Maximilián Pirner. "Hecate". (1901). All rights reserved.

Hekate is a Greek-Roman goddess of Witchcraft, Magic, Crossroads, necromancy, Wilderness and Childbirth. So, she is a Godess referred to the dark side of the world. Because of this obscure sense I found this goddess inside dark music bands. First, Hecate is the name of a wonderful album from Ordo Equitum Solis, one of the pioneer bands in Medieval renewal music. I also found this goddess in the name of a Neofolk band from Germany: Hekate. And last, Hecate, is a black metal band.

But the main point of interest for me is the shape of three-headed goddess, maybe one of the possible origins of the iconography of three-headed Trinity in Christian religion. I have already talked about this iconography in a post about Michael Hussar, as you can remember. This theory is not followed by one of the main experts on iconography, Julius Von Schlosser, who links the beginning of this iconography in a three-headed God from celtic religion whose multi-facial head appears in sculpture in 12th century in France, close the location where the first three-headed Trinities appeared.

This introduction refers to my interest in the figure of Hekate, so, as Art Historian interested in fin de siècle I want to talk about the painting of the German Maximilian Pirner, mainly dedicated to make portraits, so the image of today must be placed out from his main production. To represent a Greek Goddess as Hekate at that time connects with the Symbolist style.

This pastel was made concretely in 1901 and represents Hekate in a singular way: a three-body goddess who flies turning around her longitudinal axis. We can see this triple nude body flying in front of the crescent Moon. We perceive her beauty in a very well proportioned body.

There is a strange symbolism unknown for me: three hands, one of each body, takes different elements: a key, a sword and a torch. I´m going to try to explain what they could mean. The key refers to a closed gate, a gate that only Hekate can open. Due to her obscure character, this key could be the gate between life and death. The sword refers to war, is a male attribute, maybe linked with the one of the three bodies related with the war, with Mars God. And finally, the torch refers to the light of the mind, attribute who links Hekate with Athenea, Goddess of wisdom.

However, this is a very strange painting, I don´t know similar images at that time, it could be possibly a very personal interpretation of this mythic and not well-known Antiquity Goddess.


Lithuanian Goddess

Ritmas Tarabilda. "Deivé, Lithuanian Goddess". (1998). All rights reserved.
Nowadays we are living a resurrection of pagan religions. In Europe and North America there are many people who look back to pre-christian religions and traditions. This revival is growing through groups, councils and conferences. I feel very near to this movements and because of it there will appear many posts related to heatenism in this blog.

Today I want to talk about Lithuanian religion: Romuva. Lithuania was the last country to be Christianized, in 1387, and was a very difficul task that last for centuries. However their pre-christian cults have survived by the oral traditions, and their religion is one of the most powerful of the heathen religions rebuilt in our times. Nature is a very important point in this religion. It has many Gods and Godesss that symbolize the Nature powers, are the bond of people with supra-natural facts.

To reflect about the Lithuanian religion I want to watch this image of a Goddess. The image was created by Ritmas Tarabilda for the World Pagan Conference that took place in Vilnius in 1998. It is not a concrete goddess taken from the Lithuanian pantheon, but a generic deity. Maybe the artist wanted to create a common goddess to unify the goddesses of many traditions: she is a global Goddess.

The colour of this global goddess is green: this links her directly with the Nature. All the heathen religions has a big component of conservationism, and the gods and goddesses represent different aspects of Nature.

It´s also important than the artist has chosen a goddess instead a god. This is a particular aspect. The  lithuanian pantheon has many important gods, even more than goddesses, but the communities are mainly matriarchies. The female is the most important member of the Romuva community, as the very ancient cultures of the World.

The Goddess is placed inside an egg or almond (just like Christ Pantocrator in the Romanic representations), this means she is the center and origin of the Universe. In both sides there are two stars: the Sun and the Moon, with symbols inside, related with the natural order of the Earth. Around the body there are birds and bees, that relates the Goddess with the air, and the serpents placed down relates her with the ground. She holds with the right hand a candle that means she is light and guide, and holds an egg with the left hand that means fertility.

All this elements could be common to many goddesses and I think this is the intention of the artist: to compose a goddess in common with many religions.