Saturday, September 28, 2013
Puss in Boots: A Sacred Trickster and Road Opener
I happen to read Puss in Boots last night (which I only very vaguely remembered from my childhood), and was struck by the obvious magical messages hidden within. (If you're intrigued and you haven't read it for a while, you can read it here.)
After peeking inside my Encyclopedia of Witchcraft (Judika Illes), I learned that "millers" often show up in fairytales, and that's very likely because it's a way of saying "alchemist" or "shaman" without actually coming out and saying it, (since fairytales - including Puss in Boots - were so often recorded during the time of witch hunts), as millers transform (or transmute!) grain - a very sacred thing in ancient cultures around the world - into flour.
So Puss in Boots begins with a miller dying, and leaving items of some value to his two older brothers, but nothing to his youngest son but his cat - a creature very much associated with witches and magic, especially during that time. Before the son goes ahead and cooks the cat for dinner, the cat speaks (!) and requests a pair of boots. In the words of Judika Illes:
"...the story demonstrates that the miller's most precious inheritance is not wealth but his magical traditions. Notably the cat requests footwear: the item of clothing most identified with shamanism. He needs those boots to activate his power."
After his power is activated, he begins all sorts of crafty tricks that create a prosperous and wildly successful way for the miller's son where before there (seemingly) was no way. Like other trickster spirits, such as Coyote or Leprechauns, he is mischievous, but he's also an excellent ally for times when you're stuck in a seemingly hopeless bind because of his extremely creative and intuitive road-opening powers.
So if you ever feel like you need a road opened because you don't see a way forward in some important area of life, instead of despairing, how about working a little creative, road-opening, prosperity-drawing magic with Puss in Boots? Place a picture or another representation of a cat on your altar, light him a candle, offer him a little pair of boots, explain your challenge, and ask politely for his intervention.