Those of you who know me are, I'm sure, totally unsurprised by this one. I've done, and do, a lot of meditation on the representation of the feminine in myth. I'm fascinated by the fact that ugly mythical beings are often exclusively male, whereas beautiful mythical beings are often exclusively female. For example, leanan sidhe are supposedly all female, but think for a moment about why that might be... they're the "faerie muse." The idea that the relationship between the sidhe and the artist is sexual, or at the very least romantic in nature, is incredibly pervasive, and thus you get a race that is purportedly only female, because women both were by and large uneducated at the time (and thus not writers) and, more importantly, were not allowed to be sexual in nature or take pleasure in sex--or even to be thought of in that manner.

Thus you get a culture obsessed and fascinated with female sexuality that also manages to revile and shun it at the same time. Thus you get faerie temptresses, muses, all manner of fae that are both exactly what men wanted and most feared from women at the same time.

That, really, is the truth of it, I believe. On the surface, it is a way to demonize female sexuality. But more than that, deeper and in the places good company just didn't talk about, it's the desire for that free, pure, and primal creature; it's what was really wanted and yet forbidden by breeding and standards, and that's why these images were so pervasive.

As a woman today who is free to be, and is, uninhibited, powerful, sexual, and independent, I feel drawn to this series as a way to bring a new perspective to the stories that have been in my mind all my life. And, of course, as a Pagan, I feel drawn to this particular vignette as a way to, in some small regard, redeem these feminine aspects of the Divine that have been maligned for so long.
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Becky Courington

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