Monday, January 15, 2018

Good Fairy, Bad Fairy, Tooth Fairy

The Fairy Tale - James Sant
Most of us have grown up surrounded by Fairy tales - stories about good Fairies, bad Fairies, blue Fairies, tooth Fairies, Fairy godmothers, and some with actual names, like Tinkerbelle. These elusive little creatures flit in and out of our lives in stories populated with all manner of fascinating creatures. Dwarves, elves, giants, and mischievous little Pixies are a few I remember from childhood stories. All these beloved characters have their roots in the same ancient culture, and take part in preserving the records of its history.

Once upon a time, long, long ago in northern Europe there was a time-of-little-sun. For a thousand years it was mostly overcast, the precious sun peeping through just enough to sustain life. This lack of sun along with human biology, was responsible for the emergence of those who became known as Fairies. The sun provides warmth, but also vitamin D, which, among other things, prevents rickets. Dark pigmentation limits the intake of vitamin D, preventing overdoses. The lighter the skin, the more vitamin D is able to be absorbed. The people living in northern Europe during the time-of-little-sun would have produced lighter and lighter skinned offspring; those with darker skin, suffering from rickets, would not have lived long. These fair, almost white-skinned people were descended from the Maglamosians (ca. 7000 BC), and were referred to as the “Fair Folk”, and later, “Fairies”. They are the subject of stories such as Snow White, Snow Drop, and Rose Red.

The Fair Folk practiced oral tradition just as their ancestors had for thousands of years, and according to the translations by Duncan-Enzmann these records were produced mostly by women. They passed on their history and knowledge in stories accompanied by images. These “bedtime stories” survived suppression and destruction by enemies, and the natural loss of information over time. We have inherited these records as Fairy tales, compiled and retold by Grimm, Anderson, and numerous other sources.  

It is said the Fair Folk dwelt underground, in “Fairy mounds,” remnants of which can still be seen today. During the time-of-little-sun the weather was cool and damp. Peat grows fast in that environment, and did. It covered the hills, and then it grew over the homes sheltered by the hills. Peat is good insulation and these homes were cozy-warm. Villages looked as if they were underground, as did the people who lived in them. Fairy mounds still dot the landscape in Ireland, evidence of ancient Fairy villages. 

Dowth Fairy Mound, Ireland
The skill of the astronomers, medicine ladies, Norns, and builders of the Maglemosian people was well known; feared by some, sought out by others. The Faerie culture of Tuatha de D’nan - people of the goddess D’nan (goddess of the river) – inherited this knowledge. As tribes of Celts moved and migrated, merging European cultures shared knowledge and ways of life. Stories of elves, dwarves, giants (Æsir), watchers (Vanir), pixies (Picts), leprechauns, ogres, and many other strange characters have their beginnings with these peat-covered people. 

The Fair Folk were descendants of the Vanir and Æsir who populated Northern Europe tens of thousands of years earlier. The Fair Folk were taught astronomy and natural sciences from childhood. Their knowledge of agriculture and navigation positioned them well; they were wise, and socially powerful. Because their knowledge was extraordinary the Fair Folk gained the reputation of having magical powers, and were both feared and loved. They became great leaders to whom others looked for help surviving. This positioned them later as queens and kings, developing great monarch families which still survive today.

Briar Rose - A. Anderson
Centuries passed and legends of these fair-skinned, underground dwellers with magical powers resonated through history. They were immortalized in stories and legends of powerful Fairy queens and kings holding council on Fairy rings of mushrooms, raising their families in Fairy mounds. We have inherited these wondrous tales of Once Upon A Time, and, if we know how to see it, the history of a civilization that lasted thousands of years - one that still has descendants today.
    
Michelle Paula Snyder
Michelle Snyder is a professor of mythology, and an author, publisher, speaker, and artist. She  did her post-graduate research at the University of Wales, decoding ancient and prehistoric symbolism, mythology, folklore, and fairy tales.  Her artwork has appeared in galleries from Massachusetts to California. Michelle is co-owner of White Knight Studio.


