I have been thinking about goats the last couple of days after seeing a music video over in Graham’s blog and wondering about the symbolism of their use in this video. In it, was a scene of several young men crouching around a goat lying on the ground. At first, I thought why would they have a dead goat in a music video but then thought of those fainting goats. The fainting goats aren’t really fainting, nor do they loose consciousness. Their muscles stiffen causing them to fall over when they become excited. That doesn’t last long enough for them to be in the scene in the music video so, giving the maker of the video the benefit of the doubt, I figured it was just a stuffed goat.
Anyway, I digress……………back to the symbolism. Looking through my trusty book on symbolism that I refer to quite often: An Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Traditional Symbols by J. C. Cooper, I found some very interesting information. In general terms, a goat represents masculinity, abundant vitality, or creative energy. A gazelle or antelope can also be used interchangeably. Since some types of goats live in high places, e.g. mountain goats, it can also mean superiority. The book goes on to say what the goat means in different religions and cultures. In Christianity, it represents the devil, the damned, and sinners. This is what it means to me when they are depicted in art, specifically, Surrealism.
As far as the music video goes, I still haven’t figured out the meaning of the use of the goat except that the young men crouching around it had done a very mean thing to another young man by hog-tying him, placing duct tape over his mouth and putting him in the trunk of a car. He escaped and chased the other men and then all of them, including the one doing the chasing, jumped over a cliff into a lake. Then they all came up through the water and through a trap door into a floating barge music studio. It makes for a weird video and maybe it all means nothing….just visual coolness….something to look at. Here is the music video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nwh3FmpZ7kg&eurl=http://my.opera.com/ossian42/blog/2008/12/20/why-does-it-always-rain-on-me
The picture (in the upper right of the page of my book) depicting four stylized goats painted on Sumerian pottery running around a pool, symbolizes ‘Lord of the Waters’. Thinking of goats also brings to mind the Satyr, that are half goat and half man with goat’s horns, and Pan that has the legs, horns and beard of a goat. I won’t go into the explanation of the Satyr or Pan as that is another long blog post.
The above picture gives me a great idea on how to use my photo of a car part. Someone told me what this part was but I have forgotten already.
As you can see, the goat depicted in art, can mean many different things. Or, as in the case of realistic and photo-realistic paintings…..they’re just goats.