|"The Ghost of a Flea" by Blake (1810s)|
Sunday, 8 November 2020
Saturday, 26 September 2020
The primary symbol of Germanic Paganism today is Thor's hammer, and there are a number of websites where you can buy really stunning Mjolnir pieces to wear, but they tend to be chunky and are clearly intended to be worn primarily by men. The hammer is a symbol of strength so it makes sense that men would want to wear a Mjolnir amulet, but I am no man and so here follows images of feminine jewellery that can be worn with contemporary dress while being evocative of Germanic deities. All of the pictures have links beneath them to the websites where you can buy them (as of September 2020). Click on the image to enlarge.
Odin, God of victory, wisdom, eloquence, wandering, death, inspiration and more
|Silver pendant based on a 6th century image of a berserker|
|Silver pendant, Valkyrie with horn replica|
|Raven feather earrings in oxidised silver by Aurum|
|Swan feathers ring (swans are associated with Valkyries)|
While spears, wolves and ravens are more obvious symbols of Odin, horns are associated with Odin for a number of reasons. Firstly, archeologists have found a number of images of warriors with horned helmets who are thought to be connected to Odin. Secondly, Valkyries are said to bring horns of mead to the warriors of Valhalla, and thirdly, it is said that Odin gained three drinks of the mead of poetry (this is the origin story of the triple horn symbol). With this in mind I think the following high end jewellery from georgjensen.com is subtly Odinic.
Sunday, 12 July 2020
|"Lucretia" by Bassano (16th/17th century)|
“Let them worship deities … who have won a place in heaven through their merits, such as Hercules, Liber, Aesculapius, Castor, Pollux and Quirinus; and those qualities through which men may gain access to heaven – Mens <Mind>, Virtus <Virtue>, Pietas <Piety>, Fides <Faith>; of these virtues let there be shrines but none of any of the vices … Let sacrilege committed that cannot be expiated be deemed impious …Except for the servants of the Magna Mater – and they only on their fixed days – let no one beg for contributions. He who steals or takes away what is sacred or in trust in a public place, let him count as a parricide. For perjury the punishment is destruction from the Gods, shame from men. The pontifices [priests] shall punish incest with the capital penalty … Let them fulfil vows scrupulously … Let them treat their dead kinsfolk as divine. Let there be limits to expenditure and mourning for them [cited in Beard, North and Price, Vol 2, at 353-355]”.
- The healthy mind, which a Roman would understand to include intelligence and mental courage.
- Piety, meaning unflinching devotion and loyalty to family, friends, country and Gods.
- Faithfulness, by which is meant trustworthiness and reliability.
Friday, 29 May 2020
|"For Karin's Name Day" by Larsson (1899)|
Sunday, 19 April 2020
|"A sick child brought into the temple of Aesculapius" by Waterhouse (1877)|
“As for the sundry figures called Aesculapius, the first is the son of Apollo and is worshipped by the Arcadians; he is said to have invented the probe, and to have been the first to use splints for healing. The second is that [he is] the brother of Mercury mark two. The story goes that he was struck by lightning, and that he is buried at Cynosura. The third, the son of Arsippus and Arsinoe, was reportedly a pioneer in the application of purgatives and the extraction of teeth. His tomb and grove are open to inspection in Arcadia [3.57]”.
“Hippolytus, after [being] … torn apart by stampeding horses … came again to the heavenly stars, and the upper air beneath the sky, recalled by Apollo’s herbs and Diana’s love. Then the all-powerful father, indignant that any mortal should rise from the shadows to the light of life, hurled Aesculapius, Apollo’s son, the discoverer of such skill and healing, down to the Stygian waves [Virgil, The Aeneid, 7.641-782]”.
Friday, 6 March 2020
|3rd century denarius depicting Pax |
“One of the legacies of the classical world is the belief that a secure peace can be obtained only through war … Cicero … said: ‘If we wish to enjoy peace, we must wage war. If we fail to wage war, peace we shall never enjoy.’ … The Romans believed that war and peace alternated as cause and effect. The civil wars broke out because of the extravagance that followed the wake of earlier wars. The luxury and prosperity of the late Roman Republic and Empire, and the enervating effects of peace effeminated its citizens and made them the prey of barbarian invaders …
The Roman concept of peace was fragmented. One way of looking at this is to remember that during the regal and republican periods of history there was no God or Goddess who personified peace. While it is true that Saturn was said to have established the Golden Age, a time of peace and harmony, and that no war could be declared during the festival of Saturnalia, the Golden Age was no more. Peace was an abstract … concept that was imported into Rome and personified as a Goddess. At the same time, there were several [long established] deities who personified war, such as Mars and Minerva …
Another way of looking at the slow development of the Roman concept of peace is to examine the changing meanings of the word pax. According to the Oxford Latin Dictionary, pax originally meant a pact between individuals, or a blessing conferring freedom from divine anger … Pax took on the meaning of a broad concept or policy only in the time of Augustus with the Pax Romana, a state of tranquility within those parts of the empire that had been pacified … the classical Roman concept of peace assumed that peace must be preceded by a total victory imposed by the victors, which assumes the existence of war … Augustus had derived the concept of peace from the Greek Goddess Eirene, who had been known to the Greeks since the time of Hesiod [8th-7th century BCE]. Although the Greeks had fought their wars ferociously, they, and the other city-states of the ancient Greek world, had generally restored peace through negotiated peace treaties rather than demanding total victory … [By contrast, a] Roman peace treaty was imposed on enemies after a crushing victory … Roman coins often depict Pax linked to the Goddess Victoria, with the latter wielding a sword and shield and displaying war trophies. This reinforced the idea that peace was something to be imposed, hence the motto Mars pacifier [Manning at 31-32]”.
Saturday, 3 August 2019
|A man feeling spent after a night of debauchery|
Detail from "Marriage a la Mode" by Hogarth (1743)
Saturday, 1 June 2019
|Illustration from La Sphere du Monde by Oronce Fine (1549)|
(the sublunary elements are fire, air, water and earth; above the moon is aether)
“The Greeks, by about 500 BC, were trying to explain the movements of the planets by first assuming the earth to be the centre of the universe. ( … practically everyone before modern times assumed that it was.) A philosopher named Anaximenes about 550 BC suggested that the stars were fixed in a huge hollow sphere that enclosed the earth, the sun, the moon and the planets … This sphere might be motionless while the earth turned, or vice versa. Later Greeks argued both ways.
The sun, moon and planets could not be fixed to this sphere of the stars, because they did not move along with the stars at the same speed. They must therefore exist in space between the sphere of the stars and the central earth … each must be fixed in a special sphere of its own [Asimov at 25-27].”
Thursday, 10 January 2019
|"A Beggar Girl" by Sargent (c. 1877)|