Symbologist Michelle Snyder
Non-Fiction - Symbology:
Symbology: Decoding Classic Images
Symbology: Decoding Symbols through History
Symbology: Fairy Tales Uncovered
Symbology: Art and Symbols
Symbology: Hidden in Plain Sight
Symbology: ReVision
Symbology: World of Symbols
Symbology: Secrets of the Mermaids

Michelle Paula Snyder
Fiction – Fantasy Wonder Tales:
The Fairy Tales: Once Upon a Time Lessons, First Book
Call of the Dragon and other Tales of Wonder
A Tale of Three Kingdoms, book one: The Lost Unicorn
 A Tale of Three Kingdoms, book two The Lost Mermaid 


A Tale of Three Kingdoms, book three The Lost Dragon

Friday, December 15, 2017

12 Dancing Princesses Decoded


Fairy tales are vehicles for the transmission of history from ages lost in the mist of time. Clues to the lives and traditions of our ancestors are embedded in layers of characters, symbols, and story. Numbers are symbolic in fairy tales, hinting at astronomical awareness of the culture originating the tales. The story of the Twelve Dancing Princesses has its roots in the astronomical knowledge of pre-historyTwelve is a particularly significant number, associated with the ancient division of the sky into 12 constellations. It is common also to describe the movement of heavenly bodies, which move forward and back – as “the dance.” Each planet’s dance is different.

In this story, there are 12 princesses who sneak out of their room every night, and when they return, their shoes are worn out from dancing. The king, beside himself, finally finds a hero to find out what the girls were up to. Twelve beautiful princesses slept in twelve beds in the same room, with doors locked securely. Each morning their shoes were discovered to be worn out as if they had been dancing all night. The king, desperate to discover their secret, offers a prize to the one who did, but failure meant death. Several princes fail, but a soldier tricks the twelve girls and follows them through a trap door in the floor, into twelve boats, down a river to a castle where, sure enough, the girls dance all night with twelve princes. The soldier retrieves a branch from each of three trees; one of silver, one of gold, and one of diamonds, and a golden cup, which he gives the king as proof.  

With roots in the astronomical knowledge of prehistory – some goes back 77,000 years – this tale tells of keeping of secrets (represented by the mysteriously worn out shoes, 12 pairs representing a year) and getting to know the twelve zodiacal constellations (the princes they dance with). Together the princes and princesses make twenty-four, the number of hours in a day. A wonderfully enchanting story, it is filled with symbols and allegory. Time is illustrated by the river and boats, and the twenty-four characters “dance” with the mathematics necessary to measure time using the stars; the dance of the planets is a common expression referring to the movement of the wanderers in heaven. It is one of many tales referring to “stories written in the sky,” which allude to ancient knowledge of seasons and natural cycles – stories embodied in the zodiac. The locked room holds the secrets of the ancient navigators from 5000 BC - that of the Venus Clock, dividing a circle to single degrees, and calculating longitude. The garden of trees with gold, silver, and diamond leaves is similar to a garden in the  epic of Gilgamesh. The gold symbolizes the golden ball of sun.


This wondrous tale is one of thousands that carry secrets and buried history from the world of once upon a time. All we need do is look, and we will see. 


Michelle Paula Snyder
Michelle Snyder is a professor of mythology, and an author, publisher, speaker, and artist. She  did her post-graduate research at the University of Wales, decoding ancient and prehistoric symbolism, mythology, folklore, and fairy tales.  Her artwork has appeared in galleries from Massachusetts to California. Michelle is co-owner of White Knight Studio.


