"The Descent of Sophia"
"This painting is a mirror of the ancient Jewish myth of the soul journey known as The Descent of Sophia (the Goddess of Wisdom)." --Lynden Saint Victor
The Descent of Sophia is a story celebrated by Gnostic Christians as well, as the coming to earth of the feminine aspect of divinity. Here, the artist depicts Sophia attired in a mixture of aviator gear and ragged "lady of the night"-wear, symbolizing both her time above, in the heavens, and below, on our lowly plane, and the travels in between. The suggestion of this myth is that full wisdom cannot come without immersion into the experience of life itself, however "impure" and inherently physical that experience may be. And it shows the feminine--the yin, the internal--approaching the male/yang, as both those aspects must be present for full wisdom as well. Here, life on earth is represented by the robot--not even completely human, or humanity "still in its early stages of evolution, operating within a sphere of instinctually programmed survival mechanisms." As Sophia descends to meet it, the cage of its chest opens, releasing a flock of birds in a Jungian symbol of transcendence, although a pair of lovebirds is left behind to form his heart.
St. Victor describes chaos as "simply the instigator of evolution from an established “order” to a higher level of “order”."
He describes the painting thus:
"In this painting I represent Chaos as a gift as illustrated with the big red bow with Chaos sitting atop a crumpled purple cloth representing the fall of monarchies at the hands of the disenfranchised. Her striped clothes represent the cosmic tango between order and chaos, yin and yang, working together in evolutionary harmony. The tornado in the back- ground façade is the destructive force of nature which is not evil or punishment, it is simply a natural force of the planet we call home and chaos theory in the other panel represented as a seemingly unrelated series of events, equations or concepts that in retrospect reflect a highly organized pattern tied to a much bigger universal picture. She is shown with the attributes of the fertility god Pan, which was later demonized by the Church, in representing something life-giving as being condemed as evil. Above the façade we see the sunrise dawning as new possibilities and potential arising with every occasion of Chaos."
The association with Pan is interesting, as he was the son of Hermes, a trickster god very commonly caught inspiring chaos. And the word "panic" comes from the fear Pan could inspire when his irritation was aroused, or when he blew his conch, apparently a terrifying act that immediately decided the outcome of battles. According to Cotterell and Storm, "His worship spread from Arcadia to Athens immediately after the Athenean and Platean victory over the Persians at Marathon in 480 BC, because he made the Persians flee in panic. He rendered a similar service for Zeus during the battle against Cronos and the Titans. His conch deeply worried Zeus' opponents." This service he had rendered for Zeus also applies to Saint Victor's ideas in this painting, as Cronos was the father of Zeus, and this was a battle to overthrow his tyrannical rule (Cronos had tried to avoid any questions to his authority by swallowing all his children as they were born, but was deceived into passing over Zeus). So Pan's feet resting over the purple cloth of the fallen monarchs is an apt symbol, both of his instigations towards chaos (panicked chaos) which help ensure the overthrow of the old and the beginning of the new, but also of his demonizing by the old powers who try to thwart him, as today, the goat-like Pan is often used as the very image of Satan himself (click link to see Satan's goat-feet).
About this self-taught Artist:
"I believe our mission on earth is to evolve - into what exactly, I have no idea. I also believe that the road to expedite this mission is to live this current life with two main goals - and these have become my mantra (with a shout out to the amazing Bishop John Shelby Spong), “To live wide-eyed in the Mystery of Life and Dare to Love Wastefully.” "
He lives in Santa Fe with his wife and dogs, and donates a percentage of all his sales to Good Dog Mountain for the rescue of death row shelter dogs. His webpage, the Saint Victor Diaries, is here.