Professor Geri Olson, specializing in Psychology of Creativity; Psychology of Self-discovery; Myths, Dreams and Symbols sees doll making as a gateway to the imagination and a way to create something of a private ally. She says:

​ “Just like indigenous peoples, we use dolls for healing through the artistic process and the joy of being creative, and for power from taking something from one’s imagination also making it visible. The doll has always played a central role in portraying the narrative and values of a culture”. 

In a best-selling classic theWomen Who Run with the Wolves, Clarissa Pinkola Estes recounts the Russian version of the archetypal story of Cinderella, here named Vasilisa. In this story, Vasilisa – an orphan living with her stepmother and stepsisters is sent out into the woods on a cold wintery night in search of fire. This was a dangerous and nearly impossible task devised by the evil stepmother. Her only support is a magical doll that guides the girl into freedom and happiness. Clarissa Pinkola Estes sees the doll playing a transcendent function and the connection to the archetypal Good Mother. The author explains:

“To my mind, the old Russian tale “Vasalisa” is a woman’s initiation story with few essential bones astray. It is about the realization that most things are not as they seem. As women, we call upon our intuition and instincts in order to sniff things out. We use all our senses to wring the truth from things, to extract nourishment from our own ideas, to see what there is to see to know what there is to know, to be the keepers of our own creative fires, and to have intimate knowing about the Life/Death/Life cycles of all nature – that is an initiated woman”

“Dolls are related to the symbols of the leprechaun, elf, pixie, fairy, and dwarf” – continues Clarissa Pinkola Estés, American poet, Jungian psychoanalyst. “In fairy tales, these represent a deep throb of wisdom within the culture of the psyche. They are those creatures which go on with the canny and interior work who are tireless. The psyche works even when we sleep, most especially when we sleep, even when we are not fully conscious of what we are enacting. In this way, the doll represents the inner spirit of us as women; the voice of inner reason, inner knowing, and inner consciousness.”

“Stories, where Vasalisa plays a central character, are told in one version or the other throughout all the Baltic countries. The archetypal roots might be dating back at least to the old horse-Goddess cults which predate classical Greek culture. This tale carries ages-old psychic mapping about induction into the underworld of the wild female God. It is about infusing human women with Wild Woman’s primary instinctual power, intuition.”

Here, I invite you to watch this very scary award-winning short film by Dr. Jamieson Ridenhour called The House of the Yaga. It illustrates what can happen when the ego confronts the heart of darkness. It contains the wonderful artwork of Ali LaRock.