All the Sages remind us that while we are in the world, we are not of the world. The world did not create us. We created the world. Having it backwards leads to fear and all its ills. Remembering our home and origin reveals love and grace and purity, our original innocence, as Little Red Riding Hood discovered on her journey to Grandmother’s house (in this story). And this is what happened, in the present tense, as all journeys occur only in the present:
Little Red Riding Hood sets off for Grandmother’s house on the very first day of leaving girlhood and becoming a woman, but she gets lost. The woods are dense and dark. Also, storm clouds are gathering and there are sprinkles of rain. Soon it is pouring and she can’t find her way at all. She falls down beside a tree, wet and terrified. She needs a guide, so she calls Wolf to come to her aid. Wolf comes at once, and Little Red Riding Hood greets him as an ally. He stays with her through the stormy night, sheltering her with his body and keeping her warm.
The next day, Wolf leads her through the dense forest to the trail leading straight to the home of the Wise Grandmother who can see what is true and real and important without asking questions or conducting an intake interview. It is plain as day to her what is needed, what is the case, what is happening, and what is most likely to happen tomorrow or the day after that. She could tell Little Red Riding Hood everything, but she chooses to wait and listen. It is better if it comes out of Little Red Riding Hood herself so that she experiences it firsthand.
Nothing ever means very much until we experience it firsthand. Then we know. Otherwise, we only think we know and we don’t know at all.
So Wise Grandmother waits patiently while Little Red Riding Hood frowns with the struggle of searching within herself for the words to express what she knows is there, and as she struggles, she experiences what it is that she seeks to share.
“I was lost on the path and it started to rain and get cold. I fell down beside a tree and huddled in my cloak, crying. I felt so bad. All the misery in the world assailed me as I curled up into a wretched ball, wondering why I had started this journey in the first place. What use was it? Then Wolf came and snuggled beside me, offering his warmth. I became aware of the beating of my heart, the softness of my dress, the strength of my body. Although I am small, I seemed to sense a doorway to the universe inside myself. An escape hatch, sort of. One that is always there. A way back home when the time is right.
“Then I fell asleep and slipped through the hatch into infinity and remembered what I am. Not ‘who’ Grandmother, but ‘what.’ What I am cannot be named. I discovered that I can go home anytime! I don’t have to wait until I die. Home is within me always. And when I woke up from my dreaming, the sun was shining. Wolf stood before me, showing the way. Once I could see the path clearly, Wolf disappeared. All of a sudden, he was just nowhere in sight. I got up, dusted pine straw from my skirt, and took a deep breath of fresh air. Now I felt like I was in paradise. The way ahead was clear.”