Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Feminine Archetypes

As you read the story, you will notice reference to various feminine or "goddess" archetypes. Some of these came about subconsciously during the novel's four-year gestation period. I chose a couple of them intentionally once I saw the pattern forming.

Sera is a child of nature and eventually a heroine-maiden.  We have a couple of characters who play the femme fatale, companion and lover.  Then we have a few Crones - wise older women.  During my research, I found many other Feminine or Goddess archetypes.

With Mother's Day coming this Sunday, I wanted to provide an excerpt in honour of Sera's mother.  It is no secret that Marie's character dies in this story.  In an earlier post, we already saw Sera struggle with the reality of her mother's impending death. 

In the following excerpt, we see another example of how Sera easily bonds with the wise, older woman.  Eleven year-old Sera is attending the reception at Rachelle Johnson's house after Marie's funeral.

~ ~ ~

Georgette conscripted Dela and Gwen to help her and Rachelle with the food preparation, serving and cleanup.  Jenny and Carl dropped by with trays of finger foods from the Red Hare. Sera successfully avoided helping, wandered from room to room, and begrudgingly accepted hugs from adults.  She eventually escaped to the Johnson’s front porch where she found Walter sitting beside his Grandmother on the swing.

“Hey, Sera,” he called to her, “Come over and join us.”

Sera walked slowly towards them in her hard-soled dress shoes, tapping lightly on the floorboards.  She smoothed out the skirt of her black velvet dress.  Georgette had insisted on putting a white ribbon in her hair, to hold back the unruly dark curls.  She felt pretty yet awkwardly vain wearing the dress.

Walter’s Grandma wore a black dress with button-up collar, black stockings and black lace-up shoes.  Her salt-and-pepper hair was tied into two long braids and wrapped into a bun at the back of her head.  Her attire was a somber change from the usual greens and browns Sera remembered her wearing during past visits to the Fletcher home.  Walter wore black denim pants, a white dress shirt with a bolero tie and a black vest.  Sera thought that he looked very handsome. 

She spoke as she approached, “Hi, Walter.  Hello, Mrs. George.”

The old woman smiled, said a few words in Ojibwa and reached out for Sera, as if for a hug.

“Oh, gosh,” thought Sera.  She immediately felt the polite thing to do was to accept the woman’s hug.  So many people wanted to hug her today!  

Sera leaned forward  — almost into the old woman’s lap and reached her own arms around Mrs. George’s neck.  As usual, she smelled like wood smoke and rose-scented soap.  She spoke a few more unrecognizable words then said in broken English, “Be brave, little one.  Your mother has gone to join her ancestors. She is no longer in pain.”

“Thank you.  I know,” responded Sera then attempted to pull away.

With a gentle push, Edith George passed Sera over to Walter, as if it was his turn to give her a hug.  He smiled and pulled her in for a couple of pats on the back.  Sera breathed in his shirt, the fresh soap scent and perspiration on his neck.  He smelled so good. She didn’t want to pull away. 

Mrs. George pulled her back and turned her around to sit between them on the swing. 

“Whoa, Grandmother!” said Walter nervously, “I don’t know if this can hold all three of us!”  He stood up and turned towards them.  Mrs. George already had her left arm around Sera, in a partial embrace to her side.  Sera looked surprised and awkward.

Walter adjusted his brown belt and straightened his vest, “I’m going to get something to drink.  Grandmother, I saw some orange soda in there.  Would you like one?”

“Yes, please.”

“Sera?” he asked.

Sera looked up at him with widened green eyes.  “No, thank you,” she answered softly then adjusted her position beside Mrs. George, curling her legs up to the side and under her skirt.  She decided she might as well go with the moment.  

She leaned in and closed her eyes. 

He left them to swing gently back and forth while Mrs. George hummed a tune to the girl and gently stroked her curly hair. Sera closed her eyes.  She let herself go, feeling a calm that she hadn’t felt for a long while. 

~ ~ ~
End excerpt

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