Little Red Riding Hood is a tale that you think you know well. She sets off into the forest to visit her sick grandmother. It appears that Red has ADD . Little Red wanders off the path. She becomes friendly with a wolf. Red remaining on her path, gives the wolf information to where she is going.
The wolf runs ahead. The wolf eats the grandmother. Red enter. She discovers that her grandmother's eyes are too big. Her grandmother's teeth are too sharp. Little Red is eaten by the wolf.
"Little Red Cap" was the original name of this favorite Fairy Tale. A French version of this tale precedes the Grimm's version which debuted in 1812. In the French version, Little Red is a peasant and dies in the end. In the Grimm's version, she is middle class, goes through a rebirth process and is rescued by a Woodsman.
The question is, what is this story really about. Is it a tale originally used to scare children from wandering off? I doubt it, as back in the those times, children had more responsibilities.
They had to go to the market by themselves. Children went into the woods willingly to collect berries. Little Red Caps were sent to their grandmother's house to take food. Children were more custom to having to do grown up tasks.
The Truth About Little Red Riding Hood
Let's look closer at the symbolism in this story. The most obvious is the red cape. Red is the color of strength and courage. A young girl going into the woods alone would need those qualities. A cape could be a symbol of 'keeping secret,' used as a covering that could hide secrets, even your identity.
Red symbolizes a young woman's menstrual blood. Red is the color of fertility. In Paganism, Maid, Mother, Crone, red is color for the mother as she is capable of becoming impregnated. It would make sense to assume that Red's hood, symbolizes a young woman's secrets. The secrets of coming of age.
The wolf would be the new dangers. Parents often warn their daughters (and sons for that matter) about the others that will use, abuse and treat them unfair. After-all, as a parent, it is our duty to protect our children.
The wolf would be the rebel, the attacker, the bad apple, heeded as a warning. Just like a rebel, they could have an attraction to them, an appeal that makes them hard to resist. This brings danger into a reality
"Grandmother, what big teeth you have," says Red. She is now realizing that she may have been naive and trusting. What she sees before her is not the friendly face of her loving grandmother. It is deceit and betrayal. Little Red has been naïve and now will pay.
I wonder if this part of the story sounds familiar to many of us. We have trusted the wrong person, gotten hurt and like Red will suffer from it greatly. What we should remember is the lesson from this kind of experience. Going through such a huge transition will often lead to a death of sorts and rebirth. For Red, it is the transition of becoming a woman.
In one version of Red Riding Hood, a different wolf knocks on Granny's door. Red and Granny are much wiser. They know that they can not trust everyone. They boil lard and set it in a pot on the roof. The wolf returns and is killed by boiling lard. Moral of this story, "never mess with a woman scorned." All humor aside, it is important to remember not to let a bad experience define you.
A Witch's View
My belief as a "Fairy Tale Witch" is that the wolf is a totem or spirit animal for Red. She isn't afraid of him until she remembers her mother's warning. She communicates with the wolf easily. They understand each other.
The wolf decides to eat her. I have personally had experiences with my spirit guides where they tried to lead me in a direction or communicate with me. I felt stressed, miserable and unhappy.
In essence, when life is good...you feel fulfilled, happy, content...not everything will be a bed of roses but you move forward with ease. This is what living your life purpose feels like.
If you are always stressed...you struggle day to day, week to week, year to year...you are frustrated and feel stuck. Guess what? You are not doing your life purpose. Try doing some meditation or have a Tarot Reading.
Little Red Riding Hood gets eaten. She is in transition. She is in darkness and must think about her life and choices. Light and rebirth come as the woodsman frees her. She is changed.
This is similar to an initiation from traditional Witchcraft. An initiate would be bounded, tied and blindfolded. Sometimes they were hung upside down. This is to resemble a death (of your old self) and rebirth (a witch.)
As you can see, there are many prospective of this classic Fairy Tale. It is not a story intended just for children. The important thing is how do you view this story and how can it help you out of your chaos and onto your true path.
A wolf is just a lesson and lessons repeat. Situations and similarities show up in our lives over and over again. If you are asking yourself why? That part is easy. It is because you have not learned the lesson.
When are you going to get off that hamster wheel and break the cycle? When are you going to learn the lesson so that you can move forward on your path through the woods, to Grandmother's house?