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“Learn how to access appealing and engaging new models for yourself in order to gain insight and reveal the inner personas that make you who you are.”
Characters in folkloric traditions and myths were not created in a vacuum. Rather, they often have manifestations and correlations in everyday life, (even though through the passing of time we often forget why such tall-tales and traditions get built-up and promoted in the first place). Folk traditions and mythology carry with them instructions and lessons on life. They inform us about our own processes of growth, our personalities, and, in the end serve as reflections of ourselves.
In our new trademark series, The Mythological Woman: Archetypes from Yesterday to Today, Falchion will be exploring several folkloric and historical figures in order to illuminate how mythic personas manifest in today’s modern femme. Along the way we will take you into the fascinating world of femininity and mythos. Yeah, you heard me – Femininity and mythos. That’s femininity with a capital “F” people.
No stone is to be left unturned as we will lift the veil off some of the more fascinating legends surrounding noteworthy femme fatales across the breadth of time and world mythology, folklore, and culture!
Okay, buckle up, get ready, and don’t turn that dial! In just a short while we will show you how important a role mythic archetypes play in the formation of your psyche, and how certain predilections inform on how you go about living your everyday life and build and maintain relationships (both sexual and platonic) with others, and ultimately how well you know and understand yourself. And not just that! You will learn which personas you can access when you need them. In doing so we aim to offer appealing and engaging new models for individuals to learn something of value about themselves, enable them to gain insights into the hidden layers of their personalities, and to help them explore exciting new possibilities.
This series is dedicated to awesome females and personas of all backgrounds and colors in every stage of becoming. It is a collaborative effort between some of Falchion’s best to produce some amazing, one-of-a-kind material, taking you on a journey through culture, folklore, and your own inner self to reveal WHAT MAKES YOU MYTHIC. So let’s get started with archetype numero uno!
Part I: Samodiva:
The Myth, The Legend…
But a hundred veela were now gliding out onto the field, and Harry’s question was answered for him. Veela were women . . . the most beautiful women Harry had ever seen. . . except that they weren’t – they couldn’t be – human. This puzzled Harry for a moment while he tried to guess what exactly they could be; what could make their skin shine moon-bright like that, or their white-gold hair fan out behind them without wind… but then the music started, and Harry stopped worrying about them not being human – in fact, he stopped worrying about anything at all.
The veela had started to dance, and Harry’s mind had gone completely blank. All that mattered in the world was that he kept watching the veela, because if they stopped dancing, terrible things would happen.
And as the veela danced faster and faster, wild, half-formed thoughts started chasing through Harry’s dazed mind. He wanted to do something very impressive, right now. Jumping from the box into the stadium seemed a good idea. . . but would it be good enough?
All of us J.K. Rowling fans remember the Quidditch World Cup, where Harry encounters the Bulgarian team’s mascots—the exotic, mythical women called veela. What the author captures (and quite well, too) is the mischievous allure of the South Slavic guardians of nature, known under three different names – vila/vela, samovila, or samodiva, depending on the geographic region.
Who is the Samodiva?
The name samodiva (from samo – alone and diva – wild) translates roughly as an independent and uninhabited female creature, or simply wildalone, a designation created by Bulgarian American writer Krassi Zourkova in her award-winning novel of the same name.
Samodiva (samodivas, pl.) is the supernatural and exquisitely beautiful custodian of animals, forests, mountains, and wild resorts. They are nocturnal creatures; during the day wildalones hide in the deepest forests and appear only at night. One can see them mainly in the spring or summer and it is often assumed that they symbolize the coming of Spring.
The earliest written evidence of the samodiva dates back to the 13th century in an Old Bulgarian manuscript found in a small village located on the Rila Mountain. Samodivas have also been mentioned in apocryphal prayers against illness and evil powers.
A spirit of nature, the samodiva can be considered a distant cousin of the water/ spring nymphs (nereids), the wood/tree nymphs (dryads), the mountain nymphs (oreads) in Greek mythology, the mermaids (rusalki) in Russian folklore, and to the iele in Romanian folklore.
