Here we delve back into the land of blueprints and instructions. I’ve already rambled at length about textiles but this will probably be shorter. I’m interested in other symbols, things that connect.
The pomegranates on the edge of the robe are interesting. It reads odd to me, because when I think about pomegranates the immediate connection to me is death and rebirth.
Pomegranates, of course, feature heavily in the myth of Persephone. This is, I think, one of the first myths I ever recall hearing. Granted, it was a heavily sanitized version, as I was fairly young, but it stuck with me. Persephone, taken away down to the underworld by Hades, eating the three seeds of the pomegranate and thus ever splitting her time between the world with her mother Demeter, and the underworld.
This is one of those myths that grew in richness for me. I’ve read takes on it — feminist angles that question whether or not Persephone was, in fact, raped or if she went willingly and it was called rape due to a lack of maternal consent; tellings that emphasize the role of Persephone as Queen in her own right as she rules the underworld; the importance of separating daughter from mother so that she can grow up. But always, the juicy, blood-red seeds of the pomegranate that tie Persephone to death, from which she emerges to the rebirth of the Earth.
It’s not a surprising connection given the fruit. Juicy, dripping like blood, little ruby drops. On the outside, pomegranates look a bit forbidding and mysterious — not something you’re likely to pick up and bite into. Yet inside, so many tiny little seeds packed in.
Death. Life. Birth. Rebirth. All intimately connected.
So it’s an interesting choice to me for a Priest’s robe. Granted, life, death, and rebirth are always going to loom large in matters of the spirit, but it’s just not a place I expect the pomegranate to show up. And I don’t know, it could have completely different associations in this particular culture, but for me, I can’t fully divorce it from this meaning that is so deeply ingrained in me.
There are a couple of other connections I made that make me wonder how the threads connect. The stones on the breastplate, mainly. Carnelian is sacred to Osiris. Lapis to Inanna. I’ve heard of Hathor being connected to turquoise, but don’t know how historically accurate that is. Again, I come back to life, death, rebirth. Hathor is a sky Goddess, associated with birth and women. Similarly, Inanna is another Queen of Heaven, but one who also must go down into the underworld and face death. Osiris rules the underworld, where he is judge.
So here we sit, with these things. Life. Death. Rebirth. Every mystery of humanity and it all shows up, over and over again