Victor MacGill Chaos and Complexity
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My first book..

When the Dragon Stirs

Healing our Wounded Lives through Fairy Stories, Myths and Legends

When the Dragon Stirs Book Cover

The Dragon

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My next book...
Gonna Lay Down my Sword
and Shield

A Complexity Perspective on Human Evolution from our Violent Past to a Compassionate Future

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Mandelbrot Set   Fairy Stories
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My first book..

When the Dragon Stirs

Healing our Wounded Lives through Fairy Stories, myths and Legends

When the Dragon Stirs Book Cover

The Dragon

Line
My next book...
Gonna Lay Down my Sword
and Shield

A Complexity Perspective on Human Evolution from our Violent Past to a Compassionate Future

Mandelbrot Set
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Sleeping Beauty

Fairy stories symbolise aspects of our inner psychology and contain wisdom that is not at all apparent at a first glance. The story of Sleeping Beauty teaches us much about shame and how to resolve the destructiveness it so often causes in our relationships.

The story begins with a king and queen who have given birth to a daughter. Twelve fairies are asked to come to the christening and bring gifts, but one fairy, a wicked fairy, was forgotten. This represents the 'forgotten' secret. It has been 'forgotten' because of the shame attached to it. It is the terrible family secret, the sexual abuse, the violence, the alcoholism, the mental illness or whatever it is that the family is not able to face up to. It is hidden, but it never goes away. It cannot be 'forgotten' forever. It will always find a way to reappear, and reappear it must, because there is no other way for the family to find its harmony and wholeness again.

The family secret becomes hidden away and the family alienated from itself for so long, the secret manifests in a bitter and twisted way, symbolised as an evil fairy, using destructive means in a distorted attempt to bring about its own healing. When the evil fairy hears that it has been forgotten on such an important occasion, she responds by laying an evil curse on the baby. This carries the 'forgotten' secret on to the next generation. The evil fairy's curse says that when the daughter reaches the age of sixteen, she will be pricked by a needle and die.

The king, who is responsible for maintaining authority over his kingdom, has failed in his duty. The king did not have the courage to bring the secret into the light and heal it. His lack of courage allowed the secret to dwell in the darkness and gain strength to make its destructiveness all the more powerful.

After the bad fairy has cast her evil spell, there is one fairy who had not yet given her gift. This fairy is our inner wisdom, which works to bring us to our inner truth and protects us from the full ravages of the evil fairy. She anounces that the evil spell will not cause the death of the child, but make her sleep for a hundred years.

The good fairy has saved the daughter from the sevrity of the spell, but also allows the family shame to be perpetuated, The king takes hold of the opportunity to once more hide the shame. He orders that anyone caught with a needle should be put to death. He misuses his kingly authority to supress anything that might break the family secret and allow it to be revealed to the world.

Many years later, when his daughter is sixteen, the king and queen travel away from their castle. The princess uses the opportunity to explore a tower in the castle where she has never been before. Eventhough her father is a king, he cannot control everything. Sooner or later her natural curiosity will lead her towards the shameful secret. Sooner or later, he will drop his guard enough for the evil spell to do its work.

There the princess finds an old lady spinning. Having never seen spinning before, she was naturally curious. The kings shameful secret had been passed on and the princess fell into a sleep to last for a hundred years.
In older times the age of sixteen was the age when menstruation occurred. Sexual connotations are hinted with a flow of blood from the princess at age sixteen, Sigmund Freud suggested that Little Red Riding Hood also has a connection to the onset of menstruation.

In order to avoid the pain of the shameful secret, she shut down and closed herself off from life entirely. The price of avoiding the pain was losing the joy of life. Not only did she fall asleep, but everyone in the castle fell asleep just where they were. The whole family has shut down and blocked itself off from life. The secret now rules their entire lives.

Some people live their whole lives in the hundred year sleep and have no conception of any other life.

That which is hidden and repressed always work to have its influence recognised. Those qualities that are necessary for the healing of the shameful secret have been dormant, but await reintegrated into the wholeness.

The story moves ahead a hundred years when a young prince travels into the area. The prince combines the archetypes of the king, which he will become, and the warrior. The king is the one who is responsible for their kingdom. He controls and makes decisions. The warrior has courage and follows the instructions of the king. The prince represents our ability to use self discipline to make responsible decisions and carry them out courageously. The prince also carries the sword of truth. A sword cuts away untruth to reveal the truth. The prince's sword can reveal the hidden secret behind the princess's shame.

The prince finds the castle covered with thorns and bushes. Castles are often a symbol of the heart, which is reminiscent of the sacred heart of Jesus with its thorns. They are a part of the protective barrier placed around the family to keep out anyone or anything that may reveal the hidden secret. The thorns which protect those inside from intrusion also point inwards to keep wounding the family inside.

The turning point of the story occurs when the prince decides to go to explore the castle. The qualities of the prince are now activated and forthe first time, there is a conscious decision to start the healing process.
The prince still lacks one vital quality and that is wisdom. Without wisdom, his decisions will not be wise and his actions will not produce the desired results. The prince meets an old man outside the castle, who can remember what the castle looked like before the shadow of the evil fairies curse made it what it had become. The old man represents wisdom and reminds us that wisdom often appears in forms we are not expecting and in places we are not expecting. The prince now has a vision of what the future can be.

The prince rides on his horse with courage and responsibility. Since these qualities are at last revealed, the thorns surrounding the castle magically fall away. There is a circle of qualities needed in life which corresponds to the four fundamental archetypes proposed by Carl Jung of the king, magician, warrior and lover.  The corresponding qualities are authority, wisdom, courage and compassion. The princess held the quality of compassion, but in a distorted form because of the family secret. The remaining three qualities are now mobilised in the prince. The prince already had authority and courage and then gained wisdom was from the old man. Now that all four qualities are present they can be used to heal the distortions within the compassion of the princess.

The prince moves bravely forward into the castle until he finds the princess, whom he kisses. The kiss represents the coming together of the qualities in wholeness and healing. The great secret is revealed and healed and the princess can now live a full and vital life. With the secret revealed, all the people in the castle, who had also been in the hundred year sleep awoke.

The new wholeness is further symbolised by the wedding of the prince and princess, with the good fairy being the guest of honour. Everybody lived happily ever after. 
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