Origins: A Gothic Mystery
The circumstances of their birth are shrouded in mystery. According to most folk traditions they represent the souls of young women who died tragically and prematurely, often suffering harrowing, abnormal deaths: murder, drowning, abandonment, broken heart, etc. They appear post-mortem as nature spirits. Just think of them as very cool, gothic ancestors of the Little Mermaid (and we’re not talking Disney here, no no, but rather Anderson – as in the superbly chilling Anderson of the Hans variety, a master folk chronicler in his own right).
Bulgarian folklore provides a wealth of such horror. Take, for example, the legend of the White Bride from Tzarevetz, a tale well-known among the old folk in Veliko Tarnovo, the capital of the Third Bulgarian Kingdom. Legend speaks of a young, beautiful maiden, who was slaughtered during her marriage ceremony by Ottoman Turks. Eye witnesses claim that sometimes in spring at midnight, her figure appears at the top of the Tzarevetz castle, the town’s highest and most distinctive piece of architecture.
Some sources indicate that samodivi may have been the daughters of Bendis, the Thracian goddess and protector of nature. Certain Serbian tales state that they were developed from a cloud, while a third source states that samovilas are born from a plant, herb, or tree, to which they remain closely attached.
Samodivas dwell deep in the woods, in dark and uninhabited forests and mountain retreats, where the earth and the sky are thought to merge. In mythological beliefs the samodiva’s realm is always a threshold—a border between physical and metaphysical worlds, between life and death; a supernatural dominion that surrounds and interpenetrates the human world.
Interestingly enough – and this is really telling of how deeply rooted the South Slavic folks are in their own mythology – these places do exist and are well known. In Bulgaria alone there are several place-names such as the samodiva’s well, samodiva’s meadow, samodiva’s waterfall, samodiva’s lake, samodiva’s rock, and so on. Such areas are often marked, too. If there are little white flowers spread out on the grass, they indicate a location where samodivas were feasting not long ago.
Often described as “prodigies of beauty” the samodiva is the quintessential mythological enchantress.
When it comes to looks samodivas have a few distinctive features exclusive to them. First, they all have long and loose hair of golden, red, or dark hue, which reaches down to their waists. A wreath of wild flowers adorns their heads, often the very special “samodiva’s flower” (more on that in a minute). Second, their eyes are of a light color—either blue, green, or a variation of the two—which is why their gaze has the power to enchant or cast the evil eye when crossed. Third, samodivas are dressed in floating, transparent white gowns, typically with a green belt. Their dress is made out of moon beams, which enables them to fly and to possess magical powers. Earthy and uninhibited (being out in the wild is, after all, their natural habitat), samodivas also like to appear naked, either partially or from head to toe, covering their beautiful bodies solely with their long hair.
Okay, so now that you have a better idea of what a samodiva is supposed to look like, let’s peak at the most prominent characteristics and functions of samodivas.
Samodivas weave their wreaths from a very special flower called rosen (or, dictamnus albus, in Latin). This flower grows in the woods and varies in color from pale purple to white. When rubbed, it releases a potent lemon-peel like smell, which is believed to have intoxicated any mortal man unwise enough to get too close. Another striking attribute of the rosen is its ability to produce essential oils, which can catch fire in hot or dry weather, without ever injuring the plant itself. Beware—like the flower, like the samodiva!
Masterful Dancers and Singers
Wildalones are renowned for their captivating song and dance. After bathing in the stream, they come together on the meadow where there is moonlight and spend the evening singing and dancing their captivating horo (chain dance). Their dance is accompanied by the rhythm of the wind or the sound of the kaval (shepherd’s pipes), and therefore they abduct shepherds to play at their celebrations.
Samodivas’ enchanting voices sound from afar, folks attest, while they whirl in circles with ethereal, skipping steps, barely touching the ground. Where their feet do touch the ground, flowers magically bloom.
Inhibitors of the mystical world, samodivas welcome few to their nightly feast. Late travelers or accidental trespassers must stay out of sight, as witnessing a samodiva fete can be quite dangerous—as dangerous as the supernatural world can be for the unskilled and the unprepared. Even our little wizard-friend Harry Potter intuitively understood that those who observe a samodiva singing and dancing must remain silent and motionless, to avoid a disparate fate.
