Sigga Björg Sigurðardóttir - 33
33 - Sigga Björg Sigurðardóttir
14. 04. 2012 - 06. 05. 2012
OPENING SATURDAY 14th of April at 5 pm.

Looking the Devil in the Eye
Demons, fiends and devils visit our dreams and visions. They appear on everyone's inner hemisphere. So do angels, nymphs and little elves, flashing before us on the peripheries of our vision. However, very few are willing to acknowledge this and accept it, let alone draw it on paper and thereby transfer the vision into this world. Most people dismiss it as fantasies and hallucinations, ashamed even to mention that it happened. Nevertheless, the devils and demons symbolise certain things. They harbour our hidden impulses and feelings. The roots of this oppression and resistance can be traced back to Christian upbringing and Christian society, which are inextricably intertwined with secular power. Christianity has lost its perception of imagery at so many levels and, as a result of this detachment, it has been reduced to almost empty fundamentalism. At the dawn of Christianity, the image of Christ had an opposite, namely the image of the Devil. He was expelled in the third century. The Devil was shoved under the rug and only dragged out into the daylight when needed. Then, particularly after the Renaissance and Reformation in the 16th and 17th centuries, he was attributed feminine and bestial impulses and urges, and even associated with nature itself - Mother Earth.

In his book "Sorcery and Witch Trials", author Siglaugur Brynleifsson cites the oldest known source on Christianity's vision of demons, the “Canon Episcopi”. This Canon stems from a book written by Regino of Prüm in 906. It reads, "that certain wicked women, turned back toward Satan, seduced by demonic illusions and phantasms, believe of themselves and profess to ride upon certain beasts in the night time hours, with Diana, the Goddess of the Pagans, and an innumerable multitude of women, and to traverse great spaces of earth in the silence of the dead of night, and to be subject to her laws as of a Lady... Priests are therefore obliged to work against these illusions and to denounce the malignant spirit that animates these phantasms in women’s deranged dreams. Who could be foolish enough to believe that this is what is really happening when it is just a sick fantasy and terrible delusion?"1 Siglaugur continues: "Several centuries later (i.e. in the 16th and 17th centuries) ideas about nocturnal rides in pursuit of Diana, the ancient goddess of hunting, underwent a paradigm shift, probably as the result of Christian dogma. Instead of Diana, the devil now assumed the form of a male cat, which witches kissed and fondled, particularly under the tail” and “the ugly remains of ancient superstition, such as the belief that men could be transformed into beasts, still persisted and with the coming of the Middle Ages these events are explained as the work of the devil.”2 
Tracing back illustrations of Christ, one finds that he used to be portrayed beardless like Apollon in front of the Sun. The first images appear in the 6th century, in which he is always shown as pure and beardless. We are familiar with ancient Greek culture's influence on Christianity. In ancient Greece Apollon, later known as Christ, had his opposite in Dionysius, later known as the Devil. In this context he was the god of demons. Those demons are considered dangerous because they are driven by visions, impulses, feelings and chaos. These are elements that Christians associated with evil. They are all attributes of the feminine, in opposition to Apollon's order, which symbolises the male element. It was in the 3rd century, when the Romans made Christianity the state religion and thereby fused it with secular power, that Dionysius or the Devil was cast out of the picture. It ceased being sensible and became one-dimensional or masculine. The "Yin" is missing to balance the "Yang". The interesting thing is that the word "demon" comes from Greek and stems from the word "dynamic", meaning the life force itself. The demons in us are the force of our lives. But then our society and upbringing have a tendency to shove that life force under the rug, conveniently ignoring the existence of horror. We are so opposed to the life force itself that it must be repressed, if it appears. It is likened to a dragon that Apollon the knight must slay with his sword. But in fact the demons only represent the repressed impulses we cannot or will not look in the eye.       
It has been pointed out that the history of ideas tends to repeat itself. Ideas seem to regenerate. According to one theory, every five centuries we seem to shift poles. The pole shift has to do with our shift of focus between what happens within ourselves , on one hand, and outside of ourselves on the other hand. The external world is fairly well mapped today, compared to our internal world. In the 16th and 17th centuries these changes in western society really started through the Renaissance and the coming into existence of research into the external light of the world. That world is governed by Apollon's tools: the mirror and the measurer. Womanly or feminine intuition was associated with the devil and is still looked down upon even today. The ruling masculine power's point of view has gradually gained the upper hand. They stop reading the imagery.Only literal interpretations reign. Albert Einstein said: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honours the servant and has forgotten the gift.” Sir Francis Bacon wrote an entire book at the beginning of the 17th century that can be considered one of the founding blocks of what Einstein described as the servant-honouring society. In Bacon's book, titled "The Masculine Birth of Time", he erects one of the pillars of masculine oriented rational thinking (state of Apollon) which is just now starting to be reversed. There he claims that wisdom has been in the hands of women, but that it is time to assume masculine knowledge, based on reliable facts. In itself it is not trustworthy to shift focus from a qualitative approach to a quantitative one. We are now starting to realize that rational thinking is not philosophy or wisdom. Analyses and quantitative numerical data are not the same as understanding and quality. That critical thinking is not creative in itself, even though it is an outstanding servant. Intellect and analysis do not create – they are incapable of it. They are great back seat drivers, but only feelings and intuition can handle the wheel.

The reserves of sorcerers, monsters and werewolves had been seriously diminished by the scrutiny of telescopes and microscopes – visionary perception and thinking were smothered. Fortunately, this is changing, albeit slowly. Pictorialization has become the reality of today's society. To children, this comes naturally. The mind determines half the vision! Who has not seen in dreams what he has never seen awake? It is claimed that children only grasp 10% of what they read, 20% of what they hear and 50% of what they see.3 The same applies to the child in us all. Power is shifting to those who have the courage to look the Devil in the eye - the life force embedded in all children.

Guðmundur Oddur Magnússon



Kling & Bang gallery
Hverfisgata 42
IS-101 Reykjavik

Open Thursday-Sunday from 2-6 pm.
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