The Disney Corporation has done a lot to tell and re-tell the wisdom stories of European folklore. Sadly in this re-telling many stories have been sanitised or changed to make them more commercially attractive, but within Disney’s movie formula some of their animations still manage to keep the ancient wisdom of women alive and accessible to young girls.
Even when folk tales are re-worked for a modern audience, the ancient archetypal patterns can still survive and resonate in women’s psyche – it’s the feeling of goose bumps on our skin as we watch the movie that shows us that deep magic is at work!
This happens because the original stories are fundamental expressions of the human condition, and regardless of the era we still respond at a subconscious level.
Snow White – A menstrual myth!
In the movie ‘Snow White’ Disney kept alive an ancient ‘menstrual myth’ – a story about the energies of the menstrual cycle – providing successive generations of girls and mothers with a modern version of an older story that teaches us about the energies of our menstrual cycles, about first blood and about stepping into adulthood. (See my book Red Moon for more details). But what about the animation Frozen, adapted from Hans Christina Andersen’s story The Snow Queen? Surely there isn’t a menstrual myth lying in this fun and enchanting escapade?!
Frozen is a story about the ‘Enchantress’ energies of our menstrual cycle that occur in our pre-menstrual phase.
For many of us, the ‘Enchantress phase’ of our menstrual cycle can often feel like a time of destructive energies and behaviours. We can feel out of control, unable to think clearly, and low in physical energy. We just want to let go and withdraw from the world. However, our Enchantress phase also contains beautiful gifts of freedom, of escape, of inspiration, and of creative, sexual and spiritual energies. But we need to know the key to opening and enjoying these gifts. The key lies in Frozen!
In Frozen, Princess Elsa is born with a ‘curse’ – the ability to freeze anything around her. As a child she plays with this creative power, but then by accident she threatens her sister’s life.
As Elsa changes from a child into a young woman her Enchantress pre-menstrual phase increases her creative energies and they become stronger and more out of control. Elsa has to keep everyone away and not let them in, either physically or emotionally. She has to conceal her power, not let it show, and she has to be a ‘good girl’ so no one will know about it and be frightened of her and her power. She locks herself away from the world in her room, trying to hide what she is and to keep her loved ones safe.
Isolated from her sister, there is no love – only fear, guilt and repression, and her power grows stronger and more uncontrollable.
Being like Elsa!
In our pre-menstrual phase we experience a natural withdrawal of our physical, emotional and mental energies. But in this decline we can also experience peaks of highly creative and sexual energies. These energies are strong, compulsive, instinctual, and wild. They can drive us and dominate us, and bring feelings of frustration, aggression and destructive anger if we cannot free them.
Like Elsa, we try to stop the release of this creative power because we are scared – scared of what we will do and scared of how we will affect other people. It threatens us and those we love, so we do everything in our ability to stop it, including destroying the thing that makes us a woman and which is the source of the power – our cycle.
Keeping others safe:
How many of us try to distance ourselves from loved ones because we are afraid of our negative pre-menstrual feelings of intolerance, aggression, frustration and impatience, and of the hurtful words we can inflict without intention?
How many of us feel out of control and desperate to limit or repress the energies that arise so that we can be ‘good girls’ and be what society expects us to be?
How many of us just want to be who we are in this phase?
When Elsa becomes Queen her power is discovered, and in fear she runs from the world into the isolation of the mountains. On the mountain in the snow she is free to be who she is for the first time in her life – wild, creative, and feminine. Without restrictions she explores her powers and creates amazing beauty, changing not just the land around her but also how she looks. She is sexy and magical, empowered, and a Queen in the mythological sense – a representative of the goddess of the land. She is free to shake off the restrictions she has placed on herself to hide her power and to protect others. She lets go, unable to hold the energy back any more. She feels the energy swirling inside her like a raging storm, and in her angst at her inability to hold it in she lets it fly. She ‘turns away and slams the door’ – she is so pre-menstrual!
Elsa’s wildness is unlimited by rules; there is no right or wrong, just simply who she is and her power. And her power is an expression of her female soul that creates beauty in an ice palace and frozen crystals. The perfect girl is gone, the restrictions of society are no longer relevant, she lets the storm rage on – she is our freed pre-menstrual Enchantress self!
