Saturday, October 1, 2016
Wednesday, September 28, 2016
This started out as a journal, but somehow it's become quite political, and I feel at least today like pulling it back to it's original introspective intent.
Here's a very old drawing I found, which of course I completely forgot about. I did it when I was just 20 years old. It's not particularly good, but from the perspective of 45 years later, it reads to me like a prophetic page in the book of my life, and the reason I'm sharing this little story is not so much about the content of my personal story, but the way it illustrates the seamlessness and timelessness that we can touch when we are in creative (and mythic) mind space, which is also where the "oracular" can be seen. There are themes......
I didn't know much when I was 20 years old but I loved to draw. I had not yet encountered feminism, let alone eco-feminism, Goddess spirituality, patriarchy, the Chalice and the Blade, Lilith, etc. In fact, most of that was still underground and yet to evolve into the public eye. Those forces were fermenting. I had encountered the story of St. George and the Dragon, which is what this drawing was supposed to be about.
At the time I was living with my first boyfriend, and the face of George is clearly him! I still remember his angry, bullying face. He used to hit and humiliate me, classic abusive behavior, and after I left him I began the psychological quest to selfhood that most women have to make when leaving such a relationship..........back then the path to understanding and empowerment was not so clear, or so available. I am fortunate that I lived in Northern California, where the second wave of feminism was making its mark, and "consciousness raising groups" were becoming available, along with the early women's shelters.
The face of "St. George" was, although I had no such language for it, the face of patriarchal domination, which was personally playing out in my life and indoctrination, as well as universally.
But looking at this strange drawing, what was the "Dragon" all about? What a sad face that dragon has, not really fierce at all! And it rises from depths in the earth. Behind George is a barren kind of landscape, but behind the dragon, rising from the dark as the dragon seems to rise from the below, are all kinds of foliage, plants, flowers, the abundance and vitality of nature.
It was years later that I learned about symbolism of earlier Goddess cultures, the importance of the snake/dragon as a universal symbol of the Goddess Earth Mother, the Shakti, the Kundalini force, and the moving forces of nature ("Dragon Lines") often represented (as in Celtic art for example) as snakes. Perhaps the "slaying of the dragon", like "St. Patrick driving the snakes out of Ireland" was an intuiting of the loss of an earlier pagan reverence for the earth and the divine feminine. What Celtic Bard Robin Williamson spoke of as
"older yet and lovelier far, this Mystery...........and I will not forget."
I don't know if we can all say that we have (or haven't) "found our life work". I believe we can have a number of "life works", among them things we have to learn to do our soul making, and these might just as aptly be called "life themes". But looking back at touchstones in my own life, I see that the Goddess has always been with me, that if I contributed to anything significant in my life, it was my participation in the great wave of women (and men) who have sought to bring about the Return of the Goddess, with all that means, from women's rights to uncovering the deeply buried past and understanding the lost and buried mythos and overlay hidden underneath the veneer of patriarchal religion culture.
And the muses can be Sybils. In fact, the Oracle of Delphi was called......... "the Pythoness"!
Tuesday, September 27, 2016
I have always loved this Angel, which I painted a long time ago, and it being just past the Equinox, I felt like sharing the Angel again, along with the text from my Divination Deck, the Rainbow Bridge Oracle.
BALANCING ACTDancing to Shiva's musicwe dance our oppositionsinto legends of hate and love,light and darkgood and evil.
Choiceless and willful,we return, again and againto a deeper need for Balanceto renewrites of reconciliation
with self, soil, friend and foeagain and againseeing, at last,at last,before we forget,again and againthat reconciliation is beyond balance.
A labyrinth.And at the center, labrysthe butterfly's shape.Whole, winged.
In the traditional Tarot, this card was called Temperance. In my own interpretation, the androgynous Angel of Balance holds two cups, dark and light, pouring water into each, representing the energy of a continual exchange of opposites. The "rainbow bridge" issues from this exchange, which can be viewed as the practice of creating spiritual Balance. In addition to the meaning of temperance or moderation, this card can be interpreted as symbolizing the blending of opposites.
