Mother Gothel & Rapunzel
by Teresa Maria
Mother Gothel was my mother, my mentor, my friend…she was not of this world and didn’t always understand the ways of the human. She came from the Underworld, the abode of those who weave the web of Fate. A powerful enchantress; and once the persecutions began, accused of being an evil witch by those who didn’t understand the mystical forces of death and rebirth.
I should start this tale at the beginning, with my birth parents. They had remained childless for many years, before finally consulting with the local wise-woman, my Mother Gothel. She agreed to help, promising them a large and happy family if they would allow their first born to enter her care to learn the craft.
My birth parents happily agreed, whereby Mother Gothel prepared a magical potion made from the secret ingredients to be found in her lovely witches’ garden. The garden contained the secrets of a myriad of life-saving plants and herbs, alas, many now lost to us.
My birth parents were delighted to finally be with child, and I, as their first born became the child of Mother Gothel.
Named after the herb, which had allowed me to be conceived, I was soon initiated into the wisdoms of the wise-woman. I learned the lore of the plants, and the brewing of potions and magical charms, how to sing to the creatures and make of them my friends and most of all I learned to be at one with nature and honour the land. Mother Gothel was a most patient teacher and tutored me well in the old traditions.
It was time, my puberty had begun, and I was required, as a rite of passage to be alone, to hide from those who would take advantage of this tender growth. Mother Gothel took me to a sacred tower hidden in the forests where I would be in the care of the woodland creatures, where the nature-spirits could watch over me, and let no human harm befall me. Mother Gothel would visit daily and we spent long hours discussing faerie matters and the ways of middle-earth.
However, Mother Gothel had forgotten that I was partially a human child and that I would surely require the need for human company and warmth. I began to sing my enchantment song, bringing my soulmate ever closer to my heart. Daily I sang my magical charm until, one day, I sensed my prince, my suitor, my anam cara, he had arrived. With anticipation, I let down my hair to him and, as must be, we met, finally and irrevocably. Such love, we could no more be parted, but, oh, how I hated to betray my Mother Gothel. She had taught me so much, I was her daughter, loved no less than if I had been born from her own womb.
For many months, this terrible situation existed, until I could contain my secret no more. “Mother Gothel, I love a human and I must be with him”, I cried! “But child”, she implored me, “you are part faerie and therefore forbidden to marry a mere human”! Her pleadings were to no avail, my human love was too strong, overpowering, I had to make my choice and I chose my loved one.
With tears in her eyes and regret in her voice, Mother Gothel had to perform one last ritual before I would go alone into the wilderness of the world. She had to cut off my precious faerie hair!
I now had to rely on my own intuition and skills. I would have to fend for myself, relying solely on my learning and inner resources, no beings from the underworld would be able to accompany me.
Only once did I look back, poor Mother Gothel was weeping silently into my long shorn plaits, these she would keep in the hope that I would one day return to take my rightful place, when Mother Gothel would be required to leave for the underworld.
My suitor was not to be so lucky; Mother Gothel blamed him mightily for the loss she had suffered, accusing him of luring me away. She challenged him to make a sacrifice before deserving the hand of a wise-one. My young prince, not understanding the challenge before him, became increasingly afraid of this great sorceress towering before him, leaped from the window, whereby, the brambles reached up to embrace him and scratch out his eyes, and so the sacrifice was made.
I wandered alone for many a year as did my loved one, singing my love song, hoping to guide him ever closer to my side. I lived from my knowledge of the plants, gathering food and berries from the sacred land, exploring my human side, my inner world. I knew there would come a time when I would be reunited with my love, when I would have the wisdom Mother Gothel had taught me, that I could survive as a mortal.
One day my sweet singing carried forth on the wind and brought my loved one to me, oh, how I cried, holding him, loving him, we had proved our love to each other and survived. My own tears fell into his blind eyes and restored his sight, allowing the light to once again enter. Our endurances had not been in vain, the Fates had taken pity upon us and made us complete.
In the fullness of time, I will return to my sweet Mother Gothel. One day when my human love has passed away and it is time again to honour my faerie nature, to enter, the dwelling place of the fate-weavers, where Natures’ wisdom is preservered. Before the persecutions begin, the sacred lore of the land will be passed on, to lie hidden, until in many eons to come, the wise-ones, the ones who can understand, can once more weave their sweet magical music…
That time has begun…listen…
Rapunzel was published in Germany by the Brothers Grimm in 1812, The tale of Repunzel can be traced back to similar tales from Italy and France. The first literary traces of the tale come from the Giambattista Basile’s Pentamerone in 1637.