Art, Spirit, and Wonder: Finding the Sacred Through Art​

Art History tells the story of humanity. Here we'll look at how Paganism has been viewed in art through the ages; into the ancient past, the Renaissance and other eras, and how artists are exploring Paganism today.

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Helena

Helena

Helena Domenic has been an art history nerd for her entire life, having toured the Sistine Chapel at the age of eighteen months. She never quite recovered from that experience (thankfully) and has been seeking out the sacred and profane in art ever since. She's even a real-life art history professor at a Pennsylvania university. She is also a Tarot nerd, having created her own Tarot deck, the Fellowship of the Fool.

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
A Visit with the Asynjur

A Visit with the Asynjur: Frigga’s Handmaidens

I have been delving deeper into seeking out lesser-known goddesses for this little project of mine, and decided that the Asynjur, also known as the Handmaidens of the Norse Goddess Frigga were certainly deserving of attention. I began to try and read through Snorri Sturluson and the Eddas as my first source for Norse lore, however it because abundantly clear that something was probably missing. Anyone who has tried to view these ancient writings with a modern eye can discern that most of these stories were re-told by Christian monks with an eye to selling them as pre-cursors to Christianity. Naturally, preserving the stories of female characters was not at the forefront of their minds. I do not consider myself Asatru, nor do I consider myself a reconstructionist of any kind, so I will apologize in advance for any unintended offenses I may make in my own re-interpretation of these Goddesses. I have a love for deities whose stories are not fully known or told, and as such, I am also open to UPG. As I create my own images of the Goddesses, please know I do so with utter respect and love for the cultures from which they came.

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  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    For further study on the Handmaidens, I recommend Norse Goddess Magic by Alice Karlsdottir. That's a new edition of the book previ
  • Helena
    Helena says #
    Thank you!
  • d Kate dooley
    d Kate dooley says #
    I you offer prints, I want them for my ritual space.
  • d Kate dooley
    d Kate dooley says #
    This makes me so happy. I love your work. I wrote book for Frigga and the Handmaidens and have been their devotee for sixteen year
  • Helena
    Helena says #
    Thank you so much! I will definitely check out your blog. And I will definitely let you know about prints. Finding time to make t

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Saying Goodbye in the Spring

I have been meaning to write a blog post on Goddesses.... lots of blog posts on lots of Goddesses, but that annoying nuisance known as real life has interrupted me numerous times. Today I slowed down. I slowed down a lot, and in so doing, I thought I was going to finish a much delayed post about the Norse Asynjur, but my heart is not in it today. I need to write about loss instead.

My beautiful 17 year old cat Bella is leaving us. Bella does indeed live up to her name as the many photos my husband and I have taken of her over the years will show anyone. 

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  • Jamie Okulam
    Jamie Okulam says #
    Oh, we know what it is to loose a cat! We have lost two in the last two years. I miss them so much. My partner and I were unfairly
  • Helena
    Helena says #
    Thank you! I am so sorry you had to leave your home!

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Turan: A Goddess of Ancient Etruria

I have to say, making my 2017 resolution to create a drawing of a Goddess a day has been rewarding, challenging, fun, and illuminating. I've had a great time sharing images of goddesses on my Facebook page every day, receiving feedback on my drawings, and getting ideas for new ones. I thought for today's Blog post, I'd write about Turan, a Goddess of ancient Etruria, or what today is known as Tuscany. The Etrurians are more commonly referred to as the Etruscans, which is how I will refer to them here. 

There are a great many things about the Etruscans which still remain a mystery in the twenty-first century, mostly because their language has been only partially deciphered. What we can do is look at the art they created and see visually the things that mattered most to them.   

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  • Thesseli
    Thesseli says #
    "Unlike Roman and Greek women, whose husbands were known for faithlessness and not marrying for love, Etruscan women seemed to enj
May the Peace of the Goddess Be Upon You: A Goddess for These Times

The Goddess I have decided to discuss this week is the Roman Goddess Pax. As you can see in my contemporary rendering of her, she is often depicted with an olive branch, a cornucopia (peace brings abundance), and a dove. In this time of fear and panic, we especially need her now to remind us that even if the world around us is filled with hate and rage, we can look within for peace, and we have someone upon whom we can call for that peace.

In Roman times, the term "Pax Roman" referred to the 'peace' brought by Roman colonization. In 19 BC, the Ara Pacis (Altar of Peace) was dedicated by the Emperor Augustus to celebrate his return from Hispania, and reflects the Augustan religion in Roman culture. 

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  • Helena
    Helena says #
    Thanks so much!!! Awesome to see you too!!
  • Catharine Clarenbach
    Catharine Clarenbach says #
    Hello, Helena! Qira Clarenbach (originally from Four Quarters) -- so delicious to find you here. I hope to read much and much more

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Goddesses and Resistance: Why I Paint

Today I posted on my Facebook page that between scary changes at my workplace and the current national events, it was taking every ounce of energy I have not to run screaming into the streets. I am not alone in feeling this way as numerous friends “liked” my status and numerous more made comments to the same affect. It is indeed exhausting to watch the new US government play itself out on social media, and can make one’s soul very bone weary. My situation is not unique. Indeed, I fear I am even turning into a broken record here on this blog, but please bear with me. A glance at Facebook will guide you to numerous articles about the importance of self-care in such dire times. I have wondered what I, an arthritic fifty-something art professor at a university with declining enrollment can do to make my voice heard amongst the many others resisting the new regime’s policies and proposed changes, and I’ve figured that the most important thing I can do is keep making art.

 

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Posted by on in Studies Blogs
The Very Fine Art of Protest

The Art of Protest and Protest Art

Get Up, Stand Up
Stand Up For Your Rights
Get Up, Stand Up
Don’t Give Up the Fight
- Peter Tosh

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  • Dragon Dancer
    Dragon Dancer says #
    Desperately needed sentiment and powerful artwork! Thank you for sharing, for encouraging.
  • Helena
    Helena says #
    Thank you so much!

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Reflections on 2016: Life, Death, Netflix and Hope

Reflections on 2016: Life, Death, Netflix and Hope

I confess that although I did not write a great deal in this blog in 2016, there were certainly plenty of things going on in my life and in my world. It would be an easy way out to say that the events of this year simply rendered me speechless, and I doubt that there would be many who would argue with me on that. Personally, I hit many milestones and manifested a number of things I had been hoping to achieve. However, the harbingers of doom and despair came in the form of the deaths of many artists who influenced my life, and the lives of many others.

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