Fairy Tale Rituals: Engage the Dark, Eerie & Erotic Power of Familiar Stories

Fairy Tale Rituals: Engage the Dark, Eerie & Erotic Power of Familiar Stories

by Kenny Klein

Magical and mysterious, Faeries are also subtle, sexual, sublime, stubborn, erotic, enticing, dark, and deadly…

So you think you know Snow White? You’re acquainted with Sleeping Beauty? You’re quite familiar with Beauty and the Beast? Fairy Tale Rituals explores the eerie, seductive Faerie lore lying


Magical and mysterious, Faeries are also subtle, sexual, sublime, stubborn, erotic, enticing, dark, and deadly…

So you think you know Snow White? You’re acquainted with Sleeping Beauty? You’re quite familiar with Beauty and the Beast? Fairy Tale Rituals explores the eerie, seductive Faerie lore lying just beneath the surface of eleven favorite fairy tales.

Feel the fear and passion these stories once inspired in ancient listeners. Learn how to create modern rituals that will bring the archetypal magical characteristics of these fairy tale icons -- the sexual attractiveness of Snow White, the totem animal journey of Rose-Red, the manifestation prowess of Cinderella -- into your own life.

Each tale here is explored in two ways: first by looking at the story itself, with an eye toward its mythic roots and magical elements. Next, a powerful ritual or spell is presented based on the characters or events of the tale, which you can use to find a true friend or lover, glimpse the future using divination, celebrate a coming-of-age ceremony, honor the spirit of death, and much more.

“Empowering rituals, often-forgotten histories, magickal lore, and insights into stories we only thought we knew—Fairy Tale Rituals is that rare book that goes beyond its title and offers a bit of myth, enchantment, and scholarly insight to all who walk a magickal path.”Jason Mankey, Pagan scholar, historian, and lecturer

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This how-to guide explicates well-known fairy tales, with footnoted, sourced analyses of various historical versions of texts, then provides rituals based on Wicca, ceremonial magic, and Kabbalah for the reader to perform. Klein, a Wiccan priest, links each story to a theme, teasing out startling implications of well-known stories. Introductory sections lay out the book's plan and provide guidance to readers interested in performing the rituals; dissection of specific stories follow. Snow White is linked to sexual attraction, Hansel and Gretel to faerie mirror magic, Sleeping Beauty to dreams, and Cinderella to manifestation of wishes. The rituals involve props, like candles, altars, dishes, and wine, as well as gestures and words, with the practitioner's intent to bring about an internal or external change. Casual adult fans of fairy tales will find much to enjoy, from thought-provoking textual analysis to intriguing links between story and paganism. The book serves as a reminder that well-known things around us may have hidden, sometimes erotic, meanings and darker histories than we know. (May)

Product Details

Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd.
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)

Read an Excerpt


Engage the Dark, Eerie & Erotic Power of Familiar Stories

Llewellyn Publications

Copyright © 2011 Kenny Klein
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-7387-2305-1

Chapter One


Hungry and cold, lost in a deep forest, a brother and sister hear the voice of a bird. They understand the creature's song, which tells them that just ahead is the answer to their prayers: they will find a house made of food. But the prophetic bird warns them they must be careful, for eating that food could cost them their lives!

A girl stands by the side of the road. She is impossibly beautiful, with skin like snowy cream and hair that falls in raven-black ringlets. She seems to be lost, alone, frightened. A carriage drives by. On the door is the royal crest. She peers into the coach, and meets the eye of a king. He signals the driver to stop, and takes the girl inside. His wife looks away, an impassive expression on her face, her deepest feelings hurt by this strange girl's very presence.

A teenage girl wanders playfully through her father's castle. She knows this place intimately, for she has lived here all her life. She has stepped upon every stair, opened every ornate doorway, sat upon each window bench looking out upon the fields of her father's kingdom. But oddly, today, on the birthday that will mark her as a woman, she finds a door where she has never seen one before. Her face flushed with curiosity and excitement, she opens it, peering into a tiny room. An old woman sits there, working away at something the girl has never beheld: a wooden wheel that spins flax into linen thread. The girl draws closer, thrilled and flushed with wonder, and reaches out her finger to touch the strange whirring wheel ...

