Select Page

The Altar

I had driven that same bit of road dozens of times and had never seen the statue until today. While my memory has not returned fully about it, I remember a male telling me that it would be in a park near someone’s house.

Walking up to the altar, I saw the black figure of a woman with Caucasian features. She appeared to have shorter lengthed hair and was wearing a loose garment with an exposed breast. On her shoulder rested a pot or jar.

On either side of the altar were two bowl-shaped cut outs that appeared to collect water. In one of them was a stick of incense and around that were some rose petals and three slices of bread. So this was clearly being used as an altar of some kind. While there was no graffiti, there was some ash and possible damage to a lower relief.

There were symbols of rosettes-which can be Christian or a symbol of Aphrodite. Then the symbols became a bit more interesting. If you read about the sculpture online, it was created by Oliver L. Barrett. The altar was created by Joseph Shemanski  and dedicated to the people of Portland. The statue is said to be the Bibilical Rebecca. Her clothing would be surprising if true.

From the symbolism, I would guess we were likely looking at a veiled statue of the Goddess Dion. The statue was black, like Dion’s black dove priestesses. Below the statues were dolphins spitting into other lower bowls. Online it is said these were to be watering spots for dogs. Then there were harpies. Each set contained three. Finally, there was a swirl symbol. This looks far more complex than a simple fountain.

None of the symbols (other than the jar or jug) have known connections to Rebecca but they do have connections to Aphrodite.

I hadn’t noticed the feather when I took the photo.