This book draws from the thematic threads of the German folktale about Rumpelstiltskin, that magical little imp who makes a horrific deal in exchange for his ability to spin straw into gold.
For me, the stories in Spinning Silver are about finding and making manifest one’s golden brilliance. It’s about not being afraid of your power and allowing yourself to be fully present in your gifts.
I read an excerpt from the end of chapter six where Miryem encounters the otherworldly Staryk king for the second time.
Spinning Silver written by Naomi Novik and published by Del Ray, 2018. Naomi Novik is the author of many other novels, Including Uprooted (which is perhaps an origin story of Baba Yaga), a series about dragons, a series about a secret magical society, and numerous other stories.
I invite you to witness all your thoughts without judgment. Okay? Could you allow your thoughts to arise and be expressed without censure or editing? Could you allow yourself to be as you are at this moment?
In this podcast, I read a quote from Marianne Williamson despite the fact I find her teachings lack nuance and are steeped in privilege. None the less, this quote of hers sums up what I think the folktale of Rumpelstilskin is alluding to and that is our light is often hidden. Here’s the quote:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
― Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles”
Williamson’s quote makes the assumption it is always safe and appropriate to shine brightly yet that is not always the case. Take some time to consider all the external forces that influence your decision to keep your light hidden. I’m not talking about playing small because of shame or fear but rather because sometimes keeping your light private is very wise. Can you recognize times when you’ve been prudent in regards to keeping your light hidden?
What needs to be in place for you to feel safe to shine brightly? How does it feel to do so? What feels possible when you’re shining?
What are some of the qualities of your brightness? Are you comfortable with all those qualities? Which qualities do you prefer? Which qualities give you pause?
How do you respond to brightness in others? Does it make a difference if they are someone you know or don’t know? Like or don’t like? How does it feel when you contribute to someone’s shine? How does it feel to dim someone’s shine?
Do you accept the light that others see in you? Why or why not? What do others see in you that you do not see? Or do not want to see? What aspects of your lightness do you reject? How do you reject your brilliance?
What polishes your shine? What contributes to your luminosity? What do you look like at full wattage? What does the world around you look like? What will you do?
Do you believe you contain within you an undimmable nugget of brilliance? A thread of gold? I do and I’m going to leave you with another quote; this time from someone I love dearly and agree with wholeheartedly, John O’Donohue:
“…there is a place in you where you have never been wounded, where there’s still a sureness in you, where there’s a seamlessness in you, and where there is a confidence and tranquility in you.”
— John O’Donohue, interviewed by Krista Tippett for On Being
Shine on dear one, shine on. You’re magic.