The rainbow is the visible spectrum of the whole of white light. The rainbow may symbolize the "rainbow bridge of the chakras", which in Hindu philosophy represents the different energy and perceptive systems of the human subtle body. Balancing the Chakras is to balance the energy system If you've chosen this card, continue to develop this virtue and insight in your life. Reversed: You are out of balance, and must seek ways now to bring about harmony, be it physically, psychologically, or even socially.
Saturday, September 24, 2016
Persephone, it seems to me, is truly the Goddess of the Equinoxes, because She is both symbol of spring and life's renewal when she returns to her mother Demeter at the turning of the seasonal Wheel, and she is also Goddess of death, wife of Hades, and Queen of the Underworld in the ending and dormant times of turning of the wheel.
Having said this, I allow myself here to move out of the great universal language of archetype, and will get a bit personal. The truth of life in nature is that everything is changing, everything dies to become something else, or at least, make way for something else. As beings embedded in nature, this is true of us as well, whether we like it or not. The summer ends, and as we feast on the delightful fruits and breads of the harvest, we barely notice, indeed, deny, the slow creep of winter. And yet that beautiful, or horrific, or both, Leveler is already advancing over the horizon, implacable and indifferent. Both Demeter and Hades have jobs to do.
This is true of nature, this is true of biological life, and by golly, it's true of our psyches as well. When Persephone calls, I believe in listening to what She has to say, whether it occurs in the bright lit flowering fields, or is a painful cry echoing from caverns deep in the Underworld. And that is the point at which Hecate appears with her torch (but that is another story).
We all love the Song of Persephone in the spring, the song that tells us "this is the time to BE", to feel the honey sun on your shoulders, to love, to move away from the lonely tunnels of the mind and into the great Conversation of the fields, of the planet.
When Persephone calls from the caverns, not so easy. Recently I had a meltdown from out of seemingly "know where". All of a sudden, I couldn't sleep, found my face full of tears that would not emerge from my eyes, was angry, very angry, and having just completed a massive project building a studio, wanted nothing more than to jump into my car and drive east and just keep going, free. I didn't, but I really, really wanted to. I decided doing such a thing was very ill advised, although I'm not opposed to such trips when the necessity arises, but I did allow myself to go a bit crazy. I allowed myself to have those feelings, to walk in the desert, to drink too much, to be educated by the process of their arising. That's one of those "calls from the deep" that must be heard, no matter how uncomfortable. You try to discover the language and content of that dark song too, what you need to know to become more fully human, what the soul is trying to tell you. You don't "transcend" the voice of Persephone, you mature and change, you keep on moving.
This is Persephone's time of Balance, of Equinox, Her Integral being. Which moving away from psychological jargon simply means realizing that we must, somehow, say "yes" to all of it, and keep moving, keep dancing the light and shadow dance. Persephone will dance with us, will educate, if one can only accept this Moving Point of Balance.
We are all, in the final analysis, Wanderers.
|"Pesephone II" 2016|
by Louise Glück,
In the first version, Persephone
is taken from her mother
and the goddess of the earth
punishes the earth—this is
consistent with what we know of human behavior,
that human beings take profound satisfaction
in doing harm, particularly
we may call this
I am not certain I will
keep this word: is earth
“home” to Persephone? Is she at home, conceivably,
in the bed of the god? Is she
at home nowhere? Is she
a born wanderer, in other words
replica of her own mother, less
hamstrung by ideas of causality?
You are allowed to like
no one, you know. The characters
are not people.
They are aspects of a dilemma or conflict.
Three parts: just as the soul is divided,
ego, superego, id. Likewise
the three levels of the known world,
a kind of diagram that separates
heaven from earth from hell.
You must ask yourself:
where is it snowing?
White of forgetfulness,
It is snowing on earth; the cold wind says
Persephone is having sex in hell.
Unlike the rest of us, she doesn’t know
what winter is, only that
she is what causes it.
She is lying in the bed of Hades.
What is in her mind?
Is she afraid? Has something
blotted out the idea
She does know the earth
is run by mothers, this much
is certain. She also knows
she is not what is called
a girl any longer. Regarding
incarceration, she believes
she has been a prisoner since she has been a daughter.
