Never liked the term, “idol worshipper.” Reminded me of Moses and the “Chosen People” creating that golden calf in the Old Testament. Had a hard time with all the icons in my heritage, Greek Orthodox, with those gold and silver tinted pictures my father and his father prayed before in the Old World.
Pictures in people’s homes of the Blessed Heart of Jesus make me — well, let’s say, they “don’t” make me feel “at home,” or even welcomed, unless I plan to say the Rosary with their parish priest. And, don’t knock it, I’d do it, if it would help relieve someone’s suffering. Whether I’d like it or not. (I’d probably get into it after a moment or two.)
A Crucifix near someone’s bed directly on the wall above a mattress doesn’t set right with me. Particularly, if it’s in a couple’s room. I mean, wouldn’t you feel a little uncomfortable at the peak of “you know what” hollering the name of the Lord, while not praising God, but the spouse or loved one who helped you reach paradise through a delightful, mutual exercise? Tough to feel sexy and sensual while Jesus hangs there watching your every move.
Buddha gets his fair share of statues in many American homes. Let’s not forget those beautiful cloth-like artworks hanging on Temple walls and Buddhist centers. Forgot what they’re called. Several people I met recently tell me they “visualize” the Buddha as they meditate. The statutes, pictures and drawings of these spiritual deities help them focus on their breathing and away from chattering thoughts. I guess statues of Shiva and Her Prodigy help those from the Hindu Faith. Don’t know much about Islamic idols, but I betcha there’s a few used for the same purposes.
I got Buddhas, and two statutes of St. Francis, as well as words of spiritual wisdom gracing the shelves and walls of my house. Painted a Greek monastery from the island of Santorini, Greece. I liked it so much, I painted it twice! I tried different shades and added a night-time moon in one of them. Framed the paintings and put them on the wall with two still life paintings I did, as well as photographs of our family. One is a blow up of an old 35-milimeter picture of a younger me walking on a hot, sandy beach in Cape May, NJ, my then two-year-old son, Nicholas, slightly ahead of me. Both staring toward a vast spread of water, the Atlantic Ocean. We have two distinct shadows each. One from the sun, and another from the reflection of the sun hitting the water as light beams on our physical bodies creating in the sand what I like to think is a depiction of our “true spirits,” our “auras,” as the photographer captured this great moment of bonding between a father, a son and our universe.
Have animals being ushered into Noah’s Arc depicted in a wooden carving above a living room door frame. A Native American “Dream Catcher” hangs before a window in the dining room. Two-inch white plaster child angels “hang out” on the rim of potted plants in the four rooms on the first floor of our three-story house. They mix in with small figurines of cats, roosters, a bunch of owls (ceramics painted and signed “Contoveros, 2008“), as well as a mug with a picture of the notorious bank robber, Willie Sutton, and other secular artworks.
But not many religious idols.
Don’t know what it says about me. Maybe I have focused more lately on what’s inside and not outside to express my spirituality. How about you?