One of the most unique abilities that samodivas possess—one that distinguishes them profoundly from the rest of the mythological female crowd—is their ability to assume different bodies and transform into whatever they desire, be it snake, bird, horse, falcon, or something elemental, such as a whirlwind. Being shape-shifters gives them a great advantage over others. It grants them flexibility, and allows them to move freely from space to space, not to mention providing for creative solutions for whatever comes their way
Herb Collectors and Healers
“Born on a day of soft misty rain, when the sun formed miniature rainbows on the trees, she knew all the secrets of healing and herb craft,” tells the legend. Creatures of the forest, the samodiva possesses a deep and abiding knowledge of nature, herb crafting, and the healing arts. She has the power to cure virtually any known disease by applying special tinctures, or though the power of her song and dance (which really makes her the South Slavic mythological shaman).
Wardens of Forests and Their Inhabitants
Knowing the secrets of nature is to love nature. This knowledge is in fact why, in the unfrequented regions of the forest and wild mountain resorts, samodivas guard and heal all animals and plants, clean streams and meadows, and assure sufficient rainfall and an abundant harvest.
Since human beings have the power to destroy, the wildalone place is forbidden to man in his daily routine. Those who violate their boundaries may be severely punished and suffer illness, madness, paralysis, deafness, blindness, or even death. If a young girl happens to trespass one of their protected places, she may be kidnapped and transformed into a samodiva. A wellknown song describes one such case:
You, Yana, white Yana Could you not find water somewhere else to wash your white face? You came didn’t you, to the mountain, to the lake of the Samodiva? We are waiting for you, Yana, To come with us, to walk with us…
Eerie, yes, but not surprising. After all, this land is largely known as “the dark Balkans,” and they don’t mean just geographically.
Even today, many still will not trespass upon a place marked as samodiva territory (at least not without a very good reason).
While all rational thought and science tell us that these nymphs are constructs from the deep well-spring of the human imagination, few are willing to test the enculturated build-up and folk wisdom spanning centuries.
Protectors of Heroes
While intolerant of humanity’s shortcomings or foibles and openly defying the ordinary or mundane, the wildalone nonetheless values greatly bravery and courage in men. As a result of this respect for bravery, samodivas act as foster sisters and guardians to heroes, happy to stand by them in battle, protect them from harm, and shield them with lethal arrows.
If a hero is mortally wounded, the samodiva will try to cure him with her magical herbs or, at least, to improve his final hours. Enter prominent Bulgarian poet Hristo Botev and his classic masterpiece “Hadzhi Dimitar,” a lament of the notable Bulgarian voivode by the same name. Mortally wounded in battle, the brave revolutionary lies in the forest while nature mourns him. In the evening he is visited by several samodivas, who have arrived to comfort the passing hero (translation provided by the author):
He is alive! Alive! There on the Balkan Mountain
Drowned in blood he lays there and groans,
A hero with an open chest wound
A hero in his youth and prime. […]
The evening comes – the moon’s ascending
Stars fall from an arched sky;
Rustling in the wood, a blowing wind –
The Balkan sings a heroic song!
And samodivas in white raiment
Lovely, beautiful, begin their song –
Quietly crossing the grass of green
They come to the hero and are seated.
One binds his wound with herbs
Another splashes him with cool water
A third quickly kisses his mouth
while he gazes at her – lovely, smiling.
“Tell me, sister, where is the Karadzha?
And where are my devoted cohorts?
Tell me – then take my soul –
I want to die here, sister!”
Creatures immensely passionate at heart, the wildalone has a thing not only for heroes, but young and handsome men in general. Not one to wait around to be wooed, once a samodiva choses the object of her desire she effortlessly manages to seduce him and gain complete command over him with her physical charms and feminine whims.
Once satisfied, the samodiva parts with her lover. Stories circulate in small villages in Southeastern Europe about the mysterious vanishings of men in the forest. Their disappearance is often attributed to samodivas, as folks claim to have spotted flashes of white gowns among the trees. Those fortunate enough to return after going missing inevitably suffer amnesia, and have little recollection of what happened during their time with the spell-binding creatures of myth. They will, however, suffer severely from the so called “samodiva illness” (i.e. hopelessly in love) that only a rare herb, known to a few medicine women, can cure.
