Clap your hands if you believe in fairies!

Today I have been given a guest slot over at Barb’s, so go and read more about fairies over there. Wonder how many of you then realise you’ve got them in your house or garden after reading this:

http://creativebarbwire.wordpress.com/2011/10/27/i-believe-in-fairies-just-dont-ask-me-to-define-what-a-fairy-actually-is-guest-post-by-vivienne-tuffnell/

The Red Shoes ~ a dark faery tale of compulsion and addiction

 

The Red Shoes ~ a dark faery tale of compulsion and addiction

  

If you remember the Hans Christian Andersen story from childhood, you’ll remember the plot basically goes like this: orphaned child adopted by rich old lady covets ‘sinful’ red shoes and tricks her guardian into having some made for her by a shoemaker. The child finally breaks the prohibition on wearing them to church, and on speaking with a strange soldier who admires the shoes (the devil in disguise) the shoes come to life and dance her away until she begs the excutioner to frees her from them by cutting her feet off, and the shoes (complete with feet) dance away. Earlier versions have the girl dance herself to a skeleton and dance on after death.

Whichever version you know, they’re all pretty grim. The version in the Kate Bush song is possibly grimmer than either. If you watch the second video, it tells the story of a dancing diva who comes to a dowdy and quiet girl backstage and tricks her into taking the shoes from her, whereupon she is freed from the spell of the shoes and runs away leaving the girl to discover her hideous mistake.

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXTRe9ttMXw this is just the song

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JzkQ_jWSDHo this is the video; very disturbing but please watch, it’s powerful.

Oh she move like the Diva do
I said ‘I’d love to dance like you.’
She said ‘just take off my red shoes
Put them on and your dream’ll come true
With no words, with no song
You can dance the dream with your body on
And this curve, is your smile
And this cross, is your heart
And this line, is your path
Oh it’s gonna be the way you always thought it would be
But it’s gonna be no illusion
Oh it’s gonna be the way you always dreamt about it
But it’s gonna be really happening to ya
Really happening to ya
Really happening to ya’
Oh the minute I put them on
I knew I had done something wrong
All her gifts for the dance had gone
It’s the red shoes, they can’t stop dancing, dancing
And this curve, is your smile
And this cross, is your heart
And this line, is your path
‘Oh it’s gonna be the way you always thought it would be
But it’s gonna be no illusion
Oh it’s gonna be the way you always dreamt about it
But it’s gonna be really happening to ya’
She gotta dance, she gotta dance
And she can’t stop ’till them shoes come off
These shoes do, a kind of voodoo
They’re gonna make her dance ’till her legs fall off
Feel your hair come tumbling down
Feel your feet start kissing the ground
Feel your arms are opening out
And see your eyes are lifted to God
With no words, with no song
I’m gonna dance the dream
And make the dream come true
I’m gonna dance the dream
And make the dream come true
She gotta dance, she gotta dance
And she can’t stop ’till them shoes come off
These shoes do, a kind of voodoo
They’re gonna make her dance ’till her legs fall off
Call a doctor, call a priest
They’re gonna whip her up like a helicopter
Really happening to ya
Really happening to ya
You gotta dance….
 
 

 

 

 

This is the tale at the heart of every addiction, every compulsion, every obsession. If you have ever been in the grip of any of these, you’ll know that manic, frantic need for the substance, or idea or action or person, that drives you beyond wild. Listen to the music, hear that beat, that’s your heart. Hear that inner scream, that’s you.

In both the original faery tale and the Kate Bush version there is a trickster, a person who cons you into taking the forbidden shoes because they bleed into your dreams. They only offer you it, they cannot force it onto you. You choose to take it. “Oh the minute I put them on, I knew I had done something wrong!” It can take years to wake up to the damage of a compulsion or addiction but some part of us knows, at that very first instance. Is it any wonder that many users become dealers? We seek to rid ourselves of the Red Shoes, usually by passing them on to some other unwitting victim who buys into the same dark dreams; and yet however we give away or sell the Shoes, they’re there, stuck on our feet and no amount of pulling can get them off.

They’ve become part of us. The solution is always radical. It’s always painful, often excruciatingly so. Cut it off, cut it out of your life. The faery-tale version has the shoes dance away, gruesome but harmless because they can never be filled again by living feet. The song version leaves the ending to the imagination, and it’s likely a dark one.

Go back in time to the moment you first donned your Red Shoes. What did you think they were going to do for you? The chances are they did, but like all demonic pacts, never in the way you thought they would. The outcome twists your hopes and intentions.

Look at your Red Shoes. Are they pretty any more or do they drive you to do things you don’t like admitting? Can you take them off and throw them in the river or into the fire or does the thought of that make you shudder?

If you can’t take them off, time to find someone who can, even if they take your feet away too. Better to walk lame than dance into hell.

 

{for more analysis of the meanings of faery tales I would recommend reading Women who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. It’s a brick of a book but wonderfully written. Read more about it and her here : http://shadowwings.wordpress.com/2008/11/27/refuse-to-fall-down/

or here http://www.clarissapinkolaestes.com/