ONLINE | ARCE: Pantheon of Paradoxes: Ferocity and the Feminine


Presented by Jacqueline Thurston, MA, artist, writer, and Professor Emerita in the School of Art and Design at San Jose State University

Why did the ancient Egyptians choose a pair of feminine deities—Nekhbet, a vulture that fed on the decaying flesh of dead creatures; and a cobra, Wadjet, a lethal serpent—as guardians of the pharaoh? How did the vicissitudes of nature, drought, floods, desert sandstorms, and pestilence shape the vision of ancient Egyptian gods and goddesses? How might our contemporary experience of living with the pandemic that has engulfed our land enrich and inform our understanding of the ancient Egyptian pantheon?

This presentation analyzes these questions from a psychological and literary perspective that interprets the metaphors found in the dualities found within individual deities, such as Sakhmet, and the subtle but distinctive attributes of lionesses and lions. The examination of the meaning underlying these paradoxes dovetails with our contemporary interest in gender and identity and enriches our understanding of the complexity of the often seemingly bizarre and inexplicable nature of the gods and goddesses.

Psychological concepts, including Jung’s theory of opposites and the nature of archetypal imagery, will be used to illuminate the singular nature of the divine masculine and the divine feminine.

The presentation is illustrated with original photographs taken by the presenter, an artist and writer who, as a Fulbright Scholar, found herself drawn by the enduring magnetism of ancient Egypt, as were earlier artists like Francis Frith. Selected from her new book, Sacred Deities of Ancient Egypt, many of these intimate, interpretive portraits of the deities have never before been reproduced.

Sponsored by Michelle Evans and Cherie Rabideau in partnership with the American Research Center in Egypt: OC Chapter 

Location: ONLINE 

Ticketed Event: Free for Bowers and ARCE Members | General $6 | Ticketholders will receive a private link to view the online presentation at 12:30 PM on the day of the program.


TICKETS: Online. Questions? E-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 714.567.3677. Proceeds benefit Bowers Museum Education Programs. Tickets are non-refundable.


Event details

July 11, 2020 1:30 pm - 3:00 pm