Symbols - What does heaven look like


Rubens - "Satyr & Maid with Fruit Basket"                  Nicolas Poussin - "Venus Surprised by Satyrs"

Not an Intelligence or spirit being and not a centaur, but a symbol of the deeper subconscious and autonomic system much as the forest is.

"Nymphs and Satyr"  by W-A Bouguereau.

Most satyrs are portrayed as having animal characteristics to show that they represent these ‘baser’ instincts – instincts incidentally which are there in all of us.  If we are placed in a position of extreme threat, these functions can rise up within us automatically – the instinct for survival, the need to eat, the desire for sex and will to reproduce, the need to defend ourselves against attack or even attack back.

But there is another layer to this symbolism.

In some cases the shaman was denoted as a satyr particularly if he used sexual techniques to obtain spiritual experience - making love or sexual stimulation

Harnessing the sexual energy inherent in the autonomic system to achieve spiritual experience was regarded by some as rather beneath their dignity, [meaning they couldn’t do it]  and thus the satyr is often portrayed as lecherous and rather earthy.  See Pan.

In Roman mythology, fauns are the half human half deer creatures of untamed woodland and forest.
This combined with their similar temperament caused them to be associated with the Greek satyr.
Christian mythology demonised all ‘pagan’ activities related to satyrs & fauns by associating them with demons and devils, and caused them to be the template for popular depictions of Satan.

Alfred Lord Tennyson – from In Memoriam A.H.H.
Arise and fly
The reeling Faun, the sensual feast
Move upward, working out the beast
And let the ape and tiger die


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