Tuesday, 24 February 2009

The Queens of the Heart, part 4 - The Queen of Bliss

The Queen of Bliss was originally named Naamah, again, one of the angels of prostitution and, after Lilith, the one with the most stories attached to her. Her name means "pleasurable" and she was by all accounts the most sensual and hottest of Satan's wives... she was kind of an adulterous slut but Satan was ok with it as her sexual appetite was too much for even him to fulfill.

The name "Queen of Bliss" comes from a medieval Christmas carol and is apparently a title for the Virgin Mary... but I got it from a Luscious Jackson B-side where they sing lines from said Carol backwards... ooooh! Check it out... I love that song. My Queen of Bliss takes aspects from Naamah in that she is the most sensual of the four Queens - she is the goddess of sexual and emotional connection, satisfaction and fulfillment - she gives her all - but I also imagine her as having many, many lovers and keeping them all happy - because, as a supremely powerful goddess, she can!

Her "look" is obviously based on the leopard, and I had in my mind the Egyptian goddesses Bast and Sekhmet when I was designing the Queen of Bliss - like the cat-goddess Bast she symoblizes sensuality, but I also imagine she could turn nasty and bloodthirsty like Sekhmet when provoked... she has to have a dark side to hold her own against her sisters, right?

The land of Bliss is a tropical jungle or forest... with huge trees and flowers... and the gods of Bliss will probably be the most diverse and colourful of the bunch, being based on various tropical flora and fauna.

By the way, in the past few days I've been thinking about the way the 4 Queens might have some complementary male deities... brothers, lovers and/or male alter egos... that might be fun to design... so watch this space...

The Queens of the Heart, part three - The Queen of the Cold

Like all the Queens of the Heart, the Queen of the Cold began life as one of the four Jewish "angels of prostitution", but early influences on the Queen of the Cold also include Hans Christian Anderson's "Snow Queen", the fairytale of "Snow White and Rose Red", and Tove Jansson's "Lady of the Cold" from her book Moominland Midwinter, possibly my favourite of the Moomintroll books. In the "Snow Queen" too many kisses from the Queen will kill you, while Jansson's Lady of the Cold can kill you just by looking at you.

I imagine my Queen of the Cold as beautiful and seductive but ulitimately treacherous. While she may enjoy physical pleasure (it's not like she's frigid) she is the goddess of sexual and emotional detachment, so she will always be a cold lover and cannot make the connection between physical and emotional intimacy... she's something like an emotional void. Her domain is a barren icey wasteland - The Cold - and the gods that live there are the spirits of Arctic beasts and birds, as well as spirits of ice, snowflakes, and maybe even Arctic atmospheric phenomena like the Aurora.

She's the most human-looking of the Queens simply because I wanted some of my gods to look a bit more human, but since I did this drawing I've altered it so that her crown is now actually crystalline icey spikes growing out of her head, and her skin has little icey cracks all over it, so hopefully she looks a little more interesting. I'm pretty conflicted as to what her skin/hair colour combination should be... Should I go for blue skin and white hair? White and blue? White and blonde? Blue and blonde? White all over? Aaaaarrrrr......!!! I drive myself crazy with this shizzle.

The Queens of the Heart, part two - The Queen of The Howling

My initial idea for four queens of the heart came from reading about the "four angels of prostitution" in Jewish mystical lore who are the four wives of Satan... they sound like totally fun, wild gals, right? I love the idea of "angels" of prostitution... the most famous one was Lilith of course, who is well-known for having been Adam's first wife and being kicked out of the garden of Eden because she just wouldn't do as she was told and also liked being on top when she and Adam had sex... crrrazzzy. I find Lilith especially fascinating because so many versions of her have appeared in comics - Marvel and DC have various versions of her, and so do various indie publishers.

So here's my version - I was actually going to use the name Lilith, and refer to her as "The Queen of the Night" (one of Lilith's actual titles) but I recently decided to ditch any and all "real" mythological names and just make up my own. Since then she's been through various titles - I am still torn between The Queen of Blood and The Queen of the Howling. I like both and I can't decide. I imagine her kingdom as being in the middle of a desert and populated by gods who are the spirits of various animals you find prowling the desert - scorpions (like Queenie herself), bats, vultures and wolves... all the claassic "horror" creatures in other words... Actually I'm not sure if wolves are indigenous to deserts, probably not, but I'm gonna bend the rules this one time ;o)

So - the Queen of the Howling - what's her deal? She's the goddess of broken hearts, sexual and emotional rejection, cruelty and misery. She gets off on inciting lovers to treat each other bad, leading to those painful endings of relationships, and the bitterness, anguish and regret that follows... "Howling" here obviously refers to the anguished tortured feelings of tormented lovers, right? But would "Blood" (y'know, as in pain) be better? I'm still undecided...

The Queens of the Heart, part one - The Queen of the Deep

These are drawings of four background characters in Atash's universe, very much works in progress at this point... the four rival goddesses who seek to control the human heart and mind... The idea is that they each rule one domain in the realm of the gods, and each represents a distinctive way of relating to love, sex and the emotions.

So let's start with The Queen of the Deep, the goddess of sexual codependency, obsessive love, desperation and delusion... I think we've all been there right? She rules a subsea kingdom (queendom? seriously does anyone know of a good name for a matriarchal principality?!) populated by gods and spirits who all get off on various aspects of dependency and obsession... They are not all necessarily merfolk - though a lot of them probably are - but I imagine they are each going to look like composites of humans and various sea-dwelling beings.