Entry in 2006 ITS Door Decorating Competition

Decorated door

An Explanation

I had a number of people ask about the meanings of the components of the door, so there follows, below, a brief explanation.

To see all the entries click here (note that the images are scaled to one quarter their resolution in the collage, click on any image to open it in a secondary window at the saved resolution. If anyone wants a copy of their doors picture at full resolution, about four times the saved, ask me). At the end of regulation play, there was a tie between my door and Megan's. Megan's. Megan won on penalty kicks during the tie breaking competition. Congratulations Megan and thanks to all who voted for my entry in the competition.

One interesting editorial comment was added to Lori MacMullen's entry which has been included at a readable resolution in the lower right corner of the image.

The Door

The calendar wheel shows the eight Sabbats and Esbats of the pagan calendar. I have put the Yule at the top since it is the Sabbat of the Winter Solstice. You can use Google to find out far more about these than I can put in this page, including alternate names for some of the Festivals. The year begins with Samhain (also known as Halloween) which is the start of Winter, Following around the wheel, Yule, Imbolc, Ostara, Beltane, Alban Hefin, Lughnasadh, and Alban Elfed,

Goddess Amulet I have further decorated the wheel by putting an image of an ancient amulet representing the Goddess in an obviously pregnant state. Fertility symbolism is very important to the pagan religions. I particularly like this image because it contains a spiral, a sacred symbol to pagans as well as to North American aboriginal religion. The cyclical nature of a spiral represents the repeating cycles of the year but it starts out in the centre and grows to include the experiences of life, not quite repeating but spiralling outward to the end of life.

Within the calendar wheel, I have put a representation of the Goddess as Maiden, Mother, and Crone. The myth/concept of three personalities in one deity is ancient and recurs again and again within various mythologies. I found the picture as an advertisement for poster sized pagan images and liked it so much that I wanted to make it part of my decoration.

Detail of Crescent Moon At the top of the door is a Pentacle or five pointed star with the pentagram resulting from completing the lines of the arms of the star inscribed. The pentacle is very significant in pagan religion, possibly because the five points correspond to the head, arms and legs of a spread eagled body. The tradition of the Pentacle continues in the decoration at the top of many Yule trees today except the symbolism has been changed to represent the star in the East. Lore has it that the Pentacle can be used to hold a daemon when summoned to perform a task, however, the safety and power of a confining circle should also be used. I had wanted to circumscribe my Pentacle with the calendar wheel, however, to make the circle out of a single sheet of bristol board would have reduced the size of the Pentacle to somewhat less than I wanted.

The lines in the arms of the Pentacle have no particular significance. The plain paper lacked something, so I added the lines then decided that where the arms formed a pentagon, I would indicate a stylized braiding of the lines just because I liked the look when I experimented in pencil before committing it to felt pen.

Pagan/Celtic Trinity

Woven into the pentacle is a crescent moon with Celtic-like designs. I saw this in an amulet and liked the design so incorporated it into the door. The free flowing lines come together into swirls of three which represent the Maiden, Mother and Crone of the blessed Goddess Trinity.

Within the centre of the pentacle, there is a Celtic design with, again, the three lobed swirls coming together into three sectors. Once more, the swirls represent the Maiden, Mother and Crone persons within the Goddess deity, the ancient Trinity.

Below the calendar wheel are pictures which I took at Stonehenge when Margaret and I were in England a while back. While modern Druids may claim that Stonehenge is central to their Summer Solstice ritual and the evidence is very strong that Stonehenge was used to verify the Solstices and, possibly, predict Lunar eclipses, it is almost certain that the Druids had nothing to do with building Stonehenge. It is far more ancient than the Druids. Like the massive cathedrals that characterized the Middle Ages, Stonehenge would have been a challenge to the technology of the day and is testament to the great works which the belief in deity can inspire.

Not Shown

Around the frame of the door are some boughs of holly and hanging from the top of the door frame is a sprig of mistletoe.

The myth is that at Yule and at the Summer Solstice, the Holly King and Oak King battle for who will rule over the year and, traditionally, the Holly king wins at the Summer Solstice and the Oak King will win at the Yule. We hang the holly boughs to acknowledge that the Holly King currently reigns but will soon give way to the Oak King.

Mistletoe also has an ancient association with the Yule. Yet another fertility symbol, the tradition of kissing under the mistletoe would have one remove a berry for each kiss and, when all the berries were gone, the mistletoe was kissed out. In this case, the mistletoe has plastic berries and so is without kisses to begin with, but the symbolism is still there and the sprig has real leaves (I think), at least they have an herbal odour.