Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Lilith

After finishing this, it occurred to me I had George MacDonald's allegorical fairytale Lilith in mind when working on it. George MacDonald was a good friend of Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) . The story is that of a sort of super-succubus who holds half the waters of the world in her hand. Her sin is in cutting off life, which results in her living a sort of half-life and doing harm to others. George MacDonald was quite an interesting character, a Presbyterian minister whose unorthodox sermons (he believed in that God was internal, and in love rather than doctrine) got his parishioners riled up to the point where he was essentially demoted from a parish with a good living to a less remunerative one. It's also interesting that C.S. Lewis was such an admirer of MacDonald, whose vision seems to me much more generous than that of Lewis.

This (on Imaginary Bicycle) made me cry, in a good way.

22 comments:

Emma J said...

More generous or just more mystical and ambiguous? Though I suppose the openness of MacDonald's symbolism is what makes it feel more generous than Lewis's tighter allegories.

And I'm loving the Alice photos.

ArtSparker said...

Emma- I'm sticking with generous. I think this is why Lewis was so attracted and tried to shelter under McDonald (by using him as a character in the Great Divorce, for instance) - Macdonald has a warmth that C.S. Lewis could only wish for.

Jenny Woolf said...

I always think that George MacDonald's ideas are so much more interesting than the way he actually wrote them out. Your picture is marvellous. I shall look at it again.

Sarah said...

Interesting. I wonder if that is why Lilith in 'Frasier' is called that?!

ArtSparker said...

Jenny- He is dreadfully sentimental and not infrequently turgid. There are individual passages and images that shine, though. And I love that Mr. Raven in Lilith is a man when he is walking away, but a raven when facing forward (I think I have that right)

grrl + dog said...

I love finding out about this stuff, so much writing seems to have been from people of the cloth shall we say.

They had ideas of simple love and faith then were demonized for it.

Just saw Alice yesterday...

ArtSparker said...

Sarah - Lilith was Adam's first wife in a story which first appears in medieval Jewish lore. She was too rebellious and was replaced with the meeker Eve in this story.

Totalfeckineejit said...

Three heads are better than one.Unless you're looking for a hat.

ArtSparker said...

TFe- Deep Stuff, as usual.

Don said...

Unorthodox sermons are always good, subversive sermons are even better.

Titus said...

Lilith - surely one of the most evocative names ever. A Mesopotamian wind demon first and then - such a history. I love the echoes of who and what she has represented over millenia in the triple head and peacock feather eyes.

"Adam's wife, his first. Beware of her.
Her beauty's one boast is her dangerous hair.
When Lilith winds it tight around young men
She doesn't soon let go of them again."

Goethe's Faust.

Needle Woven Studio said...

Lilith is sublime. (I have an urn I named the same.)
That post that made you cry ... I can surely see why it did. It is beautiful.
p.s. my mom just loved her 75th birthday card.

Celeste Bergin said...

Well, thanks for sending me over to imaginary bicycle..that was a lovely walk we took with her...and surely she is a neighbor of mine somehow. I live near that volcano. I like the idea that I am wrong. I confess..I have never thought that very often and when I have it has been with despair. The idea that I am wrong and that it is liberating to be wrong..well, that would be a whole new thing. I like thinking about it.
......and this George MacDonald sounds like a fine man, I like his ideas.
Your Lilith is holding the blue water in one hand ...and a strawberry in the other? She looks a fierce one.

yvette said...

just a quick kiss!

martinealison said...

Très original et travail intéressant...

Steve said...

For another interesting take on the Lilith legend you might like to try Angela Carter's The Loves Of Lady Purple...

Laura said...

thank you for this post. and the link.

Cláudia said...

This is surreal, I like it. If you look carefully at the drawing you will notice that the boy on the right is actually looking at the big strawberry and he looks terrified!

Too many "looks" in the paragraph above, I am afraid...

California Girl said...

I'm jazzed to see this. Did not know CS Lewis was also an admirer but it makes sense. I read them both around the same time in college but not as part of a curriculum, rather outside reading. It's also when Siddartha & Steppenwolf were popular...trying to think of that author. This is all so early Seventies. No wonder I barely remember. Anyway, very fun and I may just read that book again. I do remember loving it alot.

ArtSparker said...

CG- Lilith is a deeply flawed book with wonderful transcendent passages, mostly in the early part of the book. The latter part is murky and solemn with proliferating anima figures of both light and dark natures.

rosedale's 4head said...

this is a very very disturbing piece of art - i love it!

there's a great book titled The Book of Lilith by Barbara Black Koltuv. It's worth reading for those who are interested in the dark garden spouse.

Emma J said...

ArtSparker et al. - thank you so for the kind attention.

I will have to look for Lilith - have to agree MacDonald is often turgid, and as Jenny Woolf says, ideas more interesting than the way he wrote them out. But I love his Golden Key. And the Princess (in Princess & Goblins) finding her father's mother's father's mother living in the upper tower was a formative read for me at very young age. I'd love to see illustrations for those two sometime . . .