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Goldilocks and The Three Bears and the lost girls!

Updated: Mar 22

In a journey of walking with imagery and archetype is an opportunity to reflect on our humaning in new ways, which might include reclaiming parts we had long forgotten about. This journey is always deeply personal, but it can be powerful to correspond with it in creative community. At The Soul Shed I offer an archetype and connected theme to walk with, and this time around it has been The Wheel of Fortune and Discernment. A lover of old stories, this led me to visit the tale of Goldilocks and the three Bears in a new light, and at the beginning of the year a small group of us shared creative time exploring together using the tools of SoulCollage® and Deep-Mapping.

It is a very strange tale when you think about it. The central character  is a young free-spirited girl with feature hair, who knows what she likes and who follows her desires for food and comfort, and intrudes into and turns upside down the home of a family of three trusting and unassuming bears. They discover her, she runs off. The End.

If you scratch the surface of this story and it's history as a narrative, it turns out it has transformed in its retelling so many times that almost every ingredient has been altered to bring it to its common form. The nuclear family of three bears were previously three co-habiting bachelors, and Goldilocks has had many manifestations as character including being an elderly female fox. The modern version we know, and which is depicted in the imagery below, of course has several very popular ingredients: Blonde  heroine, forest adventure, family of animals living in a humanesque dwelling place … however, there’s no easy moral to find in it, good doesn’t triumph, and although as a story it has potent themes and ideas in it, what to do with them in terms of meaning making is very much left to the reader of the story. This last thing in particular, makes this story very ‘Lifey’, as a good friend of mine would say.

If you would like to read it, Robert Southeys version of the story, first published in 1837 is here.

Here is a shorter synopsis:

In a forest, a  family of three bears go for a walk while their breakfast cools down. A little girl named Goldilocks, goes for a walk in the forest and comes upon their home,  which  she enters and finds to her delight three bowls of porridge. The first one she tastes is too salty, the next too sweet, but the third one just right so she eats it all up.

Goldilocks finds the three different size chairs where she tries them out and finds the first one too high, the next too low, and then the little one just right but it breaks when she sits in it. As she wanders in the home she finds three beds and tries them out. The first bed is too hard, the next too soft but the third is just right and she curls up and falls asleep.

Meanwhile Daddy, Mummy, and little Baby Bear come home. Much to their surprise they discover the outcome of what Goldilocks has done to their porridge, chairs and finally their beds. Goldilocks wakes with a fright when she sees and hears the bears; she jumps from the bed and runs away as fast as she can.

Who is Goldilocks?

For some of us, she is a symbol of freedom - the child in her free, natural state, before social conditioning squash down the instinctual knowing that Goldilocks has, to know what she needs, and to move towards it. For others of, she is an out of control force of nature with nice hair, who runs amok because she has no capacity to consider the home and privacy of the bears who live in the house: She has no boundaries or sense of where her world interfaces with the world of others.

Through the lens of the commitee suit in SoulCollage ® , which is a suit for cards representing the psychological dimension of life, and which allows us to contain multiple aspects of ourselves, Goldilocks represents a state of open unashamed curiosity and acting on desire, An interesting inquiry is to notice the feelings Goldilocks stirs in you. Making a SoulCollage card around this could be very

rich in personal meaning.

Above: SoulCollage® card from our recent workshop

representing two aspects of Goldilocks.

Unassuming Bears and the socialised self

Another aspect of psyche which might appear in your journey with this story is the adapted, socialised self. In the Southey version of the tale, the experience of The Three Bears is kept clearly in point of view-the story opens in their home, and so the sense of the intrusion of Goldilocks and its impact on the family is a meaningful part of the story. However as human readers, the little girl is 'one of us', so the unsettling quality of the story is about not knowing quite who to identify with! The socially sophisticated animals, or the instinctually driven human! This makes rich ground for us to explore our own relationship to our instinctual needs, and how we reconcile them with our civilised and socialised human parts, and then again with our capacity for interdependence and relationship and living together.

The Bears suffered the unexpected intrusion of Goldilocks, and she runs away at the end without any apparent understanding of the impact of her actions and there is no redress. All she seems to have got was a mild shock when the bears came home. It is an exciting adventure without consequences which perhaps explains its popularity with young children. In fact the more socially aware adult reader might be more likely to turn their concerns to the experience of the Bears - the unassuming animals in the story who experience the effects of Goldilocks.  And an interesting inquiry here is to notice the thoughts and feelings you might be having about what happened to the Three Bears?

Goldilocks as The Soul Child.

In the time that has passed since our workshop, Ive had the privilege to work one to one with this theme too, and to explore its connections with the Enneagram.  (If you are unfamiliar with these powerful wisdom teachings, you might like to take a look at this blog post).

Heres a gorgeous bit of feedback i received from this!

Going through this carefully crafted process with Sam helped me access inner resources that I didn’t know were there! As a super thinky thinker, it’s tough for me to get myself to slow down enough to really access and hear my inner wisdom. This session did exactly that. As well, to create a soul card that embodies the wisdom I uncovered is a visual reminder to me of what I learned that day and something I can continue to access and draw from ongoing.Going through this process with Sam is wonderful because she brings such a depth of care and safety.


On the symbol of the Enneagram, each archetypal point has a line of integration, and in her brilliant book, 'The Spiritual aspect of the Enneagram' Sandra Maitri teaches that when we work with this map, and identify with depth on a point on the symbol, there is a possibility of reclaiming our lost soul child along the line of integration. So doing my own inner work at point six on the enneagram, my Soul child would be found at point nine. For me that links clearly to an aspect of Goldilocks- her capacity to rest and to make her bed in the home of the bears, safely buffered by her inner peace, her trust in the benelvolence of the universe and sense of her own being!

If any of this is piquing your curiosity, then you might like to treat yourself to a one to one session at The Soul Shed - I'm still offering sessions with Goldilocks as a theme to explore and they can be booked until the end of February!

Come and explore your own inner Goldilocks!!

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