This morning I woke up and wanted to continue sleeping. I was awake. My body had had enough sleep. But my mind wanted to stay in bed and sleep.
I wondered: Am I trying to be a Sleeping Beauty?
I recently watched Sleeping Beauty for the 3rd time in my life. This time it was different. The first time I watched it as a kid. The second time I watched it out of curiosity to see if I still enjoyed the classic. This time I watched it conscious of the archetypal story and the underlying symbolism.
It’s a classic representation of parents trying to overprotect a child from the forces of evil in the world. The king and queen decide to celebrate the birth of their daughter Aurora, and invite the whole kingdom conveniently excluding Maleficent — the personification of Evil.
Maleficent, uninvited, nevertheless shows up and casts a deadly spell on the child. Sleep and unconsciousness is chosen over facing the realities of life. The parents choose to shroud their daughter in ignorance so that nothing ever happens to her. She is consequently isolated from the world.
Aurora eventually fall in love with the first man she sees. Inevitably the maleficent forces happen as you cannot suppress them. The princess falls asleep and drifts into unconsciousness that can only be reversed by true love’s first kiss.
The prince gets trapped and wants to see his love. He needs to face his fears. He needs to go though the hero arch and face the dragon with the sword of truth and the shield of virtue.
Once the forces of good triumph over the forces of evil, the veil of unconsciousness is lifted. Now the prince and princess can marry. The story ends with them dancing at their wedding, Aurora wearing an alternating pink and blue dress.
All of this unfolds in a couple minutes on the screen. There are many ways to look at this story. Fundamentally, as all good archetypical stories do, it depicts our human experience, and how the mind functions.
The masculine and feminine principles are respectively incarnated by Phillip, the prince, and Aurora, the princess. The protector aspect is incarnated by the parents of Aurora. The magic of life is incarnated by the 3 fairies, Flora, Fauna and Merryweather. And of course the destructive aspect of life is incarnated by Maleficent.
How many times do we avoid situations with sleep? With unconsciousness? How many times do we avoid life?
Logic favors overprotection and avoidance. But you can’t avoid life. You can’t avoid death either. You must face reality. Many times this will take courage. There will be many challenges. In the end, truth and virtue always prevail. The masculine and feminine principles can only dance and unify if you have the courage to wake up and face the world.
And so there I am, in my bed, pondering if I’m acting like a sleeping beauty. I know what I need. I know I want to get up. But I’m still drawn to stay here in my bed and sleep.
That’s the whole point of the story. Simply get up and face the world. No need to plant more seeds of unconsciousness. The birds and bees are already going about their day.
Get up sleeping beauty…