Circle round and I’ll tell you a story. Once upon a time, but not that long
ago, there was a young girl who lived with her mother and father. The
Mother dressed the Daughter in the colours of the Goddess and nurtured her with
love and attention. One day the
Mother began to wither, and, knowing her time was near, she called her daughter
to her. “Vasalisa, I have but one thing to leave you. Take this Doll and keep
her close, feed her, give your attention to her, listen to her and she will
serve you well.” When the time was right the Mother died.
End of scene 1.
I really like Folk tales. They have all the elements of a great, dramatic story and they are
infused with old knowing. Within this tale, Vasalisa represents the person, you or me.
The Too Good Mother, in this case, represents that aspect of our psyche that has been socialized, from when we were very young, to be good and right, always be nice, bite your tongue, work hard, don’t complain….. The Too Good Mother is saccharine sweet, but also dreadfully ill equipped to cope in the
“real” world. At one time or another she had to die. As with most life changes, the timing isn’t the best, what with Vasalisa being young and all. But, we all know that The Too Good Mother has to step aside, and allow us to access our core being. I felt there was a real sadness to The Too Good Mother Dying. Without her we have to be whom we really are, and sometimes that is BIG!
Vasalisa is left a gift, The Doll, and this represents intuition. Where do we usually feel our intuition? Right
about our ‘gut centre’ I think. It’s the knowing, the feeling, and the understanding of what is right or
wrong, without the need to question. Vasalisa is advised to nourish and be attentive to The Doll, and in
return it will serve her well. Sweet!
The story of Vasalisa lent itself to being visually told through relief prints, as this technique is popular in the European areas from where such folk tales emerged. You can produce quite stark, high contrast images, as I was able to do with the first piece for the Vasalisa series. The death is symbolic, however it is so real for the character that the only composition that felt right was to have the Too Good Mother serenely laid in a coffin. Vasalisa, so sad, turns away, with only her Doll now.