XII: Entrapment

An initial description:

A woman looks longingly out of a tower. She is fair, and has extremely long hair that is wrapped around a hook on the window frame around her and trails down the stone wall. She has a circlet around her head with leaves on it, and a purple gown on. Her hands are clasped at her heart. The tower is made of stone; her window is framed in wood and has a wooden shutter or door. To her right, is a vine-like plant creeping towards her window; it is leafless, but there is a lone, solitary maroon blossom. To her left, an owl sits atop a dead tree. It appears to be a horned owl, and is looking at the woman. In the distance behind it, is a green forest, then a green plain, and further, a large white castle atop a mountain. The sky is blue but cloudy, and above the castle are three black birds, soaring.

Preliminary meanings:

The woman stands at the window, lonely. Trapped in the tower, she watches the world around her. While her life stands still, the world goes on, living and loving, beautifully full. Caught in a cage like a sparrow, she sings for those who will listen- the plant at the window, and the owl who comes to hear. Far off in the distance is the castle, representing the hopes and dreams that have yet to come true, as well as a future that has yet to be seen.

The basic fairy tale from once upon a fairy tale (Rapunzel):

A woman longed for the rampion that grew in a nearby sorceress’ garden. Her husband steals it twice to please his pregnant wife, but the second time, the sorceress is waiting, and agrees to it only in exchange for the child. he agrees, and she comes and takes it, naming the girl Rapunzel for the rampion she had given. The child had long, long golden hair, and when she was 12, the sorceress locked her in a tower and used her hair as a rope to climb in the window. A prince is transfixed by her voice, and sees the sorceress climbing. He then copied her, and climbed in. They met often until Rapunzel asked the sorceress why she was heavier than the prince. As punishment, her hair is cut and she is banished. The sorceress tricks the prince, and he jumps out, landing on thorns that blind him. Wandering, he finally finds her, where her tears heal him, and he finally takes her home.

Personal significance:

Every action has a reaction- a price- a consequence. For the young couple, it was their most prized possession and fruit of their love because of the wife’s greed and jealousy. For Rapunel it was her security and love because of her foolish thoughtlessness. But perseverance and fortitude can overcome these. It can set things right. The price finds Rapunzel through his dedication and the curse is lifted. –> side note: I can’t help but wonder what happens to the parents. And what of the sorceress? Was she just lonely? Was she trying to hide her away to protect her from the world? Like an overprotective mother? <–

book symbolism, etc:

The tower shelters from outside influences- purity. Vines represent subconscious desires- passion. Red flower is deep-sated desires and passions within reach. Get out of your rut. it is time for change and inactivity. Traditionally the card of the hanged man.

variations of Rapunzel:

– The White Cat (french) *excerpt*-

The youngest of 3 princes finds his way to the Queen of cats’ castle. She makes him forget, but then helps him remember his mission, and then goes back with a tiny, tiny dog. He goes back to her and she sends him with a piece of muslin. He comes back again, and following her orders, cuts her head off, and she becomes the most beautiful princess. Her mother wanted fairy fruit and traded her daughter for it. The king shut up the princess and mother in a tower, and the fairies sent a dragon. They were given the princess, and the fairies locked her in a tower. She met a prince and tried to escape, but they caught her and he was eaten.

– The Fair Angiola (italian)-

Angiola’s mother stole jujubes from a witch and was caught. Agrees to give her up at 7 years old. The witch loved her and put her in a tower, the only way in being her hair. Prince loves her, and takes her, but before the girl leaves, she takes 3 magic yarn balls that turn into mountains of soap, nails, and a large stream as defense against the witch. The witch curses her to have the face of a dog, and the prince sends her to a secret house until it’s fixed. Her dog goes and begs the witch for the cure, and then the couple is married.

– The lady of Shalott (Lord Alfred Tennyson)-

love this poem, glad to see it on the list.

Traditional meanings of the Hanged Man  (From Gray’s book):

He has attained at least a measure of perfection but not yet the complete freedom. The great work is halfway through- personality has been overcome. He is Hercules, who represents the 12 steps of initiation through which every man must pass. This card has significance- we must accomplish our regeneration for ourself consciously and voluntarily. This is a pause in one’s life; suspended decisions. Reversed is a preoccupation with ego and resistance to spiritual influences; wasted effort.


The maiden’s life is paused, just as the hanged man’s.

The Hanged Man (From Journey of the hero):

The hanged man is a traitor, betraying ones own affairs and self.

He has refused to set out on the journey through the night and will therefore be forced by fate to turn around. Represents midlife crisis, and all the crises we are stuck in that force a change. The threefold plight of all- 1. fear of death or ruin 2. fear of loneliness 3. fear of failing at the meaning of life (pg. 116-117).

Now we must turn around; we have forgotten something important. Patience and sacrifice are needed. Archetype is the test.

Related to the fairy tale tarot version of Rapunzel:

Rapunzel sits in her tower, waiting. She is stuck there, and cannot change.

Meditation/writing jump off:

I stand at my window, looking out at the world. Where is my prince? Why am I stuck here? Loneliness is eating away at me; emptiness fills my mind, and sadness pours out from my heart. The owl hoots and pulls me back out from the abyss. This is the end of the line- time to break free of this prison.

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