Symbologist Michelle Snyder
Non-Fiction - Symbology:
Symbology: Decoding Classic Images
Symbology: Decoding Symbols through History
Symbology: Fairy Tales Uncovered
Symbology: Art and Symbols
Symbology: Hidden in Plain Sight
Symbology: ReVision
Symbology: World of Symbols
Symbology: Secrets of the Mermaids

Michelle Paula Snyder
Fiction – Fantasy Wonder Tales:
The Fairy Tales: Once Upon a Time Lessons, First Book
Call of the Dragon and other Tales of Wonder
A Tale of Three Kingdoms, book one: The Lost Unicorn
 A Tale of Three Kingdoms, book two The Lost Mermaid 
A Tale of Three Kingdoms, book three The Lost Dragon

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Fairy Tales in a Fairy Tale

Classic Fairy Tales within a new Fairy Tale:




Stories are part of childhood. They help us grow, build our imagination, instill a sense of wonder and hope, and help us understand right and wrong. Mothers have told stories to teach children culture and tradition, moral and ritual, and behavioral consequences ever since there were mothers. In the words of Fairy Queen Titania: "Is it not the mothers who bring up the babes, and give the growing child its earliest lesson to know right from wrong?" Fairy tales and folklore provide an entertaining, imaginative way of doing just that.

This is how education was done in our long-ago past – stories and pictures were used to teach industry, science, tradition, and morals. Yet, these wonder tales were told to children not just for the moral of the story, but to instill in them respect for and knowledge of history and traditions, and sometimes that history was far from pleasant. 

The Fairy Tales is a series of four short books presenting fifty-two wonder tales, one for each week of a year based on the phases of the moon: new, first quarter, full, and last quarter. There are thirteen classic fairy tales in each book; stories within a story. Once a week teacher Mother Merlina tells a tale to Fair One, who is taught important things with a fanciful story of character and struggle, fate and fortune, wisdom and foolery. The stories are archetypal in nature, and as such are universal in their import and message. Some are long, some are very short, but all are full of fanciful characters, magic, and wondrous events. 


 Once upon a time, in a great kingdom by the sea, there lived a young Fair One. In order that she might receive the best education and become a just and compassionate leader, the young princess sat with her tutor Mother Merlina once a week. Together they would spend hours by the window which looked out upon a vast ocean and its rolling waves, and the wise woman would tell our Fair One the most important stories of all time while the princess looked at a picture from the box with the silken wrap. In it were parchments of colorful pictures, one for each story, made long ago by an unknown artist. They were a treasure. Over the weeks to come many wonderful pictures would be enjoyed. Each quarter of a year, Mother Merlina would begin a series of stories to teach the young princess about the moon, as well as some very important lessons about life; perfect for reading to young children. Classic fairy tales in book one:

Aladdin and the Magic Lamp, Beauty & the Beast, The Blue Bird, Bremen Town Musicians, Cinderella, The Donkey, the Table, & the Stick, The Elves & the Shoemaker, The Emperor's New Clothes, The Fair One with the Golden Locks, The Fish & the Ring, The Fisherman & His Wife, The Frog Prince, The Golden Bird

Fair One and her kingdom are modeled on the lives and culture of Northern IndoEuropeans long, long ago.

Michelle Paula Snyder
Michelle Snyder is a professor of mythology, and an author, publisher, speaker, and artist. She  did her post-graduate research at the University of Wales, decoding ancient and prehistoric symbolism, mythology, folklore, and fairy tales.  Her artwork has appeared in galleries from Massachusetts to California. Michelle is co-owner of White Knight Studio.


Symbologist Michelle Snyder
Non-Fiction - Symbology:
Symbology: Decoding Classic Images
Symbology: Decoding Symbols through History
Symbology: Fairy Tales Uncovered
Symbology: Art and Symbols
Symbology: Hidden in Plain Sight
Symbology: ReVision
Symbology: World of Symbols
Symbology: Secrets of the Mermaids

Michelle Paula Snyder
Fiction – Fantasy Wonder Tales:
The Fairy Tales: Once Upon a Time Lessons, First Book
Call of the Dragon and other Tales of Wonder
A Tale of Three Kingdoms, book one: The Lost Unicorn
 A Tale of Three Kingdoms, book two The Lost Mermaid 
A Tale of Three Kingdoms, book three The Lost Dragon

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Once Upon A Time Stories



“Once Upon A Time” stories are among the greatest love stories ever told; layered with history, culture, and ancient ethics, these fascinating tales have been preserved for thousands of years by oral and literary tradition. Oral tradition is defined as "a set of practices by which societies communicate their vital knowledge and culture without writing." This clearly states that these "stories" contain information vital to our historic record; they were passed on through the millennia, mostly from mothers to children. We know them now as folklore, nursery rhymes, fables, legends, mythologies, and faerie (fairy) tales. 

