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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A Polymorphous Perverse Journey

Posted by on in Studies Blogs

Years ago, when I was much younger, I read Rita Mae Brown's Ruby Fruit Jungle, where I first learned the tern "polymorphous perverse." At the time, I thought it was a term created by the author to describe her emergent sexuality, and I always thought perhaps the term applied to me as a polyamorous, bi, pagan female. It wasn't until years later that I learned the term was actually coined by Freud to denote people who are able to find sexual gratification outside of accepted societal norms. I was elated to learn that the term could still apply to me, which is why I've decided to use it to name the oracle deck I've been creating.

(By the way, I was gone for awhile. Did you miss me? I've had my head buried in projects like these! I'm back to tell you all about them). 

I have loved the Tarot for many years, have been reading the cards since I was in high school, and have studied them as both an occultist and as an art historian. I've already created both a Lenormand deck AND a tarot deck, but I felt that I wanted to create a deck that was completely mine, and could also be used by differently oriented people such as myself. 


This oracle is meant to serve as an oracle for people of ALL persuasions, regardless of color, creed, faith, sexual preference, and/or relationship style. Part of my process as I have been created this work is to talk to people of all different genders and orientations to hear about how they wish to be represented. I am very open to feedback, and have a strong desire to “get it right.” Realizing that nothing in this world is perfect, I at least want to be able to feel that I have done my very best in choosing my imagery.


I chose not to make this deck a traditional tarot deck as I wanted to have more freedom in determining what sorts of themes I wanted to see on the cards. My inspiration for themes comes from several sources, including Lenormand AND Tarot (because I don’t think I can ever completely get away from Tarot).


The very beginnings of inspiration for the deck came when I began doing a daily drawing for the annual Inktober Challenge in 2016. The Inktober Challenge was created by artist Jake Parker, who lists a daily drawing prompt on his blog for the month of October. Artists from all over the world then create ink drawings based on these prompts, which are usually a single word. As I created my daily drawings and posted them on my Facebook page, a number of friends commented that I should create a new oracle deck based on these drawings. Naturally, the idea appealed to me. I had in the past already created a Tarot deck and a Lenormand deck, and the idea of generating an oracle that was unique to me has always appealed to me.


After I had completed 31 drawings in 31 days, friends often remarked to me that they wished I would continue drawing. Since by then I had already decided I was going to make an oracle deck, I gladly agreed.  From there, I began to go back through my 31 Inktober drawings, deciding if some of those were what I wanted in an oracle, which were not, and beginning to create the things that I thought were important. (For example, days 18 and 19 were escape and flight respectively. I decided the two were quite similar, so I eliminated escape in favor of flight because I thought flight had more possibilities of interpretation.



Initially, because the drawings had come out of the Inktober Challenge, all of the drawings had been in black and white, drawn in pen and ink. I am a painter and I adore color, and I felt as though my original black and white drawings were begging for color to be added. Gleefully, I complied with the call of my muse and began using colored pencil to bring color into the work. I also began to create new cards to represent people and themes unique to polyamory and differently gendered people. 


As the deck develops, and my ideas about it gel, I will be sharing more images here, and I truly welcome feedback. I will be creating a website shortly for others to view ALL of the images and provide more feedback. Please let me know what you think.

I am close to completing the deck, the next part of the work will involve actually begin using it to give readings and determine how meanings apply to each card. I plan on bringing it with me to conferences and festivals in 2017 to offer readings to those willing to act as my guinea pigs.


In the meantime, I am glad to be back to writing my blog again, and promise not to disappear again!

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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.


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