Quantum Physics and Fairy Tales agree that there are multiple dimensions. Some parts of so-called Fairy Tales are clearly dubious (Prince Charming?) or they represent medieval life values. But they also contain a mother-lode of metaphysical truths. Guidelines even.
So here are ten of them!
(1) Every bridge to somewhere worth going has a troll or two beneath it. The more desirable the quest or destination, the viler the troll. What motivates their hostility? It doesn’t matter. Like their ‘riddles,’ it’s beneath your consideration. A bribe is faster even though they always over-charge. It’s still better than getting stuck under the bridge haggling. Think of trolls as akin to mold, ever-present.
(2) Magical Helpers don’t manifest in a cloud of light, cloaked in enchanted regalia. They’re subtle, traveling incognito. While you may only realize who/what they were later, there are clues: A name that is like an in-joke between you and the cosmos or that nobody else seems to have registered their presence. If they are an animal, they’ll do something beyond “normal” animal behavioral logic.
(3) All mirrors have the capacity to be magic. They’re potential portals to other worlds and if you’re good at scrying, relaxing into a light trance while gazing into a mirror can elicit amazing insights. Mermaids don’t gaze into mirrors for vanity alone. But beware old mirrors – you never know what’s stuck inside them. Cleanse them with sea salt water or – if portable – by leaving outside beneath a Full Moon.
(4) Prickling sensations on the skin at the back of your neck with no obvious physical cause are intimations of potential animosity, ghosts, or trouble. It’s the Gui Zhen – Ghost Pillow – point in Esoteric Acupuncture, as well as the Alta Major chakra. Gruesomely but realistically, it’s also the point at which you would technically be vulnerable to an attack you did not see coming.
(5) Birds are messengers. If a bird – especially a raven, crow, or magpie*- appears and catches your eye, notice what you were thinking or the thought that comes to mind. It’s the same for when you hear an out-of-the-usual birdsong. It’s not that you can logically translate it, more that you let your mind drift enough to capture the meaning. *Traditionally, they are in two dimensions at once.
(6) Deals that involve giving up a core magical power, talent, or possession are always duds. The wings, fishtail, or grail -whatever – is swapped for security/love, and then the arrangement turns out to be hideously restrictive. The people trying to acquire a unique quality know its worth but undervaluing it assuages their ego. Or they miscalculate that their devotion means magic stays surrendered.
(7) Knives are symbolically swords, weapons to cut unnecessary cords, or deflect ill intent. Think of how Philip Pullman’s The Subtle Knife refers to a teleutaia makhaira – a double-edged blade, effective here and in the Otherworld. If a knife falls, notice the direction it points, particularly if it spins first. That’s your threat. Ditto people who comment on the bluntness of your blades or ‘stare daggers.’
(8) Know your strongest element. Aspirant mages and sorcerous queens are forever trying to control the Elementals, the ‘sprites’ associated with specific elements. It backfires as often as it works but everyone has a natural affinity with a specific element. Fire (Ignis), Earth (Terra), Air (Aer), Water (Aqua), and Quintessence/Aether are the classics but there are sub-types: Thunder, Mist, Neon, etc.
(9) Shapeshifters are real. Vampiric types cast glamors to disguise their intent. They conjure up charm the way a drug addict draws down dopamine, encapsulating your sensual ideal and reflecting you at your most idealized. It’s exhausting to maintain and occasionally they drop the facade the way an Olympic powerlifter dumps the 900 kg weights. Don’t stick around to discover the ‘real’ them. Flee.
(10) There is an invisible map beneath the official one. On it, for example, are four invisible cities, one for each cardinal direction. They have their own laws, winds, sorcerers, treasures, and stars. You can only get to their secret gates via the shadow roads of the astral – in dreams or between lives. But if the Electron Flux index is high or a Cardinal Direction is activated, the map shimmers and shows more.