Power to Transform
“How could we forget those ancient myths that stand at the beginning of all races—the myths about dragons that at the last moment are transformed into princesses. Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are only princesses waiting for us to act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.”
Rainer Maria Rilke
Do you have a favorite myth or fairy tale ? One of my favorites is La Loba as told by Clarissa Pinkola Estes in Women Who Run With the Wolves. La Loba (the Wolf) is an old lady, a hag really, who daily goes out into mountains and valleys to collect the scattered bones of creatures that are about to be lost to the world. She is especially fond of wolf bones. She takes them back to her cave high above a river valley, and painstakingly lays them out on the floor before the fire. When she has collected and laid out every single wolf bone so that she has a complete skeleton, she begins to sing over them. As she sings, the wolf bones come together with sinew and muscles. Organs form inside and skin covers. Fur grows upon the creature. La Loba sings and the wolf begins to breathe, and suddenly, it jumps up, and runs from the cave and down the river valley. Somewhere in its running, either by sunlight, or by moonlight, or by splashing into the river, the wolf is transformed into a laughing woman, wild and free.
Stories of bones called back to life can be found in many cultures. Remember the Old Testament story about the valley of dry bones in Ezekiel (37:1-14) in which Yahweh instructs Ezekiel to prophesy to the bones, to call to the four winds, and the bones come together and rise up into a vast army. Not surprising, I suppose, that an old woman would sing bones into an earthy creature that becomes a laughing woman, and a male prophet would raise up an army of men; nonetheless, both are stories of transformation. Something dead—or something dead in us—is called back to robust life through the vehicle of love—La Loba's love for the wolves, and Yahweh's love for his people. The dragon-into-princess stories are the same—they tell of the power of love to transform even a monster into something beautiful.
We would do well, in these time of toxic hate, to remember that the power that calls us back to life, and life in abundance, is love.
In the Spirit,