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Plainly Goth

Hammershoi, ca. 1900

I am not quite sure why I identify as goth, as well as Plain. Back in uni, I was much more punk, less goth, although the black wardrobe was extensive.

I have a gothic turn of mind. Although I am actively, and entirely, Christian in outlook, theology and (I hope) behavior, I am attracted to the shadows. It’s not that I seek evil, or find it fascinating, as some think of goths. It is that I want to see the whole picture, the contrast, and find the strength of the darkness. We Christians believe God is everywhere. We use analogies of light to personify His brightness and strength, the warmth of creation, the illumination into our lives, that He gives us in grace. But don’t think that He doesn’t care about the creatures of the night – the bats, wolves, luna moths – that He also made.

A common misconception is that goths are Satanists, or attracted to evil. This may be true of some – I can’t speak for the entire and diverse goth community. My analysis of being goth is that we draw some of our energy from the shadows, from what is quiet, deep, and largely forgotten. We are the id to the ego. We are the quiet ones who move through the day, obviously different, the strength that comes out of dreams and forgotten memories. I think that is why goths are attracted to expressions of dress from centuries past.

Most of the goths I know/have known are artists, writers and musicians. I wonder how many clergy I’ve known were secretly or perhaps subconsciously goth.


About Julie

Bishop of the church and religious order ICCO in The YOKE, based in Iowa City. Former Anglican parish priest, shepherd for ten years, artist, and writer.

3 responses to “Plainly Goth

  1. Jane Smith ⋅

    Hi Magdalena

    If you’ve got a moment, have a look at the weblog “Experimental theology”. The author (Richard Beck) had a very interesting article on “summer” and “winter” Christians. It’s also heartening to see that there is an increasing realisation that affliction and depression are often signs of grace and that what I would call the “quiet dark” is a place where the soul is nutured.

    I am a weaver, knitter and spinner and the pressure is often “on” to work in bright and cheerful colours (these, of course, are the colours that photograph well). What is so often forgotten is that, to be seen, the bright needs the dark.

  2. Shows my ignorance; I thought Goth more a fashion statement than a religion.

    • magdalenaperks ⋅

      It usually is – but it is a way of life for some. For me, it expresses the “shadow” side of faith and the church, the dark places where we have to confront our own fears.

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