“Stories circulate in small villages in Southeastern Europe about the mysterious vanishings of men in the forest”
Capturing a Wildalone – Mission Possible
But what if a man makes it his mission to win over this wild creature? Can a wildalone ever be captured and retained? Yes, claims the legend. The magical power of these wild beings, as explained earlier, is hidden in their garments. Samodivas love to bathe in lakes or secluded forest rivers. They remove their robes and leave them on the bank, and thus remain vulnerable for the duration of their bath. Having abandoned her gown, the samodiva loses at once her ability to fly or cast spells, and in that moment she becomes ordinary. For that reason, bathing is the most convenient time for a man to capture her… by being so bold as to steal her attire. If he succeeds he can then take her home to wed. She will remain his wife as long as he keeps her chemise hidden.
But Ultimately the Samodiva Remains Wild and Undomesticated
Long, long before Gary Marshal had the surprisingly bad idea of reuniting Julia Roberts and Richard Gere in yet another cinematic cliché, there was the famous tale of the original runaway bride, known to Bulgarian folks for centuries. It goes something like this: After Stoyan (a handsome, skillful, and strong-willed shepherd) manages to steal the magical gown of his beloved Mariyka (a beautiful, skillful, and strong-willed samodiva), she finds she has little choice but to follow him home and become his wife. Well aware of her wild and uninhibited nature, she cautions him that samodivas make for lousy wives and mothers. He ignores her concerns, convinced as only a man can be that once they settle and have children the human in her will prevail over the supernatural, and afterward they will live happily ever after. Three years go by and Mariyka gives birth to a baby boy. During the child’s baptismal feast she appears somewhat sad and alienated from the happy crowd of relatives and well-wishers.
Mariyka explains to her husband that not having her dress prevents her from engaging fully in her most favorite activity, dancing. “I am your wife now, I love you, and I could never leave our baby son,” she persuades. Stoyan eventually relents and gives his unnatural bride her gown. Upon the donning of her dress she begins to dance enchantingly… until suddenly (and this is why being a shape-shifter comes in handy), the samodiva turns into a whirlwind and flies out of the chimney. Stoyan beseeches her not to leave him and their newborn boy, to which the wildalone answers: “But you knew, didn’t you, that a samodiva can be no housewife, a samodiva can raise no children?” She then bids him farewell and disappears forever, returning to what she values and needs most – her natural habitat.
Heart-breaking? Perhaps. Avoidable? Certainly, if only Stoyan would have payed closer attention to Mariyka’s warnings. (But, then again, men are visual beings, and listening is not really their forte, is it?) There are folksongs that indeed testify to the passionate love between samodivas and shepherds, but few have happy endings. The unlikely union is inevitably sabotaged, either by the shepherd’s mother or by the samodiva’s genuine inability to take on the role of traditional housewife. The wildalone woman will always harbor in her heart something of her primitive and uninhibited spirit, unwilling to settle and refusing to obey the will of another. However much in love, the samodiva is incapable of remaining domesticated for long. Happily married, even with children, it matters little; this creature of nature will always lament her loss of freedom, and seek to regain it.
PART II: THE SAMODIVA
Okay, so far we’ve covered what a samodiva is in the traditional folkloric sense. But the question remains: how and under which circumstances does the samodiva archetype appear today? How does it manifest in today’s modern personas?
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 2019 Christmas Special issue. We will conclude our series, Mythological Woman: Archetypes from Yesterday to Today, with a comprehensive summary of our mythological female archetypes and our signature test to find out your predominant Mythological Female Archetype.
“The samodiva woman is creative and imaginative. Most samodivas possess an affinity for the arts and usually have strong artistic aptitude.”
Her 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 samodiva 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 the distinctive samodiva flower rosen and its particular odor, 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 modern 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 modern wildalone makes a deliberate effort to remain close to nature and true to its cycles.”
With our frantic modern lifestyles and augmented environmental toxicity, the modern 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 modern 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 woman 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 nature becomes suffocated, leading ultimately to irritation, resentment, and alienation.
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 disbalance or other physical ailments.
Certain professions and personalities typically exhibiting features predominantly samodiva-like:
Actors and performers
Serial daters with little or no desire to settle
Academics Environmentalists and animal rights protectors
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 modern 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.
