Chicago Relocation

Pagan symbols on my after work run…..

December 16, 2013

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Chicago neighborhoods
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John D’Ambrogio

Last time we were together I was waxing poetic about the lovely bounty of pagan symbolism in our fair city. I took you through my morning run where I find truly stunning examples.  If I’m running after work I usually head north up the Mag Mile or the lakefront. No loss of classic representation on the north side, either.

So cross the river and head north up Michigan Ave. where the beautiful Hotel Intercontinental boasts reliefs reflecting Mesopotamia in the time of Xerxes (5th century BC).  Glance across the street to see Atlas holding up the world at the McGraw Hill building.

If you keep heading North to the entrance of the zoo you’ll see playful Pan the satyr. God of the forest, fields, and animals.  Pan surely belongs in this setting!

Head further north into Lincoln Park and visit Hebe (again? Two statues in our fair city?).  The Greek goddess of youth, adorns the Lincoln Park conservatory.

As for the rest of the city, if you want to get all “pagan wedding” you can tie the knot at a handful of locations.  Can’t speak from experience. There’s also always Pagan’s Liquors on West Division. Ah, maybe not.

But actually, if you’re out that way, head on over to one of Chicago’s GEMS – The Garfield Park Conservatory (Central Park and Lake). Visit their stunning outdoor garden and see our girl Ceres again (along with a Native American goddess of corn) in larger than life statues with bulls and bison.

Politics aside, I find it truly fascinating that a country that struggles so much with its identity in terms of religion and politics, secularism and fundamentalism, never seems to notice that the majority of statuary (beside ex-presidents and politicians, of course) are actually someone else’s religious symbols. Symbols of religion that carried as much weight (if not more) with as large a percent of the populace (if not more).

But that’s ancient history, now isn’t it?