Kikimora and Domovoy

Life is such a limiting term, if I think of it as related to the body. In how many forms does energy live on the earth, without a body? 

Folklore is built by intrigued minds around the unusual experience of a few. Fear is felt by minds that cannot accept the unfamiliar, and their stories have demons and devils.

In all cases, those who believe the story start feeling a presence around them – maybe it’s imagination, maybe it’s a superior sensitivity.

The stories of Domovoy and Kikimora also denote attachment to worldly possessions at a soul level. The spirits continue to inhabit their favorite spots, after separation from the body. 

India has stories about ancestors being reincarnated as snakes to guard the family treasure. They hiss and scare, and keep people away from reaching the vault. I wonder if they have the capacity to differentiate between thieves and rightful heirs. Or do they hope to come back at a later stage to enjoy what they have accumulated.

My mother had a tale about pots full of gold coins and gems being hidden between the bricks of thick walls, in her grandfather’s village house. A story was circulated that those who dare to touch it die, supported by evidence of a few deaths. It kept away those who feared death. Years later, the villagers said the treasure was converted to scorpions and snakes. Probably, someone who did not believe in the curse had taken it away. Her father decided to keep away on the grounds that it was money acquired by violence. The landlords used to beat up poor farmers for not paying taxes. To each his own, and stories of darkness in the sun and moon….

Back to Domovoy and Kikimora … I see the authors as minds strongly rooted in tradition and ancestral influence. This sense is diluted in modern times, as children move between different locations, jobs and foster-families. 

They believe in guardian angels, and who can be better than your kith and kin to support and protect you. Indians also believe that we pay the price for, or enjoy rewards of our ancestors’ Karma. It feels unfair to be held responsible for sins we have not committed, but raises questions on beliefs. Is it possible that we come back as reincarnations in the same family to pay for our deeds, or correct wrongs? The appeasement rituals may be effective only in the sense that it generates awareness of Karma.

Stories don’t end. It’s another form of life – to live as characters in people’s minds.


Written for Dream Interpretations on MLMM

7 thoughts on “Kikimora and Domovoy

  1. My partner believes we are partially to blame for the sins of our ancestors but I don’t believe in original sin or karma in that way because it is too destructive of an idea and it’s nothing short of condemnation of being human. We are here to learn and grow, not to be punished. It is like being ordered to go to school and then being beaten everyday for showing up and doing the work. It just doesn’t make much sense. I get that rewards and punishments are how many cultures and religions teach ethical behavior but I think we already are mostly good and if we recognize how we are connected to the others the idea of hurting someone just doesn’t make sense.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. We can communicate rules, expectations and consequences without relying so heavily on shame and guilt. Telling someone their bad, guilty, wrong even before they have committed a transgression so that they are more easily manipulated and controlled well that is just emotional abuse IMO and more often than not I think it backfires. Think of the kid who is singled out early on as being a bad and/or disruptive student. Even when he tries to participate meaningfully in the classroom and with his peers, the expectation that he is disruptive and/or a potentially a bad influence will often cause people to treat him as such even in the absence of the unwanted behavior. Eventually he may decide that he is after all as bad as everyone says he is and stop trying to develop himself. We see this scenario played out again and again. It is often used to justify hate crimes. Nothing good comes out of teaching separation and fear.

        Most people know murder is wrong and will never murder another human being in their lifetime and among those that do it will be in the context of an extreme life or death situation, it is only a small number of people who do so for self-serving reasons and of those who do commit crimes for self-serving reasons guilt and even the potential of punishment do not always serve as a deterrent.

        My daughter, as soon as she could speak, could tell you it was not okay to hurt other people and she may have understood that even before she had the language to articulate it. I think we are born with some sense of morality already and I think it is sort of strange how we just assume the only reason people don’t commit crimes is to avoid punishment and/or public humiliation. I just don’t believe we are all latent monsters that need to be whipped into a higher perspective. Granted some people do go off course for whatever reason and they may require extra guidance and perhaps even rehabilitation in order to participate within society meaningfully but given the opportunity many people succeed.

        Most of us are absolutely crippled with guilt, to the point the guilt itself has become toxic, to the point where the guilt is creating unwanted behavior. The only people who do not feel guilt, can’t feel guilt. My dad was a psychopath and he just didn’t feel it, you could condemn his actions all day long, you could punish him and even if he understood intellectually that society did not approve of such and such behavior, he was still absolutely baffled when he was punished for that same behavior. I never really understood how his brain worked and so for those few people who do have brain differences such as psychopathy I am not sure what to do to deter them from criminal activity. Not all psychopaths are criminals luckily, some can and do follow the rules for the most part. But for those like my dad who did not follow the rules, I can only say that guilt and even punishment do not work, I don’t know what works, but I know that much. I guess maybe only detainment works and that doesn’t solve anything it just keeps other people safe.

        Liked by 1 person

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