Faerie tales boast a variety of well-loved characters: wicked queens, beautiful damsels-in-distress,  faerie godmothers, and hero-knights. Despicable villains, elusive little people, and wondrous magical happenings capture our imaginations. Characters like these are symbols based on people in 'real life'. What they represent is as old as life itself; symbols like these are archetypes: images and behaviors common to all human experience. These timeless tales proclaim the love of parent for child, grandmother for granddaughter, and Prince Charming for the fair maiden. Legends record in grand style the brave deeds of hero-knights who rescued princesses and restored them to their rightful place; magical forces arising from the power of love prevailed.



Once Upon A Time tradition of fantastic beasts, heroes, and villains all play a role on the stage of history in these captivating stories. Symbols and illustrations which accompany these legends have much to offer, and when considered alongside the written volumes, they enrich our understanding of events described by literary artists. Mythological symbolism is found worldwide; these stories, as with all symbols, astatize over time and pick up layers of meaning, or change meaning altogether. Placing the myriad of characters in context is crucial to deciphering accurate information.


Damsels in distress appear in stories of love and faith like Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel, and Snow White, recently made famous by the brothers Grimm and Walt Disney. According to Duncan-Enzmann’s ice-age translations these stories had their start at least 14,500 years ago, with the emergence of the Sun Child. This was a time when daughters were precious, representing the sun and the cycle of life. Faerie tales that refer to spinning or weaving also began here, when women taught children with stories while working at their looms (thus 'spinning a yarn').

Love stories about youthful girls such as Beauty and the Beast and The Frog Prince come from a time when girls married young. Fathers always want their daughters to marry well, and at that time slightly older gentleman with means and manners could provide and protect. In these tales, the young girl starts out despising the doting gentleman, as if he were a beast or slimy frog, but after a time she decides he is not so bad and falls in love with him. Even popular tales about very young children, such as Hansel and Gretel and Babes in the Woods are about love between siblings, as well as warnings about getting lost in the great dark forests which at one time covered vast areas of the earth. We can trace these tales to ca. 4000 BC, during the Atlantic Era - the Grand Climate Optimum - when there were dangerous, enormous thick forests, miles and miles wide; it was possible to be lost in them forever. 


Faerie tales also bring us  faeries , pixies, dwarves, elves, kings and queens, and a variety of merchants and tradesmen. These characters are found in legends, tales, and mythologies, from the earliest to the most modern cultural stories; their presence reveals that our ancestors understood a great deal about the nature of human beings. This knowledge was preserved along with their history in faerie tales told to children generation after generation, in true oral tradition. This tradition gives us access to unique parts of history that would otherwise be lost. Within our favorite faerie tales are lessons about love, loyalty, tradition, and deceit, coupled with historic events, told over and over as verisimilitudes. The ability to recognize the historic (once upon a time…) elements of these great stories and to place them in context of time, event, and climate, provides clues to the roots and age of the stories. 

Symbology: Fairy Tales Uncovered reveals more about the history of Faeries – the “Fair Folk” of northern Europe, so called because of their white skin, blue eyes, and platinum blonde hair. Magnificent tales of love and courage have been told for hundreds of generations by and about these long-ago people. 

Michelle Paula Snyder
Michelle Snyder is a professor of mythology, and an author, publisher, speaker, and artist. She  did her post-graduate research at the University of Wales, decoding ancient and prehistoric symbolism, mythology, folklore, and fairy tales.  Her artwork has appeared in galleries from Massachusetts to California. Michelle is co-owner of White Knight Studio.


