This weeks blog is a painting and short poem (prayer). My first painting for 2012 YAY! 🙂 I have also included my Art Diary although it is amended, because quite honestly I do go on! But if you want to know more about the painting and why I painted this please feel free to read the Art Diary below. I hope some of you enjoy the painting and or the Diary.
Wishing you all a bright and Blessed week to come.
Sacred Holly’s Sacred Fire.
(Click on image for a larger view)
Acrylic on block canvas 20cm x 20cm ( 8″ x 8″ )
“Ares God of War
God of Victory.
May your shield defend me from my foes.
May your spear expel all that would harm.
With sacred Holly as champion.
Who embodies strength
Who embodies the protective benevolence of the Gods.
Who holds back harm
Expelling the dark forces.
Lend me the sacred fire.
May fire dwell within.
That its warmth may enfold
Its light purge out the darkness.
That I may see another dawn and be filled with
Sound of mind
Enfolded with peace
Prosperous in all my endeavours once more.”
Details of the side panels. I don’t like to leave block canvas edges bare. 🙂
Top of canvas
Left side of canvas
If you would like to know more about my inspiration and creation process read on, if not click away or scroll really fast….now! 🙂
Art Diary. Inspirations, Sacred Holly’s Sacred Fire, (amended) Sunday 22nd January 2012
I am beginning a new series of paintings.
Unbeknownst to me when I started (as it tends to be) the last set of paintings has been about my becoming and arriving at place of confidence in self. This next series follows I suppose what you would call the process or more the tools that become part of the process.
As a Pagan my interest lies in the ways of my ancestors, their magic and their lore. specifically herbalism and herbal magic. Through this I have come to know certain paths that have led me to a place of healing.
While everyone must ultimately find their own way and their own interpretations, I hope through my stories as they will manifest, to explore that healing through the folk magic and beliefs of all Pagan Peoples as they have survived through the ages.
There is no specific reason I have started with holly. I am quite literally working my way through a list (alphabetical of course) and holly was first on the list.
Holly, drapes itself around a flame encased in a torch of embossed bronze. It is a sacred flame. Holly’s flame. It is protective in its qualities as is holly itself. In the dark night even holly seeks out its warmth and light. In the background are weapons. A bronze spear and shield. We are in Ares weapons store…
Homeric Hymn 8 to Ares.
” Ares, exceeding in strength, chariot-rider, golden-helmed, doughty in heart, shield-bearer, Saviour of cities, harnessed in bronze, strong of arm, unwearying, mighty with the spear, O defence of Olympus, father of warlike Victory (Nike), ally of Themis, stern governor of the rebellious, leader of righteous men, sceptred King of manliness, who whirl your fiery sphere (Mars) among the planets in their sevenfold courses through the aether wherein your blazing steeds ever bear you above the third firmament of heaven…”
Holly has not been given a deity in magical herbalism. I assume depending on the culture it would be associated with the war God or Thunder God of the particular culture like Thor (Germanic) , or Belatu-Cadros (Celtic).
I chose Ares as holly has been assigned the planet Mars and Mars is Ares planet.
Ares shield is defensive. Protecting from the blows of the enemy. In war it can buy you time, or even contribute to saving your life. The spear too is defensive but double-edged. It can be used to drive back the enemy and again buy you time and contribute to saving your life. Like the berries of the holly though, it can also kill.
Thus is the ways of Ares. A God who is very fond of battle. Taking the side of those who show bravery and rewarding them with success. Here the battlefield is metaphorical but nonetheless we can meet a “bloody end” if we fail to face our trials and fall back into a world of cycles of abuse, mental distress and harmful behaviours (drug addictions, self harm etc.).
Sometimes illness in whatever form it may take needs a strong purgative to drive it out. Just as brute force is not the only way, sometimes too gently and softly is not enough and you need to give it the boot so to speak.
Ares is a God not be toyed with. He will happily kill you himself if you betray his confidence in your bravery yet as an ally he is strong, defending and protective. He is like fire, he is the sacred fire to which holly responds.
Often when we think of fire we only think of its destructive force. Fire though can be a very healing force as well as protective. It is also purifying. While a fire can cause destruction it also cleanses the land that it may once more begin anew.
Fire kept generations of families safe from predators at night as well lighting their way in the darkness and keeping them warm through many a winter. It cooked food, cleaning it of bacteria and harmful parasites that might otherwise have caused illness. It can be comforting in its glow holding the dark night at bay.
In folklore and its magic holly is a most useful and beneficial plant. Although its berries are toxic, it has been used for centuries to ward off ill forces and protect families and homes. It was favoured as a good luck charm for men and was bought into the home at Yule (winter Solstice) for luck as well.
As for magic, folks used it to protect against lightning strikes and to keep them safe from evil forces of the spirit form or human. It was used to bless babies. Holly leaves soaked in water which was then sprinkled on the baby to bless it and protect it, the first holy water?
Folks used it to protect them from poison and harmful animals. Probably part of the reason it was given to men to wear was for the reason they were the most likely to be hunting in woods and traversing in regions where dangerous animals may be an issue. It was believed that throwing the holly down before the animal or hitting the animal with it would pacify them allowing you to make your escape.
As times progressed holly was given other folk names like Bat’s Wings, Tinne and Holy Tree. Holly was associated with the male gender making it a male plant. It was assigned to the planet Mars and the element fire and was and is used in magic for protection in general, anti-lightning, luck and dream magic.
Holly is also used in herbalism. Dr Edward Bach prescribed holly for those people who felt hatred, suspicion, envy, jealousy and spite. He believed the use of holly would open a person afflicted with these feelings to a spirit of generosity and openness with others.
In other areas of herbalism, the leaves and roots have been used and are sometimes still used to treat jaundice, fever, rheumatism, as a purgative and diuretic amongst other uses.
It is plant that is seen as being protective, expelling and keeping at bay those forces that would cause us harm.
Sacred Holly’s Sacred Fire is a protective scene; From the dark night, deep illness, mental distress. Its hope, my hope to bring a sense of strengthening warmth and comfort.
If you’ve made it to end of my diary, thank you for reading. I hope this has given you some additional insight into my process, creating and painting.
My best wishes to you all for a bright and Blessed week to come.
All images and text © 2012 Tikarma Vodicka
To read the Homeric Hymns please click the link below. The Hymn to Ares is towards the bottom.
To learn about Dr Edward Bach’s flower remedies click the link below
To learn about the herbal applications of holly please click the link below