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 Modern Wildalone
Insert here Brigitte Bardot, the French icon of sixties who made on-andoff- screen sexuality and voyeurism less taboo. We pin Bardot, also featured in this issue, the untamable wildalone. Adored and desired by all, BB 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 fashion 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 author of several books (some of which were rather controversial).
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.
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 doesn’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 a justification for not raising her only son Nikola, born from 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.
“Adored and desired by all, B.B. is the ultimate personification of the samodiva woman!”
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. She was known for walking barefoot in the streets, and to be the first film star to appear in public wearing her hair loose and unkempt (establishing new, bold trends that still are visible in the fashion world today), as well to … In 1973, B.B. retired from acting, worn out from the constant public attention, harassment from the paparazzi, and the superficial life that was part and parcel to the celebrity world. She retreated to her secluded St Tropez villa La Madrague to live a secluded and dedicate existence for the next four decades of her life. During this time she was dedicated to her precious animals (see below). As the years went by the legendary B.B. refused to
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 Bardot would often save endangered animals on and off set and then would take them home. 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.
Outspoken and Feisty
Never afraid to speak her mind on issues she feels passionate about, Bardot has commented on politics, animal rights, and immigration. Nor has she feared picking fights with public figures or institutions. For instance, in 1985 the actress was named Chevalier of the Légion d’Honneur, but she refused the recognition because she believed it came from an administration that allowed for the callous treatment of animals. In her 2003 book, A Scream in Silence, she condemns humanity’s cruelty of animals and blasts men’s superficiality and distancing from nature.
Protector 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 invaders of her beloved Motherland disguised as immigrants (a stance that resulted in her been fined several times for “inciting racial hatred”). In a fragment of her 1999 book, Pluto’s Square, entitled “Open Letter to My Lost France”, the actress protests the incursion of her homeland by “foreigners, especially Muslims.” In A Scream in the Silence, Bardot once again cautions against the “Islamization of France.” Ever so prophetic, 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?
“A substantial part of the wildalone’s allure is the thought of getting out of one’s own skin; of becoming something that might not be typically you.”
CHANNELING YOUR INNER SAMODIVA
Ideal occasions to invoke your inner Samodiva are:
»» When you wish to play a role you normally wouldn’t play;
»» When you want to escape your domestic routines and duties;
»» Those times when you want to find your inner wild child;
»» When you want to reconnect with yourself;
»» When you want to get back to nature, to feel the earth between your toes, and your hair blowing in the breeze;
»» When you want to shape-shift into something or someone else entirely;
»» When you want to sing and dance madly, and even to cry, or let out an otherworldly scream, for love of the fluidity and inconstancy of life;
»» When you want to seduce that special hipster, artist, musician, or actor you’ve been dreaming about;
»» When things have gotten a bit boring, and you want to get your significant other out of their comfort zone.
Achieving the Look
Think of the classic city girl, shiny and sophisticated. Now, go for the exact opposite look. The samodiva is raw, natural, untidy, and unpolished (but only on the surface, which is what makes her ever so appealing). If the event requires a more classic and stylish look, you may contrast it with artistic detail such as colorful scarf, bold accessories (not kitschy), or a “messy” do. The perfect model is our contemporary wildalone icon Brigitte Bardot, who triggered change not only in the way women perceive their own sexuality, animal rights and other social matters, but in fashion as well. The actress could not stand the pompous and pretentious glamor, mandatory for any cinematic celebrity at the time, so she decided to make a private fashion revolution, establishing and making chick the unsophisticated hairdo, ballerina flats, buttoned up pants, and floppy hats. Not to mention her signature low-cut bikini…
“Floral scents with subtle, earthy tones delivered from a discrete mixture of plant and wood; something that gently penetrates the senses and is reminiscent of the wild.”
Down-to-earth, light, playful, youthful, artistic (but not too eccentric; that would be another archetype). Choose natural fabrics such as cotton, linen, cashmere, and wool for the winter (do not wear real leather though – your wildalone ancestor would not have approved). Experiment with fresh colors and prints – polka dots, stripes, light floral motifs, or go for something monochromatic with just one carefully selected piece of accessory. Pick simple designs with memorable feminine details such as skinny pants, short hemlines, slightly transparent gowns or shifts, designs that tastefully outline one’s breasts and waistline, and the ever-fashionable off-the-shoulder shirts.
