In almost all of the fairy tales I have worked with, there is a central ‘place’, where the hero or heroine is in the Divine Presence – is in unity with the Divine, and here can achieve his or her purpose. It is always a journey to the Centre. I used to imagine that I was journeying ‘down’ into myself when in meditation or contemplation: then I heard that in some religions, the spiritual is upwards. But in understanding that the journey is towards the Centre, makes perfect sense. One can be going down or up depending on where we are on the Circle.
The structure of the inner realm is beautifully described in the story of the Fairy of the dawn. The ‘world’ can be seen as an onion, with the realm of consciousness and the material manifestation being the outer layer of the onion. From here, the hero Petru, must f journey to the very edge of his father, the Emperor’s realm. This is the realm of the Heart in Sufism and it is vast. This is surrounded by a deep abyss over which there is only one bridge, guarded by a fearsome dragon. Only by overcoming the dragon, can Petru enter into the deeper, strange and mysterious realm of the ‘creative imagination’ or collective unconscious.
Here the hero journeys through the copper, silver, and finally the golden woods, fighting monster Welwas, along the way, and releasing them from enchantment, so that they can now help him.
Having survived the woods, and come this far, Petru enters the realm of the great goddesses, first Mercury (Mittwoch, German for Wednesday) – who is the communicator between the realms, then Thunder (Donnerstag, German for Thursday) and finally Freya (Freitag, German for Friday), the great goddess of Love and the Guide of souls in the ‘Otherworld’. That the Goddesses are given names of the week indicate, a progression of time on the journey – that the soul spends a long time in each of these realms, is a very long time in human terms. That they are given Norse names shows that this Fairy Tale has Norse roots and is in fact ancient and pre-Christian, even though the story is said to be Rumanian.
The goddess Freya teaches Petru how to make his way to the Fairy of the Dawn, so that he can achieve his task in taking some of the water from the sacred well at the Centre. She gives him a tiny flute, so that when he plays on it, all the creatures, in the fairy realm, including the great Fairy of the Dawn herself, are asleep, so he can achieve his precious quest and so rejuvenate and revitalise the world – the realm of the Feminine.
Once the hero journeys from the human realm, ever deeper towards the Centre, he finds himself in inner space – outside of time and space. These realms have been described as the Astral plane, the realm of the Jinns, the Angelic realms (from Cherubim to Seraphim), and the Archangels, with at its Centre, the Throne of God, which is surrounded by Archangels. Perhaps the great fairy of the Dawn is an Archangel. The Throne of God could well be the Divine Presence.
Our inner journey replicates this hero’s quest through the realms and back again.