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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Art

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_800px-April_in_Vaucluse_Cecile_Bouillon_2014.pngOne of the things I love about Paganism is the ability to find beauty in strange places. What is beauty? What do we perceive as beautiful? Nature? Art? Music? Those would seem easy. But the sort of art I like may or may not be the same type of art that you like. I’m not a fan of abstract art. This piece on the left leaves me cold. (By Cesbou*) While I could stare for hours at 19th century landscape paintings. Here’s one from Thomas Cole. b2ap3_thumbnail_800px-Cole_Thomas_Mountain_Sunrise_Catskill_1826.jpg

 

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs


b2ap3_thumbnail_perugino_047-sm.pngLegend has it that, following the crucifixion, Mary Magdalene fled to southern France, spending the last years of her life in the sanctuary of Sainte Baume. Her relics are said to rest in a church in nearby Saint Maximin.

Whoever Mary Magdalene was in fact, whatever her actual history, the idea of her heartens and strengthens me. For me, and perhaps for you too, she carries the energy of fierce compassion, fearless integrity. A woman interweaving spirit and matter, activating her body-centered power to promote creation. A gutsy woman par excellence.

This sense of woman integrating heaven and earth, sheltering pro-creative power within her body's center, may be as old as human consciousness.

Much of what we know about human origins comes to us from southern France, the prehistoric cave paintings and engravings discovered there. Our ancestors' art, such as the Venus of Laussel, shows our original impulse to revere women and the center of women's bodies.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Venus-de-Laussel-detail-bras.jpgThis limestone engraving, discovered in 1911 in the Dordogne, has been a central inspiration for The Woman's Belly Book. Seventeen and one-half feet high, the ochre-stained engraving dates back 25,000 years.

The Venus of Laussel brings forth a full-figured woman. She rests her left hand on her belly, perhaps pointing to her navel. Her head turns over her right shoulder; she's looking at the horn she's holding up in her right hand. Thirteen lines scratch the horn's surface.

Who knows what the sculptors had in mind and heart when they carved out this figure? Who knows what they meant their work to signify?

As I see her, this figure is using her arms and hands to link her belly with the calculation, the calendar, which is the horn she is holding.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Pagan Art Without the Pentagrams

Anyone who thinks of contemporary pagan art as the preserve of the fey, the twee, or the technically improficient needs to get his (or her) butt down to the Minneapolis Collective of Pagan Artists' Samhain 2014 exhibit, Doorways to the Underworld, stat. There she (or he) will encounter confident, conceptually mature work by artists fully in command of their respective media. All this without pentagrams. Well, there's one, but on that, more later.

Anglo-American painter Roger Williamson's A Dance for Kali is indisputably one of the stars of the show. In Williamson's previous work we frequently see figures emerging out of a dark surround: an inversion of the gold grund of Eastern Orthodox iconography, but working on the same principle. In Dance we encounter three simultaneous visual fields. In the far back—as it were, in the deep past—swirling darkness; in the middle ground, a hovering neon Kali yantra, and before it, the apex of the visual cone, the dancing Kali herself. Or is it Kali?

With her halo of flying, flaming hair and marble skin, this could be some naked Irish battle-goddess that we see in the midst of her terrible dance, a Nemain or a Morrigan. Williamson shows us here a Western Kali, an emergent visual tradition pioneered by (among others) fellow collective-member Paul B. Rucker. This mad dancer with her impossible necklace of ricocheting skulls simultaneously raises the much-vexed issue of cultural appropriation and tramples it underfoot as irrelevant. How dare we think such a Power culture-bound?

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Entering the Cave of Bones: A Preview of "Doorways to the Underworld"

Through Doorways to the Underworld, the Minneapolis Collective of Pagan Artists' Samhain 2014 exhibit, we enter into the disquieting—sometimes disturbing—dreamscape that is both Samhain and the world of contemporary pagan art.

