Little Red Riding Hood and the Bad Wolf
On the kabbalistic spiritual path we work with principles that allow us a deeper understanding of the symbolic content of stories and myths. A typical German fairy tale is to be discussed here on a possible interpretation on the basis of the Tree of Life. For this purpose, the Moon, Venus and Mars principles are mainly used for explanation.
The three female characters in the fairy tale can be assigned to both the Venus and the Moon Principle, which are connected to each other. Here we find the motherly, caring, warning love, the young, naive love, and the grandmotherly love. At the same time, the three women represent three aspects of a woman’s developmental phases, which are usually compared with the phases of the moon. The Virgin (new moon), the reproductive mother (full moon) and the old, knowing, dying woman (waning moon). This illustrates the transformative power of the moon on the physical level. In the Tree of Life the moon is assigned to the Sephirah Yesod, the foundation and entrance to the mystical—including moon goddesses such as Artemis, Hecate, Isis and Diana (Rubenstein, 2015). The connection of the Venus and Moon principles is represented in the Tree of Life by the 28th path that connects Yesod (Moon) with the Sephirah Netzach (Venus). The latter has a strong connection to emotionality and intuition, which is considered to be more easily accessible for women.
The wolf can also be connected to the moon, so wolves howl at the moon and the werewolf transforms only at full moon. The wolf and the hunter are also connected to the moon through the goddesses Artemis and Diana, who were also considered the moon goddesses of hunting and the protection of the wilderness.
The old wisdom in the form of the grandmother is sick and weak in the fairy tale and is therefore symbolically not yet available to the young Little Red Riding Hood in the form of knowledge from inner experience. Little Red Riding Hood only has the warning of her inner mother and her curious, trusting childlike heart on her way to the grandmother. Thus, she seems to be easy picking for the wolf, as is the old sick symbol of wisdom, which is too weak to open the door and willingly invites the enemy into the house. Both land in the belly of the wolf.
Only the hunter frees them from the wolf’s body. The hunter stands for an important aspect of transformation, like an obstetrician—for the rebirth of Little Red Riding Hood and the grandmother, he cuts the two women out of the wolf’s belly. The Mars aspect of the hunter thus assumes the role of the “redeemer” from captivity in the beast’s body. This creates a bridge to the sun principle, which is assigned to the Christ principle. The hunter becomes the judge of the balance of justice by killing the wolf after the liberation of the two women. This judicial Mars aspect is associated with the Sephirah Geburah, which is also called strength and rigor. It is connected to the mediating solar sphere of Tiphareth via the 22nd Path of Lamed, on which one experiences the higher will. Little Red Riding Hood and the grandmother are able to come out of the darkness in the wolf’s body and celebrate with the hunter at a meal with wine and cake. Finally the purified daughter (soul) returns home to her mother, where she is welcomed joyfully. The old wisdom (grandmother) also has new momentum after this experience.
Pure childlike love, which believes everything, needs the old wisdom and the intellect to advance on its path and to see through the seductions which it encounters on its path. At the same time, the old knowledge also needs the stimulation through childlike curiosity, the inner urge to explore and childlike trust in God, in order not to freeze and not always expect the worst, but instead to progress despite the knowledge of the nature of seduction and deception that our own mind in the Sephirah Hod (Mercury principle) is subject to. This, in turn, requires the courage to make mistakes, to fall and to get up again, because this is the only way to learn.
For the spiritual student this also means that he must have the courage to venture into the dark forest. He must be ready to recognize his wild nature and if necessary to let himself be eaten by his darkness, his guile, his inner wolf with skin and hair in order to finally overcome his self-deception and become wiser. Then, one day, he can tame his wild nature among wild animals, because he has agreed, accepted and experienced it before. However, he can only succeed in this if he has the firm faith and hope that within him he also carries all other forces and principles necessary for his redemption from the body of the animal. He can only succeed if he unconditionally respects all his aspects, looks at them with a loving heart, and submits to the higher will.