The terrible reunions in store for her
will take up the rest of her life.
When the passion for expiation
is chronic, fierce, you do not choose
the way you live. You do not live;
you are not allowed to die.
You drift between earth and death
which seem, finally,
strangely alike. Scholars tell us
that there is no point in knowing what you want
when the forces contending over you
could kill you.
White of forgetfulness,
white of safety—
there is a rift in the human soul
which was not constructed to belong
entirely to life. Earth
asks us to deny this rift, a threat
disguised as suggestion—
as we have seen
in the tale of Persephone
which should be read
as an argument between the mother and the lover—
the daughter is just meat.
When death confronts her, she has never seen
the meadow without the daisies.
Suddenly she is no longer
singing her maidenly songs
about her mother’s
beauty and fecundity. Where
the rift is, the break is.
Song of the earth,
song of the mythic vision of eternal life—
shattered with the strain
of trying to belong to earth—
What will you do,
when it is your turn in the field with the god?
“Persephone the Wanderer” from Averno by Louise Glück.
Copyright © 2006 by Louise Glück.
Sunday, September 18, 2016
Wednesday, September 14, 2016
Back in 2003, just before the invasion of Iraq, I directed a performance at the Black Box Theatre in Oakland, California. Included in that event was a ritual dedicated to Hagia Sophia, the Feminine Face of God in early Christianity, to pray for the arising of the Great Mother, to pray for Peace.
Our event closed with a meditation in the dark, and when the lights came on they beheld Ann Waters aspecting the Goddess Sophia, the light rising from chaos and darkness. I shall never forget the power of that.
And also the power of this extraordinary music/poem by the Bay Area group The Veil.
Sunday, September 11, 2016
With a new studio on my property, I'm so happy to be able to offer more intensive workshops this winter and fall in beautiful Tucson (yes, we do have the best winters just about anywhere). Depending on availability, participants can also stay here as well, affording workshop members a chance to share meals and informal discussions as well as the class activities.
THE MASKS OF THE GODDESS
3 Day Mask Arts Intensive Workshop
November 11 - 13, 2016 and
April 7 - 9, 2017
Limited Housing** is available for $50.00 extra.
Introduction and check in begins Friday evening, and Workshop ends at Noon with a potluck lunch on Sunday. In this workshop we'll draw on our mythic imaginations as we explore ways to invoke the Goddess within through the creation of durable theatrical masks. We will also discuss ways to use these masks for storytelling, ritual, community performance and personal exploration. You take home the means to continue the work, alone or with your community.
To learn more, please visit: the Masks of the Goddess Project.
Note: There is a $20 fee for supplies. Bring a story about a Goddess archetype you wish to explore.
"The masks of the goddess workshop was a pivotal event in my life.....I have been feeling
the Goddesses waking up ever since. They were there, definitely there."
Lorraine Hogan, Kripalu Participant
To read more about making masks:
MASK AND MYTH
3 Day Mask Arts Intensive Workshop
for Men and Women
April 14 - 16, 2017
Limited Housing** is available for $50.00 extra
Introduction and check in begins Friday evening, and Workshop ends at Noon with a potluck lunch on Sunday. Although masks can be experienced as art objects, by their very nature they are active rather than passive. They are "vessels for our stories". We'll draw on our “mythic imaginations” as we explore the creation of durable theatrical masks. Is there a Persona that awaits a face, a story, a voice? Creating a mask is a way to open the conversation. We'll learn:
· To sculpt masks from our faces, creating durable theatrical masks.
· Explore personally significant stories of mythic Archetypes.
· Discuss approaches to working with masks for performance, community, and
Note: There is a $20 fee for supplies. Bring a story, and art materials that you might wish to include in a mask.
To read more about making masks: http://laurenraine.blogspot.com/2011/04/working-with-masks.html
"Myth comes alive as it enters the cauldron of evolution,
drawing energy from the storytellers who shape it."
Elizabeth Fuller, The Independent Eye Theatre
*A $100.00 deposit is required for workshops, which can be purchased via Visa, Mastercharge, Paypal, check or money order.