Sanity and Insanity Picture

my entry for akreon's off-white contest.

these are foxes guarding the concepts of Sanity and Insanity, or Real and Unreal.

I chose foxes because they are the tricksters in so many myths. They are cunning and wily and work in subtle ways. Who could be better masters for the convoluted workings of the mind?

In the illustration, they are both approaching through ensnaring vines. On either side of them, it is clear which vines belong to who. In the middle, the vines are so tangles it becomes hard to tell which is which. this symbolizes how sometimes it hard to tell the difference between Sanity and Insanity; the Real and the Fae. Their poses are the same, again because their is a fine line between the two.

The white spirit is called Alepekos after a giant fox from greek mythology. The original terrorized Thebes and was destined never to be caught. I named the white spirit of foxes this because complete sanity is unattainable. Alepekos can be kind, showing the child afraid of the dark that monsters only exist in nightmares, or he can be cruel, revealing the harsh reality of the world around us.

The black spirit is a vixen named Laelaps. Her namesake is from the same story of Alepekos. Laelaps was a hound who was destined to catch everything it chases. It was set loose on Alepekos but because their fates were not compatible, the two were turned to stone. I name the black spirit of foxes Laelaps because insanity is unavoidable. Laelaps could also can be caring or harsh. She may guide one who has seen too much into comforting oblivion, or taunt the strong with nightmares.

Neither spirit is wholly good and neither is wholly bad. The lack of one or the other is what brings darkness to people. The two together bring genius and imagination.

"I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity"
-Edgar Allen Poe

"Sanity is madness put to good use."
-George Santayana



Continue Reading: Thebes