Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Russian Straw Dolls

Russian Straw Dolls from the former East Berlin,
a Christmas present from my sister Peggy, over 30 years ago

I've written a lot about interiority and dolls, but never about straw dolls. I've been thinking about the above family of straw dolls today because it is my sister Peg's birthday, and these dolls came into my life by way of her 1984 visit to Soviet controlled East Berlin.

Reading John O'Donohue's Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom, I have encountered many of the same concepts and juxtapositions that first intrigued me about The Body of the Doll as Subject and Object. Writing of the soul and "the desire to bring subject and object together," O'Donohue touches on large vs small, outside vs inside; inanimate, seamless and contained vs animate, messy and unpredictable; the miniature vs the gigantic:
"The Infinity of Your Interiority. The human person is a threshold where many infinities meet. There is the infinity of space that reaches out into the depths of the cosmos; the infinity of time reaching back over billions of years. There is the infinity of the microcosm: one little speck on the top of your thumb contains a whole inner cosmos, but it is so tiny that it is not visible to the human eye. The infinity in the microscopic is as dazzling as that of the cosmos. However, the infinity which haunts everyone and which no-one can finally quell, is the infinity of their own interiority. A world lies hidden behind each human face. . . .

Another infinity, as yet unborn, is dimly present. . . . It is such a privilege to be embodied. You have a relationship to place through the body, it is no wonder that humans have always been fascinated by place. Place offers us a home here; without place we would literally have no where. Landscape is the ultimate where; and in landscape the house that we call home is our intimate place. The home is decorated and personalized; it takes on the soul of the person who lives there and becomes the mirror of the spirit
" (41 - 44).
~ from Anam Cara, by John O'Donohue ~



Decorating, Personalizing, Giving Soul, Mirroring Spirit

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