by Katie Hoffner
I consider the title Aunt Lydia a noble one. If you believe you choose your parents when you are born into this world, then I must believe you choose your aunts too.
Aunt Lydia and I had something very special. A sacred contract of sorts. She has literally been part of my life since I was born. As a young mother, she was not only taking care of her three children but also of me and my brother while my mother finished her medical residency – so she was tending to five of us all under the age of four.
She used to tell people that there were points during that time when she considered killing us or killing herself… that is until one day… she decided to start painting. So for all our sakes (and the world’s), we’re really glad she discovered art. Continue reading "A Tribute to my Aunt Lydia Ruyle"
Jill Smith's recent sequence of pictures: The Moon and the Mountain - the Standstill Journey, inspired by the 1987 lunar standstill were exhibited in the summer of 2006 at the An Lanntair Arts Centre, Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, and at the Calanais Visitor Centre, Isle of Lewis. Click on the thumbnails below to see larger versions and don't forget to visit Jill's own website (where you can buy originals and see much more of her work). The final picture in the sequence refers to plans to build a huge windfarm on Lewis which would be a bit of a disaster for the local environment and also the beauty of the place. Continue reading "The Standstill Gallery"
The cover art for this issue was donated by Angie Bowen, who writes:
"I'm a 30 year old Dianic Witch living in the mountains of Colorado. I've been seriously pursuing art for about 3 years now though it's been a passion of mine for ages. Art is a very spiritual practice for me and much of my art is either Goddess or woman centered, often both. You can see more of my work at http://thecreativeraven.arbent.net
By Suzanne Cheryl Gardner
Why am I here? What am I doing with my life? What is the purpose of life? These were all questions that led me to search for the Goddess, or what I would later discover to be “The Great Mother” who began to call to me through my art. Additionally, the message that I was to nurture my feminine side more came to me through psychic readings, spiritual counseling, books, and articles I found interest in. Then I began to ask myself, “What IS my feminine side, and what is the meaning of this thing called Goddess?”
My search for the history of the Goddess had begun.
Continue reading "The Art of Searching for the Goddess"
By Victoria Christian
The rise in the United States in recent years of feminist religious movements that focus on female images of the divine Goddess suggests that many women, in addition to men, find goddess symbolism to be appealing.
Many feminist artists, too, claim to have found inspiration in goddesses and goddess symbolism as they provoke reminiscent feelings of a distant past—a vague, yet familiar reality lost to westerners. Feminist critiques of religion and some postmodernists have taken issue with traditional images of God, arguing that male hegemony in Western cultures can be correlated directly with the centrality of a single, all-powerful male god in the dominant strands of the predominately Jewish and Christian religious heritage of Europe and the United States. Many would argue further that given this situation, it is important for women as well as for men with feminist goals to recover or create empowering female symbols to help combat the ones that support patriarchy and the denial of the feminine principle.
Continue reading "Feminine Mysticism in Art: Artists Envisioning the Divine"
by Jan Billings
Painting has always been a passion for me. Colour and pattern are a constant in my work. The process of creating visual dynamics by playing one colour off against another has always intrigued me. I am constantly fascinated by the juxtaposition of colours from my first psychedelic designs in the 60s to the more muted tones I use at the moment.
At last, I feel with using silk and dyes, that I have found my ideal medium, where the transformative properies of colour, light and illumination are an integral part of my new work. Now my colours sing from the shimmering silk fabrics. Continue reading "Avalon in Silk"
by Annabel Du Boulay
I was inspired to paint 'The Healing Womb' art installation for the Glastonbury Goddess Conference 2012 by my personal experience of mothering three children, two of whom were born with life-threatening syndromes and multiple disabilities. During the months I lived on neonatal intensive care and paediatric surgical wards, I heard many stories of womb wounding. Stories of sadness interwoven with abortion, of grief from miscarrying, of the trauma of still-birth. Stories of failed IVF attempts, of childless women, their wombs over-flowing with lost dreams. Stories from overwhelmed and frightened mothers nursing ill and disabled children. And stories of motherhood and mothering in the community, its challenges and its rewards.
As women, we all have stories of womb wounding to share but so often we can feel silenced by a society that does not honour our experiences. Abortion remains shrouded in stigma whilst feelings of anger, resentment, grief and despair can be challenging for family and friends to witness, leading us to hide our shadow feelings, pushing them deep inside us where they can fester, causing ill health both physically and mentally. Continue reading "The Healing Womb"
by Samjhana Moon
During the summer of 2009 I gave birth to an idea that would enhance the lives of sixteen women and offer hope to thousands more. A fresh new approach to women in the world of photography: intimate portraits of everyday women embracing nature, exploring vulnerability and challenging society's view of the modern woman in the present environment.
This project pushed boundaries both for me and my subjects with some astonishing results. I titled this collection “The Goddess Within” and proudly exhibited thirteen portraits to the public during October as part of Photomonth ‘09, the UK’s largest photography festival. Continue reading "Goddess Reflections"
The haunting image on the front page was donated by Peter Greenhalf, an award-winning landscape photographer based on the Sussex coast. He has been interested in Britain’s ancient and sacred sites since childhood and has travelled across the country from Cornwall to Scotland in pursuit of images which he hopes will evoke the spirit of the place for others. He is presently in the process of establishing a library of images devoted to sacred and magical places ...and people. See the website at http://www.greenhalfphotography.co.uk/.
Lisa writes: "My art emerges entirely from my imagination and is drawn from the deep well of myth and folklore and from the natural world. I am a self-taught artist , born in South Africa and now living in the ancient and beautiful Blue Mountains in Australia, where I run my arts and design business with my partner. I have travelled for a number of years internationally, showcasing my work in England, Scotland, America, South Africa and in Australia.
I am very connected to my femininity, and see the divine feminine in Nature as a strong element for supporting current environmental issues in a symbolic artistic way.
The essence of my work is expressing the powerful connection between humans and the flow between our inner selves and that of the timeless natural, archaic world existing around us and within us."
Max Dashu, the Suppressed Histories Archives
Goddess Heresies: the legacies of stigma in academia
The controversy over goddess figurines, and whether they should be so called, illustrates the chasm between spiritual feminists and most of academia. We especially need to look at the conflicting values and agendas that come into play when we discuss what “goddess” meant in historical context. Saying “goddess” causes nervous discomfort, whether out of fears of superstitious fantasy or political threat or cultural illegitimacy or out-and-out blasphemy. The interpretations offered by scientistic positivists, Marxists, orthodox theologians, post-structuralists have many differences, but in one respect they are similar. They don’t like to hear goddess talk, and especially don’t want to hear that it has any political significance.
I would like to turn the lens around to face this aversion, and trace the Western academic allergy to anything “goddess” back to its historical origins in the Catholic Church. The first professors were doctors of the Church, whose doctrine shaped all fields of study, and governed what could be said and thought.
Continue reading "The Meanings of Goddess – Part 2"