Reading up on Cinderella, the history of the tale, variations of it, interpretations of it, and the commentary by scholars and writers of various backgrounds is such a mixed bag! I have spotted something very important in the tale that virtually nobody else is covering, but, there is much more to talk about regarding this tale that I won't be able to cover in the fairy tales series, so we'll explore some of it here.
The discipline of folklore was founded during an era that was grappling with many of the same issues we are facing today. Obviously the lore itself has roots much older. But, prior to the Romantic Era, scholars and "civilized society" simply weren't paying attention.
The Romantic Era started in Europe as a pushback against Industrialization. The prior Scientific Revolution had shifted Western thought toward a more "rational" worldview; one that rejected the "superstition" found among the countryfolk. There were clear benefits and advancements in the birth of science and medicine, but one downside was the dismissal of age-old tradition and belief.
There is an important side to fairy tales which is often overlooked. Although I work within the European paradigm, what I will explore here is relevant to ALL cultures, as fairy tales exist universally among all people worldwide.
True fairy tales, not stories written solely by one author, but rather stories that were developed collectively over generations among language groups and cultures, have encoded in them important keys to understanding our own psyches.
Myth & Culture Together Live on in Folk Custom
When people think of mythology, they tend to think of the great gods and epic heroes whose exploits passed on into myth and legend. However, scholars such as Jacqueline Simpson, renowned folklorist, have pointed out that ancient indigenous beliefs lingered on in folklore and traditions in Europe which often have roots connecting back to mythological figures and beliefs.
The phenomenon of indigenous beliefs lingering on with the common people after the population has been converted to a new religion is known as “folk religion.” We see it plainly today in Central and South America. The most well known custom that merges indigenous belief with Christianity is the Mexican Day of the Dead. There are other examples in other parts of the world where ancient animist and shamanic beliefs have carried on under the newer religions of Buddhism and Islam.
Intellectual Journeys to Intuitive Travels