• Katarina Guzman

Questions as Keys


"Asking the proper questions is the central action of transformation- in fairy tales, in analysis, and in individuation. The key question causes germination of consciousness... Questions are keys that cause the secret doors of the psyche to swing open."

~Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Women Who Run With the Wolves


This week I had the pleasure of sitting down and discussing the fairy tale "Bluebeard" with a good friend and colleague Rachel Jemmott, ND.

For those of you who have not heard of "Bluebeard", it is a shocking fairy tale that involves a young woman who unknowingly marries a murderer. The key to a hidden room in his house is what allows her to see the truth for what it is and to finally be rescued from his clutches.

Clarissa Pinkola Estes, PhD discusses this tale at length in her book "Women Who Run With the Wolves", and she dedicates quite a bit of time discussing the importance of the key in this story.

Keys function as tools that open the way to places we wouldn't otherwise be able to go. In the same way, the right question can unlock the doorway to new perspectives.

In the Bluebeard tale, the key opened the doorway to a truth that was painful to acknowledge yet necessary to face in order for her to be liberated.

Introspective questions aren't always a joy to grapple with. They often bring us to uncomfortable places, yet are necessary for us to experience the liberation at the end of the tunnel.

Open-ended question ideas for self-reflection:

  • What am I expecting from this? How am I expecting this to look in my life?

  • How did I actually want this scenario to play out? What was I hoping to get from it?

  • What does that look like in my life if I were to have it right now?

  • What would need to happen in order for me to achieve ____?

  • What would need to happen in order for me to feel ____?

  • What does that say about me? and how do I feel about that?

I find that depending on the situation often one question will lead to another, and when you follow the trail of breadcrumbs you will eventually arrive at the key question.

Asking the question, obtaining that key, is a very important step. Sometimes we don't find the correct doorway for a while. And we have our own journey discovering where it is. But having the key in our posession means we do have the tool to unlock the door when necessary.

This week be curious about what questions are arising in your day-to-day activities! Imagine you are gathering keys so you can be ready for the door that fits!



Estés, C., 2003. Women who run with the wolves. New York: Ballantine Books.



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