Whitewashing our Deities

Dear Wiccans/ Pagans (especially those on Deviant Art),

Why you no draw deities within their respective cultural and ethnic background?

I want to be clear. I’m not insulting the talents of artists WAY better at this than I will ever be. I know I am not alone in perusing DA’s lengthy archives with the name of a favored god or goddess typed into the search bar. I am constantly in awe of people who are able ti dedicate such time and effort into their pieces and I have a great deal of respect for their perspective and ability. I’m especially fond of it when they include symbolism and show a reflective process with regard to costume and scenery.

But still, when I search Hecate, why do I see a bunch of white girls? Shouldn’t she, at the very least, have a Mediterranean appearance? Why does Innana have red hair and pale skin (mind you I have a fetish for redheads)? Shouldn’t she be closer to Middle Eastern in appearance? Again, I’m not complaining of the quality, just of the perspective.

I believe that deities are a reflection of our own concepts. They are real, but we see them through a reflective surface that is colored by our own knowledge of our culture and ethnicity. That said, in this day and age we have a wider grasp of word knowledge than was had in ancient times. So do we simply receive these deities as a closer visual to what we are familiar with, or are we glossing over their origins in favor of making them more appealing?

For my own part, I think it’s a combination of the two. Artists like to create beautiful things and our concept of beauty is colored (no pun intended) by our surroundings. But at the same time, we are the ones now worshiping these deities, so do their appearances change because of who gives them recognition?

I have the same problem when Jesus is depicted as a tall, well built white guy with blue eyes and blondish/brown hair. He’s a Jewish dude from Bethlehem. He would looked NOTHING like that. And yet whenever we see the iconicized version of Jesus on say, a piece of toast, we believe it’s a miracle. (Because Jesus has nothing better to do with his day…not like there is starvation in Africa or anything.)

I would honestly love hearing some opinions on this. It’s irking me.

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2 Responses to “Whitewashing our Deities”

  1. Whitewashing? Pun intended? Jesus is toast? ROFLMAO! I truly enjoy your blog, dear lady, but why do you ask questions to which you obviously already have the answers?

    • Because my answer isn’t the only answer. My opinions are not the only opinions. And my thoughts are not the only ones relevant to the conversation.

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