Friday, April 2, 2010

My Favourite Sanctuary Model

Isn't this the most gorgeous, evocative little sanctuary model? When I first saw it, in an archaeology class, I found it compelling. It is Cypriot, from Kotsiatis, dates to the Middle Bronze Age, and basically depics a female figure and a large jar in front of triple bucrania (bull's skulls) erected upon some sort of probably wooden pillars or structure. There is at present no evidence out in the landscape for this sort of structure, probably because it disintegrated, being wooden and bone - although it may have had a paved floor (or simply beaten earth) - but this is a type of ephemeral cult structure that would have been erected within the landscape or else possibly within a chamber tomb. It seems easy to envisage how it was constructed, and I can't help but think that structures such as this add historical authenticity to some of the imagery of Traditional Witchcraft, such as the stang. It's such a simple little shrine, as is the stang when embedded in the ground (but with a skull attached, not naked). I like that sort of minimal but evocative outdoor temple. Images of a mask of Dionysus and simple garment on a pole, as seen in Classical vase painting, are also in this vein. Although this Cypriot example looks a little more permanent than a single-pole version, but only just a little. Oh, and another thought... Wasn't Wiccan founder, Gerald Gardner's, novel "A Goddess Arrives" set in Cyprus? (I haven't read it). Not that I am suggesting any connection really... Just doing free association.