Wiccan Friend

Just your friendly neighborhood Witch. Thoughts on Wicca, Witchcraft, Tarot, and Paganism today.

Tag Archives: Art

Mr. Keegan goes to the Cathedral, and thoughts on Christening

I don’t often get the opportunity to visit Christian churches, but still oddly enough find myself in one around once or twice a year.  I know that during the yuletide my wife and I join her parents for Christmas eve services at their Lutheran church both because we knowit is important to them and because they ask us to play music during the service.  I grew up in the Lutheran church and can appreciate the service, but sometimes times it is hard to keep an open mind.  If nothing else it stands as a reminder to my wife and I of what we left behind re-affirming our own Pagan faith.  We leave the service with mixed feelings about the message from the Homily given but proud that as Wiccans we are open-minded enough to subject ourselves to it.  It does indeed feel like service putting ourselves aside to be there for other people.  Recently however I got a real treat as my niece was Christened in the Catholic faith.  It has been ages since I have been in a Catholic church and the ones I remember were no where near this magnificent.  The Rite was held in one of the oldest Cathedrals in Texas located in downtown Austin,  St. Mary.

Copyright (c) Dave Wilson, 2009

You walk up the short concrete steps and are greeted with massive wooden doors surrounded in gothic architecture that otherwise seems quite out of place in the heart of downtown Austin.  The building itself is so moving as a work of art and is steeped in history, symbols, community, amazing art, and lots of care.  You can tell as you enter that this is sacred space.  You can tell because of the way you are overcome as you pass over the threshold.  The church itself greets you both with a hello and warning.  I wont say that I felt magick inside, because I know the Church wouldn’t want it to be refer to that, but I certainly felts the hearts and prayers of over a century of religious work.  There is also a spacial trick that happens with all of these types of buildings.  From the outside they look huge, but when you step inside the space seems to double.  It may all be a

matter of perspective but it is a great effect that adds to the experience for sure.  The symbolism and religiosity inside is quite overwhelming.  Surrounding the great length of pews in the center of the Cathedral are styled walls, stain glass, and statues.  40 foot columns rise from the ground to touch the ceiling which is decorated in Gothic trusses  and amazing patterns of light and color.  It is simply beautiful, but honestly as I acclimated to the surroundings I began to miss something…

I was surrounded by the supernatural.   This was all a great feet of inspired Human ingenuity and religious incitement, but it lacks what really stirs my soul.  The cool Earth, an awakening breeze, a warm fire, and refreshing water.  Granted all of those things were present in the Church.  The stone beneath our feet, the atmosphere of the space, the flickering of the lit candles, and the font filled with fresh water for baptism.  Even still, it wasn’t same.  The man-made becomes the focal point and the most precious gifts, our natural elements, become  the accents.  I am opened minded enough to know how amazing this place is and how much it must mean to the people who worship here, but aware enough to be reminded of my own path and what stirs my spirit.  There was comfort in those thoughts.  It was an exercise to find worship surrounded by dogma.

As for the Rite itself, it was amazing.  There is so much imagery and mysticism in the Catholic Church.  My wife pointed out to me at the beginning they asked the child’s name and what they wanted to achieve here today.  This was so much like every time we as Wiccans enter the circle and are asked for our name and purpose.  We looked at one another and smiled, or in her case smirked.  She is very smirky.  I’m fortunate to be able to share little moments like that with someone.  This was a lot of things during the ceremony that I couldn’t agree with, after all I am Pagan for a reason, but I just put that under differences in religion and do what I can.  That is be there for my family, shower this babe with love and hopeful energy, and say my own silent prayer to the God and Goddess of thanks.

Blessed Be.

Thoughts on the God and Goddess and artwork to honor them

I feel their presence everyday.  Sometimes it is a nudge and other times a gentle reminder on the breeze.  There are even times that they take me over with anxiety or fill me with peace.  The Lord and Lady that I know, and that knows me, are more then All-knowing deity held out in front of me at prayer’s length.  I know I could never be atheist because of the personal experiences I’ve had while sharing my life with the Lord and Lady.

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Often times She is that wind that kisses my face.  She brings a wisdom to my heart to remind me of my promise to Her and affirm Herself to me.  When I was younger she would remind me of my lost true love by subtle hints of vanilla on the air.  I should have listened more closely because now I understand She was speaking through scent, and if I would have had the wherewithal I could have heard a much deeper message.  Other times She is the raw emotion that overcomes me, or the spirit of nurture for my loved ones.  She comes to me in the form of Awen to help creative pursuits, and lives inside my guilt when I hurt those closest to me.  I look out into this world and see Her represented in the feminine, the creative spark, and the nurturing Earth.

My Lord is a rock.  He motivates me with His example.  He is able to show me how things could be and what it takes to earn and achieve.  He provides a pillar of strength to both push me forward and to hold me up.  He is both giving and firm like a velvet brick.  He holds his values like a shield.  They keep him true and right and protect Him from lies and falsehoods.  When my Lord speaks life itself listen to his wisdom and takes care to heed his words as they are the foundations of truth.  He is the warm sun on my face and shoulders.  He is the voice inside me that yearns to be a better Man, Husband, and a wiser person.