A man has made a promise to his youngest daughter, a promise to bring her a rose. But it is winter, and snow lies on the roads and pathways. He despairs that he will never find a rose for his lovely, pious girl, who asks for so little. Yet as the man walks from town along the road home, he sees a garden behind a wall—blooming, verdant, full of life in this deathly cold. And in the center of the garden, a red rose blooms. He walks slowly into the gated garden, picking his way carefully through flowers and ripe fruits. Now he is at the center. The man looks about, once, twice, and sees no one. He gently, carefully picks the rose. Suddenly a gruff voice roars: "That rose is mine!"

Do you recognize these stories? Are they familiar? The tales of your childhood? Stories you cherished as a youth? Perhaps you still refer to them. Do you call someone a "sleeping beauty"? Do you wait for your "prince to come" or have to "kiss a lot of frogs"? You recall the magic of these stories, the way they made you feel as you listened—intent, tensed, waiting for the girl to escape, for the boy to triumph, for the sister to push the wicked sorceress into the oven to save her brother from being cooked and eaten.

These tales shaped us, molded us, helped make us who we were to become. They taught us to analyze; they taught us morality and virtue. They gave us a sense of self.

But most of us have never heard these tales the way they were first collected, from peasants, milkmaids, and spinning midwives. As children, we were not told these tales by old women who cooked porridge in a cauldron over a hearth fire, reciting as they stirred. Or by a German hausfrau churning butter as she told stories she'd grown up with. No, we watched them on television, or saw them as we sat in movie theaters, thrilling over celluloid renditions that were the creations of Disney and other cinematic icons. We watched them again and again. The characters in them became our friends and acted as playmates in our fantasies and our dreams. We came to know the tales so well that we can recite them by heart to this day.

Or at least we think we can.

These tales are old. Much older than Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm, the brothers who spent their lives collecting and cataloging hundreds of these strange narratives. Much older than the Victorian and Edwardian illustrators who dressed their characters in royal garb and peasant clothes. They come from the dimmest recesses of time. They come from the storytelling of Black Forest wives and French peasants, who lived through decades of war and starvation. They hearken back to a dim past—before the pleasantries of the Victorian era, before the troubadours of the Renaissance, before the winding bardic tales of the Middle Ages. They are as ancient as Rome, as Greece, as Persia, and as the Celts who wandered across Europe in search of game and adventure. Within the pretty tales of Snow White and Sleeping Beauty are the seeds of stories in ancient tongues, languages no longer spoken or even known of, sounds so alien to our ears that to hear them would make us shrug and declare them utter nonsense.

Passed from mother to daughter, father to son, told to children around the fires of ancient hovels, in yurts on the tumbled plains, or at the hearth of rustic Slavic farmhouses, the tales have been cherished from time beyond memory. They have changed with the tools, fashions, and tastes of each generation of storyteller, losing and gaining elements as people's religious and moral beliefs ebbed and flowed.

Perhaps they seem like innocent, harmless tales? They are, after all, the memories of our earliest years, the common thread that all children shared. What little girl did not dream of marrying her prince? What boy did not wish for the chance to save a helpless maiden from her wicked stepmother?

But these tales are creepier, darker, filled with more mystery than the versions you may know. At their core these tales contain deep magic, the kernel of the most ancient myths and beliefs. Through them we glimpse Faeries and immortal beings—Nixies, Kobolds, and Nymphs—changelings who were transformed into our childhood playmates. When we scratch the surface of these tiny heroes' and heroines' tales, we find a bedrock of myth, magical ritual, Goddesses and Gods, enchanted beings, and ancient lore.

Scattered lore related to fairy tales may be found across the British Isles, the French countryside, the Alps, the Urals, across the Baltic coasts and the Russian wilderness. Stories of enchanted horse Faeries, mysterious changelings, wayside urchins, Pookahs, Pixies, sea demons, Lorelie, Naiads, Dryads, and dwarfs. Beings that inhabit a land whose laws and realities are far different from the ones we take for granted. Where a taste of food or a cup of wine might trap you forever. Where a girl can disappear into the branches of a pear tree. Where the picking of a flower can mean your life, or the life of your daughter.

