Salmagundi Art Club - July 16-29, 2016 NYC
With undying gratitude to John K Hunter and P. Yeh for unwavering support, encouragement and help.
Mistress of the House
The concept of “home” is such an ancient, complex thing that many cultures like to assign it a mystical quality … call it Magic if you want.
One of the oldest Russian enduring beliefs, so old that it comes from the pre-Christian times, is the “House Spirit”. Domovoy (Home-er).
He is normally male and is seldom seen but always present. He minds the coming and going mice, keeps spiders in check, soup from over-boiling and various behind-the-scenes activities from getting out of hand. If our home is the reflection of our own selves, then he is an embodiment of that reflection, bound, after a while, to acquire a life of it’s own.
It's not a bad idea to leave out little treats as a show of respect (mice would be happy for sure) … But truly, the best thing is to treasure your home and think of it not just as a mere space - but a fully functional world that cares about you - just as much as we love and take care of It. For if we don't - Domovoy can play tricks or even turn nasty.
Mistress of the House came to be as an idea, slowly sewn together as a quilt of old memories, childhood dreams, stories… overheard gossip shared by neighbors... odd shadows glimpsed in the darkened kitchen (Domovoy’s favorite place - it is said). Someone who loves their home would not just wash dishes and dust the tea pots - they would be best friends with the house spirits - All of them!
In any case - Women of “respectable” age, who spent more time around the house and know the value of a “proper home” (as well as the work of keeping it) would tell you – it’s all true!