Their story is familiar: the young hero and heroine fall in love, defeat a terrible enemy, marry and then live happily ever after. But what really happens then? A unique group of fairytales from around the world tells us. These stories portray protagonists in middle and later life, and depict the developmental tasks of maturity – which Jung was first to describe.
We will see that fairytales from different cultures converge on the same psychological and spiritual challenges of maturity. At midlife, these include coming to terms with the loss of youthful magic, balancing masculine or feminine, grappling with the shadow, and encountering the deep masculine (for men) and the deep feminine (for women). The elder years bring a new set of challenges – recognizing the return of magic, balancing ego and Self, learning wild wisdom, and, finally, illuminating society. These fairytales provide us with a map for the second half of life, handed down over generations – and it is a treasure map.