The symbolism in fairy tales speaks to adults as well as children, and deals with childlessness, sexual maturation, remarriage, jealousy across the generations, sibling rivalry, incest, murderous rage, inheritance issues and other timeless problems.
If you find yourself transported to the scene of a well-known fairy tale, the following tips may help with the interpretation. First of all, consider what common fairy tale motif your dream scene is depicting. For example, it could be:
A strong theme in many fairy tales is the idea that love and goodness triumph. In the animal bridegroom tale, the girl protagonist marries some kind of beast, who is transformed by love in the course of the story into a (usually handsome) prince. In your waking life, do you feel you deserve the reward of love and security for your efforts? Do you believe love can conquer all? Or is your dream urging you to reconcile your masculine and feminine attitudes in waking life?
Good and bad choice
Most fairy tales involve a moment when the protagonist is faced with a choice. These include: helpless people or creatures to be kind or beastly to; opportunities to tell the truth or lie, or cheat or be honest; a choice to stand up for your principles or betray the innocent and submit to tyranny.
If someone’s inside and outside are at odds, typically by the end of the tale the two are reconciled (as in the Beast’s transformation in ‘Beauty and the Beast’). Notice the elemental justice of this fairy tale motif and see whether you can relate any of its themes to your waking life.
A mirror that allows one to see one’s heart’s desire (or one’s loved ones); a table that sets itself with food and dishes; a stick that beats one’s enemies; a goose that lays golden eggs; a pouch that replenishes itself with gold. Consider the symbolism of these motifs. To what gift or hidden quality is your dream referring?
These would include: an old crone, a talking frog, a fairy godmother, a swan to convey one across a river, a bird that carries one in his claws. Also, and not always in a helping role, one might encounter magical creatures such as witches, ogres, fairies, mermaids, unicorns, trolls, gnomes and dragons. Consider the symbolism of any helpers, or non-helpers, that appear in your dream; they represent psychological energy or strength that you either possess or need to find. What qualities do they represent, and how will they help or hinder you?
The ‘Rule of Three’
Many fairy tales, as well as many dreams, seem to obey what might be called the ‘rule of three’. They may contain three characters (’Goldilocks and the Three Bears’, ‘The Three Little Pigs’, The Three Billy Goats Gruff); three wishes; three tasks that a prince (or princess) must do to win his (or her) true love; three times for a request or saying to be repeated (I’ll huff, and I’ll puff…’).
If you find yourself in a story in which three is significant, see NUMBERS.
Trial or test to win one’s love
Going ‘east of the sun and west of the moon’ and bringing back a treasure; learning the answer to a riddle; spinning straw into gold (and guessing Rumpelstiltskin’s name); breaking through the 100- year-old forest to find the sleeping princess. Can you relate such tests to your waking life? What trials and tribulations do you need to overcome?
Remember that these stories have been told and retold for centuries because they have resonated with their hearers and expressed something important to their audiences. So if scenes from a specific fairy tale appear in your dream, consider the symbolism of the fairy tale motif, and see how the story and the lessons it teaches apply to your waking life.
If a specific character appears in your dream out of context from his, her or its fairy tale, for example Cinderella wandering the streets of New York on her own, Sleeping Beauty buying a house or Puss in Boots accompanying you on a train journey, consider what aspect of yourself or your life the character represents. So if you find yourself having lunch with Rapunzel in your dreams, think about the symbolism of her hair, which was cut off to punish the girl for her indiscretion. Is there something you feel guilty about in waking life or should feel guilty about? Or do you feel imprisoned in an ivory tower and long for freedom of expression?
Finally, don’t forget that, above all, fairy tales encourage you to believe in possibilities and the hidden ‘magic’ that can be discovered in the most unexpected places.... fairy tales and symbolism dream meaning