Kenny Klein’s book Fairy Tale Ritual was very different than many of the books that I’ve read on spells and rituals due to its focus. Klein takes us on a very fascinating journey back on the road where the fairy tales we know and love came from, and then offers guidance on using those magical archetypes in our ritual practices. The book begins with a short introduction to some of the fairy tales that he features, followed by an explanation of their true origins, long before men like the Grimm brothers and Hans Christian Anderson adapted and recorded them. They are older, darker, and more full of magic than many know. At their core, these stories contain the deep magic that is the cornerstone of many ancient beliefs and practices, and Klein shows how we can use these dark mysteries as a basis for rituals, as many of them contain the deities, faeries, nymphs, and many other magical beings.
Klein also gives a quick explanation of rituals and magic to his readers. This will be useful for newer practitioners who have come across this book, but a fairly quick read through for those who have practiced for a long time. He also explains the history of how the Grimm brothers came across the fairy tales. Each chapter in Klein’s book discusses a different famous fairy tale and the main characters. Snow White, both the one from Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, and Snow White and Rose Red is featured, along with Hansel and Gretel, Little Red Riding Hood, Briar Rose, and many others. The chapters are structured with an explanation of the tale that most readers are familiar, and then analyzing its magical origins. The rest involve different spells and rituals that the magical origin can be useful in and how to use them.
After the introductory chapters, Klein takes readers on a journey through the many different fairy tales, and explains rituals that can use the archetypes. My personal favorite was the chapter about Beauty and the Beast, which was my favorite story and film as a child, so it was one that was a big part of my life. I didn’t expect it to have so much to do with broom magic, but in several versions, Belle has a friend who was known as the Little Broomstick. She was a broom binder’s daughter, with whom she is described as sharing a soul with. When her father encounters the Beast and makes his deal with him (because he stole a rose from the garden), he tries to send Little Broomstick in Belle’s place. This does not work, so Belle is his prisoner and eventually falls in love with him, and that love cures him of his ‘beastly’ nature. Klein then moves on to explain the different riddles and archetypes that appear in the story. For example, the Beast in the Grimm version is a hairy monster with a big snout who lives behind palace walls and is summoned by a rose. In other versions he’s more of a bear or even a snake, which Klein explains can be traced back to the ancient Biblical texts (Eve, the serpent, a garden behind a wall). Klein also traces it to the Greek Myth of Cupid and Psyche. It is truly a tale as old as time, with plenty of beasts, gods, and faeries represented.
However, the biggest riddle in the story is the girl known as The Little Broomstick, because at the end of the chapter is when Klein explains the rituals of broom magic. As it turns out, while she is quite a minor character, she represents a young peasant woman who lives closely with and works with nature. Broom corn is the second magical plant in the story besides the rose. She shows the connection between young witches and brooms, and represents the magical young witch who sweeps the magical circle. Because the girls were of one heart, Belle would share this power. Klein moves on to explain different rituals using brooms, from sweeping rituals to fertility. It was a wonderful new way to practice ritual, and to experience one of my favorite stories from my youth.
I highly recommend this book to any lover of fairy tales who wants to learn more about their origins and incorporate their mythology into their practice.