Saturday, May 7, 2011

Occult Goddess Isis

When I first encountered the esoteric philosophy and ritual practice which is commonly called "the occult," I was fascinated and scared at the same time. It was ancient, it had gods and goddesses, and it claimed to be able to change the world by ritual and mental practice. I wanted there to be Adepts who were not only moral leaders but possessed of extensive mental discipline and the ability to travel between realities.

Now in my older years "the occult" looks like a form of Catholicism with some of the characters and stories switched around, where you get to do the rituals and wear the ornate vestments yourself, though you are doing them in your living room rather than in a nice sculptural ritual space. Many occultists are ordained as independent Catholic priests anyway, so you get a side helping of old-time religion, though not orthodox by any means.

I did this little piece in the living room of an occultist friend of mine in Washington, DC. The "Goddess Isis" is based not on a real person but on a fantasy character of mine, one of my "techno-mages." Fantasy is a basic part of occult practice, and in some rituals the celebrant is called upon to temporarily take on her/himself the identity of an ancient God or Goddess. In this case it is "Isis," the ancient Egyptian goddess of esoteric insight and knowledge.

"The Goddess Isis" is ink and watercolor on paper, 5" x 7", January 1984. In this restoration, I have added in Photoshop, flesh color to the Goddess' head, arms, hands, and feet, since the bad photograph completely faded those colors out.

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