In the late 1980’s I worked on Hinchinbrook Island Resort in Far North Queensland, as governess to the manager’s children. The children were aged two and four and each day we went on exciting adventures, exploring the island and each day it was unanimous that we return home in the afternoon to watch a movie. ‘Pinocchio’ was the unmatched favourite and I’m quite sure we watched it over thirty times.
I did not understand at the time why children love to watch the same movie over and over. Now I do! Now I know that movies, particularly well crafted, timeless classics like those produced by the genius of Walt Disney, speak to our soul. These movies deliver messages on many levels all-at-once, just as myths and legends provide imagery for the senses, nourishment for the soul and a deeper understanding of our innate impulses and purpose. Another genius in his field, Philosopher Joseph Campbell aptly reflects this sentiment in his book, ‘The Power of Myth”… The myth is for spiritual instruction. The folk tale is for entertainment.” I believe that Pinocchio delivers both.
The movie begins with the opening of a book, signifying the beginning of a story, preparing us for the start of a brand new adventure, an adventure into our imagination! And then the music begins, transporting us into the story…
When you wish upon a star
Makes no difference who you are
Anything your heart desires
Will come to you
If your heart is in your dream
No request is too extreme
When you wish upon a star
As dreamers do
After the first couple of pages are turned, we are taken into the world that as it appears on the page and as we move closer, we are introduced to the character of Jiminy Cricket.
Jiminy Cricket lives in the workshop of Gepetto, the clock maker, who’s putting the finishing touches on his latest creation, a little wooden boy, he calls Pinocchio. Gepetto lives with his faithful cat and delightful goldfish. As Gepetto applies the final strokes, giving Pinocchio a smile, he wishes Pinocchio was a real boy and then retires to his bed for the night. As the household sleeps, the magical Blue Fairy arrives to make Gepetto’s wish come true. Jiminy Cricket witnesses this magical event and nominates himself a worthy candidate to be guardian of the boy. With these words Jiminy Cricket is given the honour of becoming Pinocchio’s conscience… “Lord, High Keeper of the Knowledge of right and wrong, Counsellor in moments of Temptation, Guide along the straight and narrow path”. The Blue Fairy tells Pinocchio to listen to the still, small voice within… “Prove yourself brave, truthful and unselfish and someday you will become a real boy. And remember Pinocchio, always be a good boy and let your conscience be your guide”.
The next morning Gepetto delights in his wish coming true and after celebrating the gift of new life, sends his boy off to school. Pinocchio ventures out into the world for the first time and along the path is lured by temptation presented by the Fox, who offers an alternative education of theatre, fame and fortune. This seduction sets in motion a series of challenges that Pinocchio must endure and when the going gets tough, the true colours of the fox shine through and Pinocchio remembers the instructions from the Blue Fairy to ‘give a little whistle’ and calls in his trusty conscience. Jiminy Cricket provides simple counsel that puts Pinocchio back on the straight and narrow, “The most fantastic, magical things can happen, and it all starts with a wish”.
Pinocchio is faced with a number of challenges and consequences of his choices that provide experiences to learn from his mistakes, to determine right from wrong and recognise the wisdom in the words of the Blue Fairy… “A lie keeps growing and growing until it’s as plain as the nose on your face”.
Revisiting ‘Pinocchio’ after a number of years hasbeen delightful. After watching Pinocchio over and over with the children on Hinchinbrook Island, I recognised the gift of understanding the value in revisiting stories that our speaking to our subconscious, that guide our spirit and illuminate our soul.
Over the years I’ve developed my own tendency for watching movies over and over, establishing a ‘cry meter’! Now, when I cry during a movie I believe it is speaking to a deeper place within me, triggering a subconscious or unconscious aspect that will benefit from deeper understanding. So, I now view movies again and again, to provide the conditions for inner secrets to emerge and for buried treasure to be brought to the surface for deeper understanding, knowledge and wisdom.
This brings to mind another famous quote from Joseph Campbell…”One thing that comes out of myths, for example, is that at the bottom of the abyss comes the voice of salvation. The black moment is the moment when the real message and transformation is going to come. At the darkest moment comes the light.”
The story of Pinocchio provides a number of symbolic opportunities to visit the bottom of the abyss, for example, the black moment when Gepetto and his trusty cat are searching for Pinocchio and are trapped in the belly of a giant whale. Resolution to our challenges lie beneath the surface and once met, escalate us to a higher level of knowing which brings with it a greater sense of responsibility for the bigger picture, the whole, the universe, mankind and our contribution to it.
Enjoy Pinocchio the next time you revisit the power and magic of movies.
© Patricia Herreen 2013