Shoes: the samodiva’s flight and walk is as light as “when a light wind called lover-mind, is blowing.” To channel your summer samodiva wear shoes with very small or no heels – like those classic ballerina flats established as appropriate urban footwear in the 60s by Bardot. Or simply go barefoot if the setting allows. In the winter opt for the heelless eco-friendly boots. The result is an ever-bouncing allure and a very graceful walk. So samodiva-like!
Loose, natural, and seemingly unorganized (the B.B. trademark “sauerkraut” style). Messy layers, unsophisticated buns, and playful braids. Make sure not to make the mistake of equating “unorganized” with dirty or unkempt! Remember, even the untidiest of hairstyles spotted on television and the fashion podium took hours to arrange!
The wildalone’s head is almost always adorned with a wrath of fresh flowers. Another one of B.B.’s signature fashion marks was her impeccable ability to “decorate” her hair in very simple yet effective way. Hats, headbands, ribbons, playful pins, and flowers, all tucked into a ponytail, pinned behind the ear, or wrapped around the forehead— are all constitute accessory gotos when channeling the modern wildalone. If you decide to compliment your look with flowers, select those that look as natural as they come (no glitter or black roses, please).
Floral scents with subtle, earthy tones delivered from a discrete mixture of plant and wood; something that gently penetrates the senses and is reminiscent of the wild. Try Versace Bright Crystal – a sensual blend of flowers and fruits with a touch of redwood and musk.
Getting into the Groove
Want to find your samodiva mojo? For a starter try some South Slavic folk music; perhaps, the famous Bulgarian kaba gaidi (bagpipes) that will quickly transport you to the magical lands of the Balkans and its nature. Mystic, breathtaking, and exotic. Now, say the following mantra and feel how the energy of the wildalone penetrates every cell of your body:
I am Samodiva –
Mother of Nature.
Wild and earthy,
my eyes are the forest rain,
my breath is the mountain breeze,
my blood is the summer sun,
my touch is the healing soil.
I am Samodiva –
master of my own becoming.
My song is bewitching,
my dance is maddening,
my flower bursts into flames:
doomed is the one who dares
to trespass my boarders uninvited.
I am Samodiva –
foster sister of heroes,
lover to conquerors.
I bow to no one,
despise the weak at heart,
loathe the traitors,
and chase them for eternity.
I am Samodiva –
born in the wild.
Free and undomesticated,
my will is strong,
my heart is unchained,
I can have anyone
and choose to belong to no one.
I am Samodiva –
I can become All,
I move fluidly through life,
always unique and exciting.
I am Samodiva…
in the wild.
Free and undomesticated,
my will is strong,
my heart is unchained,
I can have anyone
and choose to belong to no one.
Note from the Author
Since my teenage years I have been fascinated by female characters in world myths and folk legends. This fascination ultimately propelled me toward a lengthy exploration and then, later, my own unique classification of several quintessential female archetypes as found in the South Slavic, Scandinavian, Native American, Hebrew, Greek, Romani (a.k.a. Gypsy), and Hindu mythologies/folklore.
While some of the features of the archetypes I explore overlap, each of them comes with a few personality traits and characteristics pertinent only to that specific archetype (the word archetype is applied as it was postulated by Carl Jung, to be the model image of a person, creature, or a role embedded in the collective memory that we associate with since birth and have unconsciously adopted for reasons not related to our cultural context or the historical time we live in).
In my research I discovered that every woman possesses qualities related to each of these mythological females, but only one or two of them are predominantly inherited in her nature. Knowing one’s predominant archetype encodes information regarding one’s character, interests and quirks, the way one perceives the world and oneself, one’s value system, virtues and vices, professional inclinations, relationships, and even potential health issues. Moreover, I claim that women have at times a unique, almost chameleonic-like gift to metamorphose themselves and acquire characteristics of all other archetypes
Therefore, not only one can learn how to utilize one’s archetype the best possible way, but one can also channel and temporary transform into each of the other prototypes, should the occasion or circumstance require it.
Stay tuned for more fascinating mythological archetypes in future issues! End