Illustration by Inna Koleva

The Mythological Women: Archetypes from Yesterday to Today – Samodiva (part 2)

in Arts & Culture/Noteworthy/Visual Art by

So far we have covered what a Samodiva is in the traditional folkloric senseTo sum up: she is a magical shape-shifter, enchanting dancer and singer, breath-taking intoxicator and a prodigy of beauty, serial seductress, fearse protector of her realm & guardian of heroes, as well as untaimable and undomesticated free-spirit who loves to hang out with her samodiva sisters in wild, uninhibited resorts.

But the question remains: how, in what shape and form, and under which circumstances does the Samodivas archetype appear today? How does it manifest in today’s modern personas? 

PART TWO: THE SAMODIVA ARCHETYPE TODAY

Photography: Viktoria Andreeva
Illustrator: Inna Koleva
Featured: Mila Belcheva as the Samodiva

Whether it is an abiding love for animals, a desire to get out in nature as often as possible, or perhaps the impulse to dance and sing madly when no one else is watching – everyone has something of the samodiva in their nature. However, in some this energy is limited or secondary, whereas others possess characteristics that are predominantly of a Samodiva. To find your predominate archetype, and to better understand what this predominance means for you and the ones with whom you share your private and professional world, look forward to our special Fall 2017 issue. We will conclude our series, Mythological Woman: Archetypes from Yesterday to Today, with a comprehensive summary of all our mythological female archetypes and a signature test to find out your leading  Archetype. 

Viktoria Andreeva, “The Wildalone Enchantress”

Her Modern Essence in a Nutshell 

The Samodiva woman is creative and imaginative. Most Samodivas possess an affinity for the arts and usually have strong artistic aptitude. They have an acute need to be creatively stimulated – either by regularly visiting art venues (theatres, ballet performances, music concerts, galleries, and so on) or by directly engaging in some form of art, publicly or privately. A master of creativity, the modern Wildalone can be very resourceful and easily find her way out of a predicament, applying equally well her mental wits and physical charms. The flipside of her artsy nature and allure is her tendency to be dramatic and overreact when something irks her or doesn’t happen to go her way.

While we’re on the subject, the modern Samodiva is feisty and often quick-tempered (although her colleagues may never realize it, for she will often unleash her fiery nature only at home). Remember her distinctive flower rosen and its particular scent, capable of catching fire? When rubbed (the wrong way, that is), a modern Wildalone is also prone to bursting into flame, burning everything around her to ashes. Fortunately, a true Samodiva representative is generally amicable and doesn’t harbor anger or frustration for too long (this comes mainly from her tight connection to nature and general striving for harmony). Once the fire has been unleashed she manages to quickly calm down and compose herself and go about her day. 

А highly intuitive individual in perpetual need of balance and tranquility, the present-day Samodiva has an uncanny knack for detecting anything out of order. If she receives an unpleasant vibe from a person or situation (that is, anything that “smells fishy,” “gives her the chills,” or “doesn’t feel right”), she will withdraw instantly from the person or the situation. She has good character judgment and follows her instincts, thus saving herself and everyone a lot of trouble.

Being a creature of art and intuitive perception, she can be sensitive to the nastiness of the world (any form of treachery, malice, rudeness, unconstructive criticism, etc.). When hurt the Samodiva will either release one of her poisonous verbal arrows, or retreat into her private world and remain there for as long as she needs.

With our frantic modern lifestyles and augmented environmental toxicity, the Wildalone makes a deliberate effort to remain close to nature and true to its cycles. As she grows older and more mature, loud noises and crowds often begin to wear on her (even though she may have loved them in her youth), and she will seek comfort and solace with a select circle of trust worthies away from the hectic vibe of the city. Finally, she adores animals more than anyone and cherishes every living and breathing being.

Most Samodiva women are greatly concerned with their physical appearance. On a subconscious level, perhaps this is because they recall their early years, when they were hauntingly beautiful. They are able to remember how it felt to be filled with the exuberance of youth.  This intimate connection with their body is ultimately why looks are central to the way they feel and perceive themselves. She may or may not possess the features of a classic belle, but the Wildalone lady still knows how to stun with her distinctive style and poise.

