By Standing Stone and Twisted tree by sphinxmuse

By Standing Stone and Twisted tree

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Added: Mar 17, 2005
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Artwork Description

This image (and especially its title) was inspired by the poem Invocation of the Horned God, a piece of Traditional Wiccan liturgy written by Doreen Valiente. It was published by her in the periodical Pentagram in 1965 and also appears in her book Witchcraft for Tomorrow (although Lady Sheba misquotes it in her Lady Sheba's Book of Shadows and falsely claims it as ancient).
It's been a while since I've depicted a masculine facet of the Divine, and I thought it was about time I tried to address the God within my art once again. I generally tend to relate more closely to Goddesses and feminine imagery and thus portray them more frequently in my work, but this does not indicate that I do not choose to honor and acknowledge the God.
I've seen some other imagery of the Horned God, and there seems to be a trend in Wiccan artists illustrating Him as a burly, bearded man with antlers that with the addition of a plaid shirt stretched snugly over His barrel chest, would resemble the character on the Brawny papertowel packages. I do not think that there's anything wrong with perceiving Him in that way, it's just that I hope to show that there are other, less generic ways to envision Him. I tend to see Him, not only as a stoic, fatherly figure and protector, but also as very sensual, wild, mischevious, and extremely wise. He knows of the ultimate pleasure and the ultimate sacrifice (perhaps even as they exist in the same moment), he is both savage and urbane, expressively sensitive yet also an embodiment of strength: oak and holly, hart and bull. In some ways, I have personally come to encounter the Horned God much as the Indian poetess Mirabai enagaged her beloved Krishna whom she often referred to as Shyam meaning "Dark One". In this instance, I chose to represent Him as more lithe and youthful than aged and muscular, and in this case, He truly is a Horned rather than an Antlered God (as a matter of fact, He seems to be a double-horned God). He is accompanied by an American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos), a faithful companion and messenger, and Norse-inspired tattoos scrawl across the God's pelt. Entwined in His hair and appearing in the immediate foreground are not thorns, but the twigs of the Tulip Poplar (Liriodendron tulipfera L.). Once all the petals of this tree's flower, which resembles a tulip or lily, wither and detach, they leave behind a miniature, exquisitely sculpted spire. It is those spires which appear in this piece.
The medium is Clayboard Black, a variety of scratchboard.

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sphinxmuse's picture

Unfortunately, you're quite right in that mythic and spiritual themes do not appeal to everyone (it seems that a lot of people simply want the pretty escapist pictures you describe), but I create art more for myself than for others and those themes are what drive me to create. In addition, the way I see it is that if individuals really don't wish to get themselves involved in my exploratory commentary, they certainly don't have to. One can simply appreciate the image itself as a "fantasy" piece without being compelled to look any deeper.

Guest's picture

Heh. Kewl!

Guest's picture

This is beautiful!

Art at its best.