Sunday, October 9, 2016

Occultist Nun

Even though Marion Zimmer Bradley was a Pagan for most of her life, she also had a strong Christian background, though heavily tinged with esotericism. In fact in her elder years she claimed to be an Anglican Christian. So you might say that MZB's works and world were a combination of esotericism and Christianity. She created a sect of alternate Christians for her "Darkover" world called the "Christofori," inspired by the mythical Saint Christopher who carried the Christ Child across a raging river. And here and there in her books there were people who looked like, or even claimed to lead, a monastic life. Among the Sisters or nuns were the Priestesses of Avarra, a Goddess similar to Hekate, goddess of the underworld. They specialized in pharmacy, herbal healing, and potions, lived in cloisters, and wore habits. Even though they were Goddess worshippers their lives resembled that of Christian nuns. This drawing is of one of those Sisters, who wears a star and a crescent moon but also bears a cross-handled sickle knife for gathering sacred plants. I made this lady look a bit like me because I thought that if I had to be any character in Darkover I would be one of these Sisters and not have to fight it out with swords or be forcibly married to some brutal lord in a castle. And I would know which plants did what things for what reason, quite useful knowledge without having to be a witch.

Black ink on illustration board, about 4" x 6", 1985.

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