Agnes Arellano Sculptor

Temple To The Moon Goddess



My work portrays my philosophy of life. This emphasizes exploration built around a series of ingredients which I feel would be part of a complete philosophy if such an absolute existed. Apart from the present emphasis on Isis, there is Zen, Tao, and especially Tantra in my "Temple to the Moon Goddess." These elements are all in a sense combined against the male-dominated, rationalist, bright philosophies of the Western world built around Christianity, Judaism and Islam. In philosophy I am looking for balance, in the mixture of light and dark, magic and reason, yin and yang, male and female.

My particular fondness for Isis stems from her generous, gentle, life-giving nature. Her dominance for ten millennia before the birth of Christ was followed by a sharp male reaction. Perhaps my own enthusiasm for her is an over-reaction once more in the reverse. Nevertheless, I believe that it is necessary to show the importance of Isis, or the Female, in her role of assuring the continuation of the cycle of life and death; it is a route leading us all in our own separate ways away from oblivion.

"Temple to the Moon Goddess" is a home for Isis, a place where she would feel comfortable. The old Egyptian word for temple meant home, and I feel that the Mother Goddess would regard this as such.

The temple is a recognition of all that the moon stands for, its magic, its influence on the cycle of life and death, the sowing and harvesting of crops, and so forth. Its critical importance for the human psyche has been suppressed for so long by the male dominated religions which supplanted it in the 2nd and 3rd centuries A.D., that it seemed time to remind everybody of Her awe-inspiring strength. Mankind has forgotten, or for the most part does not take seriously, the image of women poetesses, magicians, and warriors.

Many of the minor ingredients or specific touches to the works that make up the temple are strongly influenced by Tantra. Tantra, which is often misunderstood in the West as some form of sexual profligacy, has many basic and fundamental links with Isis, Zen, and the Tao. Its method of searching for truth is different, in that it emphasizes purification through the exploration of the senses, but nevertheless the goals are the same.

The sarcophagus, which is shown in Gallery II, is a tomb which links a burial place for two dead lovers with the living symbol of their affection as the centerpiece on its top. Their spiritual purification is symbolized as being achieved through sexual communion. This is NOT erotica; it is a search for the summit of the spirit. It goes beyond sex towards the spirit, and sex is merely a vehicle.

Another piece of the temple which might be of interest in helping to explain the themes which lie behind its creation is the relief. This depicts the nature of the triple goddess and the principal mysteries behind her religious cult.

There are also three floor pieces in the temple. One of these, "Music for Watching the Moon Rise," was created visually with an eye to aesthetics. However, it spells out, for those who can read music, a composition, the purpose of which is described by its title. The notes are formed by the placing of the "omphalos" or lingam figures, such that a rhythm suitable for contemplation is created. The recording could be used by visitors to the exhibit to listen to the music which the omphalos notes create. The omphalos is an easily recognizable religious symbol in both Greece and India. In Greece, an omphalos would often mark an oracular center, for example, Delphi, while it is the familiar lingam worshipped in Tantric religion. In respect of this work, I quote from a book on Tantra: "Sound is the gross form of Her subtle vibration."