The tales we know today have come to us over centuries, navigating rivers of language, belief, and culture. They have lived on while the myths, sagas, and legends that spawned them have fallen away. Some deep magic in these tales preserves them, makes them seem both harmless enough and important enough to pass down over countless generations.

And here we are, frozen at a moment in time, a link in the long, flowing chain of these stories' histories. From here we can study the distant road these tales have traveled, and seek to reconnect with the magic of them. The Nymph who is Snow White, the deep bond between Rose-Red and her bear consort, the prophetic trance of Sleeping Beauty, the changeling bargain of Beauty: all of these lay buried beneath the prettiness and sanitizing with which the Grimms and Disney and countless others have burdened these tales.

We are armed with the knowledge that the Faeries and enchanted beings in these narratives are subtle, seductive, sexual, sublime, stubborn, erotic, enticing, emotionally distant, dark, drear, and deadly. We can handle the sinister truth behind these lovely characters.

We can shed light on the deep forest where the wolf hides. We can caress the Nymphs there, knowing they may wish to grab us and pull us to a watery death. We can speak to the birds, though they may lie. We are not tempted by the food there—that bunch of grapes, that house made of candy—as we know that very feast may trap us for a hundred years. Those are simply the chances we take as seekers of the enticing, enchanted places.

We can use these dark mysteries as a basis for shaping our own lives through ritual, that magical dream shaper that is as old as humankind, that lurks in the shadows behind Christianity, Judaism, and all other "civilized" faiths. After all, wasn't it the worship of Gods, Goddesses, Nymphs, Pookahs, the dark fay, and creatures hidden or half-seen that first caused humankind to create its rituals?

Above all, let us see that what our parents told us—that these were figments of our imagination, invisible playmates, fantasies—is simply not true. Let us see for ourselves that they are real and can run with us again into the enchanted forest, in search of treasure, love, and adventure!


You might be someone who has always loved fairy tales. These tales were crucial in shaping you as a child, and the characters haunted you as you grew. They took hold, and became a part of your very psyche. Perhaps you still call upon them as game characters, for inspiration in your dress and your style, or as denizens of stories and songs that you create?

Maybe you were inspired by their magic to seek out magic in your own life. You may be drawn to spells and rituals. In later years, perhaps you sought out religions or systems like Paganism, Ceremonial Magic, or Qabalah.

Whether you are an experienced ritual magician, or whether you are someone who has never done anything like a ritual and just enjoys fairy tales, you may find something of interest in this book.

Each tale here is related in two ways: first we look at the tale itself, with an eye toward the mythic roots and the magical elements of the story. Each of the Grimms' tales has evolved from older sources that come to us from Greek, Roman, Germanic, and Celtic roots, and we'll take a look at these ancient threads of the tales we know; we'll also examine the ways the characters have changed and transformed over the centuries that the story has been told. So, if you are a person who simply loves the romance and magic of these tales, each discussion will help you come to a better understanding of what the tale is and how you can read more deeply into it.

Next we will borrow from such magical traditions as Wicca, Ceremonial Magic, and Qabalah; we will consider a ritual or a spell based on the characters or events of the tale, which you may use to create change in your life. The characters of these tales, you see, are so much a part of our psyche, and have been with us in our deepest mind for so long, that we can easily access our childhood self, which is the part of us that simply feels and that allows magic to happen. So if you have never done a ritual or a spell before, and want to give it a try, the workings here are thoroughly explained step by step, and you can attempt to follow them and unleash the part of you that believes in these ancient tales to help transform your reality. And if you are an experienced ritual magician, these spells may be used as they are, or as a basis to create new and more elaborate workings—tapping into these fairy tale archetypes that live in our innermost selves.

Let's look at the notion of magic, and explore why and how it works.


The characters in fairy tales are an indelible part of our psyche. We grew up with them; in fact, we cannot remember a time when we did not know them. Who did not thrill at the danger when Red Riding Hood opened the door, not knowing, as we knew, that a wolf lay in Grandma's bed? Who did not feel that lump in the pit of their stomach when Snow White took the apple from the disguised peddler, who we knew so well was really her own jealous stepmother? Who did not hope beyond hope that Beauty would see through the veil of the physical, and realize that the hideous Beast before her was her own true love?

