Helpful and unhelpful imagery

4 01 2008

In response to a post on Cylch Riannon, which made a lot of sense to me, here’s an example of art regarding Herne which demonstrate the principle I believe was being propounded. Drawn by Xenia at elfwoodart.com.

Here we have a representation of Herne with his wolves and his horns; but how gentle he looks. Almost Fool-like. It’s a well-executed and artistically able picture but there’s a great deal lacking for my money. His rank wildness, his dangerous and unpredictable nature simply don’t show here at all.

In a way it makes you wonder what other people see when they read and experience the same things as you do. It actually makes a good point about experience – yours is never going to be the same as another’s, as the interpretive process is unique to each of us. And maybe this artist has seen something of Herne that I never could.

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4 responses

8 01 2008
Mereth

Ah, what a pretty picture. It does have softness and is visually attractive, but it isn’t the God I know.

The God I have in my heart is a primeval being and to be perfectly frank, a little scary. He is the ripping off ones neat togs and running through a forest for the sheer joy of feeling branches on your skin, the sun warming you in glades and the squishiness of moss underfoot. My God is the mist in the stunted woods by the stones, the earthy smell as I lay my head on the ground and the sheer energy and vibrancy that you feel when you take your shoes off and walk somewhere wild and unspoiled and you can feel things growing.

There are the less gentle aspects too. I have known emotional pain that has made me howl and others run away because I sounded like a wolf – and that was a Godly moment. Not one anyone would want to willingly walk into, but He was there and was what ultimately held me together – my glue.

I don’t know what other people’s God’s are like, but mine doesn’t smell like he’s just left the deodorant counter in Boots, or been troubled by the “new and improved” (don’t get me started on that oxymoron) washing powders of the day. No, he has creases in his face and goodness, it’s been lived in!

I guess it is personal for every person. I think that I’m very happy with the God I know. It is not always a cushy and easy ride, but it certainly lets me know I am alive.

9 01 2008
wiccanwanderings

Likewise. There’s something elementally unbalanced about this view of Herne, in my book. For a start, I never see him out in the open, he’s a wood dweller, and the flashes of him you see as he slides between the trees mean you would never see him full face or that close. He looks in this picture as if he’s desperately trying to give the viewer something. I can’t imagine Herne being this needy.

It is interesting, though, to think about how different people see the same being. Herne is always described in the literature as dangerous, wild, unpredictable, strong and powerful. That precis wouldn’t make me envision this picture in a million years.

9 01 2008
Mereth

Yes, you have hit the nail on the head – the image is reaching out to the viewer and that isn’t how I know Him – you have to seek him out or sometimes he just appears, but he certainly doesn’t come looking for you!

23 02 2008
bwitch

I have to agree with what was said at Cylch Riannon, too. I have also spent considerable time trying to find suitable statues to represent deity – it ain’t easy.

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