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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Pagan art

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Killing the God

To the best of my knowledge, in the entire 3000-year span of its existence, not once in ancient Egyptian art do we see the death of Osiris at the hands of his brother Set.

If true (and my knowledge of the field is nowhere near exhaustive), this is a remarkable fact, and makes some profound suggestions about the thought-life of the ancients.

What is shown endures. What is shown is empowered. What is shown is made real.

So that the death of a god, the Great Sacrifice, while—terribly so—a necessity, can never in itself be an inherent good.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Indeed. The midnight Resurrection service is one of humanity's great liturgical masterpieces. Until you've been to Orthodox Easter
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    When I was taking my history of western Art class back in the early 80's I remember the teacher mentioning that art in the Eastern
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    It's a powerful, shocking image, to be sure. As an outsider looking in, it's hard not to see the crucifix as an image that glorif
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Many of us who identify as Christian are also horrified at the fixation on the Crucifixion and how that fixation has twisted and o

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Did you know that there's a specific name for a statue of the Horned God?

Neither did I, until I read Dorothy Edward's 1981 children's novel, The Witches and the Grinnygog.

Back during the Troubles, goes the story (the Witch Troubles, not the Irish ones), the three appointed Keepers of the most sacred image of the Master just barely manage to escape (on brooms) with their lives and the Lord. They hide Him away in a safe place, and go into a deep, deep sleep until such a time as they shall be needed again.

That time is our day. Where's the best place to hide a Grinnygog? Well, of course, precisely where no one would ever think to look for Him: among the carvings of the local church.

But now the historic church is being dismantled stone by stone, preparatory to being moved to a new location, and the Lord is once more in danger. (Or is He?) His guardians awake, and their magic along with them.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Tattooed Pagans - A ritual in ink

The time for preparation is over. I have eaten. I have stripped down and am bare from the waist up. I have been washed. I have been shaved. I have stepped into the circle I have cast and taken my seat. I've sent words to the gods that I' d like protection and ease and fortitude of mind and body. This ritual is a test. This is my journey to make alone.

Then the buzzing starts. "Are you ready?" I'm asked. I nod and I feel the first sting of the needle as it pierces my skin. Long strokes up and down my spine. The weight of another's arm on my back holding me in place. The concurrent thoughts of "What the hell am I doing?" and "Oh I've waited so long for this, I can't believe it's finally happening". 

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Sable Aradia
    Sable Aradia says #
    Hi there Gwion! Thanks for reading my Altars post. I read yours too (nice piece, btw,) and then I saw you had a link to a Tattoo
  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says # or you can post it over at the Witches and Pagans face book page if you like. There are now hundreds of tat
  • David LeBarron
    David LeBarron says #
  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    Hello David, Now that's a great story. I'd happily send you my email address if you'd like and you can email a picture to me. I'l
  • David LeBarron
    David LeBarron says #
    I just got an addition to an old tattoo. I added some sacred geometry, smoke and pentagrams. The best part was the tattooist is al
Paradise Now: The Visionary World of Feraferia's Frederick Adams

Few individuals can have been as important in the shaping of the modern pagan vision as artist and visionary Frederick McLaren Adams, founder of Feraferia.

I first encountered his work and thought in the early 70s. His vision of a culture in which art, daily life, religion, work, play, and wilderness together form a single, unified whole inspired me deeply and still does: the nostalgic and necessary dream of a holistic, integral culture.

And his art: swirling, surreal, eros-charged icons in which Pagan Past and Pagan Future met and kissed in a passionate Maiden embrace. To gaze into the eyes of his Apple Kore on the jacket of Hans Holzer's New Pagans (1972) was, for me, to fall willingly, irretrievably, head over heels in love.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Pagan Art Without the Pentagrams

Anyone who thinks of contemporary pagan art as the preserve of the fey, the twee, or the technically improficient needs to get his (or her) butt down to the Minneapolis Collective of Pagan Artists' Samhain 2014 exhibit, Doorways to the Underworld, stat. There she (or he) will encounter confident, conceptually mature work by artists fully in command of their respective media. All this without pentagrams. Well, there's one, but on that, more later.

Anglo-American painter Roger Williamson's A Dance for Kali is indisputably one of the stars of the show. In Williamson's previous work we frequently see figures emerging out of a dark surround: an inversion of the gold grund of Eastern Orthodox iconography, but working on the same principle. In Dance we encounter three simultaneous visual fields. In the far back—as it were, in the deep past—swirling darkness; in the middle ground, a hovering neon Kali yantra, and before it, the apex of the visual cone, the dancing Kali herself. Or is it Kali?

With her halo of flying, flaming hair and marble skin, this could be some naked Irish battle-goddess that we see in the midst of her terrible dance, a Nemain or a Morrigan. Williamson shows us here a Western Kali, an emergent visual tradition pioneered by (among others) fellow collective-member Paul B. Rucker. This mad dancer with her impossible necklace of ricocheting skulls simultaneously raises the much-vexed issue of cultural appropriation and tramples it underfoot as irrelevant. How dare we think such a Power culture-bound?

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

The woman who sculpted our temple's goddess was having a few one night with folks from her artist's collective in Boston. They were far enough in their cups to be one-upping each other: the artist's brag.

I had a one-person show at the X Gallery,” says one.

I have a piece in the Y Museum,” says another.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Once & Future People

Žemė, “Earth.” Pendant: amber (with vegetal inclusions), 2¾' x 1¾'. George Romulis, 2012

George Romulis, at 93, has been working amber for more than 70 years. He is an emeritus member of the Riga Amber-Workers Guild and one of the living treasures of Latvia.

This stunning pendant, titled Žemė, “Earth”, fits neatly into the palm of the hand, but its clean lines and boldness of form give it a striking monumentality; it feels larger than it actually is. It is also profoundly female. We all know these lines; we've seen them many times before: in the bodies of the women around us, as in what our coven kid Robin used to call the “clay ladies” of ancient Europe and the Middle East, here elegantly stylized but readily recognizable nonetheless.

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