We have lived with these creatures of folklore for so long that their names call to mind instant images of their stories, and of the ways they formed our own personalities as we spent our childhoods in their company. We learned to navigate the difficult world of reality by considering the exploits of these fantasy heroines and heroes. When danger threatened us, we learned from Gretel to use our brains, or from Cinderella to be patient, and things would work as they were supposed to.

As archetypes we may call on these fairy tale denizens to aid us. By doing so, we access the childish portion of our mind that first came to know these characters. That childish mind is more open and accepting than the adult mind: it has not become as disillusioned with the world as our adult minds might have. Using these iconic figures to open the childish mind, ritual and magic will work more easily, and achieve results faster.

But wait: there's more to these fairy tale icons than just archetype. They are a shadow of Faerie creatures and mythic figures, sanitized and handed down to us as Snow White, the Dwarfs, Rose-Red, and the Beast. As a distant memory of actual Faerie beings, these characters are real, and inhabit this world as we do. Those who believe in the truth of Faeries—not cutesy Tinker Bell Faeries, but true enchanted creatures of the lands beyond our sight—may call upon these creatures for aid and magic in the form of the fairy tale denizens we will consider. While we may call upon Snow White, we will see that it is just one name for a Nymph, a Faerie creature of the ancient world who may aid us to take on sexual confidence and sensual bearing. And when we call upon the bear in "Snow-White and Rose-Red," we are conjuring up an Underworld creature that has aided shamans for thousands of years.

So we will evoke these ancient Faerie creatures, in their guise as the heroines and heroes of the Grimms' tales, for aid in achieving our real-world goals. We will do this in the form of spells and rituals.

Rituals, or structured ceremonies, have been performed by people throughout the world since the dawn of humankind. Most rituals carry spiritual or religious significance, and are performed as ceremonies to Goddesses, Gods, spirits, and natural forces. Most of us grew up with rituals such as Mass, Shabbos, or other religious services of some kind. In most belief systems, ritual is done in essentially the same way each time (which is what makes it a ritual rather than a service or a ceremony). The Catholic Mass, for instance, is done the same way every time, throughout the world. One reason this works is that when you do a special set of actions the same way each time, the actions begin to "wake" the subconscious mind, enabling you to enter a trance state. Using fairy tale denizens also opens the "child mind," which will allow the same thing to happen—the child mind is less judgmental and analytical than the adult mind, and tends to just "let things happen." These elements combined—doing ritual in the same format each time, entering a childlike state (no matter how old you are), and enticing your mind into a trance state—will allow you to create a magical environment where inner change can occur, and where enchanted beings may enter your world and bond with you.

The rituals we will perform here are based on Ceremonial Magic and Wiccan ritual. Ceremonial Magic is an old magical system that is at the root of Catholicism, Qabalah, and the practices of the ceremonial Masons; Wicca is European Paganism, the worship of ancient European Goddesses and Gods. You do not need to believe in either discipline for the ritual to work. They are simply a blueprint for the ritual's structure.

You will spend some time preparing yourself to do each ritual, by thinking carefully about the desired outcome. If you want a ritual to bring you a long-term result—such as a lifelong lover, lasting confidence, an enduring relationship with Nature, or a deep understanding of some aspect of your life—then be prepared to put some time into preparing for the ritual. It's just not logical to expect to find a lover who will commit to you for decades simply by performing a twenty-minute ritual: you may find you will need to perform the same ritual again and again over time, every full moon for six months for example, to feel that the magic is truly affecting your life. That is the nature of ritual; it is meant to be done over and over, the same each time, and each time you perform the ritual you will gain a deeper understanding or feel a deeper magic.


Excerpted from FAIRY TALE Rituals by KENNY KLEIN Copyright © 2011 by Kenny Klein. Excerpted by permission of Llewellyn Publications. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Kenny Klein (California) is a musician, performer, and lecturer who has been active in the Pagan community and on the Renaissance festival and folk music circuits for over twenty years. He has recorded numerous CDs of music and performs year round. Visit him online at www.kennyklein.net.

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