Wednesday, June 11, 2008

"Lord of the Dance"

For Cat, with thanks for her latest series of blog posts, "Is There Still a Pagan in Quaker Pagan Reflections? Part 1 and Part 2" and "The God with Arms."

Since the early 1990s, this Robert Lentz icon, "Lord of the Dance" [see Note], has been on the wall above my God Altar.

It hangs to the right of a gray and black Huichol Ojo de Dios, a gift from my first lover George.

To the left of the ojo is a picture of the Eyes of Bodhnath.

The icon says more than I could possibly say.

And so it is.

Bless├Ęd Be.

Note: The following is from the website of Trinity Stores, which used to sell the icon:

"One of the most ancient masculine images of God in Europe is a benign antlered figure. This image predates Celtic civilization, but was embraced by the Celts for its beauty and truth. The Horned God was a protector of all animal life. He was especially linked with the masculine sexuality and spirituality. He was considered Lord of the Otherworld and guided souls to their destination after death. In Celtic art he is usually shown sitting cross-legged and wearing a torque -- the Celtic symbol of authority.

"Christian missionaries tried to stamp out the image of the horned god when they came to northern lands. Monastic scribes re-told ancient legends with an increasingly sinister twist. In time, the Horned God was pictured in the popular imagination as a demonic figure who rode through the night skies in search of damned souls. There are still places in England, however, where Christian men don stag antlers and dance for ancient feasts.

"In Celtic mythology, individuals like Merlin sometimes assume the personality of the Horned God. In this icon, the Horned God is connected with Christ. Christ sits before us in the posture of the Horned God, totally naked, but without shame. His confident nakedness emphasizes that what God has made is good. Behind him are ancient European petroglyphs of the Horned God. He bears the wounds of his crucifixion to signify that he has risen and has taken a more cosmic character than he had during his life in Palestine. He is beating a drum and inviting us to dance; reminiscent of a medieval English carol that describes him as the 'Lord of the Dance.' "

For more details on the Lord of the Dance and the Horned God, click here.