The Alchemist's Garden: Perses

The Alchemist's Garden: Perses
24" h. x 8" d.
mahogany, copper, brass, bloodstone, hematite, oil paint, acrylic paint, varnish

The Titans, in the ancient Greek cosmology, ruled the sky and the forces of nature before the Olympian gods. They were personifications of the processes of the universe. Perses was a third generation Titan, whose father Krios was the south pillar of the dome of the sky and whose mother Eurybia was master of the sea. Krios, as one of the bearers of the cosmos, is associated with the modern constellation of Aries, which rises in the southern part of the sky, north of the equator. He had three sons: Astraios, Pallas, and Perses.

Perses, whose name translates to “destroyer,” is the personification of the destructive force of the universe. If a star explodes in the heavens, that would be Perses work. If something falls from the sky and causes havoc on earth, that is Perses as well. On earth, his influence was most often felt through the droughts and tempests of late summer which could devastate crops just before they were ready for harvest, inviting Limus (famine) and Oizys (misery). He could also play with the mind and temper of man, by bringing on feelings of warring, pillaging and rampage, laying waste to villages, societies and culture. His power was only relieved by his brother, Astraios who has the calmest personality of Krios’ sons and was father to the four winds.

Perses’ wife was Asteria whose name translates to “star.” She was herself a Titan who controlled prophetic dreams, oracles, astrology and necromancy. Together, they had a daughter, Hecate, goddess of witchcraft. (Destructive power paired with fortune telling yields black magic)

This sculpture, The Alchemist’s Garden: Perses, depicts the destructive power of Perses as a burst or explosion at the summit of a globe. The globe is a representation of the universe with the stars of heaven on the top hemisphere and the fires of earth on the lower, surrounded by the signs of the zodiac, representing the wheel of the year and the boundaries of the cosmos. The burst contains hematite and bloodstone, both minerals that are associated with power. Bloodstone is thought to bring on tempests for the use of the bearer and hematite is thought to provide strength in battle to the wearer.

As the parents of Hecate and as Titians who control two of the fundamental energies of the magical arsenal, Perses and Asteria have a niche at the bottom of my Alchemist’s Garden where wildness mingles with the shadows. The Alchemist’s Garden is an environmental project that explores the concepts, processes and elements of magic and alchemy through the landscape.

The Alchemist's Garden: Perses, was exhibited as a part of the Between Worlds exhibition at Curious Matter, September 14 - October 19, 2008. It was first exhibited at the Gallery-Studios open studios October 2006 as part of a larger project/installation, The Alchamist's Garden.

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