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The Hag Stone Art Collection

Updated: Jan 21

A mixed media and photographic art collection by visual artist Kay Nyx, exploring their relationship with the elements Water and Earth.

the Hag Stone Art Collection by artist Kay Nyx

As a water sign, I have always felt a deep connection with ponds, lakes, streams, waterfalls, rivers, estuaries, and the sea. How water moves across the landscape mirrors how people express their emotions. When people are calm, they are still and serene, like a lake with no wind. When people are angry, they can be explosive, like waves crashing against the rocks at the Shetland Islands.


As an Autistic person who is highly sensory, water holds an additional significance to me. I am deeply affected by the smells, sounds, texture and lighting of the environment surrounding me. The way my nervous system processes this information makes me more reactionary than the average person. Water instantly reacts to its environment as well, like it has experienced how I feel.


I can sit for hours watching or being in the water because of its similarities to the human experience. Many cultures have folklore around the emotions of water, as well as it being an element of memory, change and death. These are significant themes for me as a practitioner of Witchcraft, with memory holding a special significance in rituals, spellwork, Sabbats and empowerment. For example. each year I celebrate Samhain, and part of this involves remembering my ancestors and any other living beings that have been in my life. It is important to remember where you came from and what shaped you, so you can understand what path you are taking going forward.

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Speaking of paths, this reminds me of the song in Disney's Pocahontas,"Just Around the Riverbend" by Judy Kuhn.


Throughout this film, Pocahontas asks if the paths others set for her are the ones she is meant to be on. The character uses the behaviour of water as a way of meditating on what choices lie ahead for her:

What I love most about rivers is, You can't step in the same river twice, The water's always changing, always flowing, But people, I guess, can't live like that, We all must pay a price, To be safe, we lose our chance of ever knowing, What's around the Riverbend

In this section of the song, the character weighs the price of choosing her path in life rather than going down the one set out for her by others. I can relate to this heavily as an Autistic person. Society puts a lot of expectations on us to act in a way that does not come naturally. If we agree to go against the flow of our paths, we have to "pay a price" - poor mental health.


Fortunately, I have the privilege of being able to follow my path, so have been able to protect myself. Combining my relationship with water and protecting myself, I created the Hag Stone Collection.

In British folklore, Hag Stones are meant to ward off wrongdoers and those who seek to harm you. You usually find them at beaches made from stones eroded by the sea. The sea creates neat little holes through the stone, which is why they are considered enchanted. It is an earth element controlled by the power of water to create a unique object - extraordinary!


I have told you why water is special to me, but why is the element of Earth important too? Earth is a stabilising and nurturing element. It is what you seek out when everything is overwhelming, and you just need to be grounded.


Grounding yourself is especially important when you are Autistic because of all the sensory sensitivities. Often the world around you becomes too much information which leads to things like Autistic meltdowns or shutdowns. Being able to ground myself helps me to reset and go within. I get a peaceful stillness, like a vast mountain. It is empowering to find a stabilising force within yourself when everything around you seems so untamable!


When the elements of Water and Earth collide, there are magical outcomes. The Grand Canyon (United States) is forged; Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe) throws water into the seeming abyss; and colossal ships sail travellers around the oceans to new adventures.


For the Hag Stone Collection, I visited various beaches around the United Kingdom, seeking to find scenes that summarise the magic of these two elements mixing or conflicting. In doing so, I hoped to show the same magic that happens within all of us as human beings and ask the audience to meditate on this:


As Within, So Without. As Above, so Below

- by Hermes Trismegistus (One of the Seven Principles in Hermetic Corpus)


Watering Down, 2022, Mixed Media, by Kay Nyx


(From left to right/top to bottom): Thirds, 2022, Photograph; Still Watering Down, 2022, Mixed Media; Quad, 2022, Photograph; Sand and Pop, 2022, Mixed Media; I Spied, 2022, Photograph; Making Great Waves, 2021, Mixed Media - all by Kay Nyx)

 


You can discover more artworks by visual artist Kay Nyx at group exhibitions and online


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