The Wildalone woman has long evolved from her mythological ancestor, but when it comes to traditional marriage and parenting obligations, not much has changed since the time of Stoyan and Mariyka. Neither wife nor mother (that is, by nature and not necessarily by circumstance the modern Samodiva is the quintessential child-woman). She doesn’t like to be bothered with housework or other mundane chores, nor can she devote herself completely to raising a child. The modern Samodiva requires excessive personal space and care. Only when provided with sufficient opportunity to nurture her creativity and spirituality, can she give her full attention to family and be a perfectly contented wife and mother. If separated from these opportunities, the Samodiva’s nature becomes suffocated, leading ultimately to irritation, resentment, and alienation.

Viktoria Andreeva, “Samodiva’s Domain”

If the essence of her nature gets repressed by a monotonous family routine or by a society that attempts to mold her into a role that contradicts her character and viewpoints, the Samodiva can also lose her healthy libido, develop anxiety, depression, and suffer hormonal imbalance or other physical ailments. 

Certain professions and personalities typically exhibiting features predominantly samodiva-like:

Actors and performers
Singers
Dancers
Serial daters with little or no desire to settle
Academics
Environmentalists and animal rights protectors
Holistic healers
Hippies and free spirits
Pagans and worshipers of Mother Nature  

Why the Modern Wildalone is Attractive

She is raw. Finding the primitive in desire is what makes the present-day Wildalone woman particularly appealing. She is fiery, wild, and let’s face it – somewhat dangerous. Living with a Samodiva is clearly not for everyone, but those who do form relationships with her often are attracted and stimulated by her unique qualities and nature.

She is stimulating. The Samodiva is divinely beautiful, a potent stimulus for most humans. Recent studies conclude that glaring at beautiful objects or people stimulate the release of endorphins. Endorphins are those opium-like neurotransmitters in our brain that make us feel great, excited, productive, and happy. Also—and this is not to be undermined either—the samodiva is very seductive in her rawness, yet another stimulating attribute.

She is caring. She loves animals and nature and reminds us of the importance to remain grounded and balanced in our hectic modern lifestyles. She too possesses powerful healing gifts and is capable to heal and sooth anyone in need, as long as they are worthy of her magic powers.

She has a strong value system. The modern Samodiva resents and punishes severely cowardliness and falsehood in man. At the same time she cherishes and rewards bravery and nobility, ultimately bringing us back to the old virtues, so rare in this complex modern world of ours.

She is honest. Going back to her rawness, the Wildalone is as natural as they come; unpretentious and almost transparent (both in attire and behavior), all of which are qualities analogous to honesty (and honesty is something we can all use a little more of).

She is fun to be around. A dancer, a singer, a warrior, a shape-shifter… When in mood, the samodiva can be extremely entertaining, which makes her the ultimate party favorite.  

“Samodiva Shape-Shifting into a Whirwind” by Inna Koleva

Who is Drawn to the Samodiva Archetype?

Creative types in need of inspiration and stimulus – musicians, artists, film directors, and so on, entrepreneurs (and anyone who likes a good challenge), nature and animal lovers, hipsters, philanthropists, anthropologists, heroes, and, of course, shepherds – they all can easily fall under the spell of this magical femme.

Brigitte Bardot: The Ultimate Contemporary Wildalone



Insert here Brigitte Bardot, the French icon of the sixties who made on-and-off-screen sexuality and voyeurism less taboo. Bardot was featured in our September issue where we pinned her the untamable wildalone, and for a good reason! Adored and desired by all, B.B. is the ultimate personification of the contemporary samodiva woman. Aside from her arresting beauty (she was deemed the most beautiful woman in the world) and distinctive style (more on that in a minute), there are several striking personality traits pointing directly towards Bardot’s ancestor, the Samodiva: 

Artistic and Creative
Shape-Shifter
Bardot was a gifted ballet dancer, photo model, fashion icon, actress, an aspiring guitar player and singer, and an author of several books. 

Serial Seductress
Brigitte Bardot unleashed female desire, kept at bay by the norms of the time and the conservatism of De Gaulle’s Fifth Republic. The actress, however, refused to represent any stale blueprint simulating eroticism (in the way that, say, Marilyn Monroe would). Everything Brigitte demonstrated onscreen—liberation from the restrictive criterion of the time, rawness, the ardent and genuine striving to always be natural—was no different from how she lived her personal life. She had no restraints when she desired a man, as evidenced in her memoirs as well as in the recollections of her contemporaries. Instead of following the established norms of the time, Bardot set her own, which is precisely why Simone de Beauvoir would proclaim her to personify “absolute freedom” par excellence

