I'm back to the Genestealer Cult mine. This part of the project was something I had on my workbench for quite a while. Some months ago, Paul (the mastermind behind Blind Beggar Miniatures) was so incredibly generous to give away some MDF corridors (by Sally 4th) for my underground dungeon. Thank you, sir!!
|Trust me, you cannot storage them as easily once assembled|
|These will look nice alongside my previous ones|
It took me some time to start with this, and once I begun, it's taken me some more time to achieve any results!
|They'll have to look like a mine corridor|
|I added some bits for flavour|
|Then it was DAS putty time|
If you remember my first batch of corridors, I added some graffiti on the walls. This time I wasn't able to do that. The sheer amount of walls to assemble overwhelmed me, so I chose to glue everything first and then paint all in a row instead of painting them separately. It's a decision I had to make, or else I would still be half way with these. Sometimes this kind of compromise is necessary.
|But worry not, I didn't forget about detailing|
So, well, corridors, a mine, bits and bobs... what the hell is the title about then? I'll need some philosophy to explain that...
What's the very core element in a Genestealer Cult? Xenos infecting worlds, slowly undermining society and making preparations for the upcoming Tyranid invasion... What makes the difference? That they are a Cult. Religion being a very important concept in Warhammer 40,000, even the Genestealers are into it. The way this Xeno invasion is presented is through religion. Not union strikes, not political dissent, but a cult. The infected members of society are joined under the worship to the Patriarch, channeled through the Magus and so on. The idea of political subversion through religion is something that fits in pretty well in 40K, if you think about it. It all starts with some mockery of the Emperor and the Ecclesiarchy, until it slowly turns into major deviations from the Imperial Creed. So we agree, religion is a centerpiece in all this Genestealer stuff.
OK then. But another very important part of the Genestealer Cult is the idea of breeding, the way the Cult expands and how new hybrids are incorporated to the ranks. Not only infecting like vampires, but this expansion model takes whole generations. Literally. So the twisted visions of parenting, family and community are of utter importance in the Genestealer Cult culture.
Next step in my digression. Having such a growth model, in which birth has a central role, we can see there's little (if any) attention in official sources to... well, birth itself. We only see the Patriarch and the Magus, but the whole sustainability of the Cult is obscured. It is my firm belief that motherhood needs more visibility. Way more visibility.
So, following that train of thought, I think that we are lacking a female perspective in this whole thing. In the Cult part of it. Let me elaborate. This abhorrent society, made of outcasts and mutants, dwelling underground and far from the light develops a worship towards a mockery of the official religion they once knew. But as their beliefs turn apart from the orthodoxy, so does the way of representing that. As birth and the whole natality issue have more specific weight within the families and the Cult, I think it is quite normal that we begin to see different representations of deity. We'll begin to see fertility icons, representations of motherhood incorporated to the cult.
|I think of fertility goddesses, kind of the Venus of Willendorf...|
|...or this Tanith/Astarte|
SO. If you read through this you may see where I'm heading. Combining all the above I finally sculpted this tiny abomination:
|A pregnant Genestealer mother goddess primitive icon. Deal with it|
And I gave her an improvised altar in a corner. A place not particularly visible nor 'official' (within the unofficiality of the Cult), but a spontaneous place of meeting, in which expecting mothers pray for a good pregnancy and a healthy new generation of hybrids; a place where you can lit up a candle and place pics of your missing or lost relatives, victims of the Imperial scum on the surface, and where you leave farewell letters or improvised poems. That kind of thing:
|Always in our memory. Do not forget. Praise the four arms mother, wife of the Patriarch|
All this fuss was only about this diminute sculpt in a corner. Let's go back to the whole corridors stuff. A comparison shot:
|Not exactly the same, but they work together|
I don't know where the fertility icon idea came from, but I think it makes at least a little sense, giving motherhood a more relevant presence in the Cult. In fact I have been thinking that the whole 'subversion through religion' idea opens a lot of doors. I think I may be breaking the Eurocentric vision of religious idols for future stages of this project. Instead of mere mockery of medieval European worship (as I have done so far), I might open the scope to other representations of deity.
Hmmm, that's food for thought and needs more elaboration. I have work for a future post then...