Hansel and Gretel – Part I: Raw Truth (Excerpts for Free Membership)

In the world of dreaming, we are sometimes offered dreams which strip down any stories we may carry about ourselves and about our lives in order to show us a deep truth. They do this by giving another story, another myth, as a reference point.

I think of these kinds of dreams as showing us the truth of a situation through the eyes of the dreaming, through the lens of the soul’s experience. Which is different than the lens of our consciousness and the lens of what literally happened, both of which often will work to build and construct a story that may be [usually is] very different from what happened.

For example, if a child is physically abused by her parents, she may end up blaming herself for the violence, rather than seeing it is a crime against her. The abuser may even [often does] blame the child for her own violent actions. Her dreams will help to show her a different story.

Our dreams tell us the raw truth about our human nature and of the world around us.

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[Note: My next post goes deep into examples.]

Mythology does this, too; tells us truth, stripped down to something bare, stripped of any justifications, any gaslighting, any cultural warping.

Mythology tells us the raw truth about human nature.

The story of Hansel and Gretel is told and retold and retold [in all of its iterations], has been and continues to be modified to fit its audience [peasants to royalty to now], because it tells a basic, terrible truth of the precariousness of a child’s existence in this world.

It tells the story of the cruelty of human beings. A particular cruelty that many children suffer from within their own community, their own family and often their own parents.

Not just back in medieval times, when children were considered property, when having boys rather than girls or gender diverse kids was “better” because men could inherit family land, could work, hold office, be in power, were considered more in every way. Not just in times past when some families had many children in order to help work, when children were considered things – either to be used or carried as burdens.

Not just back in the past, but now.

The stats show us that children are still considered through the “use” or “burden” lens. That they are often, like Hansel and Gretel, left out in the woods to fend for themselves, left exposed to danger, deliberately fooled by parents/step-parents/grownups. I go back to this stat:

  • In 2018, 76% of child abuse perpetrators in the U.S. were a parent to their victim.[8]

The father and stepmother lead the children out to the woods to leave them to die because they are hungry, because they convince themselves the children are burden because the children have needs, because the children simply exist. They do it twice in the story. Deliberate. Not a rash act of panic, fear, misjudgment. It takes time. It is intentional.

And the witch. Isn’t this how it is sometimes? A grownup outside a chaotic home or even a non-dangerous home may seem kind, may offer “sweets”, may offer refuge to a child who may be vulnerable, but then turns out to be a person who would devour she/him/them.

I think of adults who groom and/or prey on young children they find through sports, in dance studios, in the classroom, in afterschool programs. Adults who are related to the family. Adults who take children in through foster care or even adoption. I think of adults who use status to gain access to children. We all know the stories. We know them even more now than ever.

This is all still happening today. Literally, in this, our time period.

Even more literally – it is happening to children today, right now. As I write this and as you read it.

We resonate with this story, we tell it over and over in different ways, because it is still true.

It is still a living story.

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Another Raw Truth

There is something else that makes this story [and so many like it] a living story. That makes it so alive for us.

The weight of this story comes, too, from how it shows another aspect of human nature – that of the brilliance, wisdom, resilience, and the power of raw innocence of the children.

Hansel and Gretel. The children left to die, twice, by their parents. The children left to figure out how to escape from a witch who would devour them.

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[8] U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Children’s Bureau. “Child Maltreatment 2018.” Accessed January, 2021. https://www.acf.hhs.gov/cb/research-data-technology /statistics-research/child-maltreatment