You may notice that I changed the appearance of this blog recently. I'm working on it, trying to make it more useful and attractive. I started it, in part, to vent my emotions because of Jon's situation, but he's been really stable lately and I have not, so I guess I'll work on the externals of the blog a bit while I work on the writing.
I'm going to be making a fairly classical version of Aphrodite in terracotta for the National Museum of Dance. In order to do this in a manner that I am comfortable with I am studying the construction and set up of shrines. I like to consider the kind of environment a given statue might be destined for. Some shrines are created for an object and some form over time and have objects added later. Let's look at an example. In Goddess worship we look for spots where there is a liminal activity, like a spring, a cave, volcano, etc. Say I find a small opening under a huge tree from which water is streaming out. This is inner energy coming out to light. This liminal place is thereby holy. I might offer a coin, tossed back into the depths. I might sit and listen quietly to the sound of water bubbling up. I think about Persephone, I might think about the World Tree, maybe I'll consider the elements involved here and light a stick of incense. Through the years I continue to visit the site and offer coins, incense and meditations. I might whisper to the Goddess, I might sleep and have dreams. Eventually I might bring others here. It becomes a shrine.
As time goes by I might build a small altar and put various symbols of the Goddess such as statues, bowls etc. There is a spot where people nap to have dreams or visions. A young woman comes to stay there from time to time, taking care of the shrine and keeping it clean. We build a roof over the spot where the offerings are made. The shrine becomes a temple. Maybe the dreams are consistantly true visions or maybe people come and are cured of diseases or psychological problems and more people come. Maybe people who are especially touched build small dwellings nearby. It becomes a temple-town with many shrines, many statues and offerings.
The Aphrodite I am working on is made for that level of shrine. It will be about 2 feet tall and so far at least, will have Her on a shell, holding a dove in one hand and with Cupid or Eros nearby. Notice that Eros counts for physical love and is a lesser figure in the shrine. This is because physical love is but a small part of the Goddess's domain. Love of family, love of country, of ideals... all these are loves, even love of self. Aphrodite deals with love.
She is related to Astarte, Freya, Marilyn and other Goddesses of love. She has a husband who loves Her, lovers who love Her, followers who love Her, and animals who love Her. Oddly enough, these animals are not always what you would expect. For instance, the dove is certainly one we would expect, being beautiful, soft and shy. But the pig is another animal associated with her, as is the dolphin. Both are good mothers and have other aspects which relate to important aspects of the Goddess. Meditation on these aspects, the love of a mother for her child, the love of a woman for her husband or mate, all can reveal truths about ourselves. Aphrodite is not faithful to her husband, but she is faithful to her Nature.
They want me to springboard off Isadore Duncan for the model so I have Googled a number of pictures and stare at them for long periods of meditation. The robes will be clinging so I can emphasize the body while covering it. I will likely have a breast exposed but plan to cover another with a hand. I want to show both the erotic aspects as well as the modest aspects of love. I may support the shell on two dolphins to show Her connection with the sea, as She was born of the sea.
Interesting note on Her birth. Some books say She was born of the sea foam created when a God's penis was tossed into the sea. Interesting, but some stories say the blood whipped up the foam, whereas others say it was an ejaculation after the castration that created white foam. Thus sperm entering the sea (which is ever the Goddess) gave birth to the Goddess of Love. Leave it to your imagination, was it sperm causing birth, or blood? Some writers have a problem delivering to their readers the image of a sea frothing with cum producing a beautiful nude Goddess. Too erotic? But it's the Goddess of Love, fer crying out loud. Christians should not try to write about Gods and Goddesses. They get nervous, especially when too many symbols start sounding like their own tales of Jesus and the rest of the Jewish gods. Like Osiris and Isis establishing the basis for the Jesus death and rebirth. Or Odin hanging from a tree being offered by himself to himself to bring a revelation to the people. Too close for comfort.
When I start mushing clay around I will try to post a picture of the work. The exhibition is supposed to be up for a year and I hope to make some commissions from all this, or at least get my name in the paper. Time to light some incense down by the spring. Goddess Bless, as they say in the temple town.