Pray to the Moon when She is round,
Luck with you will then abound,
What you seek for shall be found
On the sea or solid ground.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Idols & Animism. Wherein Lies the Power?

A portion of the large shrine at a Women's Mysteries ceremony,  a shrine populated by many, many persons.
A portion of the large shrine at a Women's Mysteries ceremony,
a shrine populated by many, many persons.

Goddess figure.
Goddess figure.
This week I was assigned the job of taking photographs at a Women's Mysteries ceremony where a large credenza was filled with images, symbolic representations & figures of goddess forms. The task gave me pause to consider a simple question with no clear answer: Wherein lies the strength of an idol, icon or other symbolic object?  

Surely some would quite automatically argue that the power lies in the deity/spirit the idol represents, in the connection or entanglement to the godform or spirit, but as a photographer & animist, I would argue differently. Or rather, I would argue that while there is indeed often an external influence present, there is also something else.

Goddess figure.  Possibly Blodeuwedd.
Goddess figure.
Possibly Blodeuwedd.
When you spend years behind a macro lens, you invariably see that something else -- something in the small worlds that tells you that these "things" or, as I prefer these persons, have their own strength that resides within, independent of external correspondences. They have an identity, speech & attitude of their own -- if you ask them, they will tell you so. 

Moving across the terrain of this latest spiritual assemblage was no exception -- even the offerings had something to say. (Note: It may seem peculiar, but the little figure dedicated to Bast had a particularly strong character & later as I sorted photos, "he" [owner's designation] seemed to dominate my photos.)

So, while I do not deny the potency & influence of the godform which inspired a specific icon, I also cannot deny the inner sprit of the "things" which represent them. It may not be obvious to the casual observer of these images, but for me, just looking at their photographs tells me so many secrets. 

And if the truth is to be told, I must confess that I am not sure which was more personally compelling that evening; the women & their stories, the ceremony & it's story, or the opportunity to be in the presence of (& the honour of photographing) some incredibly beautiful, beloved & dynamic "object persons" with so many stories of their own.

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