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

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?”

I teach art history at a Pennsylvania state university where my specialty is African art. Much of my own research is devoted to studying the nexus between art and the sacred, ritual and performance, and ways in which human beings experience the sacred and express those experiences through art. I am also very interested in the objects and devices people have created for divination through the centuries and cultures (which you might have guessed from my interest in Tarot).

As an art history professor, one of the first things I tell students who are registered in my courses is that art history is the history of US – that is, us humans. There is something deeply embedded in the human psyche that demands expression and the creation of art, whether it comes in the form of cave paintings, pottery, mosaics, murals, or a bored child making endless drawings in the margins of her notebook (that would have been me). The impulse to create art is a strong one, and a very human one. I feel strongly that art and spirit are bound up together and as a Pagan, an academic, and an artist, this is a very important topic to me. Artistic expression tells us not only about the history of a time and place, it tells us what kinds of things people held sacred, what they believed, how they worshiped. It tells us what gave them hope, where they felt despair, and how art allowed them to give voice to many things that humans simply do not have words for.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Domenic_Shrine-to-Yemaya_1329px.jpg

In my life outside the blogosphere, I have several projects in the works, one of which is the Magickal Women project, which is a new oracle I am creating using images of the many magickal women I know and using those images to convey information about the many possible spiritual paths one might take. It is very much in progress and I am sure I will write more about it here as it unfolds. I am also very interested in the Yoruban Orishas and have been creating a series of sculptural shrines – which are very different from the paintings I am doing for the oracle – and that project is very much in progress as well. Finally, in my day to day university life, I am also interested in the African American artists of the Philadelphia area and have a hunch that there is a stylistic connection between those artists that comes out of the community they have created. I plan to write a book about the artists to showcase their work and explore this hunch.

For my next few series of posts, I intend to begin by taking a trip through time from the very earliest art-making days of humanity to look at the artistic impulse and how it was very much a part of human spirituality, taking us in time to look at Pagan artists through out the ages (and perhaps some artists who did not identify as Pagan) up to the present day to see how time and space have changed and not changed the ways in which artists work.

I am very honored to be able to be blogging here amongst such great writers, many of whom happen to be friends. I am excited to be able to share insights into art, art history, and how we experience the sacred through art, and how we have done so through out the ages. And what a relief that this does not require me to grade papers!


Top image from the Magickal Women Series: Vanadisflame

Last modified on
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.

Comments

  • Diotima
    Diotima Sunday, 17 May 2015

    It sounds like this will be a fascinating column, Helena. Hope you continue to post lots of pictures as well -- love both of these!

  • Please login first in order for you to submit comments

Additional information