicked Wizard) who cast you under this spell is the collective idea that we as human beings are separate from Love and that we are undeserving of Love. The wicked witch or wizard is usually a combination of all the bad advice you have received from your family, teachers, friends, media and religious institutions.
Over time the words become a kind of mantra and eventually the mantra becomes unconscious. The beast is maintained under a spell that is then repeated by the individual. The experience of feeling beastly becomes the norm. Everything remains as it is until one day some representation of Beauty calls and enters the garden of the Beast and plucks a rose. This rose is the symbol of your real life and it awakens you to energy within yourself that you have forgotten. Just as in the story the Beast felt a disturbance you feel a disturbance.
Something happens in your life. Someone who has some kind of presence makes you feel something you have forgotten. They cross your energetic boundary. They see something in the garden (your energy field) that you cannot see. This crossing of the boundary tends to make many people angry. They don’t want to be woken up to the possibility that they are OK and more than OK. Beauty gives you something without asking anything in return. You and I, however, are used to being bargain hunters in regard to love. We tend only to give when there is a guarantee of a fair return.
The Beast has different names. Carl Jung called it the Shadow. Alchemists called it lead. In the story of another beautiful woman called Pandora the evil spells of the world are contained in a box. Inside Pandora’s Box are all those unloved aspects of yourself. Inside the head of the Beast is a script. It is a script written by other people. This script becomes the holy scripture of an individual’s life that is anything but holy; it promotes much division within and without.
The action that frees the Beast from the spell is a kiss. Would you be willing to kiss awake what is ugly within you? Would you be willing to become intimate with that which is beastly within you? Would you go so far as to commit to marrying the beast within you? If you are intending to align the energy of the chakras within you then the answer to any of the above questions has to be YES. The alignment of the chakras is the work of self-loving and not self-loathing. This is the beginning of the invitation to the opening of the heart chakra (4th chakra).
The chakras are balanced by having the courage to open to deeper, higher and more expansive revelations of Love and Beauty. A requirement for such opening is safety. Safety is paramount. It is a necessity of the first chakra. You have to feel safe in order to open up to alignment. You need also to feel grounded and to practice being grounded (1st chakra practice). If you open up within an unsafe environment the Beast in you will resist and become threatened. Then that energy you judge as beastly becomes more powerful and more dangerous.
This is why it is so essential to begin to train yourself in some form of radical self-acceptance. You are not required to prove your worth. You simply engage with your creative energy and express it in form. You do your work as a gift to yourself and the way that Beauty is intended to express through you. Work here does not mean your job. It means the way that Creation flows and expresses through you. When practicing radical self-acceptance you do not listen to your inner critic who will, in most cases be, beastly to the creative within you.
You are Beauty. Beauty is essentially who you are. Your work of chakra healing, and especially 2nd chakra healing, is to begin to learn to invite the beautiful feeling of radical self-acceptance to arise within you. You learn to grow roses in the manure of your sense of not being good enough and not being loveable enough.
Beautiful people know this creative space within themselves. Beautiful people are not simply to be equated with glamorous people. There are plenty of glamorous people filled with self-loathing. Those who are beautiful people can grow roses in the garden of despair where all those under the spell of separateness live and feel so unloved. Beautiful people perfume this world. They remind you that Love is an inside job and that this insider work begins with you. Your work, which is essentially second chakra work, is to kiss awake what is unconscious in you and which wishes to be brought into the light. It appears ugly because you spend so much time judging it ugly and unacceptable.
This work invites the opening of the heart chakra which is where Beauty lives. Beauty loves the rose in all its forms including the thorns that are a form of protection for the rose. You are both Beauty and the Beast. When you have the courage to look beyond the form that you consider ugly you move into the third chakra. This opens up the possibility of the meeting of Beauty and the Beast and the sacred marriage that is invited as a result. The sacred marriage is the union of all opposition within you and the opening of the seventh chakra where separateness is no more.
Living the Invitation – The Story
Those times of depression tell you that it’s either time to get out of the story you’re in and move into a new story or that you’re in the right story but there’s some piece of it you are not living out.
Carol S. Pearson
What story do you tell yourself each day? Is it the story of your magnificence or is it the collective story of ignorance – the story of the personal self? Are you living the story of yourself as being a time bound form living between a beginning called birth and an unknown called death? Are you living the story of the persona – the mask you present to the world or are you living from your essence which is the story of beauty, wisdom, grace and true stardom?
Living the invitation from Love’s Messenger allows you to live your real story. This is a paradoxical story in that it is both personal and universal, human and Divine, masculine and feminine and within time and beyond time. I cannot grasp this story with the intellect. You might learn about it but knowledge about is not the same as living and feeling this story as your daily reality.
To live as Love in form you have to be open to feeling it as a possibility. There needs to be a feeling of longing. This longing comes from that human aspect of yourself that in the words of the poet William Wordsworth intimates that you come into this world trailing clouds of glory. This glory is your destiny and paradoxically the home you never left or can ever leave.
The leading science of today, quantum physics brings us closer to the central understanding of the world’s religious and mystical traditions. This is the understanding that all is One. Everything is energetically connected and what appears as separate is not. Beyond the senses you move into a presence whereby you feel connected to each and everyone and everything. This is the true meaning of the instruction “Love your neighbour as yourself.” because in truth your neighbour is not separate from you. At a higher level of awareness you realise that separateness is an illusion of the senses. Such awareness is beyond sensational.
The Message of Love is the feeling sense of Oneness. Sometimes this message appears as a revelation. More often it grows slowly. It happens in both ways. The question is, “Are you prepared to pay fidelity to such intimations from your glorious Self?
Love’s Messenger is the eternal story of Love evolving within history. It always is and ever shall be. You are unique in that you are that living presence of Love evolving for all eternity into higher and higher expressions of the dance of spirit and matter. This is why you matter so much.
In the Bible we are told that you cannot serve two masters. You cannot live from the idea that you are a separate form and master the awareness that you are a living paradox of the finite within the infinite. You consciously serve and master one or the other. In A Course in Miracles this is stated as choosing Love over fear.
The feeling experience of Love’s Message allows you to overcome the fear of death. This direct knowing that you are Love’s Message in form does not mean you will not suffer but the sense of who you are and your place in the universe will change. You will know for certain that you are both personal and universal at the same time. This is not a logical understanding but the knowing of the heart.
This direct knowing of Life beyond the story of the separate sense of self is given through an experience of grace. Your work is to open the heart to receive it. Your work is to focus on deepening your connection to all the ways in which the message of Love expresses through you and, more importantly, the way in which you block or resist the ways in which Love’s Message expresses through you.
Your challenge is to live the story that you really are made in the image of God. You really are the energy of Love in form. You are fourteen billion and more years of life’s forever becoming. You are a dance of the formless within form, the dance of the timeless within time and the dance of the finite within the infinite. This is your real story. It is a story that paradoxically never began and never ends. Your story is that Creation loves creating and you are a unique part of this Creation but never apart from it for all eternity. You are the glorious story of a unique timeless cell in the body of a collective called humanity. In learning to be