I find it curious that there are two star-studded movies being released this month that center on the age-old story of Snow White. The movie trailers I have seen present remarkably different takes on the Grimm’s Brothers classic, but each contain an Oscar Award winning actress not in the role of Snow White, but in the role of the Wicked Queen. I have really always thought it was her story anyway. While Snow White is certainly integral to the drama and is the namesake and heroine for which everyone roots and cheers, it is the neurosis, projections, and evil-motivated actions of the Queen that actually animate the tale. No story in any form of entertainment is worth telling without a healthy dose of conflict, and the Queen provides this brilliantly. As I’m sure you recall it is the Queen’s inquiry into the magic mirror that is the beginning of all the drama. Well, more accurately, it is the answer of the mirror to the Queen that causes all fury to break loose from her fragmented psyche. If the magic mirror had just continued on with a peace-promoting yet deceitful answer of “You are” to the Queen’s ongoing question of “who is the fairest in all the land?” it would have saved Snow White and many other characters a whole lot of trouble. When the Queen no longer hears what she wants and so needs to hear, she seeks to destroy the far younger and more beautiful interloper that she perceives has stolen her rightful title. When what is true is not only reflected but proclaimed by the uncompromising and ruthlessly honest mirror, that truth is too much for her to bear.
There is no better learning device for me in my psycho-spiritual tool chest than the always unfailing mirror of my relationships. It is an inescapable and non-negotiable axiom for me that whenever I am disturbed or distressed by something I am seeing in another it is because they are mirroring something that I have been unable or unwilling to see in myself. There is always an aspect of the ego mind that is asking for life’s assent that we are in fact the very fairest of them all, although we often unconsciously suspect that we are most certainly not. There is a part of our fragile selves that needs to feel that it is right regardless of evidence that is so often to the contrary. Projections are a gift that allows us to see what is in our own suppressed storehouse of disowned personal attributes. The pain, darkness, shame, and seeming evil are cast away as things that are happening out there by a supposed them. It is a survival structure that actually serves us until we are strong enough to look squarely into the mirror of our own consciousness and allow ourselves to really see what is there, without projecting it out onto an often unsuspecting world of supporting characters.
One of the foundational truths of projection is that we are all wounded in relationship and we will ultimately heal in relationship. This is rarely a tidy proposition. It requires that we see all the aspects of ourselves that we have avoided for most of our entire lives. We may well have the experience of the Evil Queen when the sight of a perceived “better” will have us looking for the flaw that brings them back down to size, a size that usage our sense of wounded inferiority. We will send out bitter thoughts that seek the heart of that blasted and beautiful maiden, when we perceive she is getting what we so long to have for ourselves. We will have the very human experience of secretly being glad that we are spiritually or morally or intellectually above poor so-in-so in those sad and unfortunate circumstances. We will project our suppressed stuff onto family, lovers, politicians, and the mail carrier. We will search and ask and manipulate and cajole that darn mirror in every which way we can to try and find that we are the one that is the fairest and is right.
And then one day we awaken to find that the mirror is indeed magical after all. It has always been reflecting exactly what we were able to see at any given time along the way. The mirror has become slowly and steadily more honest and revealing as our consciousness became more receptive and ready to see what the mirror of relationship was really showing us. And we recognize that every Evil Queen and fair maiden along the way have been aspects of the totality of our own fragmented self that was in search of integration and authenticity in this transformative realm of mirroring relationship. We can choose to break or cover the mirrors, but the refection will eventually come through via another character in a different storyline. We can shriek and rail about what we see or we can open to know at depth that the revelation of what we see is in service of our highest emergence. And when we can authentically thank the mirror for showing us what we needed to see a peace will fill our hearts that is indeed a most happy ending to a most painful yet meaningful tale.