Athena’s Owl and Vasalisa’s Doll
03 Wednesday Oct 2012
No tags :(
Eyes of the night
When the owl spreads its wings
And lean into its wind …
(excerpt from Snake in the Grass)
“Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom, had a companion Owl on her shoulder which revealed unseen truths to her. Owl had the ability to light up Athena’s blind side, enabling her to speak the whole truth, as apposed to only a half truth.” – Medicine Cards
Athena’s Owl is a talisman delivering truth where she seeks it.
To me the owl is stealth, convicted, he does not waver. Owl strikes without question and never apologizes for doing what needs to be done. Owl has eyes that see through the night. They see truth where I might be blind.
The Owl as a talisman for truth parallels the doll in the story of Vasalisa the Wise as told in Women Who Run With the Wolves.
“The doll is like the little bird in fairy tales who appears and whispers in the heroine’s ear, the one who reveals the hidden enemy and what to do about it all. This is the wisdom of the homunculus, the small being within. It is our helper which is not seeable, per se, but which is always accessible.” - Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D.
Vasalisa’s doll and Athena’s Owl represent ‘the small being within’ made large by our willingness to listen. They are also stand-ins for intuition.
I remember years ago, not clearly understanding what it meant to trust and listen to my intuition. My dreams were sending me signs to trust and let go, but I was unsure of what I needed to let go of. I finally understood the paradigm when I realized the voice was my own, when I realized the images in my dreams and in my waking life were simply aspects of myself; they were my personal talismans.
I finally realized there was no ‘other.’
Vasalisa and her doll are not separate. Athena and her Owl are one.
Our talismans wear feathers, tiny stitched dresses and still others are found in our houses of worship. It is a matter of placing our feelings onto an object, an image, another person or even an animal as a stand-in for what we feel and believe.
Athena, the goddess of wisdom, is said to have been born whole and wise from the head of Zeus. While the story of Vasalisa the Wise represents the journey we must take to reach our wholeness. The journey of listening, believing and integrating truth and intuition.
“What good is a woman in the wilds of megatropolis or daily life unless she can hear and depend upon the voice of La Que Sabe, The One Who Knows?” – Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D.
All journeys start with a query. And they end when we move with the conviction of the Owl and return to the house with fire in our hands.
Where are you in your journey?
(The image above was taken at Dauset Trails Nature Center in Jackson, Ga., a rehabilitation center for wounded animals. So the bars in the image are not quite as cruel as they seem.)