Saturday, February 24, 2007

It's pretty cold out, we got some snow yesterday that covered the tracks of the squirrels and birds but left the paths out to the hen house. My back is somewhat dull with pain and there's a periodic flash of deep pain on one side. Not a lot, but then the pills have kicked in by now. Starting March 1st they are going to try to "put the nerves to sleep" with high frequency waves. If it works I might have a 50% reduction in pain and regain some mobility in time to work on the two remaining sculptures for the National Museum of Dance.

The exhibit is supposed to last about a year and will feature various goddesses, mostly from the Greek era, with a small temple set up in a garden like setting. That's the impression I get anyway. I haven't seen any plans yet. I let them hang onto "Dancer", which they want to use as Demeter. It seems funny that they liked that one for Demeter as it's a bit chubby and oriental looking, but then the religions came from the east and body types were different then. Then they want Artemis, which is very pleasant but in need of a solid base so she doesn't fall back. During the firing it sagged a tad bit and now leans back too far. I planned a marble, stone or cement base for her. The Persephone they chose is the older one, just a bust really, but it's shown before and I like her a lot. Now I have to do Aphrodite in a taller size, like 24"-30" and Ishtar at about 18". It's curious how the mingling of forms creates an athmosphere. Combining Greek and earlier goddesses in one spot has interesting implications. If we use Aphrodite and Ishtar as examples of passionate goddesses we get one idea, but if we use Ishtar along with Persephone we get a rebirth concept and draw attention to her role as protector of childbirth. I like the idea that they have a religion whereby the passion that leads to childbirth is handled by one deity. She encourages love, sex and children. Nice Lady.

I have an idea for Aphrodite. Since I tend to appreciate the earlier forms I plan to use the moment she arises from the sea, supported by dolphins and maybe even covered by seaweed, at least the "special parts". The woman in charge of the exhibit is excited about it all, and that sure is nice. Aphrodite was identified as giving passion a singular role in life. It is passion that causes love. It is passion that leads to war. So Aphrodite has an affair with the god of war, Ares. Her husband is the god of blacksmithing and relates to Ptah and other male creator gods. They don't create the universe, as that was done already, but they create things like armor, jewelry, magic weapons. Aphrodite get a girdle that makes her look so good nobody can resist her. Odd, when you think about it, that a husband would make his wife irresistible to other men. But then Hephaestus was not your average god-husband. So she's on her seashell, supported by dolphins, partly nude yet not so much sexy as pure.

Ishtar was also called Inanna and I plan to make Her in the motif of the older forms, the stylized cylinder-like body but with suggestions of breasts and pubic triange, just enough to be "real" but still stylized enough to not be offensive to sensitive viewers. The real older form with Her spread-legged and obscene wouldn't go over too well. Ishtar-Inanna was the goddess who went down to Hell to visit Her sister Ereshkigal and pay respects to Her dead husband. There is some suggestion that Ereshkigal and Inanna as aspects of the same goddess, but that goes without saying. All deities are linked at some level. I like the Inanna version of the Persephone myth, the idea that She goes down of Her own free will and comes back more powerful. Much better than rape and abduction, even if it was by a powerful God like Hades. That version reminds us that Death comes for us all, but the earlier version reminds us that we sometimes have to sacrifice ourselves to ourselves in order to rise above and become stronger, to gain our destiny. We die and are reborn, the earlier version of the Jesus myth, even earlier than Isis and Osiris.

The thing you should get from all this imagery is that idea of the Great Circle, that death is not an end to life, merely a point on the Circle. We become greater by leaving it all behind. Inanna-Ishtar gives up Her jewelry, Her body and Her life and comes back strong enough to cast down her lover-husband who has usurped Her place. Much different take on things from the Persephone myth. Non-linear religions give us hope and despair. We will return in some form, but we will have to die again and suffer through life. Christians and other Yahwehists have a linear view where you die, are judged and then you hang out for eternity praising your Father. Not much point to that one, I think. The idea of returning to life and becoming one with other forms seems not only more interesting, but reasonable. How can an infinite universe just end and follow up with a nonsensical past life of continuous ego-stroking? Makes no sense at all. I don't even like the idea.

So you hope to see your loved ones again, know you will be in love again, in life again and will come to understand more and more about all those forms which are part of the universe. The other way gives you the position of sychophant for eternity! Yikes. Sounds exactly like what a man would invent, especially a man with doubts about his manliness.

An interesting aside is how various publications deal with the birth of Aphrodite. In some she is made of sea foam caused by the casting of Uranus's penis into the ocean. In others they deal with the penis by saying it had a vast ejaculation at the end, something which does sometimes happen to men when dying, and Aphrodite was formed of the froth. So in that one you see that they understood the fact that semen causes birth! Interestingly enough there are some creation myths where the male creator god masturbates the universe into existence, solving the problem of why a male god might not have a female goddess around to use that heavenly penis. Still, the idea of the universe being created by a hairy-palmed deity thinking about Sonia Bragga is disturbing. Gives you an idea of what kind of folks were telling tales back then. NOt much different from Fox News.

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