The Pre-menstrual energies – the key
The pre-menstrual phase is our natural wild phase of dynamic creative power, and it becomes a swirling storm inside if we try to repress it. And it will leak out no matter how hard we try to stop it. In this phase we need to embrace our power, to meet our needs, to be free from the restrictions of society, and get in touch with our creative, spiritual and sexual inner Enchantress.
Disney gives a voice to all Enchantresses – pre-menstrual women – young and old through Elsa’s song ‘Let it go’. The song resonates our heartfelt need to be accepted, to be free to embrace our Enchantress power and to feel guilt-free about who we are as women. No wonder this song resonates for so many women and girls!
Finally Elsa is happy in who she is – sexy, creative, beautiful and empowered. But she doesn’t realise that her power has turned the world into ice and snow. Something is wrong. To express her wild power is not enough, she has to be the Enchantress and still live with other people without harming them.
Once again Elsa hurts her sister with her power, and this time Anna won’t survive. Frozen is a children’s movie with fun and laughs, but it also offers us a secret key –how to be true to our inner Enchantress and the power of our pre-menstrual phase without fear and without harming others.
In the story, it is ‘true love’ that is the key.
When Queen Elsa hugs her frozen sister who has given her life to protect her, she realises that she is capable of being loved even with her terrible powers. All the thoughts of how bad she is and all the feelings of guilt flow away from her as she starts to love herself. And finally her inner power is also loved, and she can express it through loving acceptance and creative playfulness.
No longer is Elsa isolated; once again she lives in the palace, but now it is decorated with her creativity and playfulness – even the snowman gets his own snow flurry (you have to see the movie to understand this!).
The phase of self-love?!
Here is the wisdom that resonates in our bones:
Yes, our Enchantress powers are a swirling storm inside that want to come out and are powerful and destructive when restricted. But the Enchantress phase is about self-love. All our negativity is not about the situation we are in or about the people around us (how many of us have thought of divorce in our pre-menstrual phase?), our negativity is a big message from our subconscious about how much WE LOVE AND ACCEPT OURSLEVES, how much WE EXPRESS OUR TRUE NATURE, and how much WE NURTURE AND MEET OUR FEMALE NEEDS.
When we love ourselves, whatever our phase, accepting that we are creative, sexual and magical creatures who are cyclic in nature, we experience well-being, happiness, wholeness and self-love. Our Enchantress is no longer to be feared. She is a beautiful and wonderful part of who we are, and in the days that she dominates our lives each month we can love her creativity and express it, we can love her sexuality and express it, and we can love her spirituality and magic and express it.
In fairy tales it is often love that destroys the ‘wicked witch’. Congratulations to Disney for going one step further, and showing us that feeling love and expressing love overcomes the destructive impulses but it also still allows the Enchantress to be free, creative and part of the world.
So in our Enchantress phase we need to love ourselves, to nurture ourselves, and give time to meeting our needs and expressing our energies. I think that Elsa probably keeps her Ice Palace and pops back once a month for a little isolation and rebuilding! Like Elsa we can create our own ice mountain retreat each month, be the sexy empowered Ice Queen and create a beautiful world around us.
No longer cursed
In the movie the trolls ask if Elsa was born with the power or cursed, and the answer is that she is born with this power – all women are. Later in the movie Elsa sings that the power is a curse. Interestingly ‘The Curse’ is an old-fashioned term for menstruation based on the Christian story where Eve is thrown out of Paradise and given the menstrual cycle and childbirth as a punishment for disobeying her god.
Something as wonderful and amazing as female creative power is still seen in many different societies around the world as a ‘curse’ – something that is against nature, that is negative and destructive, and something that needs to be repressed and controlled.
Frozen shows us how beautiful and powerful women are if their energies are embraced and loved and, most importantly, given permission to be free.
Thank you Disney
You may not know it, but you have created a wonderful menstrual myth to help us understand ourselves and to teach our daughters about the beauty of the menstrual cycle.