July 19, 2012

Snow White & the Huntsman: A Role Model for the Feminine? ~ Sara Avant Stover

Fifteen minutes into watching “Snow White & the Huntsman” last weekend, I nuzzled my lips into my boyfriend‘s ear and whispered, “I loooove this movie!”

I went to the film for some ho-hum Friday night entertainment but left with a heart emblazoned with passion and conviction.

As a yogini, and a teacher to other yoginis, I’ve struggled to find role models for what the path of true feminine realization looks like. My personal and professional experience proves again and again that our healing and awakening has a completely different pathway and expression than a man’s. Ours is riddled with self-doubt, self sabotage, catty competition and a struggle to find our authentic voices.

It was unimaginably (and unexpectedly) healing, inspiring, and clarifying for me to see the yogini/ heroine’s journey depicted in a Hollywood blockbuster. Unprecedented.

I encourage every woman (and man who loves their women) to go and see this movie.

Snow White and the Huntsman served as a balm for my feminine soul. I went to see if halfway into leading my online course “Reversing Our Curse,” which is all about resourcing and befriending our darkness (via our monthly cycles) to know our true feminine authority. This film uncannily depicted the very lessons that I’m sharing there.

I’m so relieved to know that those lessons are waking up for the masses too, even if mostly unconsciously at the moment (and the screenplay was written by men, which is intriguing to me).

This film also shone as an encouragement (keep going!) for the deep (and quite often heart/gut-wrenchingly painful) inner work that I do day-in-and-day-out, simply because I am both-feet-in committed to waking up as a woman, in a woman’s body, and then to teaching other women how to do the same.

We all heal through stories. I didn’t realize how much I needed to hear this story. It externalized the inner journey I’ve been traveling as a woman in increasing intensity.

It embodies the very story that every single woman who’s ready to claim her sovereignty must embark on eventually.

I feel so strongly about this that I want to share my perspective. It surprises and saddens me that none of the reviews I’ve read of this film depict the symbolism of what I feel is really at play here (at least that I’ve seen—if you have other sources, please share). From what I can tell, it seems that most have missed the point.

Hollywood traditionally casts its “evil” feminine into the greatest evil that men used to see, and perhaps all they were willing to see, in women: vanity.

The original evil Queen’s great flaw was her narcissism, which led her to want to kill Snow White. It was all about beauty, pure and simple. This queen, played with real power and depth by Charlize Theron, harbors dark ambition, thoughts of revenge and a sense of overcoming male domination in her world. Her darkness is in response to the very pain and suffering she’s experienced in the past.

The casting of the feminine leads was spot-on. Some reviewers didn’t like Kristen Stewart in the Snow White role. I loved her. Her mysterious, quiet, receptive power and humility sung to those very parts of myself that aren’t traditionally seen as “powerful” or worthy of being a “leading lady.”

Here’s what I got from Snow White and the Huntsman:

  • >>Deep relief and resonance in watching an externalized portrayal of a woman’s journey to the “underworld,” facing her dark/shadow side, and returning home, triumphant, to lead her community. I’m very familiar with myths, like that of Inanna, that depict this, but I’ve never witnessed it in a Hollywood blockbuster. I witness the buried feminine longing and hunger to recognize herself in such beautiful, archetypal language. Men, of course, have this opportunity in films like this again and again (and again—from Lord of the Rings to Clash of the Titans).
  • >>Inspiration to continue to give my inner dark goddess (Ravenna/Charlize Theron) a voice, an expression, a power, a kingdom (and a kickass wardrobe). Let all hell break loose within—then real, lasting change can happen. If you ignore her or suppress her, she’ll destroy you and those are her.
  • >>Trust and embody the principles of feminine leadership and realization, even though they seem counterintuitive: patience; following signs and synchronicities; engaging in magic; asking unseen forces for help; partnering with nature; and, most of all, commanding with love, kindness, service, humility, and devotion. Commit to the long arc and the labrynthine path over the short-term win.
  • >>The importance of trusting, loving, being supported by and standing up to the masculine in yourself and others. They need your leadership as much as you need theirs.
  • >>The life and death nature of what happens when a woman truly turns into her dark side. The deep trust, courage, and commitment it takes to overcome (with fierce, all-encompassing love) that part of yourself which wants to annihilate you. Only when you alone confront this darkness can you become the queen of your own life.
  • >>Your courage and faith in embarking on this journey will both revive our world and bring it to its knees.

An initiation into one’s true, feminine self is not always confident, direct, and unflinching. It’s the very twistedness, hesitation, timidity, and wrath—alchemized, included and finally transcended into humble and unwaivering love and service—that marks a true yogini.

Sara Avant Stover (http://www.SaraAvantStover.com) is a yogini, inspirational speaker, teacher, mentor, and author of the best-selling book The Way of the Happy Woman: Living the Best Year of Your Life. After a cancer scare in her early twenties, Sara moved to Thailand, embarked on a decade-long healing and spiritual odyssey throughout Asia, became a certified yoga instructor, and went on to teach thousands of women in over a dozen countries. The creator of the world’s first Women’s Yoga Teacher Training, she now teaches at centers such as Kripalu and Shambhala Mountain Center.  Her work has been featured in Yoga Journal, the Huffington PostNewsweekNatural Health, and on ABC, NBC, and CBS.

Download a free chapter of Sara’s book here. (http://www.saraavantstover.com/freebies/)


Editor: Hayley Samuelson

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