Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

As I was born and grown in the communist Czechoslovakia behind the “iron curtain”, I didn’t have a clue about Patrick’s Day for a long period of time. We’ve been taught and brainwashed about great soviet heroes and holidays instead.

Fortunately, we were allowed to keep some of the old myths, legends and fairy tales as well, especially if they didn’t sound too religious. And so we got the hidden wisdom through elves, fairies, witches and other fairy-tale beings.

One of those mythical characters is Vodyanoy – a completely green creature that rules over the waters. Because we don’t have a sea in my country, Vodyanoy usually lives in ponds, lakes or deep river bays. He looks elegant, prefers green or red top hat and has a tailcoat, from which the water is always dripping. We really have a lot of stories where Vodyanoy appears. Some Vodyanoys are good or cute, others are evil and scary, but you can easily recognize them because of green color and water, dripping from their clothing.

The reason, why the Vodyanoy myths came back to me in these days, was the last prompt on Deviant art. The challenge was to draw a green picture in honor of the St. Patrick’s Day. I tried to fulfill my intention, celebrating the Irish heritage. I drew for hours but the mind didn’t flow in the Irish mood at all. So much green has caused to me to see more Vodyanoy, sitting in a really green pond.

I would say that no matter how many things you learn in life, cultural roots remains with you for ever. What do you think?

Thanks for reading and extra warm greetings to all Irish people! 🍀

With love, Ivana

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Trauma with Lilac

Lilac is now blooming in all shades of violet, spreading its sweet narcotic aroma far away. It would be easy to say that I don’t like the scent or that I don’t like the lilac as such. But the whole truth comes from the past.

I grew up in a socialist country during the Cold War, being in many ways brainwashed toward to the “heroic Soviet Union” and against the “imperialist villains of the West”. The top season of the campaign was always concentrated to the beginning of May. On the May 1st you should expect a huge demonstration in honor of the Labor Day, participation was a duty with no excuse. A few days later a magnificent celebration of liberation by the Red Army took a place. My mind already rechecked the memory of the past by the eyes of an adult person, but there still remains a symbol of these days which is Lilac.

I remember a number of pictures from the last days of the World War II, where people welcomed the RA soldiers with lilac bouquets. As a child I was forced to draw either lilac or red flags, boys were allowed to draw also tanks for the celebration. We created many lilac flowers from the paper and then used them like windows decoration or a kind of flags during demonstration. All possible and impossible places were decorated by Lilac in the beginning of May because Lilac was the flower of victory of the Red Army, the victory of the Soviet bloc.

On some point I’m still a small girl who does not understand why people kill each other. I don’t like to split the world for white and black only. Looking at beautiful lilac blossoms I know that I’m not fair to them. But even today I feel metallic and oily taste in my mouth, as if every Lilac grew from a tank instead of a garden. And the sweet aroma keeps me alert so I don’t adopt too much outside influence even it would promise the sweet future.

And so it happened, that Lilac in my memories suffers from a bad ideology, and I am sometimes too careful in my life. I hope I can dissolve the rest of my trauma soon. That’s why I tried, for the first time in my life, draw a tank! It was a big challenge for my pacifistic mind, but I did it like a therapy, like an attempt to go along with Lilac.

Ivana