Together the God and Goddess represent all things manifest in this mundane world and provide guidance and care to experience this life and the next.  For me the greatest lesson they have taught is that as long as I am alive, I can change the situation I am in.  This is the very basis of my belief in Wicca and Witchcraft.

So in my Wiccan tradition one of the requirements we are given to allow us to initiate and receive our first degree is to complete an art project.  It is to represent our relationship with the God and Goddess.  As simple as that sounds it becomes a huge undertaking.  You have to plan the media, and the subject, and search very deeply for an answer.  An answer to the question, what is my relationship with the God and Goddess.

Interestingly enough my answer would have been different a few years ago.  I think that is becauseall relationships change and grow in different ways.  Even in the last year, there have been so many things that influence how I view and interact with my Deities.  Even the way I define this relationship has changed based on new ways I have found of expressing it.

For me I knew fairly early that I wanted my art project to be a mask that represented both the male and female aspects of nature.  To me it gives not only a easy visual reference for the Lord and Lady, but also a very deep comment about our relationship given that it is a mask.  Even in my youngest thoughts as a child I can remember seeing the masculine and feminine in my world.  It was always right in front of my thoughts.  It is one of the reasons I couldn’t reconcile my beliefs as a Christian. The world was polar and all people, objects, even ideas had aspects of male or female.  So i set out in my mask to visually represent this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you look at it the Left Side being Feminine and the Right side representing the Masculine.

Left:

  • There are more pieces making up this side of the mask, they represent the ever unfolding layers of the feminine.  Complex emotions, and deep passion.
  • There is moss present on this side to represent the Earth.  The most nurturing and growing substance the we see and come in contact with nearly everyday.
  • The vines that cascade down the side of the mask really reminded me of flowing hair and gave the mask a more feminine quality.
Right:
  • Here you can see the bark is bigger in both size and weight.  I wanted something heavier and robust for the masculine side.
  • The main feature of this side being the feathers to represent animals.  The beast and foul being of the God I thought I would fit nicely within the God theme.
  • Lastly are the leaves and wood itself which reminds me largely of the Green Man and God of the forest.
Why a mask?

It at the moment accurately represents how I feel about my relationship with the Lord and Lady andsort of my purpose on this earth.  I feel I am here to experience life through the eyes of the God and Goddess while at the same time I’m and charged with the God and Goddess experiencing this life through me, my actions, and my eyes.  I am to live the best I can, experience this marvel of existence, and bring it back to the Lord and Lady upon my return from this life.  A mask was the best way I could illustrate the dual nature of this concept of putting on the God and Goddess so they can experience what I see through their eyes.
How it was done:
I thought I’d add here how I actually made the mask for anyone who is interested in making their own.  It was really simple, and uses both natural materials and craft store materials.
What is used:
  • Bark found from downed limbs or washes ashore on a lake after a storm.
  • Paintable mask foundation bought at craft store.
  • Foam sheet bought at craft store.
  • Plastic vines bought at craft store.
  • Reindeer Moss bought at craft store.
  • Plastic leaves bought at craft store.
  • Bird feathers bought at craft store.
  • Glue Gun
  • Crazy Glue
I first took the paintable white mask and added on to it with the foam sheets.  I had a basic idea of how big I wanted the mask to be so I cut out a bigger mask pattern and crazy glued it on top of the original craft mask.  I used crazy glue because I really wanted this part to be a strong foundation for the rest of the mask.  For starting out it gives you a larger canvas to plan out what your mask will look like.  Later on whatever you don’t fill with the mask design can be easily cut away using a sharp knife or box cutter.
I then started breaking up my wood.  I needed several smaller pieces for the cheeks and forehead, and also a rounded piece of bark for the bridge of the nose.  I then took all of those small pieces and started to piece them together like Tetris.  I literally had all of the wood pieces trying one and then another until I found a pattern that suited me.  I then started gluing down the largest pieces of wood to “frame” the face of the mask.
After some of the larger pieces were down I inserted the moss into and under those large pieces and glue them down to the mask surface or if they were under a piece of bark gluing the bark on top of the moss.  This gives the illusion the moss is growing from under and around the bark and gives a simple transition into the smaller pieces of bark.  That way your bark edges dont have to match up perfectly and you have a bit of wiggle room to get the form of a human face down.
After all the bark and moss were placed I wove in the vines for the hair.  The vines are made from a metal wire painted dull green so fixing them to the top of the mask was easy by weaving it through the top of the bark carefully.
I then shaped the feathers and glued them to the part of the mask I had left uncovered.
All that was left was to fill in some of the empty space on the right side with leaves.  I secured those down with some hot glue and was done.
The final result is a really special result that I will keep around for many years, as a reminder of how I related to the God and Goddess during this time of my life.
What has been your favorite Pagan art project?  We Pagans tend to be quite the artsy folk and I would love to see what else is out there.  Link in the comments below!
Blessed Be.