Down the Rabbit Hole: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Anne Maria Clarke
It's been portrayed in numerous ways, all of which shed light. My own fantasy adaptation would be to portray it as a retelling by client in a psychotherapy session....called Alice on the Couch .....or some such name, for in following the rabbit and falling down the hole our heroine is most certainly brought into direct contact with her unconscious.
Inspired by the Romantics & and most certainly an inspirer of later Surrealists, writing in ways and about issues that Freud & the entire psychoanalytic movement would later bring its collective focus to bare upon, Alice’s adventure was ground-breakingly mesmerizing.
Those who populate her tale are closely related to those characters who surround Alice in her everyday life, though writ large and exposed in ways normally hidden. And yet children do have a way don't they of looking straight through an adults carefully managed persona to a more stripped down, undisguised version.
Alice has Carroll's eyes of course and all that this brings into the mix. Yet we will take Alice as we find her, for the purposes of our investigations and see what is to be seen. One thing is clear - Wonderland is very different from the world up top and as Alice proceeds through the pages of her story she undergoes experiences that will be utterly life changing, albeit a little discombobulating!!!!
I have a friend, herself a therapist who says - "everybody needs a good breakdown - sometime or other" - a deep journey of discovery, an adventure if you like - much like those we've looked at over these last months - much like the journey we are collectively undertaking right now in 2020. For have we all not just tumbled - Down the Rabbit Hole? In the end says my friend - such experiences "make us fit to be let out!" Fit to be let out, in the sense of having grown up, somehow, through experience - often bitter & painful, always disorienting - - somehow we achieve a new maturity - a psychological & emotional maturity which makes us more responsible human beings - in the fullest sense.
Bruno Bettelheim famously wrote of fairy stories,
Each tale is a magic mirror reflecting aspects of ourselves and the steps required for our transformation.
This involves (in summary of course) the integration of unconscious content into the conscious personality resulting in a movement toward what Jung called the true personality.
And the very best way we can discover and begin this life long process is to take heed of this material as it comes into our lives through dreams, through imagination & and through pondering the symbols of myth & fairy-tale.
These symbols stem from the psyche: they speak from & to the spirit and are in fact the vehicles of communication between the deeper depths of our spiritual life and this relatively thin layer of consciousness by which we govern our daylight existences.
Joseph Campbell – Pathways to Bliss
By the end of her adventure Alice will discover much to aid her on her way. Her curiosity will lead her to ask many questions, and to come to terms with not knowing or of getting ridiculous answers that make no sense. There will be times when it will all be far too much - and she will stamp her feet a cry - and end up in a great pool of her own tears, as well we might.
“I wish I hadn't cried so much!” said Alice, as she swam about, I shall be punished for it now, I suppose, by being drowned in my own tears !”
And little by little she will change - from a little girl lost to a plucky young woman with a great capacity for uncertainty & transformation- after all, she has survived much, changing size several times over and even nursed a rather odd baby which kept morphing into a pig and back again. She will make friends & allies along the way - discover how to do Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast and even take on the indomitable Red Queen. She will dare to stand up and be counted - to challenge the ruthless "Off with Their Heads! policy which has the entire court quivering with fear. She will force this mad Queen to treat her with a modicum of curtesy before finally realizing it's all just a figment of her imagination!
You're nothing but a pack of cards!”
she boldly asserts and takes her leave back to the everyday world.
We can learn much from Alice & her particular adventure at this moment in time but perhaps of significance is simply that - in getting turned upside down & inside out & back to front - in falling through our own particular Rabbit Hole - whatever that might be - we will, God willing, all come out stronger in the end!
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More fairy-stories, myths, legends and books by Anne Maria Clarke http://www.archivepublishing.co.uk/T... Books - Transpersonal Psychology. Understanding the Soul - Expanding Consciousness www.annemariaclarke.net http://www.annemariaclarke.net/blog