Symbologist Michelle Snyder
Non-Fiction - Symbology:
Symbology: Decoding Classic Images
Symbology: Decoding Symbols through History
Symbology: Fairy Tales Uncovered
Symbology: Art and Symbols
Symbology: Hidden in Plain Sight
Symbology: ReVision
Symbology: World of Symbols
Symbology: Secrets of the Mermaids

Michelle Paula Snyder
Fiction – Fantasy Wonder Tales:
The Fairy Tales: Once Upon a Time Lessons, First Book
Call of the Dragon and other Tales of Wonder
A Tale of Three Kingdoms, book one: The Lost Unicorn
 A Tale of Three Kingdoms, book two The Lost Mermaid 
A Tale of Three Kingdoms, book three The Lost Dragon

Friday, July 28, 2017

Mermaids and Mermen


Stories about mermaids have been told throughout the ages. They are related to elementals and water spirits. Mermaids and mer-men are associated with things of the sea and appear before storms and disasters strike. Mermaid means sea-maid or sea-woman. Some stories describe mermaids living underwater in riches and splendor, eloquent and cultured.

Mer-people generally kept to the sea and rarely married mortals. When they did, they took their wives from the land to the sea. Some mermaids fell in love with human males, who, then enchanted, did whatever they could to marry the beautiful creatures. 

Mer-people speak the language of the sea and the language of land-dwellers. A Syrian story records that if a mer-man and his human wife have a baby, the child will know the language of both the Sea and the Earth – that of navigation and of farming.


History of mermaids entwines with that of the Greek Medusa, who was a queen of the sea. In early religions of the world, the Philistine god Dagon ca. 2500 BC, (Dag = fish, oan = noah), and the Syrian god Atargis, were images of gods that were half fish. In Syria they are called Kukullu, which means fish-man. These fish-men also show up in Mesopotamian and Babylonian history. Sumerians and Assyrians depicted bearded human figures with a fish-body hanging off their head down the back to their toes like a cape. Mer-people images and sculptures are found in Assyrian, Babylonian, and Mesopotamian art and temples. In Japan they are known as ninayo. Hispanic folklore describes water maidens as small human-shaped beings with stars on their heads and golden hair (stars being associated with knowledge of astronomy, and golden hair a symbol of the sun).

Legends also say that by obtaining an object belonging to a mer-person, the captor can keep the mermaid or merman from returning to the sea until they regain possession of the object. If you were in business, you knew that captured mer-people could not refuse to keep a bargain they made, but they were considered tricky and dangerous to deal with. Sometimes mer-people were caught and held for ransom: Their wisdom and their knowledge of astronomy and natural science were unsurpassed. Knowledge and wisdom of such great value was worthy of a ransom; it was that of navigation: astronomy, longitude, currents, and mapping. 


Many legends and historic accounts tell of Faerie-Queen Melucine (circa 400 AD), a double-tailed mermaid called a Siren. She was the daughter of Queen Pressine and Elinas, King of Albania. Despite rewritten accounts of betrayal, abandonment, and deformed children, many monarchies go to great lengths to have their genealogies traced to her family.



The Little Mermaid, made popular by Hans Christian Anderson in 1873, is a Faerie tale with roots in the history of the ancient mariner culture, reaching deep into prehistory to the Neanderthal Wars. This and other similar tales are legends of courage - originally tales of adults willing to sacrifice themselves to protect their children. Passed down through the millennia in legends and symbols, stories about mermaids have become childhood favorites. These powerful, elusive creatures are still associated with water, and have come to express the concepts of the unconscious and wisdom.

                                                About Michelle Paula Snyder


Michelle Snyder is a professor of mythology, and an author, publisher, speaker, and artist. She  did her post-graduate research at the University of Wales, decoding ancient and prehistoric symbolism, mythology, folklore, and fairy tales.  Her artwork has appeared in galleries from Massachusetts to California. Michelle is co-owner of White Knight Studio.

