This year, my mosaic project took me into an exploration of the elemental masculine and feminine archetypes. This formed a lovely extension to the deep delve into the Wise Mother/Crone with which I started the year.
For some time I had been intending to create a Green Man mosaic. Growing up in the West of England, the Green Man motif was often present. For a child who loved the woods and the wilds, it was an image that resonated.
There is also a ‘family connection’ so to speak. My maternal grandfather was a Wood. The Wood Coat of Arms is topped off with a Green-Man-derived ‘man of the woods’ crowned with oak leaves and bearing a club. This figure was the image used as crest both for family silver and for signet rings.
Just a note for clarity before I go any further. In referring to ‘God’ and ‘Goddess’, I am using these terms in the context of traditional symbolism and archetype. I am not suggesting that they are beings that I worship.
Exploring the elemental masculine and feminine
Before I start work on any mosaic there is always a phase of exploring ideas, images and concepts. I have always lived my life through symbol to some extent. So this becomes a process that involves intellectual ‘research’, exploring representations that relate to my theme, and soul-searching as to the meanings I am reaching for. I rarely know with absolute certainty where it will lead.
What was interesting this time was that it was soon clear to me that, if I was to create a Green Man, who was increasingly becoming a representation of masculine energy, I also had to create his feminine counterpart. As I worked, I also found that I wasn’t prepared to display either until both were finished. I have always been aware of the importance of balancing male and female traits and energies. In this work, that sense came through loud and clear.
Researching the Green Man, what came to me was the overlap with Sun God symbolism. I listed the following phrases as key to my understanding of the elemental energy that I wanted to tap into:
- Shining God
- Light bringer
- Life force
- Revealer of Mysteries
- Source of wisdom
- Cycles of renewal
In creating my representation, I combined the Green Man with a Sun image. I tried to pick up Spring and Summer greens together with Autumn’s bronze and gold, honouring those ‘cycles of renewal’. I also wanted to access something both ‘ancient’ and ‘energetic’. There is even a hint of the ‘Horned God’.
My Mother/Goddess image draws on classic Goddess symbolism. I have never, though, seen colour used this way. This form came to me during a group meditation. I had a strong sense of the way the Goddess connects to grounded, earth energy, deeply rooted. She has generative fire in her belly. But she also connects to Moon energy and to the ethereal. This connection is an incredibly powerful force.
As with the masculine image, I mapped out words and phrases that underpinned my conceptualization of the feminine:
- Connection and relationship
Working on these two pieces gave me an even deeper inner sense of the difference between these two energies. I believe all of us contain and have access to both. But I can see more clearly how these tend to play out in ‘male’ and ‘female’ behaviours and ways of being, which I hope increases my understanding of that ‘difference’. I definitely came away with a sense of the feminine as more grounded and connected, something we badly need.
That inner voice that insisted I could not create or display one without the other felt important. A world in which we truly integrate the elemental masculine and feminine would look so very different.