The raven and the rose. Interview with UK painter and sculptor Victoria Macleo


“All my artwork is inspired by the wonderful world in which I live. I mainly work with pencil and water colour offering my work in the form of cards or prints. My sculpures start life as clay work which I then take a mould from and cast the final pieces in crystacast, a hard wearing giftware material. I finally finish them with a metalic effect finish ,mainly in bronze.” VM

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Do you understand what some writers and artists are calling “new mythologies”? What inspirational sources are in their tool kit?

I understand the reasoning behind the term ‘new mythologies’, however I feel that the new and older myths and inspirations remain the same, only the shape changes to fit in more appropriately with our modern world, nature is still the main driving force behind inspiration. We will always need heroes and tales to interpret our understanding of the world, and learn lessons through poetic inference as for their tool kit surely the soul, life source and the universe should keep them busy for a little while longer.

Are you hopeful that new mythologies can have an impact on the current Earth crisis? If so, how?

If the shift in perception allows people greater understanding, then the answer is most defiantly yes. Being a mother myself I can see how important the children of today will be in the future, it’s not hard to help them comprehend the current earth crisis through story telling at a young age. The classic story before bedtime was always important in our house and a perfect opportunity to introduce myths and their lessons. So I am ever optimistic that if new mythologies are more appropriate for connecting to our children of today and the lessons to be learned, then there may be hope yet for our beautiful planet.

Are there Goddesses alive on the planet now? Who are they?

Not as such, the gods are a way of connecting ourselves to “the source” which in turn I see as a kind of well-spring or river, not dissimilar to the generally held view of the Wryd.

There are laws of physics that go some way to explaining my understanding of Source, one being a law that claims that Energy cannot be created or destroyed, energy is merely changed from one form to another, I believe that this relates to what we consider to be the esoteric world also, there for we cannot create something from nothing we can only move and perhaps shape and guide that which already exists.

On a theoretical level, perhaps we are not drawing from the source only acting as a conduit for it, this universal power or virtue is nothing yet everything, it becomes what we need and we become aware of our part in it, we are the source.

The underlying well from which springs all, Gods, humans everything, an energy that perpetuates throughout the universe, and has since the beginning.

The Idea of communing with or becoming one with the divine may well bring us to the point where we can perceive the Source in it pure beautiful form, to truly understand creation.

Many forms of occultism attempt to create and control the natural energies of all worlds, my own personal beliefs mean that I merely attempt to become more aware that I am part of that energy and tune into it, through thought, action and devotion, swimming along within the flow if you like.

Everyone will have their own take on this one; if the source had a number it would be 42 (Douglas Adams).

How do you differentiate magic and mythology?

Folklore and mythology hold the keys to true Magic, which in its self is a kind of happy by product of devotional acts. Mythology is good for the soul a’ creative feed’ if you like, from which we strive to find underlying messages. I believe there are aspects to many myths that can help to open doors in ones head, and in turn lead us to find the right key for the right door. For me the opening of these doors is the magical process, personal gifts and lessons taken to aid and develop ones own journey in the use of the craft.

Is alchemy a process that intrigues you? Do you actively use it?

My answer to this one really relates to how I feel our world works and my use of the term the ‘source’. As I have already mentioned this I won’t labour the point only answer that yes changing energies and shaping them can be an exhilarating feeling and becoming part of that whole process is something indescribable. Diving into the flow reveals to me how intertwined everything is, and that to actively use it is a question of personal judgment and should not be undertaken lightly. In order to evolve spiritually we must evolve, if this changing or evolution of the soul is a process of alchemy then yes it intrigues me deeply, however if you refer to it as the art of changing base metals into gold then unfortunately not!

Is sustainability like a new religion to you?

No, it is a way of living; sustainability is interwoven with our lifestyle and is acknowledged as ‘the norm’ in this household. It is not to be confused with any practice of the craft I might undertake, like church and state these things should be kept separate, as religion affects the individual yet issues of sustainability effect us all. I have to be honest and say that our household and my relationship with my husband has never been driven by money (so there’s not much to go around) consequently we have very few new items, instead preferring to reuse other peoples throwaway items such as cookers, sofas, tables clothes etc., make and repair are very much the order of the day. Through this process we have made our children and families very aware of today’s consumer society, and I hope this will help them understand the need for sustainability in the future (as well as saving them money!)

Can you offer us some symbols, songs or stories that speak in mythological terms for the Sustainability Age?

I would have to call upon a classic for this, Aesop’s fable “the hare and the tortoise” which I feel coveys the sustainable message most appropriately. Consider the Hare: fast, adaptable, flexible, a sure winner in every way, his gaze truly fixed on the here and now, a great analogy of today’s mankind. As for the tortoise slow and considered is his approach, a thinker, concerned with things greater than himself, a long-term planner. Hopefully just as the tortoise won, so shall the use of sustainable development. If we were to all slow down a bit in every way, resources would go so much further.

Are shamans born or created these days? Any examples?

Both, potential is still unrealised within our flawed species; there are also those that speak many words yet say nothing. I think there are many out there that have the raw ability but no understanding of what they could achieve, our local vicar was one such example, brimming with power and charisma and a great woman in our community whom I have plenty of respect for, such a shame she was batting for the wrong team!

Are you seeing any shifts away from traditional religion to a more Nature-based practice?

I would have to say yes, based on the fact that when I found my path very little was out there to read and meeting like-minded people proved difficult. Today however the bookshops are crammed with all sorts of esoteric writings from the well crafted lessons to the ridiculous. Not to mention the use of the Internet as a resource for research. I feel that perhaps in light or the current earth crisis people are looking for ways to reconnect to the land, whether this will prove beneficial we shall see.

Ruth Wynn Owen, in About the History of the Craft, writes: “A man finds the faith for which he is ready, if he seeks. We are not all at the same stage of development, and all gods of light are one god. Let us build a good future History of the Craft.”

1. What is your role in re-charging the Mysteries?

I am not sure I really have a role to play here, only that I love to use symbolism in my work and maybe this will intrigue some people enough to look those meanings up, and perhaps inspire them to look deeper.

2. Is today’s “craft” a viable, vibrant force for change? How?

If you take the craft (traditional) and not neo-pagan religion as a personal journey, ‘an awakening’ so to speak, then I believe you achieve a greater comprehension and tolerance for all, this enables change in ones self and an evolution of the soul: this in turn rubs off on others around you and may alter their perceptions of today’s world. It may be a slow process but a small stone makes many ripples.

Connections –
Victoria Macleod
sales at victoriamacleod.co.uk

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About [ open myth source ]

The [open myth source] project gathers conversations, symbols, songs, visual art and stories. Building a house for Myth in the Sustainability Age.
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