Over the Holy Nights, we shared several days exploring themes in The Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily (a fairy story by Goethe 1795). What follows is a summary of our exploration.
The series commenced on Sunday 12 noon (after the Service) of St Stephen's Day 26 December 2021, with a summary of the fairytale. More than a few of us expressed regret at having missed this first session.
Goethe's fairy tale The Green Snake and Beautiful Lily was the topic of a study group, in the time between Christmas and the New Year, meeting every other day. There were three sessions which culminated in a final recapitulation on Sunday 2 January at 12noon,after which time (around 1p.m.), we broke bread at table together, and then reconvened at 2pm for the read-through in whole.
The experience of delving into this timeless story on Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday made the totality of the work accessible, meaningful, stimulating, and alive. We read aloud, and discussed the pictures formed inwardly from the tale; holding these images as potent icons of wisdom and mystery, as well as relevant considerations to our world situation as it is today, 2020/2021/...
The discussions sometimes kindled a passion in convictions and perspectives, and more than one of us brought the reflections home, but we always returned to the unique aim which was to hold those pictures which derived directly from Gœthe's story in the foreground. We returned to giving our best attention and focus on the themes, pictures, and soul language of The Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily.
There were varying levels of familiarity with the story, from the purely uninitiated to those who'd lived through more than one form of the work brought to life.
On Sunday 26 December was the summary of the Fairytale in its entirety; an overview was explored.
Next, Tuesday 28 December: the proposed conversation and consideration was on
the Ferryman, Snake, the four Kings, and the beautiful Lily.
Finally Thursday 30 December, the conversation and consideration were on the Youth, the Old Man, and the Old Woman.
The final "performing-aloud" took place on Sunday 2 January 2022, from 2 to 4:45 pm. We had the aide of a slender volume authored by Benedict Wood, a dramatisation for the Fairytale. Additionally, with the 7 colour plates from paintings of David Newbatt, based on the Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily viewable in the background (how rich were we in accessing these external pictures to accompany our inner ones), our humble troupe devoted ourselves to this inspired, thoughtful, and not altogether unpleasant task.
"The time is at hand...
Many signs combine me.
.. Mediate deliverance,
[ and realise in the world
and within each of us: ]
wisdom, appearance, strength."
~ words captured in my journal during the study of Gœthe's Green Snake and Beautiful Lily fairytale.
An Scairbh, Co an Chláir
4 January 2022
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