Week Four: Light


Light is the prompt that Leah Piken Kolidas chose for this month. I was having a hard time connecting Red Riding Hood to the concept except in the most abstract way. Then I discovered this interesting quote in John Thackery Bunce’s Fairy Tales, Their Origin and Meaning. It still seems a bit of a stretch to me, but at least I’ve got something to go on.

One of the fancies in the most ancient Aryan or Hindu stories was that there was a great dragon that was trying to devour the sun, and to prevent him from shining upon the earth and filling it with brightness and life and beauty, and that Indra, the sun-god, killed the dragon. Now this is the meaning of Little Red Riding Hood, as it is told in our nursery tales.
Little Red Riding Hood is the evening sun, which is always described as red or golden; the old Grandmother is the earth, to whom the rays of the sun bring warmth and comfort. The Wolf–which is a well-known figure for the clouds and blackness of night–is the dragon in another form; first he devours the grandmother, that is, he wraps the earth in thick clouds, which the evening sun is not strong enough to pierce through. Then, with the darkness of night he swallows up the evening sun itself, and all is dark and desolate. Then, as in the German tale, the night-thunder and the storm winds are represented by the loud snoring of the Wolf; and then the Huntsman, the morning sun, comes in all his strength and majesty, and chases away the night-clouds and kills the Wolf, and revives old Grandmother Earth, and brings Little Red Riding Hood to life again.
Or another explanation may be that the Wolf is the dark and dreary winter that kills the earth with frost, and hides the sun with fog and mist; and then the Spring comes, with the huntsman, and drives winter down to his ice-caves again, and brings the Earth and the Sun back to life.

~John Thackery Bunce Fairy Tales, Their Origin and Meaning

2 responses »

  1. Love this! I’m reading Bunce too (I save it for long train journeys usually, a chapter at a time) and quite enjoy the way he explains away all the fairytales, stories and myths until they all mean the same thing! It’s a starting point, and one which we can take in our own directions… I was working with this idea when I wrote some of my early posts on fairy tales – Pumpkin Tales and Pumpkin Tales 2.

    For Red Riding Hood ideas, check out “I found myself in the forest today”. I’m looking forward to working with collage in this way, inspired by your posts! Thank you. Red Riding Hood is a perfect story for February… Imbolc energies, Maidenhood, setting out in our own directions. Light aspects of the story: Inner strength of the feminine; Lupine-man (from lumina, light); RRH’s reemergence from the dark belly of the wolf into the light of the world, with rediscovered strength, wisdom, courage and ability…

    Thanks for your posts and inspirations 🙂


    • Dear Sally,
      What great insights! I hadn’t thought of Red Riding Hood in relation to Imbolc, it’s a lovely connection. You remind me that when I crafted my set of greeting cards for the eight Pagan holy days, my Imbolc card is mostly red and has a red cloack and hood! I’ll post it later. I’ve been out of town for several days on a fabulous women’s retreat and am playing catch-up today. So just time for a quick hi! So glad you are enjoying us- we’re trying to figure out how to make a place for people to post images. Any ideas? Thanks again for your perceptive words.
      Blessed be


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