Monday, 22 October 2012

Accepting Paganism

"A Priestess of Apollo" by Alma-Tadema (1888)
pagan (say 'payguhn)
 noun 1. a follower of an ancient polytheistic or pantheistic religion or set of beliefs.
 2. a. one of a people or community professing some other than the Christian religion (applied to the ancient Romans, Greeks, etc., and sometimes the Jewish people).
b.  (derogatory) someone who is not an adherent of one of the world's major religions.
 3. an irreligious or heathenish person.
 4. a person who follows a contemporary set of beliefs modelled on the ancient pagan religions.
–adjective 5. relating to the worship or worshippers of any religion which is neither Christian, Jewish, nor Muslim.
 6. of, relating to, or characteristic of pagans.
 7. heathen; irreligious. [Middle English, from Late Latin pāgānus pagan, from Latin pāgānus villager, peasant, civilian; used to refer to noncombatants by the Roman military, and later by Christians to refer to those not enlisted in the Church military] 
–paganish, adjective [Macquarie Dictionary]

Monday, 1 October 2012

Pagan Sydney

While not immediately obvious, Pagan and polytheistic themes abound in Sydney. Here are some examples.

Archibald Fountain, Hyde Park (central Sydney) – depicts Apollo at the head of the fountain with Diana, the "young god of fields and pastures" (Faunus?) and Theseus at the base. Sculpted by Francois-Leon Sicard (posthumously commissioned by Jules Francois Archibald – a leading journalist and publisher of his day) and unveiled in 1932. Of the work Sicard wrote: 
"Apollo represents the Arts (Beauty and Light). Apollo holds out his right arm as a sign of protection, and spreads his benefits over all Nature, whilst he holds the Lyre in his left hand. Apollo is the warmth which vivifies, giving life to all Nature. At the touch of his rays, men awake, trees and fields become green, the animals go out into the fields, and men go to work at dawn. 
The ancient Pliny adored the sun, symbol of Life. It is on this account that I wished this figure to be the chief one in the memorial.