Feb 29Liked by Mr. Keena

Love your imagined Pesanta illustration. Interesting, how this myth has a lot of nightmare-ish connotations, but for me, your illustration and the idea of Pesanta - brings instant comfort and feeling of home. The “Transformation” workshop, that you helped create, facilitated by Phuc Van Dang, was the first time I reflected on this as an adult: I am comforted by dark parts.

Looking closer to the origins of this part of my personality, I could hear my Mom’s voice, singing a bedtime lullaby, a Russian folk song: “Sleep, sleep, fall asleep, but do not lay too close to the edge; A grey wolf will come and take a bite of your sweet side”. And one of the first bed time stories every parent tells their child, where I come from, is a story of three pig brothers and their different houses and how the wolf came and destroyed them all. I always rooted for the wolf, because if you are silly enough to make your house out of hay - it’s your own fault. The Wolf became a sort of personal totem of mine, a spirit animal representing my Shadow.

This past summer, I had a conversation with my Dad and I asked him: “What was the scariest thing you ever encountered on one of your fishing trips, hiking through the woods and across rivers?” And he told me about an encounter with a grey wolf that he had. He was walking a forest path and suddenly felt at the back of his neck, somebody staring at him, as he turned around he was facing a big grey wolf, staring him down with effortless arrogance. My Dad stared back for a good while, full minutes passing by in slow motion, until the wolf deemed him a worthy presence, bowed in agreement and continued on his walk.

It is only terrifying if you don’t look directly at it {the wolf, the shadow}, but if you are up for meeting its gaze — it can be one of the best parts of your life.

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Your reflection on the Pesanta and its unexpected comfort amidst dark folklore is deeply moving, Katri!

It’s fascinating how the myth, with its nightmarish roots, transforms into a symbol of home and familiarity for you.

The lullaby from your mother and the tale of the three pigs not only shaped your early perceptions but also wove the wolf into the fabric of your identity. Mind you, I've heard the same tale in Spain, Portugal, and Ireland, so it must be one of those folk tales that have crossed centuries and nations.

Your father’s encounter with the grey wolf, and his profound respect and mutual recognition in that moment, is a powerful testament to facing one's fears directly. What a tale to tell! I would have run; I don't think I have that level of courage in me.

Thank you for sharing such a personal and inspiring reflection.

P.S.: Looking forward to seeing more of these writings on your own site; your writing is beautiful.

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