The Upstairs Gallery Before and After – Part Two: The Goddess

The Upstairs Gallery Before and After – Part Two: The Goddess

Over winter, we undertook a re-display of the top gallery.  If you missed part one of this series looking at the re-display of the Horned God display, it can be read here: http://museumofwitchcraftandmagic.co.uk/news/the-upstairs-gallery-before-and-after-part-one-the-horned-god/

One area which we changed a great deal was the Goddess display.  Here is the Goddess display before (mostly the items on the blue board):

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Here is the Goddess display now:

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We have split the Goddess display into several sections.  

Here you can see (from the top left):

Top shelf: Corn dollies

Middle shelf: Enchantresses and figures from folklore

Bottom shelf: Ancient figures of women and a Sheela-na-Gig

Painting to the right: Tobar na Brid by Stewart Farrar with the accompanying text:

This painting shows the Goddess Brid (pronounced Breed) as the landscape. Her red hair represents the Wicklow/Dublin mountains, in her hand flow two rivers (The Derry and Slaney) and her navel is the well of Brid at Clonegal Castle, County Carlow (home of the Fellowship of Isis which honours the Goddess in her many forms).

The painting represents an ancient idea: the idea of Mother Earth:  “…it is sometimes this earlier Goddess of the land who speaks most powerfully to us: in the hills and valleys, rivers and lakes, in the sunrise and sunset, the moon’s cycle and the wheel of the year – she is there…this prehistoric Goddess figure, unnamed and unknown, was the land…” From The Earth Goddess by Cheryl Straffon

“Assist me to erect the ancient altar,

at which in days past all worshipped;

The great altar of all things,

For in old time, Woman was the altar.”

From Eight Sabbats for Witches by Janet and Stewart Farrar.

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And in the display below:

On top of the cabinet: Isis, Artemis of Epheseus reproduction statue and Goddess/cave figure which once belonged to Iain Steele.

Top shelf:The many facets of the Goddess display including:

Mother: statue of Isis and Horus (7), icon of the Virgin Mary and the baby Jesus (8), Artemis of Ephesus statue (white, above) and coin (11).

Protectress: Goddess Heket (statue in the form of a frog) assisted in the creation of the child in the womb and presided over the birth in her capacity as midwife (1).  

Magic-wielder: ancient Egyptian scorpion amulet representing Serqet (Goddess of magic) (6).

Death deities: Roman ring with glass inset showing the symbols of the Goddesses Demeter (wheatsheafs) and Persephone (the poppy) (10), image of Hecate (5), statue of lionness-goddess of war Sekhmet (4).

Beauty: replica statue of Venus (9). Statues such as this have been found across the Roman Empire (this one was found in Jersey).  Venus seems to have been one of the most venerated Goddesses.

Mystery: statue of the Hebrew Goddess Asherah (2)(referred to in the Bible as the “Queen of Heaven”) with statue of a Black Madonna (3)(there are around 500 of these in European churches many are venerated for the miracles they are said to perform). 

Bottom shelf: Diana, the Lord and Lady, Goddess chalices.

To the right of the cabinet: Witches, Goddesses and the moon: reproduction painting by Jos Smith showing a witch cutting herbs by moonlight, mannequin with Audrey Harvey of the Order of Artemis’s robes and triple moon diadem and Ancient Roman silver image of Selene.

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The Moon display is accompanied by this text:

“The link between the moon and women is a very profound one.  The moon is venerated as a goddess around the world and she is at the heart of many traditions of witchcraft…

Pre-Christian Paganism….venerated the moon as patroness of women, mistress of childbirth, and goddess of the sea and all waters, and she presided over the planting and harvesting of crops.  To witches she is all these things but even more.  She is especially held to be our goddess and protectress.  Witchcraft ceremonies usually take place at night, by the light of the moon, and witches mark the full moon with a monthly Esbat rite…

She is venerated by many as a triple goddess having three phases (new, full and old) which mirror the phases of the lives of women: maiden, mother and elder.  Magic is made at night…Throughout its history, witchcraft has been seen as a lunar tradition and witches celebrate the moon’s links with intuition, inspiration and inner vision.  The power of witchcraft is in many ways the power of the moon.”

From A Witch’s Mirror by Levannah Morgan

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