Oh Hai: Goats Galore

Sloth (Acedia, the blue goat); 48"x48", acrylic; Michelle de Villiers, CC
Sloth (Acedia, the blue goat); 48″x48″, acrylic; Michelle de Villiers, CC

Let me get my goats together. Sloth is one of the Seven Sins  septych. Why did I go with the blue goat interpretation? It’s a long story. But, before I get to that–and I will not expound on it– I need to mention that I don’t enjoy wordy interpretations of art. The cliché is in the eye of the beholder.

Just a glimmer taste then. Acedia translates to sloth (not the animal or the company of bears) or laziness, either physical or spiritual. A failure to do the things you should do, a failure to use your talents. One interpretation names the penance for such a lack of launch to be “running continuously at top speed”, another more kindly suggests being thrown in a pit of vipers. I don’t recall all the mixed metaphors that got mishmashed into the painting.

Another interpretation of Acedia is dejection, or discouragement. I guess I was feeling a bit dejected right then, and probably very lazy. In Afrikaans, one would say “bokbek” which literally translates to goat mouth, or being dejected. I had many paintings to finish for a planned show. I just ran with that theme. Now, goat is sometimes associated with “lust”, and I was “lusteloos”, which means “without oomph”, or “dejected”. So, a little blue…an aquamarinish blue.  If you read up about Acedia, you’ll also notice that it is sometimes translated as “shai” :

During Ptolemaic Egypt, Shai, as god of fate, was identified with the Greek god Agathodaemon, who was the god of fortune telling. Thus, since Agathodaemon was considered to be a serpent, and the word Shai was also the Egyptian word for pig, in the Hellenic period, Shai was sometimes depicted as a serpent-headed pig, known to Egyptologists as the Shai animal.; from Wikipedia.

Ah, more serpents. But, more salient, here is the amalgam of the goat and the pig, my respective astrologic(heh,logic)al symbols! (Capricorn and Earth Pig) Who can resist being a shy goddess of fortune telling for one painting? Especially if you have to do battle with yon hornéd Belphegor, one of the seven dark princes! I had already rehearsed the pig for the role of the orange Gula, so a Medusalian goat was perfect. There are so many myths to choose from, one might as well be interpretative, no?

So, there. I could clothe all that musing in respectable highfalutin language, but that would be disingenuous. Have a $cape-goat instead. Or, even better, some cute kids. I am off in search of truffles and cappuccino.




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