Lately, when I can make the time, I have been watching reruns of "Once Upon a Time". I see more darkness than I had the first time around, and lots of symbolism - though I don't know if that was the writers' intent.
"Magic" represents a force greater than ourselves. Most of it reminds me of addictions. We are addicted to alcohol, drugs, tobacco, sugar, gambling, sex, pornography . . . the list seems almost endless.
You've got your fairytale characters like Rumpelstiltskin and Regina (the evil queen) who have each tried to stop the consumption that has eaten away at them, but hard as they try, they each give into their weaknesses and somehow resort back to who they are.
Rumplestiltskin has many names: Crocodile, the Dark One, the Beast . . . Belle sees Rumple the way God wants each of his children to see one another. She constantly believes that there is something locked up deep inside that needs to come out, just as Snow believes in Regina. She actually has a first-hand account of how good Regina was before Cora (Regina's mother) intervened, believing that power is what makes one happy. Power can never make one happy if misused.
Not many characters trust Rumple or Regina. Hook wants to kill him; Bae (aka Baelfire and Neal; Rumple's son) does not trust Rumple. Often the queen and Rumple try working together, and it's a wonder if anything gets accomplished as they don't trust one another. Nobody trusts the queen (Regina)
Red Riding Hood turns into a wolf and Peter Pan is not to be trusted. I think Jenna had tried to watch the show with me initially. She showed no interest, however, once Peter Pan was introduced. Seeing Peter Pan as a bad guy did not set well with her. But this morning as I watched an episode for the second time, I realized that the shadow is dark and playing tricks with the intent to deceit. He doesn't wish to grow up or accept responsibility. His goal is to bring other boys to Neverland so that he may rule over them. It makes him feel powerful.
Wendy believes in the magic. She is delighted by the idea of "the large and spacious building" per se; Baelfire had warned her to stay away - just as our prophets, parents, teachers, friends have warned us to stay away - but for some of us, the temptation is just too great. We have to give in. We have to see if it's as awesome as we have led ourselves to believe.
I feel blessed that my sibs and I were always able to learn by example, and not have to experience certain dark events for ourselves. Some people get cocky and don't think the rules apply to them or that they won't be swallowed in the way that others are. How many of us have heard, "I can quit anytime I want?"
Once we have crossed over to the other side, we realize that it was just a facade. We feel trapped, ensnared - and some of us are fortunate enough to get out and stay out. Others get out for a while and then return - hoping to feel that same high sensation, hoping for better - only to find our situation is even worse than it was the first time around. Some attempt to get out again and find it even harder than before. Some go down even further on that road to destruction - seeking vengeance, seeking something greater, seeking the dark one to change their blackened hearts - which only become blacker.
Despite Snow's attempts to believe there is good in Regina or Belle's belief in Rumplestiltskin, they are not perfect. Each fairy tale character is flawed in one way or another. Each of us can possibly relate and identify our own strengths and weaknesses against another or against ourselves. We're really not different from Fairytale characters overall. They were, after all, based on one of us. Perhaps we know a real life fairytale character. I know a real life Donald Duck.
Fairytales can teach us. I love seeing fairytale characters painted in a different light, giving a new spin to the plot, giving new meaning to the character that we thought we knew but perhaps don't. I think that's how it is in real life.