Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Vasilisa the Brave and the doll of intuition


The story of Vasilisa the Brave (or "Beautiful," depending upon who's telling the story) has two endings: the first ending is when she returns home from her visit to Baba Yaga, and the second ending (a denoument, really) deals with her fine weaving skills that facilitate her meeting with the Tsar. What I love most about this story is the doll that Vasilisa carries in her pocket. In Women Who Run With the Wolves, Clarissa Pinkola Estes writes about the doll as a symbol of Vasilisa's intuition. There are times when Vasilisa speaks, and times when she keeps her thoughts to herself.

Sometimes, there are people who just don't get it when in fairy tales the main character receives help from others. They complain, "What's so great about Vasilisa when it's the dolly who does all of the work?" It is one thing in a novel when human beings do all the work for the main character. However, a fairy tale is not a novel. A fairy tale is deliberately two-dimensional, methodically archetypal. Can you imagine how tedious it would be if the main character simply discovered his or her inner courage without any impetus to do so? Besides, in many of the stories, the characters who are too prideful to offer or accept any help from beings that seem weaker than they are often the ones who end up turned to stone or with their heads chopped off.

For a time, I carried a little wood-and-cloth dolly in my pocket to remind myself to trust strong inklings. I even made "intuition dollies" for friends. I almost flipped out when I thought I had lost the doll right before my Comprehensive Exams, and then had to give myself a stern pep talk about superstitious thoughts. I think that may be the biggest reason as to why I don't wear a brown scapular. I get attached to things. I worry. Like Dumbo (yes, I have actually watched Disney cartoons), I need to learn to let go of the feather.

Still, if I ever have to go to the woods to borrow some fire from Baba Yaga, you had better believe I'm going to hold onto my dolly.

3 comments:

HitManJ said...

Word Verifier: The Gathering
Episode III: Dead Menace


Now

Only in the Hideout

This week is creative writing....I'm always so inspired when I visit your blog, yet I SUCK at writing. Today, I wrote two sentences...you get to finish!
J

Nonny said...

I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who lets superstition get the best of me at times. I also believe you should always trust your gut. It's never failed me yet!

Is HitmanJ the master of self promotion or what :)

Lone Star Ma said...

Yeah, but I have these long conversations with my intuition sometimes, like "What? Yes, I know...something. But what? What am I supposed to be learning here?" It is strong but cryptic...