Once upon a time a voice and movement teacher of mine, Susan, during one of our lessons, told me the story of Sleeping Beauty. About how Briar Rose, along with the whole palace was sent to sleep for a hundred years, and a great hedge of thorns grew up around the castle impenetrable to all beyond it. This hedge had grown so thick and so dangerous that many of the young princes that came to force their way through to find the Sleeping Beauty, not only were not able to part the thorns, but the thorns took them in and killed them.
Until, as it reads in The Complete Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales edited by Lily Owens:
…the day at last arrived for Briar Rose to be awakened from her long sleep. On this very day the prince started on his enterprise, and on reaching the hedge of thorns, what was his surprise to find it covered with large, delicately-beautiful flowers, which separated from each other to allow him to pass, and closed again behind him like a wall. And so without difficulty he reached the court of the castle.
And we all know what happened next….(but to read a very lovely version of this continue on to the end of the post).
When Susan finished I was overcome by the story and the telling of it. Of course I already knew the story, but when she told it something new awoke. The part of the story I heard fresh was of the hedge of thorns.
What we think of as our core self may in fact just be a thorny exterior separating ourselves from the awareness of the love at our center. And also there is no need to force the matter, it will unfold in its own time with our care and listening and then the path within will be open and available to travel. I come back to this story again and again—to each aspect: the Sleeping Beauty long at rest, the prince determined to seek her out, and the thorns parting when the time came for them to part.
Over the past month something has begun to stir in my breast, I’ve felt the waking up from a deep sleep—this is not metaphor alone, I’ve been largely at rest for many years now—I’ve felt the thorns spreading apart, and the prince coming forward. Am I being clear? I am all the parts of the story, not just the maiden fair. I am equally the thorns as the prince as the boy in the scullery about to have his ears boxed in by the cook as the young maiden of now one hundred and fifteen years of age opening her eyes to see reflected back in them the gaze of love.
And in this way, my story is complete. All is within me and the love that is waking up, is waking up here in my breast in perfect fullness, simply because it is time, not because I’ve made it so, or forced the matter at all. I’ve longed for love and hid from love and confused love with thorns and also spent a great deal of time simply at rest letting what was, be, and what was to come, come.
If there is any preparation we can make, or charge we can take, it is this: to wait and listen and when we hear the call, to act. And so, after many years of honoring the sleeping beauty within, and sensing now the parting of the thorns, I call upon the prince in me to come, the brave, valiant man I am to risk his life for love. As he says in the story when told of the risks in pursuing Sleeping Beauty: “It matters not to me, I have no fear; I am determined to discover this beautiful Briar Rose.”
One Year to Call In the One
And so not in the competitive spirit of a race run to the finish, but in the creative spirit of the dance of mystery unfolding, I set myself a task. I have heard the call and I will act. After many years of solitude and the single life my heart now opens as it never has been before to an intimate love with myself/with another, I give myself one year from this day, December 2 in the year Two Thousand and Ten, to call in the one (I am also all the thirteen wise women of the story and so can honor myself with this fairy spell). I set the terms to allow magic to work. One hundred years, and one hundred years exactly, Sleeping Beauty and her whole kingdom slept. When the hundred years came to a close, she, and all of them, awoke.
In The Blue Fairy Book edited by Andrew Lang it reads:
And now, as the enchantment was at an end, the Princess awakened, and looking on him with eyes more tender than the first view might seem to admit of:
The Prince, charmed with these words, and much more with the manner in which they were spoken, knew not how to show his joy and gratitude; he assured her that he loved her better than he did himself; their discourse was not well connected, they did weep more than talk—little eloquence, a great deal of love. He was more at a loss than she, and we need not wonder at it: she had time to think on what to say to him; for it is very probable (though history mentions nothing of it) that the good Fairy, during so long a sleep, had given her very agreeable dreams. In short, they talked four hours together, and yet they said not half what they had to say.
What if Your Fairy Spell is not Fulfilled?
This is so out of my hands as not to be a question I need ask. I hear the call and so I go. What fate has in store is fate’s alone to know, but I can promise and swear to be present and ready for it, whatever it may be. I speak it aloud to make it so. I say again to all the risks and dangers ahead: “It matters not to me, I have no fear; I am determined to discover this beautiful love inside me and outside me, this joining of earth to sky, this intimate presence alive in the meeting of two minds and hearts and passions.”
How Will You Begin?
I begin here by putting it down in writing and so claiming it as my own. One Year to Call In the One. And also today, as the thorns are spreading apart, I have the joy of joining others also on this path. Tonight I join the Storycharmer, Pema Teeter, as she leads a circle of women together in the gathering: StoryChangers: Love. We will meet for nine weeks by phone and we will together dream, and tell stories, and share the book, Calling in “The One”: 7 Weeks to Attract the Love of Your Life by Katherine Woodward Thomas.
In coming posts I will share more of what I am opening to within. And as for the outer story, the man who will hear my call, this story may have to be mine alone for the now, but in the goodness of time all things will be revealed as we live happily ever after.
What fairy spells might you be setting for yourself?
A note on the paintings: My sister Rosy Lamb made these paintings of me. They are in fact plaster hybrids. She is a painter and sculptor living and working in Paris. To read in her words about our collaboration as artists click here, and to order our book of poems and paintings, Outside the Garden, in which both of these paintings as well as others appear click here. I was stunned by how well these particular works fit into this post about the story of Sleeping Beauty.