La Loba

Artwork: “Self Portrait” Paula Modersohn-Becker

Summer 2023 Report from the Section Fairytale Group

The Bare Bones

This summer the Section Fairytale Group decided to go global. Up until now we have read mostly the Brothers Grimm and some tales from Northern European countries. But now we are expanding. We are going around the world and looking for fairytales from different continents.

I got out my old book Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés and felt instantly pulled to the short Mexican story called La Loba. This story is very short, but it presents a very strong picture. It is about an old unsightly fat woman, La Loba, who turns into a wolf and then turns back into a woman. She is wandering around a desert, where she searches for wolf bones. She keeps the wolf bones in a cave where she slowly assembles a white, beautiful skeleton of a wolf. She looks at it long and carefully. What song will she sing to the bones? What song will she sing for this wolf?

Once she knows her song, she spreads her arms over the bones and starts to sing. And as she sings, the wolf comes alive slowly. She sings more and more, and the wolf starts to breathe. The desert starts to shake. At dusk the wolf runs away and transforms into an old woman. It is a magic moment when the wolf arises and starts to breathe, always accompanied by a song.

We feel the magical bridging of the world of the living and the world of the dead as we witness the transformation. The old woman presides over death and birth, like Isis or Demeter. We go deep down into our body into our bones where our life forces are concentrated. True music is always a tool to bring the spirit and further the transformation. Music will nourish the life forces.

Last year we read the tale The Singing Bone by Brothers Grimm (number 28). This tale has another picture of a white and clean bone at the center of the story. The bone is found by a shepherd under a bridge. He wants to use the bone as the mouthpiece for his flute. But before he started to play, the bone begins to sing and lament that it belonged to a person murdered by his two greedy brothers. The King had promised the three brothers his daughter as a bride, but to prove themselves they must kill the wild boar that runs through his kingdom. The two lazy brothers went to the pub, and the young brother killed the boar. But he was killed by his two brothers and buried under the bridge. The shepherd went to the King. After the King listened to the song, he threw the evil brothers into the ocean, and the good brother had a wonderful funeral.

In this story again we face a miracle of transformation and resurrection.

Written by Marion Donehower


The Fairytale Group meets twice monthly on the back porch overlooking the garden — or if the weather is harsh, we meet in the house. This group arises from the ongoing meetings of the Section for the Literary Arts and Humanities of the School for Spiritual Science in North America. It is open by invitation to persons who participate regularly in the ongoing Section meetings.