Hiss and myth

OK, so I’m rather taken with cats. Or taken by cats. Whatever. But some of the most enjoyable small art pieces I’ve done lately are cat spirit figures – sorta like Spirit Dolls with cat heads. As part of this, I’ve been informally researching cats in mythology – they have been around a long time and have always been considered pretty weird and magical. For example, did you know that Ceridwen, the Welsh goddess of wisdom, was attended by white cats who carried out her orders on Earth? Or that, in Islam tradition, dogs are considered unclean, but cats – who frequently bury their own waste and rarely eat another animal’s feces – are not. I like that “rarely” part – I mean, a cat’s gonna do what a cat’s gonna do.

My new favorite cat story is about Freya, the Norse goddess of love and fertility and the wife of Odr (who disappeared right after they got married, but that’s another story). She rode in a chariot pulled by two Norwegian Forest Cats or Skogkatts. Here’s the photo to prove it, taken on the spot – Freyja_riding_with_her_cats_(1874)and the cats look pretty happy about the whole idea. No wonder it’s a myth.

I loved the idea of Freya’s cats, though, and my latest piece is called just that, Freya’s Cat. This is a powerful cat, rough-and-ready, able to pull chariots, leap tall buildings, or row boats (should Freya want to travel across a Fjord). This guy carries around a bunch of protective charms, just in case. I think he’s a pretty cool cat. Nice kitty!

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“Freya’s Cat” – Mixed Media Assemblage – Lyn Belisle – 2014

 

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“Freya’s Cat” (detail)

6 thoughts on “Hiss and myth

  1. Love Freya’s Cat! What a fabulous companion he’d make on a long pilgrimage. Interesting article too. Always enjoy your whimsical asides. Now you’ve got me thinking about doing spirit dolls for/of two departed feline souls whose company I’ve never stopped missing. Thanks for once again blowing up my mind with ideas. Truly, Lyn, you’re the cat’s meow!

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