My Soul to Take ~ Phantasmagoria

My Soul to Take

“My Soul to Take” © Julz Kirschenbaum
Model: Danielle Korb

There are moments in life when you see or hear something so powerful it stays with you forever.  I have a lot of those moments, and I keep a journal full of those things that inspire me or have had a profound effect on my life.  This may sound silly, but one of the those things that just stuck in my brain was a quote from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  Actually I have pages of quotes from Buffy in my journal…Some of you might be laughing right now, and that’s okay.  I think Joss Whedon is a genius, and though the premise of the show could be considered “campy” (the original movie definitely was), the writing for the television series was witty, emotional, and sometimes very eloquent. I could go on and on about the merits of BTVS, and maybe I will in a later post, but for now I’ll get back to why this quote in particular helped inspire “My Soul to Take.”

I saw the episode “Becoming Part 1” when I myself was facing a decision that would change my life. I won’t go into detail about the episode itself and ruin it for anyone who has yet to experience the awesome that is Buffy, but at the very end of the episode the action plays in slow motion while in voice over the character Whistler says:

“Bottom line is, even if you see ’em coming, you’re not ready for the big moments. No one asks for their life to change, not really. But it does. So what are we, helpless? Puppets? No. The big moments are gonna come. You can’t help that. It’s what you do afterwards that counts. That’s when you find out who you are.”

Change.  It can be exciting or intimidating. Sometimes it is welcome and sought after… sometimes it hits you like a freight train in the night.  One unavoidable truth is that the world is constantly changing around us. Ancient cultures used myth and legend to give a reason to events that were unexplainable at the time.  The story of Persephone not only gives reason to the changing of the seasons, but touches on a deeper level the cycle of death and rebirth. As Persephone makes her decent to the underworld Winter takes its hold and the earth falls barren until she re-emerges in Spring and the earth begins to bloom anew.  So “My Soul to Take”, a composite of two separate photographs, also holds two different meanings. There is the meaning on the surface, the literal depiction of Persephone’s decent into the underworld, and how it is symbolic of death. The title of the image coming from the common children’s prayer “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep.  If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take. ”   But it is also about the inevitable changes we all face, and that moment of reflection before you take a deep breath and move on.  The moment you find out what you’re made of.  The moment you find out who you are.


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