Walt Disney’s movies were much more than mere entertainment, Disney’s tales contain beautiful philosophical messages that date back to ancient times.
When one thinks of Disney, the image that comes to mind is that of castles, princesses and magic kingdoms. In a time when people were suffering from exacerbated materialism, Walt Disney introduced an enchanted world to the lives of millions of children around the world, enlightening their childhoods.
Associated to Freemasonry, Walt Disney injected the pearls of the ancient wisdom into his films so that kids would have access to the knowledge that was long forgotten by society. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is one of his most symbolic animations and retells a story that humanity already knew, but in Disney’s version, the happy ending is certain, because as he used to say, “people ought to know that there’s light after the darkness”.
Alchemical Principles in Disney’s Films – The Symbolism of Snow White’s Appearance
With a hair as dark as ebony, the skin as white as snow and the lips as red as blood, Snow White’s appearance corresponds to the alchemical principles that constitute the foundations of the Hermetic philosophy. In the middle ages, alchemists theorized that in order to transform lead into gold, the lead should go through a process of purification which was divided into three stages: blackening, reddening and whitening. The final stage was when all imperfections were burned away and the lead finally enabled the gold, hidden inside, to emerge from the ashes.
In fact, not only was Snow White’s appearance associated to alchemy, but the whole story tells the story of a purification – the brute soul that needs to burn imperfections away in order to become enlightened and reveal a golden spirit.
The Symbolic Meaning of the Seven Dwarfs
The seven dwarfs represent the seven planes of consciousness that ancient philosophers believed to exist in the universe as well as inside each person. These planes correspond to the physical realm (body, sensations, emotions and concrete mind) and spiritual realm (pure mind, intuition, will).
According to the ancient knowledge, when all seven planes of consciousness are aligned in perfect harmony, a person becomes enlightened and pure. But, this is no easy task as most humans struggle to overcome the traps of emotions, passions and desires, becoming very attached to the lower instincts of the physical realm, abandoning the spiritual life that should govern the soul.
When Snow White finds the house of the seven dwarfs, everything is a mess and the house is dirty, so she starts to clean the house symbolizing the process of purification in which must clean the imperfections of her soul so that the seven instances of consciousness (dwarfs) can live in harmony.
The Meaning and Symbolism of the Apple
In many different philosophical traditions, the apple, because of its shape and colour, symbolizes the heart. The evil queen, disguised as an old lady, offers the apple to Snow White and tells her that specific apple could make dreams come true.
Those who have no wishes or desires in the heart are free from the temptations of the physical world, but Snow White, driven by passion, could not refuse such an offer and ate the apple (does this plot sound familiar?). She then fell asleep in a profound coma, as a result of destroying the heart to the detriment of her wishes.
According to the ancient wisdom, all the obstacles of life, and the suffering that derive from them, are a result of a person’s attachment to the material desires or worldly pleasures. Buddhist philosophy says that the physical world is an illusion, and one should not be attached to the illusory pleasures. When this happens, a person falls into a profound state of ignorance, symbolized by Snow White’s death.
The Symbolism of the Hunter and the Queen
Snow White’s saga through the forest (manifested world) starts when the queen discovers she is not so beautiful as she had imagined. So, she tells the hunter to bring her the heart of Snow White, who was prettier than she was. When the hunter approaches Snow White, he realizes that she does not deserve to be killed and gives the heart of an animal to the evil queen instead.
Snow White represents the queen’s soul, in need to purify the imperfection of vanity, and the hunter is related to the ancient concept of karma – the law of action and reaction and the force that makes everyone faces the consequences of their own actions.
The hunter (karma) gives Snow White the opportunity to live by sending her in a pilgrimage through the woods. This is exactly what happens to every human being, according to ancient traditions, as the physical life is seen as a way to purify the spirit. The evil queen finally disappears forever when Snow White finds true love and as she’s resurrected from the deep coma, the veil of illusion lifts.