Michelle Paula Snyder
Fiction – Fantasy Wonder Tales:
The Fairy Tales: Once Upon a Time Lessons, First Book
Call of the Dragon and other Tales of Wonder
A Tale of Three Kingdoms, book one: The Lost Unicorn
 A Tale of Three Kingdoms, book two The Lost Mermaid
 A Tale of Three Kingdoms, book three The Lost Dragon
Symbologist Michelle Snyder
Non-Fiction - Symbology:
Symbology: Decoding Classic Images
Symbology: Decoding Symbols through History
Symbology: Fairy Tales Uncovered
Symbology: Art and Symbols
Symbology: Hidden in Plain Sight
Symbology: ReVision
Symbology: World of Symbols

Symbology: Secrets of the Mermaids







Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Stone Soup Anyone?



Stone Soup is a fairy tale told in England, Ireland, the United States, Germany, and many other countries. Contemporary versions tell of a needy person tricking the greedy into sharing food and lodging; usually it is a destitute soldier or clever beggar offering to make soup with a stone, asking only for a kettle from the unwitting scrooge. But like other legends, this folktale has deep prehistoric roots, reaching back into the bitter cold stone-age.

Once Upon a Time long, long ago a great part of the world was frozen most of the time. In this icy world, animals broke their teeth trying to chew meat from the frozen carcass of a fresh kill. Fingers and toes would suffer frostbite in only a few minutes if not covered properly – even then excursions outside were brief. The people who lived in this ice age built and heated houses, made quilted clothing, and cooked their food. Duncan-Enzmann has translated from their inscriptions blueprints for houses and instructions for venting fireplaces. Stones were abundant and were used for many things: tools, weapons, contracts, and for heating beds and cradles – not unlike bed-warmers of the early pioneers.

Stones were also inscribed with instructions to make and use fire-bows, make medicines, and even make “stone soup”. In a regular modern winter there is nothing like a nice cup of hot tea, cocoa, or chicken soup to warm up a cold body. I remember winter bird-watching with my dad on Plum Island. He always brought a thermos of hot chocolate – said it would keep me warm. During hard times when food is scarce, or on the battlefield in winter, even a cup of plain warm water helps warm up a cold body, and with a few drops of molasses or honey in the water, becomes a delicious treat.

During the ice age of ca. 12,500 BC, knowing how to warm up could mean the difference between life and death. Leather pots were made and filled with water, and a “boiling stone” (ones that did not explode) was heated on the fire. When it was good and hot it was put into the water. The stone simmered the water, and, with bits of meat, vegetables, and spices, a nutritious soup was made. The heating stone would need to be cleaned before putting it in the water. Ashes from the fire would have to be removed; brushing it with branches of dried herbs added flavor to the broth, branches of willow (from which aspirin is made) provided gentle soothing for those who enjoyed the soup.

Meat is scarce in the fairy tale, and fatty meat was scarce during ice age winters. Without some fat in the diet a person can starve to death, even with an abundance of other foods. The only place fat could be obtained in deep prehistoric winters was from the long bones of a female horse. The bones were added to the broth of the stone soup, cooking out the life giving fats, just as we cook chicken soup today.

Like most fairy tales, this one has a struggle (freezing weather and scarcity of food), a hero (the stone), and a happy ending (a steaming bowl of yummy soup).

About Michelle Paula Snyder


Michelle Snyder is a professor of mythology, and an author, publisher, speaker, and artist. She  did her post-graduate research at the University of Wales, decoding ancient and prehistoric symbolism, mythology, folklore, and fairy tales.  Her artwork has appeared in galleries from Massachusetts to California. Michelle is co-owner of White Knight Studio.

Michelle Snyder
Non-Fiction - Symbology:
Symbology: Decoding Classic Images
Symbology: Decoding Symbols through History
Symbology: Fairy Tales Uncovered
Symbology: Art and Symbols
Symbology: Hidden in Plain Sight
Symbology: ReVision
Symbology: World of Symbols
Symbology: Secrets of the Mermaids

Michelle Paula Snyder
Fiction – Fantasy Wonder-Tales:
The Fairy Tales: Once Upon a Time Lessons, First Book
Call of the Dragon and other Tales of Wonder
A Tale of Three Kingdoms, book one: The Lost Unicorn
 A Tale of Three Kingdoms, book two The Lost Mermaid
 A Tale of Three Kingdoms, book three The Lost Dragon