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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Art

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Equality for Minoan Men!

It can be hard for us modern folks who have always lived in a patriarchal society to envision any other kind of culture. As Riane Eisler perceptively noted in her book The Chalice and the Blade, we come from a dominance hierarchy type society so we tend to assume that any other kind of society from history or prehistory must be similar. In other words, if the men aren’t in charge and disproportionately powerful compared to the women in a culture, then the reverse must be true: the women must hold all the power while the men are largely powerless and oppressed.

This unfortunate bias has spilled over into our interpretation of Minoan society. I can’t count how many times people have told me, “Oh, those Minoans, their art is all women. You don’t see men anywhere, so the women must have held all the power.” I’d like to dispel this myth, for myth it is, and it’s totally inaccurate. It’s based on the idea that all societies must be dominance hierarchy types and it fails to consider another type of society: the egalitarian culture, which is what the Minoans really had. That’s a society in which women and men are equals and all adults have the same standing regardless of gender. This myth is also based on a careful selection of Minoan art that in no way represents the enormous and beautiful collection we have from this ancient civilization. So let’s explore the accuracy (or lack thereof) of the women-in-charge myth by actually looking at the art of the ancient Minoans.

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"Lord of the Beasts": An Interview with the Witch of Forest Green

 

 

In Which Our Intrepid Blogger Speaks with Artist, Herbalist, and Witch-at-Large

 

 Sarah Anne Lawless Concerning Her Ground-Breaking Print, Lord of the Beasts,

 

and Sundry Other Matters

 

Sarah, who is the Horned to you?

The Horned Ones to me are the great spirits of the wild lands and forests. They are not male or female, but both and neither. In the lore of animistic cultures around the world and through time there always seems to be a male or female spirit, or one of each, that is the guardian or protector of a particular forest or land mass and who is Lord or Lady of all the flora and fauna that dwell within it. Their horns are a weapon as much as they are a crown, and symbol of power and otherworldly knowledge.

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  • Bruno
    Bruno says #
    Cool. Reminds me also of the Dragon in the film Excalibur. "a seer's magic comes from the land and its spirits" I don´t know if t

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_800px-April_in_Vaucluse_Cecile_Bouillon_2014.pngOne of the things I love about Paganism is the ability to find beauty in strange places. What is beauty? What do we perceive as beautiful? Nature? Art? Music? Those would seem easy. But the sort of art I like may or may not be the same type of art that you like. I’m not a fan of abstract art. This piece on the left leaves me cold. (By Cesbou*) While I could stare for hours at 19th century landscape paintings. Here’s one from Thomas Cole. b2ap3_thumbnail_800px-Cole_Thomas_Mountain_Sunrise_Catskill_1826.jpg

 

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs


b2ap3_thumbnail_perugino_047-sm.pngLegend has it that, following the crucifixion, Mary Magdalene fled to southern France, spending the last years of her life in the sanctuary of Sainte Baume. Her relics are said to rest in a church in nearby Saint Maximin.

Whoever Mary Magdalene was in fact, whether she partnered with Jesus to birth a child, whatever her actual history, the idea of her heartens and strengthens me. For me, and perhaps for you too, she carries the energy of fierce compassion, fearless integrity. A woman interweaving spirit and matter, activating her body-centered power to manifest creation. A gutsy woman par excellence.

This sense of woman integrating heaven and earth, sheltering pro-creative power within her body's center, may be as old as human consciousness.

Much of what we know about human origins comes to us from southern France, the prehistoric cave paintings and engravings discovered there. Our ancestors' art, such as the Venus of Laussel, shows our original impulse to revere women and the center of women's bodies.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Venus-de-Laussel-detail-bras.jpgThis limestone engraving, discovered in 1911 in the Dordogne, has been a central inspiration for The Woman's Belly Book. Seventeen and one-half inches high, the ochre-stained engraving dates back 25,000 years.

The Venus of Laussel brings forth a full-figured woman. She rests her left hand on her belly, perhaps pointing to her navel. Her head turns over her right shoulder; she's looking at the horn she's holding up in her right hand. Thirteen lines scratch the horn's surface.

Who knows what the sculptors had in mind and heart when they carved out this figure? Who knows what they meant their work to signify?

As I see her, this figure is using her arms and hands to link her belly with the calculation, the calendar, which is the horn she is holding.

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  • Lisa Sarasohn
    Lisa Sarasohn says #
    I certainly got carried away. The Venus of Laussel engraving is about seventeen and one-half inches high, not seventeen and one-ha

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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Entering the Cave of Bones: A Preview of "Doorways to the Underworld"

Through Doorways to the Underworld, the Minneapolis Collective of Pagan Artists' Samhain 2014 exhibit, we enter into the disquieting—sometimes disturbing—dreamscape that is both Samhain and the world of contemporary pagan art.

In Anne Marie Forrester's Bear Priestess, the viewer stands at the mouth of a cave literally packed with skulls and leg-bones. Between us and the cave sits the bear priestess herself, all breasts, belly, and thighs, dressed only in the head and skin of (apparently) a bear cub. She wields that classic shamanic tool, the frame drum, in her role of go-between for living and dead, past and present.

The painting disturbs on a number of levels. Content is one: corpulence, nudity, powerful female eroticism. Another is scale. The priestess' head is too small for her mountainous body, the bear's head that she wears too small for her own too-small head. One cannot help but be reminded of Paleolithic “Venus” figurines, whose heads and feet dwindle into unimportance compared with their massive bodies, the true center of their power. Small as it is, though, the priestess' head is still much larger than the skulls that frame her in the cave mouth. The viewer experiences a dizzying loss of sense of proportion.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Early Green Man

I keep joking that I'm redoing my house in Early Green Man.

My friend Gary has a Green Man wall in his house. There must be 50 different Green Men in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and mediums on that Wall. You can't hardly help but bow. Me, I've got them all over the house, peeking out from the most unexpected corners. One of the hazards of 21st century consumerist paganism, I guess.

The Green God: Earth's Firstborn and, they say, favorite. (But maybe, like in my family, she just understands him better.) She does give him that incomparable Coat of Many Colors every year as a sign of favor. And so his brother becomes a kin-slayer, most terrible of crimes. But that's never the end with the Green Man. “Cut me down,” he says, “I spring up high.” Irrepressible.

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