Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Sacred Feminine - Out of the Shadows and into the Light - Fernanda Facciolli

The Gift of Athena Onka or 
The Goddess with the Head of a Sacred Donkey and her Sweet Daughter, the Spring of Thebes
by Fernanda Facciolli
(Venice, Italy) The artist Fernanda Facciolli is convinced that our planet Earth once worshiped mother goddesses and the elements of nature. The moon, mountains, trees and waters were deities to be revered. Before the Classical Greek priests of Zeus deliberately rewrote the story in about 480-323 BC and gave us the gods on Mount Olympus, there existed a different group of gods adulated by the Archaic Greeks, centuries before. The Sphinx was an actual mountain, Cadmus, grandson of Poseidon and the founder of Thebes, was really a subterranean torrent, and Semele, the mother of Dionysus, was the personification of the moon.

Before the Olympic gods, the Archaic Greeks worshiped a matriarchal religion, inspired by the beauty of nature they saw around them. Shepherds gazed upon mountains and saw animals and sleeping goddesses, giving them distinct names. Waterways were gods and goddesses that gave life -- rushing rivers were masculine; gentle springs were feminine; two rivers of equal size that flowed together in a common bed were man and wife.

Jocasta, Oedipus and the Dragon of Thespiae or 
The Main River of Thebes floods his Mother the Spring during a terrible tempest at Thespiae by Emmet
When Classical Antiquity came along, the patriarchal society repressed the Archaic goddesses and rewrote the myths, transforming Hera into the shrewish, jealous wife of the almighty god Zeus, who originally was simply Hera's husband. Demeter, Zeus's older sister, was reduced to obeying her brother's will. Zeus' wine-loving son, Dionysus, was originally the female Dionysa. Even though the name was changed from feminine to masculine, Dionysus kept the clothes that Dionysa wore, and her long, flowing hair. This radical transformation of the Archaic, matriarchal vision of the world into the Classical, patriarchal point of view emerged in Greek philosophy, art, and literature, providing the basis for European civilization that still exists to the present day.

Fueled by her determination to uncover clues to back-up her conviction, Fernanda and her husband, who uses the nom de plume "Emmet" as an artist, traveled to Greece in 2012 guided by Periegesis, the ancient text of Pausaias (110-180 AD), who, in turn, had made a similar journey influenced by the even more archaic writings of Hesiod (750-650 BC). Using scholarly research, original theories and their artistic abilities, the two artists present a new way of examining what lies under the foundation of our civilization.

CON PAUSANIA SULLE TRACCE DI ESIODO 
Quando gli Eroi erano ancora fiumi, i Giganti erano ancora montagne e le Ninfe erano ancora fonti
FOLLOWING PAUSANIAS IN SEARCH OF HESIOD
When Heroes were rivers, Giants were mountains, and Nymphs were watersprings

What the couple discovered in Thebes and Boeotia inspired a series of paintings, accompanied by a text published in three languages -- Italian, English and Greek -- by Marcianum Press, with a preface by Paolo Leoncini, the distinguished former Professor of Italian literature at Ca' Foscari University, Venice.

The Island of Ogygia or 
When the City of Thebes was an Island in a Lake and her Name was Ogygia, the Ancient by Emmet
For those of us who need to brush up on our Greek history, just who were Pausanias and Hesiod, and where is Thebes and Boeotia?

In ancient Greece, Thebes was the largest city in the region of Boeotia, as well as a major rival of Athens and Sparta. According to Fernanda and Emmet, Boeotia -- the region that gave us the mighty Hercules -- was the real birthplace of most of the original Greek myths and legends -- stories that were later rewritten. .




Even in ancient times, there were travel writers, and Pausanias was one whose words have come down to us today. Also a geographer, he was from Lydia, an area of Greece that is now part of Turkey, and lived around 900 years ago, about 110-180 AD. Before he traveled to Boeotia, Pausanias had been to visit the pyramids in Egypt, to Jerusalem and to Rome, among many other places. He not only wrote about the people and sights he saw, he was also fascinated by the myths and history that had created the cultures he was visiting. He wrote a ten-volume set entitled Hellados Periegesi (Description of Greece), and focused on ancient Greece and its holy relics, gods and sacred objects in their local context, rather than the contemporary Greece under Roman rule he was visiting. Even though he was a follower of Zeus, he was open-minded about cultures that followed different gods.

Hesiod was thought to be a Greek poet who lived around 750-650 BC in Boeotia, around 800 or 900 years earlier than Pausanias, or about 1800 years ago. Like any good travel writer, Pausanias used the writings of the local poet Hesiod, among others, as part of his research to uncover the ancient past of the area he was visiting when he went to Boeotia.

