Myths, whether we are aware of them or not, are held in our psyche and influence our thoughts about others, ourselves, and how the world works. These myths can be the stories our families told us, the fairy tales read to us at night, the cartoons we watched, the magazines we read today, even the ancient myths told by generations before us (which still influence the books, movies, and songs of today). Unfortunately, many of the messages in these myths promote the darker sides of human nature* and perpetuate old, negative, incorrect stereotypes of gender. (Think about the fact that it was men who wrote the myths and fairy tales we still live by – that a women isn’t complete until her Prince comes along, that older women are hags or witches, or that a man isn’t a real man until he has slayed a dragon (risked his life and shed blood). Pah. Just imagine how different the story of Cinderella would have turned out if a woman had written it. For one thing, any woman knows that a glass slipper would hurt like hell. Personally, I’d rather be home alone scrubbing the floor than out dancing in a pair of crystal punch bowls. Just sayin.’)
It is the “myths” in our heads that produce the ANTS (Automatic Negative Thoughts) that are scurrying around making us doubt, undermine, and even hate ourselves. Many people are realizing the importance of re-writing these myths in a way that empowers and celebrates – not denigrates – our natural perfectly imperfect human-ness. It was with that in mind that I wrote the following tale.
* Fairy tales and myths are not always negative. They are also “road maps” for the journeys of life, especially in the emotional/psychological realm. (See this note and others regarding fairy tales at C-Change on Facebook).
The Little Girl Who Swam with the Moon
There once was a little girl named Gywnn. Her hair was red like the sun setting behind a blue mountain, her eyes brown like rich, newly turned soil, and her skin soft as a lamb’s ear. She sang with the birds and danced with the swaying grass, and ran just to feel her body alive with delight. But Gywnn’s joy in herself and nature made her father jealous and he told her to be ashamed. He was afraid of the passion he saw in his daughter and he thought the world was a cruel and loveless place. He locked the gate and declared she must stay within his garden walls. She was no longer permitted to speak or sing. She could not dance, run, or even bring her eyes high enough to see the horizon.
But Gywnn’s mother taught her how, even with head bowed, she could still see. Each tiny tendril pushing through the earth, the mushroom caps peeking between the fallen leaves, and the worm munching through the soil. The fox cub’s paw print dancing on the mud and the diamond sparkle of dew drops in the morning sun.
And Gywnn’s mother whispered stories of old in Gywnn’s ear. She told her about the Grandmothers who sowed, who reaped, who gave love, who received love, who created, who made love, who made life, and who celebrated every death as a release into a new joy. She told Gywnn of her beauty, strength and power which was passed down from each woman to her daughters. And she told her that her voice could never be truly silenced as long as she kept listening to the hum of Mother Earth in her bones, her skin, and her heart.
At night Gywnn would go to the water’s edge where Grandmother Moon’s reflection tickled her toes. Gywnn whispered her secrets while the fish circled at her feet. In the rippled orb of white, Gywnn saw the love of her mother and all the mothers before her. Even when the moon hid her face and she felt lost in the dark, Gywnn knew the majestic light would return.
Each night Gywnn grew in strength as the love filled and opened her heart. Slowly Gywnn raised her head, and as the light from above filled her eyes she stepped further into the light at her feet. She let herself fall into the water and swam with the moon. Within her the hum grew louder. She could not keep it silent any longer. She opened her mouth and sang out. The grass quivered, the trees rustled, the nightingale called, and the rabbits laughed. She sang and sang, loudly, clearly, and Mother Earth vibrated with the pleasure of it. The garden walls crumbled to dust. Gywnn rose naked from the water. With the moon at her back, body proud and voice strong, she stepped into the world, never to be silenced again.
© Joanna Tebbs Young: Wisdom Within, Ink
Prompt: Write your own fairy tale. Empower yourself in a story.