Hand of Circe is part of my series exploring the untold stories of women characters in Greek mythology. It references the mysterious hands of Sabazios from a feminine perspective.
Roman hands of Sabazios date back to the first century and are known as the 'hand of God' or 'hand of destiny'. Not much is known about them. They're thought to have been used in rituals by Greek and Roman cults influenced by 'the mystery religions' worshiping Sabazios.These sculptures have the right hand in the position of the ‘benedictio Latina’ with fourth and fifth fingers tucked under, a blessing gesture that later appeared throughout the history of Christian art.
In western culture, the right hand symbolizes action and male aspects while the left is traditionally associated with weakness and the lunar, receptive feminine side. Since this piece addresses the repressed power of the female, I cast my left hand in wax and sculpted animals and symbols from Circe's myth.
The back of her hand, in a sense, is her past: a sun streaming tears, symbolizing her father, the sun god Helios, and her pain when he banished her to the island of Aeaea.Metaphorphis is the Greek word for transformation and the butterfly is the creature best defining the story of Circe. The moon balances on her thumb and the magical drug moly (referenced in the Odyssey as the herb she used to turn men into pigs) winds around her index finger. Along with her tamed leopard, these are symbols of the power she finds after she has been banished and forced to step into her true self.
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