Menestratus, Cleostratus and the Dragon of Thespiae or 
Mother-Moon, Daughter-Spring and the Terrible Storm that Flooded the River at Thespiae
by Fernanda Facciolli
In 2012, Fernanda and Emmet traveled to Boeotia for 14 weeks, and used the research of Pausania -- who had used the words of Hesiod -- to step back nearly 2000 years into Archaic Greece. Fernanda, a Venetian, has had a long fascination with ancient myths. Now a pixieish 64-year-old, she literally ran into Emmet more than 50 years ago when she was a young teenager late for art class at the Liceo Artistico Accademia and he was an older student. All the other girls were already wearing stockings while she was still in knee socks. As she dashed off down the hall, Emmet thought: "That is the woman of my life."

After being married to others, and careers spent teaching art, ten years ago Fernanda and Emmet found each other again. Emmet developed a passionate interest in his wife's philological studies, and became her trusted supporter and adviser, bringing his own interpretations to her work. By examining name origins and journeying to the source, the couple attempted to reconstruct local religious beliefs in Ancient Boeotia before the advent of the Olympian gods based on their own scholarly research, intuition and imagination. 

The Sphinx of Thebes by Fernanda Facciolli
There was only one Sphinx in Greek mythology. She had the head of a woman, the body of a lioness, the wings of an eagle and the claws of a gryphon. The monstrous Sphinx guarded the entrance of the city of Thebes, asking all travelers the famous riddle to allow them access: "Which creature walks first on four, then two, then three legs?" The Sphinx killed everyone who got the answer wrong, until Oedipus came along. He answered the riddle correctly: "Man," then killed the Sphinx and carried her body into Thebes on the back of a donkey.

Fernanda and Emmet disagree with that interpretation. Tracing the origins of the Boeotian word for "Sphinx," they deducted that the mount where the Sphinx had her sanctuary was once covered by a lush oak forest, and the correct name of Mount Sphynghion, the Boeotian hill of Thebes, should be "The Mount of Oaks." Instead of Oedipus, the King of Thebes, killing the Sphinx, he was actually leading the triumphant goddess into Thebes on the back of the sacred donkey, which was held in high esteem for the milk it provided, similar to human mother's milk.   

The Lion and the Lioness or 
The Animal Face of the Sphinx and the Lion of St. Marco by Emmet
And as for the depiction of the Sphinx as a hybrid, lioness, woman and eagle? What Fernanda and Emmet saw with their own eyes inspired some of their most profound work. One day, as they were looking towards the mountain, they suddenly saw an enormous natural sculpture, a mountain molded in the form of a winged lioness about to rise out of the plain on powerful wings.  The next morning, as they were driving to the west of Thebes, they turned and looked back at the sacred mountain to say farewell. Instead of a winged lioness, the head of the Sphinx had transformed into the supine profile of a woman gazing up toward the heavens.

The winged lioness had revealed her true essence as a goddess of the earth.

 The Human Face of the Sphinx or 
The holy procession up the face of the Sacred Mountain by Emmet
Fernanda Facciolli and Emmet present FOLLOWING PAUSANIAS IN SEARCH OF HESIOD - When Heroes were rivers, Giants were mountains, and Nymphs were watersprings on Tuesday, September 23, 2014 at the Biblioteca dello Studium Generale Marcianum at 5:00 PM by invitation only. The artists' work can also be seen at Galleria Il Dictynneion in Campiello del Sole, San Polo 911, every afternoon, or by appointment.

Book launch on September 23, 2014
CON PAUSANIA SULLE TRACCE DI ESIODO 
Quando gli Eroi erano ancora fiumi, i Giganti erano ancora montagne e le Ninfe erano ancora fonti
by 
FERNANDA FACCIOLLI 

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 2014
5:00 PM
Dorsoduro 1
Venezia
entrance: Seminario Patriarcale alla Salute
by invitation only


Galleria Il Dictynneion
Campiello del Sole
San Polo 911/a
Venezia
Vaporetto stop: San Silvestro or Rialto Mercato
Open afternoons or by appointment
+39 333-774-8603
Fernanda Facciolli

Ciao from Venezia,
Cat
Venetian Cat - The Venice Blog
This is a sponsored post.

1 comment:

  1. The artist Fernanda Facciolli is convinced that our planet Earth once worshiped mother goddesses and the elements of nature. The moon, mountains, trees and waters were deities to be revered. Before the Classical Greek priests of Zeus of deliberately rewrote the story in about 480-323 BC and gave us the gods on Mount Olympus, there existed a different group of gods adulated by the Archaic Greeks, centuries before

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