...actually starts a few years ago, when
the Dollmaker was collecting Images for a little study of her own on
the "Phenomena of Personification"...
(...that would be... to bestow upon an inanimate object- human qualities...)
...when she chanced upon a Russian Personification....
one similar to "Old Man Winter"...
...and they called him...
It all started with this picture
on the World Wide Web:
"A Slavic fictional character
similar to that of Father Christmas:
Literal translation: "Old man Frost,"
often translated as
Ded Moroz brings presents to children on New Year's Eve."
jokingly classified by researchers as one of the:
Well, it's a small small World
this particular Image had settled into the popular imagination
and was bristling
The Dollmaker's fate was then discovered to be inextricably entwined with this Image,
as she was enthusiastically and recurrently Notified of it's opulent Magnificence...
and Haunted by it's cryptic symbology ...
her attention returning over and over again to
this one Santa Guy...
To illustrate the point:
NOT ONE of these pictures of the Russian Grandfather Frost
was ever sent to the Dollmaker:
...only this guy:
well, alright... his outfit...
admittedly there's a party going on THERE...
a galaxy of twirling, swirling, exotic presumably symbolic embroidered embellishment...
juxtaposed against a rainbow-striped extravaganza of dangling icicle beads
encircled by mythological white fur trim
...IS pretty snazzy for a guy....
even a Santa Guy...
and is that a Snowy Yak perched upon each shoulder? ... geeze!
But, really, it's the
HAT with the HORNS
that the Dollmaker thought was so...
so... "over the top"!
Whoa- HOld on there! Back up!
What's a Santa guy doing with Horns?
Even the well-known Russian affinity for Tall (often wooly) Hats
does not account for
The Dollmaker simply could not get around this detail.
She had to know. What's with the Horns?
...which led to...
A most delightfully bewildering investigation into
Countless examples of an extraordinary style of head attire known as
(a bejeweled high tiara)
distracted the Dollmaker for hours...
but once back on topic, the question remained...
Where were the "Horned Hats?"
Ok, there were these:
But these Horned Hats were intended for ceremonial use!
These Horned Hats belonged to Shamen!
"Horned Kichka Headdress, scarves, belts and sacred embroidery..."
Elder women had real horns, later replaced by the textile version of the "kichka",
the crown is called "soroka"
And these Shamen were Women!
...they are also called...
In Russia, the Deer of Choice would usually be the Reindeer...
the Dollmaker still wanted to know...
Why put antlers on your head in the first place?
What does THAT mean?
Her horns adorned altars and the heads of shamanic priestesses
and her image was etched into standing stones, woven into ceremonial clothing, cast in jewelry and painted on drums.
The Dollmaker's Research reveals that
During the Clan of the Cave Bear Times
throughout the British Isles, Scandinavia, Russia, Siberia, the land bridge of the Bering Strait and into the Americas,
the female reindeer
was venerated as
the ‘Life-Giving Mother’
so this imagery traces back to
“carrying the sun in her horns”
Now, the male reindeer (the Stag) has no antlers in winter: he sheds them.
It is the Doe- the Deer Mother- who shows up on the darkest day of Winter
with Horns intact
(that would be Solstice-eve)
offering the "Return of the Light" to the World.
So the Horned Hats are about the Female Reindeer!
“carrying the sun in her horns”
celebrating a pivotal point in the Seasonal Cycle: "The Return of the Light"
So there you have it...
So... this guy really is...
A Masculinized version of
The Deer Mother
(He must be pretty old too,
judging by the size of the horns...)
the more the Dollmaker stared at the central
design on the dress
under a sun.
As long as we are on the subject...
Shamanic Reindeer flew.
In Siberia, female shamans
horned headdresses (or red felt hats)
and practiced the tradition of
And most likely it is
their winter solstice celebration
of the Deer Mother,
that brought us the stories of flying horned reindeer
who take to the sky on the longest night of the year.
Rarely depicted running on land, the reindeer was seen leaping or flying through the air
with neck outstretched and legs flung out fore and aft.
Often carrying the cosmos, the sun, moon and stars in her horns,
her antlers were the tree of life, depicting the lower, middle and upper worlds.
Those wild and crazy Slavic Shaman Women!
Flying with the Reindeer
In Siberian legends the reindeer took flight each winter
after ingesting the hallucinogenic Amanita Muscaria mushroom,
the archetypal red toadstool with white spots.
Shamans would join them on a vision quest,
by taking the mushrooms themselves and then,
climbing the tree of life they would take flight like a bird into other realms.
(Don't try this at home folks.)
The experts talk about Flying Reindeer...
...the Phenomena of Flying Reindeer, folks!!
ah, but the Dollmaker digresses...
So...basically this fellow represents
another jolly old personification of
a seasonal phenomena...
"merry olde soul-stice"
So the strange Horned Hat meant:
"carrying the Sun in her Horns"
(the updated version..."The Grandfather".
..clears away those pesky gender issues)
His Horns... now.
And at this point, the Dollmaker
re-enters the story
Still preferring the term: Antlers...
Inevitably though, once she got started on the concept of
"carrying the Sun in the Horns"...
and their progeny... dominated the work and
the project became "inclusive" far beyond the original vision...
Though the "Antler Crowns"
seemed often to have grown tentacle-like appendages and
frequently deviated far (too interestingly) from the mark
the studies continue....
and one day...this unique horned Santa guy will fully emerge as a Doll Construction...
although the Dollmaker is certain that her version will be a wretched scathingly vile imitation
of the resplendence of the original...
but she's workin' on it...
Back to Home Page
The Story of
"What people really need and demand from life
is not wealth, comfort, or esteem,
but games worth playing,"
"like music drifting through the
cultivate amused patience
Smithville, TX 78957
In October and November
Check out the
Wee Peeple Doll Shoppe
"Become the heroine
of your own stories,
not the sacrifice."
-Sarah Ban Breathnach
from her book:
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