Zoomorphic is showing humans in animal form. Pagan religions have many Gods that have both human and animal forms. The Egyptians pantheon shows their deities in both human and animals form or at times even a combination of the two.
|By Unknown author [CC-BY-SA-2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons|
Bast (Baset) was often shown in cat form and often with the head of a cat and the body of a woman. She was the goddess of the home and motherhood and is often thought of as a protector of family.
|Baset - Renee Sosanna Olson - Sculptor|
Heqet (Heket) was the frog goddess, was depicted as a frog headed woman or in frog form. She was a water goddess and said to be linked to the last part of child birth.
|Roland Unger [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons|
|Egyptian god Anubis. Made by Ningyou.|
Anubis, god of embalming and mummification was often depicted as a jackal or with a dog headed man.
|Anubis - Renee Sosanna Olson - Sculptor|
Other religious groups also use zoomorphic images to demonstrate deities.
Christianity for example has some quotes in the Bible as follows:
Thou hunts me like a fierce lion. - Job
…and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove upon Him. - Matthew
Behold the Lamb of God. - John
The Mesopotamia’s believed their lives were governed by deities with wings, tails and horns.
|Ben Pirard at nl.wikipedia [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], from Wikimedia Commons|
Tiamat is often described as a dragon or water serpent. Tiamat is a goddess who creates an army of demons to destroy the other deities. She is destroyed by Marduk to create heaven and earth.
|By Uploaded by Hedning to Swedish Wikipedia [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons|
Zu a god who takes the shape of a bird with a lion’s head, also from Mesopotamia. He creates whirlwinds and storms with the flapping of its wings. Zu ran into to Marduk after the theft of the Tablet of Destiny.
Hecate (Hekate) a pre Greco-Roman deity is often presented with animal heads. She has been described as having the head of a boar, horse and dog/wolf.
|At the Crossroads* – Jeff Cullen Artistry|
Here in a print created by Jeff Cullen, Hekate is shown at the crossroads with her torches, snakes and the heads described above.
|Hecate Goddess* – by J. Barnum|
Here in a print created for the cover of Hekate Liminal Rites, by Sorita d’Este & David Rankine; J. Barnum creates Hecate with a wolf, snake and horse head.
Zoomorphic representations for our gods and goddesses, in my opinion is meant to provide the viewer with the fear or honor the animal represents. The ferocity of a lion or the stealth of a wolf, each of these attributes are things we as humans hold in high regard.
For me, seeing the Hecate with the wolf head or the serpent I see protection and justice. I see rebirth and fertility. I've created several statues with her with a serpent and one with a horse head. The strength and beauty of the horse is something that I believe fits her.
|Hecate - Horse - Renee Sosanna Olson - Sculptor|
I believe that each of the animal forms we put on our deities represent the attributes we’d like to see in ourselves.
Namaste and Blessed Be
*Hecate Goddess & At the Crossroads used with the artists permission.