Fairy Tales (Märchen)

The local Section group in Fair Oaks includes a companion group of artists dedicated to the study and performance of fairy tales, myths and legends. Participants in this group collaborate to produce performance videos, salon performances, artwork, original music, books, and recording.

The word for “fairy tale” in German is Märchen, but Märchen also means simply “tale.” It is hard to find an English term that is equivalent to Märchen. Our group struggled with the term “fairy tale,” which often is taken to mean “a whimsical story for young children.” We, on the other hand, approach “fairy tale” in the spirit of German early romantics such as Novalis and Ludwig Tieck — writers who saw “Märchen” as high expressions of poetry and literary art.

We also take inspiration from the late plays of Shakespeare. These days, some know from a familiarity with depth psychology or spiritual or shamanic pursuits that the motifs, symbols, situations, and transformations presented in “fairy tales” may be experienced as portals to deep spiritual truths.

To live deeply into Märchen with one’s alert mind and imagination can become an initiation to realms previously unknown. A subtle alchemy occurs when we allow ourselves to listen, at best repeatedly, to such tales. As Rudolf Steiner suggested (following on from Wilhelm Grimm): fortunate is the individual who experiences in proper mood these wonders during childhood, for such tales may accompany her throughout her lifetime, much in the manner of a helpful angel.

“The fairy tale is the touchstone of poetry . . . everything poetic must be like a fairy tale. The poet worships chance.”

— Novalis

“In a genuine fairy tale, everything must be miraculous, mysterious, and interrelated; everything must be alive, each in its own way. The whole of Nature must be wondrously blended with the whole world of the Spirit. In fairy tale, the bonds between anarchy, lawlessness, freedom, the natural state of Nature make themselves felt in the world . . . The world of the fairy tale is a world which is opposed throughout to a world of rational truth, and precisely for that treason is it so thoroughly an analogue to a world of rational truth, as Chaos is an analogue to finished Creation.

— Novalis

“Where children are, there is the Golden Age.”

— Novalis

“Blue” by Bruce Donehower