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Jeffrey Briggs, Demidgod

Worshiping Animals

24.25¨ x18.5¨ x 2¨

I found this subject difficult to portray. Animal worship is not commonly found in modern society. I hope that adding the title Demigod to the work would aid the viewer in placing the subject in context. Demigod is an interesting word: a half god, one with godlike attributes. In today's Western culture, we interpret the word demigod to mean an unworthy religion or false belief and I have used it in the same way here in this work.

From our earliest beginnings animals showed up in our myths and folklore as gods and omens. Animism, the belief that soul and spirit resides in every object is one of the oldest of human spiritual beliefs. Ancient hunting people performed ceremonies, maybe in the hope of placating powerful predators by granting them sacred status. This worship by ancient societies eventually became rationalized and abstract. The sacred power of a deity was believed to be manifested in an animal and was regarded as an incarnation of the deity. For example, the bull frequently represents fertility deities. In modern societies where animals take on the role of totems or emblems, there are taboos against people eating or killing certain animals. To these totem groups the believer identifies with the animal and becomes a relative or guardian of the animal. Some forms of Hinduism hold these beliefs.

Animal symbolism in religion has been used to represent certain qualities of certain animal species, for example the wisdom of the owl. There are remainders of this symbolism in our daily life when we name a car, Cougar or sports team the Bears.

This piece is to remind us that we continue to view animals in spiritual ways even in our modern technical world.