B. B. was married four times (to Vadim, actor Jacques Charrier, German millionaire-playboy Gunter Sachs, and d’Ormale). Among her plethora of love affairs several stand out: actor Jean-Louise Trintignant (with whom she fell in love during the filming of And God Created Woman), singer Gilbert Becaut, musician Sasha Distel, Brazilian producer Bob Zugary, actor Warren Beatty, sculptor Miroslav Brozek, and singer-songwriter Serge Gainsbourg, who produced the acclaimed Show Bardot. Speaking of Gainsbourg, perhaps you remember his classic hit Je t’aime…moi non plus (I love you…Me neither), performed with wife Jane Birkin (yup, the same song that culminates to the sound of a female orgasming). The song, regarded largely as the most transcendent love song of all time, was originally written for and sang with Bardot; however, she was eventually forced to step back when her then-husband Gunter Sachs threatened to cause an international scandal.

Undomesticated Child-Woman
In her eminent essay Brigitte Bardot and the Lolita Syndrome, French philosopher and intellectual Simone de Beauvoir contributes Bardot’s immense success to possessing “the charms of the ‘nymph,’ in whom the fearsome image of the wife and the mother is not yet visible.” As far as emotional maturity goes, Bardot herself admitted to clinging to love: “When depleted of love I become a parasite, I simply become ugly.” She too confessed before her ex-husband Roger Vadim that she could not function properly if her heart didn’t jump at every ring of the telephone.

It is in this precise hunger for emotional stimulus and the need of immense personal space and time, that Brigitte would find justification for not raising her only son Nikola, to whom she gave birth during her second marriage to actor Jacques Charrier. In her memoir, Initials B.B., Bardot engages in honest self-analysis (a very samodiva-like feature) as to why she was not able to devote herself to motherhood: Why was I so terrified to give a birth? A question I will not find an answer to for the rest of my life. […] Why did my entire nature reject motherhood? Perhaps because I myself needed stability; one I could never find and which, in turn, makes me incapable to become a solid root for a creature who will depend on me his whole life.

Raw and Earthy

Throughout her biography Brigitte Bardot often speaks about her affinity towards the simplest of things in life and her abiding desire to remain as close to nature— and to being her natural, wild self— as possible: The more I am detached from nature, the more uncomfortable I feel. This is why I hate the cities, the sky-scrapers, the concrete, […], the elevators, the neon, the plastic wear, and the electro- domestic appliances.

Bardot, too, was known for walking barefoot when she could and asserting the ballerina flats on the streets of Paris (a fashion staple today and the closest one to walking barefoot), as well as for being the first film star to appear at a posh social event wearing her hair loose and/or unkempt. Her style helped usher in bold new trends that are prominent even today (more on B.B. fashion innovations in part three of these series).

Animal Protector and Activist
Bardot had a deep and abiding love for animals and claimed to have a better relationship with them than with human beings. During her film career she would often save endangered animals on and off-set, after which she would adopt them. Upon retiring from cinema, in 1997 Brigitte auctioned many of her expensive belongings and jewelry to establish one of the leading animal protection organizations: Foundation Brigitte Bardot, devoting her time and heart to her beloved animals.

Guardian of Her Realm
True to her archetype, Bardot has always been intolerant to volatile trespassers of her domain—be they curious intruders of her private property or foreign invaders of her beloved Motherland.  In her books Pluto’s Square and A Scream in the Silence, the actress-turned-activist openly protested and cautioned against the incursion of France by “foreigners, especially Muslims” (a bold stance that resulted in her being fined several times for “inciting racial hatred”).In Initials BB, Bardot once again cautions against the “Islamization of France”). Ever so prophetic, however, the actress would manage to foresee the tragic events from 2014, almost twelve years earlier: “Over the last twenty years,” writes Bardot, “we have given in to a subterranean, dangerous, and uncontrolled infiltration, which not only resists adjusting to our laws and customs but which will, as the years pass, attempt to impose its own” (she would be fined for this statement once again).

Convinced yet?!

Check out some modern renditions of the Samodiva and how her style can help you enhance your own inner raw beauty!

Comming Soon: Part 3- Chanelling Your Inner Samodiva. 

Julieta Kaludova is the Creative Director and a contributing author at Falchion Publications, an award-winning essayist, a gatherer of uniqueness, and a collector of the exotic. In her writing Julieta often draws from the exciting experiences she has had over the years, including being a radio journalist, media and PR liaison, university instructor, translator, director of a political press centre, and stage performer. Her greatest source of inspiration, however, remains her curious little daughter.