Hip, hip, HUZZAH! I received official confirmation that my two latest paintings, both painted on the same Saturday in February during a 9-hour spate of frenzied creativity, have been accepted for Life Force Arts Center’s upcoming exhibition entitled The Creative Soul: Art, Play & Ritual. The opening reception for the exhibit is May 6, 7 – 10 p.m. If you’re in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood, come on by and say hello! Better still, buy the artwork! This is the first time that my pieces will be for sale.
Berith Rides to the Sabbat (2016)
This is a framed 12″ x 16″ acrylics, chalk, oil pastel, and paint marker on canvasette (canvas paper). It’s got quite an interesting story behind it.
This is my maiden voyage into what might be called “automatic painting,” or spirit-channeled art. This painting is a portal for peering into other worlds, and its creation was itself contextualized in magical ritual. I had been studying and ritually employing a fundamental occult text entitled The Lesser Key of Solomon (the translation by S.L. MacGregor Mathers and Aleister Crowley), which is also known as The Goetia. It depicts the formulae for ritually conjuring the 72 spirits that were said to have been employed by the legendary King Solomon in the building of the Temple of Jerusalem. Before beginning my painting, I declared my ritual intent that I would make myself open to depicting any of the Goetic spirits that deigned to manifest in two-dimensional form, provided that the spirit would use iconography that would lend itself to being easily recognized so I would be able to identify it afterwards—in other words, the spirit would be providing all visual elements of its calling card, right down to the elaborate sigil that serves as its signature.
As I began painting, a special figure—whimsical-looking at first glance, but exuding an aura of power below the surface—going on a journey began to reveal itself. I sensed it was a nobleman, dressed in late medieval red robes with a gold crown, astride a demonic-looking pony, which mirrored the rider. They were riding to the Beltane Sabbat, one of the great turning points in the witches’ Wheel of the Year, which commemorates the start of summer. “Oh my, that looks like a Tarot card!” my friend and artistic mentor Victoria said to me the day I painted this in late February in her Pilsen studio. The fact that the Sun was conjunct Neptune at the time wasn’t lost on either of us.
I finished the piece and when I got home that night, I feverishly cracked open my copy of The Lesser Key of Solomon, reading each Goetic spirit’s physical description and looking up its respective sigil to find out which spirit of the host of 72 manifested itself in my painting. It was Berith, I learned, and the text describes him as a duke wearing red robes and a crown of gold, riding a red horse. He is the 28th out of the 72 spirits, and he commands 26 infernal legions of spirits. Additionally, he confers upon humanity the alchemical ability to turn all base metals into gold, and he speaks prophetically of the past, present, and future. I took his appearance as a very good omen for my spiritual development and ongoing inner alchemical workings. “By what methods will you transmute your inner lead into the gold of spiritual excellence?” Berith asks challengingly.
I am selling this piece for $66.06.
Aradia, Goddess of Witches (2016)
This is a 20″ x 21″ acrylics, chalk, and oil pastel painting on canvas.
This painting arose as a devotional offering to this beloved goddess of witches in Tuscan/Italian witchcraft, or Stregheria. Aradia has been the focus of many a ritual invocation and Esbat gathering in the Gardnerian coven I belonged to, especially when we performed the rite of “Drawing Down the Moon,” which is when the goddess is ritually evoked to inhabit the body of the presiding High Priestess. In the theology and cosmology of Stregheria, Aradia is the Daughter of the Moon Goddess, Diana. She (Aradia) incarnated specifically to liberate human beings from oppressive social and political structures, teaching witchcraft as a tool for the peasant class to use in class warfare. This liberationist theology greatly influenced the development of witchcraft as a modern religion. As the 1899 text from Aradia, Gospel of the Witches (compiled by American anthropologist Charles Godfrey Leland in the late nineteenth century during his travels in Tuscany), declares: “And ye shall all be freed from slavery, / And so ye shall be free in everything; / And as the sign that ye are truly free, / Ye shall be naked in your rites, both men /And women also: this shall last until /The last of your oppressors shall be dead…”
When I began to contemplate the beauty, majesty, and power of Aradia, I felt a tremendous sense of serenity. In my vision, She appeared seated, statue-like, Her face a lunar cypher of Mystery. About Her left arm the sacred serpent of wisdom, rejuvenation, and shatki power unfurls her coils. With origins celestial and Her impact terrestrial, Aradia reinforces Her timely message of “walking the talk”—of employing witchcraft in the world with peaceful power.
I am selling this piece for $300.00.
My thanks to the judges at the Life Force Arts Center for including my pieces! And my deep thanks to the energies of Jupiter in my Sun Sign making a favorable trine to Pluto in my 5th House for expanding my creative horizons! Jajajajaja!
Chicago native and LFAC Artist in Residence Anna Applegate is a Gardnerian witch, a Master Mason in Co-Freemasonry, and a legally ordained Priestess in the worldwide Fellowship of Isis (FOI)—an organization that honors the cultural and religious expressions of all goddesses from all pantheons throughout human history. She has a strong Will to be Wyrd and she stands at the crossroads of Art and Spirit often, infusing her paintings, sculptures, photographs, and rituals with the phantasmagoria that she finds lurking behind the veil of the mundane. Her polytheistic Pagan religious sensibility is the lens through which she interprets many worlds.
Anna holds an M.A. degree in English Literature from Loyola University Chicago. She writes for her daily bread (as an advertising copywriter) as well as for pleasure: her poetry appears in the Scarlet Imprint anthologies Datura (2010) and Mandragora (2012). Anna has also written several plays and two macabre musicals: these get performed at her annual literary salon honoring the life and creativity of Edgar Allan Poe. Anna is an avid blogger and encourages all lovers of the outré to follow her blog: www.amoretmortem.wordpress.com. With her romantic and ritual partner, Anna is the co-founder of Hermekate.com, which illuminates the pathways to apotheosis for magically inclined fellow devotees of the Deities Hermes and Hekate. Additionally, Anna serves as the Executive Editor of Isis-Seshat, a quarterly journal of the Fellowship of Isis.