The God Phone, and the Devil in the details.

This past Saturday, I went to a local craftsperson/artisan event that was being held downtown from where I live.

Part of the reason for the event was to inspire folks to begin their holiday shopping locally, and I was happy to see that a lot of the shops along the main street were open and busy as a result of this event.

I also discovered a few (new to me) local stores that I realized that I hadn’t even known existed so close to my home.

So, as I was browsing in an antique store that I’d never thought to explore, I came across so many battered (yet  overpriced) mundane items that filled me with childhood nostalgia.

One such item was a bulky black rotary telephone that reminded me of the one that sat on the side table in my Nana’s front hall in the early 70’s.

It looked just like the one that I had been warned by my Nana was a Very Important Thing that I must never play with.

It also made a very deep, jangling ring, and I remember being a bit terrified by the look of it and the sound of it when it rang.

I vaguely recall her explanations about how this telephone was a Very Important Thing for Hearing the Voices of Those Who Are Very Far Away, so I chuckle to think of it now, but I remember being entirely convinced in my young child-mind that only God would ever call my Nana on that phone.

And besides, how I understood it, it seemed to me that God was definitely a Someone Not to be trifled with, as well as Someone with a Voice, from Very Far Away.


As I was mulling over that particular memory, and clumsily trying avoid disaster as I navigated the narrow spaces between the jumbled collections of antiques and the steady stream of my fellow-browsers, I found myself inevitably being jostled toward china cabinets that lined the farthest wall.  I wasn’t the slightest bit interested in looking at shelves of dusty, gilt-edged dishes and bric-a-brac, until something caught my eye:


At first glance, I’d assumed that this brass match-holder (to be mounted near a fireplace) was supposed to depict the face of the Devil or an imp – and I would still say so – but upon inspection of the tag, I saw something else written there.

While I tried several times to capture a good angle that would allow a view of both the face and the tag, I couldn’t get it all within the frame.

The tag reads:


Brass “Norse Wind God”

Match Holder


Doing more research on this piece through the Internet/Google – I went to Amazon sold lists, various antique websites, Pinterest, and eBay – this piece is listed as depicting any of several Beings: the Devil, Pan, Dionysus/Bacchus, and the Green Man.

One seller on eBay refers to it as a ‘Fire-God/Imp Match-holder.’

Another seller on an antique website refers to this face as ‘Zeus’

I was very taken aback to see ‘Norse Wind God’ however…because I know Who I thought of when I read that on the tag.


Syncretism, anyone?

(PS: Loki seemed left out of all that reaching for description of  ‘the possible Deity’ depicted on this antique match-safe — and I found that surprising, too.)