Who is Joan Pope?
Joan Pope is a multimedia artist, specializing in electronic music, performance art, writing in the form of Zines and most inportantly — to me at least, ritual magic. In my opinion, her work serves to induce altered states in not only the viewer but herself as well — as seen in her most current series Goddess Erotica//Greek Goddesses — in which her stated objective was to invoke each of the Greek Goddesses from the ancient Greek Pantheon and record each ceremony for all to see.
From her website:
“My videos exist in the realm of the sacred and the erotic. They are meant to co-exist with my music, poetry and philosophy. While they are intended to be arousing, I do not consider them to be pornography, even if many transgress the boundaries between Art and Pornography. They are artefacts of intimacy of a kind not present in modern pornography and they ask for an essential communion and for the viewer to use their imagination. They are the medium and the message and they all attempt to forge connections with the anima woman.”
From that blurb alone, you can see that we’re not dealing with something you’ll encounter in your daily routine — there is magic about in what she does, it’s tangible even while viewed on your tiny phone screen. I was initially intrigued by the dark and sensual GIF’s that would pop up on my Twitter timeline now and again — it was sexy but it was so much more than a camgirl making money online, she was exploring and playing with archetypes, you may feel aroused from her work but you’ll also feel something that’s hard to put into words.
I rented three of her ritual performances from her Vimeo store, Aphrodite, Hecate and Selene because I enjoy the mystique surrouding them.
Aphrodite is the Greek goddess of love, beauty, pleasure, and procreation. She is identified with the planet Venus; her Roman equivalent is the goddess Venus. Myrtle, roses, doves, sparrows and swans were sacred to her.
In Hesiod’s Theogony, Aphrodite was created from the sea foam (aphros) produced by Uranus’s genitals, which had been severed by Cronus. In Homer’s Iliad, however, she is the daughter of Zeus and Dione. In Plato (Symposium, 180e), these two origins are said to be of hitherto separate entities: Aphrodite Ourania (a transcendent, “Heavenly” Aphrodite) and Aphrodite Pandemos (Aphrodite common to “all the people”). She had many other names, each emphasising a different aspect of the same goddess, or used by a different local cult. Thus she was also known as Cytherea (Lady of Cythera) and Cypris (Lady of Cyprus), both of which claimed to be her place of birth.
In Greek myth, the other gods feared that Aphrodite’s beauty might lead to conflict and war, through rivalry for her favours; so Zeus married her off to Hephaestus. Despite this, Aphrodite followed her own inclinations, and had many lovers — both gods, such as Ares, and men, such as Anchises. She played a role in the Eros and Psyche legend, and was both lover and surrogate mother of Adonis. Many lesser beings were said to be children of Aphrodite.
Hecate is a goddess in Ancient Greek religion and mythology, most often shown holding two torches or a key and in later periods depicted in triple form. She was variously associated with crossroads, entrance-ways, light, magic, witchcraft, knowledge of herbs and poisonous plants, ghosts, necromancy, and sorcery. She appears in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter and in Hesiod’s Theogony, where she is promoted strongly as a great goddess. The place of origin of her following is uncertain, but it is thought that she had popular followings in Thrace. She was one of the main deities worshiped in Athenian households as a protective goddess and one who bestowed prosperity and daily blessings on the family. In the post-Christian writings of the Chaldean Oracles (2nd–3rd century CE) she was regarded with (some) rulership over earth, sea and sky, as well as a more universal role as Saviour (Soteira), Mother of Angels and the Cosmic World Soul. Regarding the nature of her cult, it has been remarked, “she is more at home on the fringes than in the center of Greek polytheism. Intrinsically ambivalent and polymorphous, she straddles conventional boundaries and eludes definition.”
Selene is the goddess of the moon. She is the daughter of the Titans Hyperion and Theia, and sister of the sun-god Helios, and Eos, goddess of the dawn. She drives her moon chariot across the heavens. Several lovers are attributed to her in various myths, including Zeus, Pan, and the mortal Endymion. In classical times, Selene was often identified with Artemis, much as her brother, Helios, was identified with Apollo. Both Selene and Artemis were also associated with Hecate, and all three were regarded as lunar goddesses, although only Selene was regarded as the personification of the moon itself. Her Roman equivalent is Luna.
Originally published at null.sesh.