July 2, 2012

{End of the Myth} Book Excerpt, Part Two

[This is Part Two of the End of the Myth section of my upcoming book, The End of the Fairy-Tale Bride. Other parts of this chapter will follow. Simply scroll down or click on "End of the Myth" in the labels group below to read Part One.]


We are at the end of the fairy-tale bride. The end of the belief that a woman needs to be rescued and a man’s job is to come to the rescue. Although we may continue to be enchanted by folktales of earlier times featuring, as David Cohen in Circle of Life calls, “marriageable maidens with exquisite desirability and mortal men with the chivalrous urge to protect their honor,” this damsel and knight story hardly serves the deeper desires of women and men for happy and fulfilling lives.

The fairy tale always ends at the “point of rescue,” notes author Dr. Caroline Myss in a New Age Journal article following Princess Diana’s death. “Indeed the shadow side of this fairy tale is that the woman is taken from one form of containment—her maiden palace—to yet another form of containment—the knight’s palace.” Buying into this damsel and knight notion or the fairy princess myth still entrenched in modern culture usually results in a rather fractured fairy tale—serving up something limiting and disempowering for all involved.

In the royal “reality show” that began in the early 1980s featuring Lady Diana Spencer and the Prince of Wales, we got to see the damsel and knight illusion played out on a larger-than-life screen. All the elements were there for a great story: a dashing prince in uniform and a lovely demure heroine, a royal courtship, a grand wedding, a marriage of privilege, and beautiful healthy children. However, given the two main characters in this real life drama were stuck in a paradox of their heritage (and both probably a bit off-balance since poised on the cusp of major gender changes in the culture), their individual illusions clashed. At the time they met, neither Diana nor Charles had the emotional grounding to be living their own truth: she, mainly because of immaturity, confusing romance with love, and hoping that the illusion would heal a wounded child’s heart; he, because of a severe sense of duty and a fear to break loose from his would-be-king cage. Their charade was quickly revealed under the searing spotlight of world attention as well as under the pressure of a new world order breaking open. A deeper truth demanded to reveal itself and be recognized as just that: what was real and what was illusion.

If Prince Charles had been able to claim a strong, independent voice when being forced into finding a wife, it could have ended the long out-of-date British Monarchy’s view of marriage—and of women! But it was not meant to be; their story needed to be acted out in dramatic fashion so the transformational lessons could not be missed by the rest of us. And it took an ingénue like Diana Spencer—a bit of a throw-back given the sexual revolution was in full gallop for others of her generation—to be dazzled by the romantic fantasy of it all. And yet once inside that dazzle, underneath the naiveté, was a feeling spirit, a “I’m not gonna take it” nature, and a deep hunger to feel loved and safe that gave her the will to call out from the darkness. ~

[This is Part Two of the End of the Myth section of my upcoming book, The End of the Fairy-Tale Bride. Other parts of this chapter will follow. Simply scroll down or click on "End of the Myth" in the labels group below to read Part One. -CP]

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