In Anne Marie Forrester's Bear Priestess, the viewer stands at the mouth of a cave literally packed with skulls and leg-bones. Between us and the cave sits the bear priestess herself, all breasts, belly, and thighs, dressed only in the head and skin of (apparently) a bear cub. She wields that classic shamanic tool, the frame drum, in her role of go-between for living and dead, past and present.

The painting disturbs on a number of levels. Content is one: corpulence, nudity, powerful female eroticism. Another is scale. The priestess' head is too small for her mountainous body, the bear's head that she wears too small for her own too-small head. One cannot help but be reminded of Paleolithic “Venus” figurines, whose heads and feet dwindle into unimportance compared with their massive bodies, the true center of their power. Small as it is, though, the priestess' head is still much larger than the skulls that frame her in the cave mouth. The viewer experiences a dizzying loss of sense of proportion.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Early Green Man

I keep joking that I'm redoing my house in Early Green Man.

My friend Gary has a Green Man wall in his house. There must be 50 different Green Men in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and mediums on that Wall. You can't hardly help but bow. Me, I've got them all over the house, peeking out from the most unexpected corners. One of the hazards of 21st century consumerist paganism, I guess.

The Green God: Earth's Firstborn and, they say, favorite. (But maybe, like in my family, she just understands him better.) She does give him that incomparable Coat of Many Colors every year as a sign of favor. And so his brother becomes a kin-slayer, most terrible of crimes. But that's never the end with the Green Man. “Cut me down,” he says, “I spring up high.” Irrepressible.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
When She Creates Herself...

 

 

When She Creates Herself...that’s how I think of my latest Goddess art piece. I did not have a plan of what she would look like. I had an idea of colors I wanted to use but not her shape. As I prepared her humble home with white acrylics, I felt that calm come upon me. The calm I felt before when I know I am creating something special. I've experienced it before when I connect to my Goddess-self and everything is effortless.

I was so amazed by how quickly she was manifesting herself that I started taking pictures of my progress and sending them to my partner. Here’s an image showing my progression:

water-goddess-progression.gif

 

When I looked upon the white surface, I could see her coming up like she was emerging from primal waters. I took my charcoal pencil to trace her voluptuous lines oblivious to time. I know now, thanks to the text messages I sent my partner, that it took me about three hours to complete her. I lost my sense of time with her.

I am usually very critical of anything I create. It’s an unfortunate habit that I am still working on. Yet for this Water Goddess, it was love at first sight for me. She came to me like a dream, a waking dream where all is effortless. I loved her with her  imperfections. I still love her.

I long to connect with this part of myself again. I want to see what other Goddesses and divine creatures are awaiting creation. My Water Goddess now sits above my main altar reminding me of love, relaxation and how easy it is when you connect with your breath and inner Goddess-self.

Blessings to you and yours sisters! ❤

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Molly
    Molly says #
    I think she is one of my very favorites of yours! Love the time-lapse series.
  • Paola Suarez
    Paola Suarez says #
    Thank you Molly! She's one of my favorites as well. I'm still working on finding my personal style. Perhaps she's closer to it. Bl

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_Abuelove-AbuelaSol_20140625-122446_1.png 

Who is she, I asked Maria.  My husband Fred and I were at Maria's studio during our visit to Belize.  We had made a special trip to see her work.  Maria gazed into my eyes and asked: You don't recognize her?

Not answering, I carefully studied the statue--an old woman with a serpent headdress, wearing a skirt decorated with crossbones, and carrying an upside-down water vessel

She spoke to me, I finally said.

You're a healer, Maria said.

I'm a psychologist who sees herself as a seeker.

Healer and seeker are the same.  Both want to heal themselves, Maria replied.  Both want to heal the world.

Can I hold her?  In response, Maria placed the statue in my hands.  As I caressed the figure, Maria looked lovingly: She is IxChel, the Maya goddess of healing, medicine, and midwifery. She is our Mother.

I had gone to Maria's place to see her sculptures. But I found much more than art.

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