Field work in the Enchanted Forest -or- Once Upon a Time

Uses of Enchantment -or- Exploring Fairy Tales and Creations Myths 

"Midway upon the journey of our life,
I found myself within a forest dark,
For the straight foreward pathway had been lost." Dante 

In "The Mythic Imagination: The Quest for Meaning through Personal Mythology", Stephen Larsen relates a dream; 

"I am at the college taking a course in field work. S. is the teacher. He takes us into a forest which it seems is an enchanted forest. There are all kinds of strange creatures living in the hillside and the people in our group go running after them. S. is not interested in these, but rather in the roots of the trees. What he is saying seems important. Some kind of petrifaction process going on." 

The "enchanted forest" is the magical place of the animistic imagination where fairy tales can come true. Bruno Bettelheim "The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales" tells the reader; The child finds ethical and moral meaning through fairy tales. In this sense, little has changed in nearly 2500 years, small wonder that Socrates was working on Aesop's fables the day he drank the hemlock. Read the dream interpretation; "Aesop's Fables Rock". 

Jack Zipes, "The Brother's Grimm: From Enchanted Forests to the Modern World" speaking about the work of the Brother's Grimm states; "Their ‘once upon a time' keeps alive our longing for a better modern world that can be created out of our dreams and actions." Said differently from our dreams grows the hopes of our utopian desires. The strange creatures found in the dream above are the characters that fairy tales speak of. 

The teacher and field researcher as dream vision guide, is not interested in the enchanted forest's fairy tale creatures, instead the roots of the enchanted forest seem to hold a much greater interest and meaning. The mythological process of "petrifaction" pointed out in the dream can be traced in part to the ancient Greek myth of Medusa

Perhaps the mythological roots of the enchanted forest are to be found in the variety of creation myths that exist, such as "The Book of Genesis", and the "Tree of Life". We could also mythologically view the roots as being part of the cosmic axis mundi and "world tree".


All material Copyright 2006 International Institute for Dream Research. All rights reserved.