Long motifs, positioned vertically or horizontally, may represent the patriarchal process of projection, upward aspiration, or separation such as a line or boundary drawn in the sand. Whether concrete objects/miniatures or archetypal designs created in the sand, long motifs are both masculine and feminine. In The Woman's Dictionary of Symbols and Sacred Objects, Barbara Walker makes the following observations:
"Freud's indefatigable search for phallic symbolism in every long shape, from cigars to furled umbrellas, reflects a typically patriarchal process of projection, which may be also related to the deep-seated male desire to be taller than others. Apart from obvious phallic connotations, long motifs represent the patriarchal vision in various ways. The up and the down, the ladder between heaven and hell, the ferocious dichotomy between the weapon’s point and its hilt fitting in the hand: these are emblems of differentiation, one thing from another, We from They."
In ancient times the feminine spirit also found expression sometimes in trees, towers, and weapons. The witch’s magic wand was not a phallus but a pointer, a director of magical energy.
Following is a brief look at long motifs. Imagine these objects or graphic designs both vertically and horizontally; the symbolic meaning may be altered.
Arrow – sacred symbol; Artemis carries arrows to symbolize her control of the hunt; the arrows of Eros pierce the heart to carry messages of love; as a weapon of war, arrows are the emblem of Mars and Tyr; Native American symbol of male power, not to be viewed by women; modern symbol of direction
Athame – knife or dagger used by witches; derived from al-dhamme, sacred knife of Moorish-Arab-Andalusian cults of moon worshipers used in ritual scarring ceremonies and to draw a protective circle in the ground
Dorje – scepter use by Tantric-Buddhist; also used in northern India; symbol of a jewel, a thunderbolt, and a phallus; Darjeeling, the city, takes its name from the dorje-lingham or dorje-phallus found at the ancient site known as Dorjeling
Fasces – Roman bundle of birch rods held together by red thongs with an arrow or an ax; symbol of authority; carried by lictors (attendants) through the streets to display their master’s power; adopted by Italian nationalists in 1930, members of this group are known as fascisti or fascists
Gnomon – any vertical object such as a post, pillar, or standing stone used to tell time; during Neolithic and Paleolithic time, used to mark the seasons; considered sacred and believed to be inhabited by deities; gnomon means "one who knows"
Walker, B., The Woman's Dictionary of Symbols and Sacred Objects. New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 1988
(continued in Long Motifs Part 2)