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.

  • Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
  • Bloggers
    Bloggers Search for your favorite blogger from this site.
  • Login
    Login Login form
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
When Long Shadows Fall.... Artists Get to Work!

When long shadows fall and dwarf the trees at evening 
When white winter light burnishes the streams 
The I will bring you a coat of soft lamb's wool 

To keep your back from the keen northern wind

When snow shames the sheep that huddles to the leawood
When snow drops peep form darkness unfurled
Then I will bring you boots with fur linings
To keep your feet dry as you walk o'er the world

When home becomes a prison and snow drifts lock the door
When February fill dyke drenches the moor
When black rain freezes and whips at your hand
Then I will bring a carriage with wheels of wind
To take you away from this barren land
 
~ From "Winter: Long Shadows" by Maddy Prior

 

...
Last modified on

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Art, Social Justice, and Some Ranty-ness

It has been far too long since I published a blog here, and although my original intent was to post mostly about Paganism and Art History, I felt I’d better write about SOMETHING else I lose my train of thought all together or be forgotten. (Sniff). What kept me away from my blog, and a great many other things that bring me happiness are general bureaucratic pains occurring in my job. As I’ve mentioned here, I am a professor of art history at a state university, and this semester – although I have been through this here several times – I have really felt that the arts are under attack, and have been hard at work defending both our arts program, and the need for arts in society in general.  I won’t get into the bitter details of this ongoing fight, except to say I thank those who have been by my side in this fight, and the hope that in the end, we will of course win.

 

...
Last modified on

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
ISIL, Inanna, and the Lamassu

...
Last modified on
Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    Thank you, I have a copy of Myths from Mesopotamia by Stephanie Dalley but thus far no guided imagery or pathworkings for dealing

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Of Flags and Symbols

I really, really wanted to write about the art of Mesopotamia for my next blog post, especially in light of the destruction of Mesopotamian art and artifacts by the Islamic State, but I have really found myself a wee bit sidetracked by the horrific events of June 17, 2015 when a young man named Dylann Roof sat in Bible study in Charleston, South Carolina before turning his gun on the group. Nine people were murdered that day. Accompanying this news has been the debate about what has come to be known as the Confederate flag, and calls for it to be removed from the state capitol grounds of South Carolina. For those who may not be American, or have not followed the story, South Carolina not only continued to fly the Confederate flag on its state building lawn after the massacre, it was not even flown at half mast.

The Confederate flag has been a subject of much debate in the United States I would argue, since the end of the Civil War. For black people, it represents slavery and a horrible time in United States history. For those who fly it with pride, it is said to represent liberty. The argument has been heated and vehement on both sides. Why is this symbol so polarizing?

...
Last modified on
Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Helena
    Helena says #
    I am going to have to check out your response. I have been hanging back a little as I've watched the deluge of information about t
  • Gus diZerega
    Gus diZerega says #
    Your initial comment and my reply inspired me to write something for W&P on the flag and Southern culture amnd how Pagans can have
  • Rianna Stone
    Rianna Stone says #
    Perhaps the household I grew up in was the exception then. Racism was not tolerated by my family and no one I knew tolerated it ei
  • Gus diZerega
    Gus diZerega says #
    Rianna- I have just posted my response, inspired largely by your criticisms. I think you might find it rather different than you
  • Rianna Stone
    Rianna Stone says #
    The reason why the flag wasn't lowered is because it cannot be lowered without something from the legislature to make it happen. W

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Temples: Ancient Pagans and Sacred Space

In my last article, I put forth the notion that we humans have had the need to create art encoded into our DNA. Along with the need to create images, humans have had the need to “make special,” to “make sacred,” and art can fulfill this need. By bringing art into a space, humans make the space special. When the art reflects beliefs about the divine, the art that inhabits that space makes it sacred. I spoke at length about cave paintings in my last entry, and I believe that those paintings could in fact have been making ancient caves into sacred spaces.

As humans moved from a hunter gatherer existence into something more settled, areas where they settled often included sacred places where their relationships with the divine could unfold – temples. When I was in graduate school, I strove to understand what installations were and what “site specific” art, as installations are more commonly called these days, were and where they fit into art history. Temples themselves are “site specific,” created to meet the needs of a particular people in a particular place. In this article, I will look at some pre-historic peoples and their need for the creation of permanent sacred space.

...
Last modified on

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
How Old is Art? And Does it Matter?

Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Helena who liked to make drawings. She went off to kindergarten and on the first day of school, each child in her class was given crayons. When the time came for recess, Helena went out into the school yard and saw very large rocks that already had drawings on them. (She did not know yet that this was graffiti). She figured the rocks must be a very good place to make pictures, so she started drawing very large pictures on the rocks with her crayons. She didn’t realize what was happening when her teacher came up and began yelling at her. She was in very big trouble indeed.

As we can see from the perspective of my five year old self, that urge to leave a mark somewhere is fairly basic and perhaps even primal. In this article, I will be exploring how old that urge is and where it might come from.

...
Last modified on
Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Byron Ballard
    Byron Ballard says #
    Lovely. Thanks for this!
  • Helena
    Helena says #
    Thanks so much Byron - just seeing this now. Yay Mercury Retrograde!

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Art, Spirit, and Wonder

Greetings Pagan Blogosphere!

I am very happy and honored to be here on Pagan Square. For those of you who don’t know me, I am Helena Domenic, and I am a Pagan, an art historian, and an artist. I am one of the Elders of the Assembly of the Sacred Wheel, and I am also the creator of the Fellowship of the Fool Tarot deck, as well as a Lenormand deck that I am still working on. Some of the questions I seek to find an answer for are “How does one talk about the Ineffable? How have humans tried to express their beliefs and feelings about the divine through Art? Where does art become ritual? Where does ritual become art?”

Last modified on
Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Diotima
    Diotima says #
    It sounds like this will be a fascinating column, Helena. Hope you continue to post lots of pictures as well -- love both of these

Additional information