28JUN14: Still basking in New Moon in Cancer energy…Well, in my first blog post I said that I had renamed this project. I was torn between wanting to be true to my vision of the work and the need, in these sexually conservative times of misogamy and hatred of women, to be able to start the conversation. The conversation about the need to reclaim a word which has become a culturally conditioned pejorative for both a weak man and any woman who stands too firmly in her sexuality and power. It is used so casually by people under thirty that it barely retains any other meaning than the pejorative. Yet, it was a neutral term for a woman’s sexual parts up until the end of the “Dark Ages”. And I continue to question why words that refer to women’s sexuality are used as pejoratives in the first place. But that is a moot point in a world that has been shaped and twisted by the Burning Times of the Renaissance in Europe and still has people in it who traffic in sexual slavery of women. A world where a woman was recently condemned to death because she chose to marry outside of the dominant religion of her homeland and exercise both her power of choice and her sexual rights. This in 2014!
So what is this word? I originally titled the project Soft Power/Reclaiming The Sacred Cunt. There are so many avenues to explore when it comes to the word cunt. I remember the first time I really paid attention to the word. When I was in a LifeSpring advanced training in the 1980s the trainer, a powerful and charismatic woman, encouraged all of us women to embrace the word cunt and recognize it as an evocation of our power. I had only recently seen the first showing of The Dinner Party by Judy Chicago at SF Museum of Art and was still digesting the emotional and spiritual changes that experience had generated for me. I certainly explored my sexuality like any child of the hippie generation, but was just beginning to gain an understanding about the spiritual, social and political ramifications of “free love” as practiced by a woman. And cunt. Beautiful, sacred and divine.
When I officially left organized patriarchal religion, a high school friend introduced me to the worship of the Goddess; Wicca. I had been so in love with the images of women portrayed everywhere in the church where I attended services as a young girl…the images and statues of the Virgin Mary, the angels painted on the ceiling, the women following Jesus around as he preached and drank wine at weddings. The images were uplifting and seemed to honor what I would later come to know as the Divine Feminine, but the teachings of the Catholic Church were misogynistic and filled with hatred of women; woman as the vessel of all sin and evil. I went from a naive with a profound calling for spirit to a questioning thinker who wouldn’t “take it on faith” that because I was a woman I would never know the spiritual truths I so longed to understand. Becoming involved with the worship of the Divine as Goddess felt like I had finally come home. I realized that much of the doctrine and traditions of the Holy Roman Church were actually co-opted from the pagan roots of conquered people. The roots of Shamanism and magic were woven together with the attitudes of the conquerors and turned against all who were not in power; the people of the land. There was just enough of the old ways of worshipping the Divine in nature, honoring the Divine Feminine as Goddess, to recruit new converts and control them. But the Virgin Mary had no cunt. It was ok to be a mother who gave birth without “knowing” a man, but she was not allowed her sexuality.
So, I left. I left and began to explore. In the mid-80s the influences of artists like Judy Chicago and my participation in Wicca bore fruit. I had unconsciously begun to make images of the sacred cunt in the 1970s, but officially began the Soft Power Series with a fabric collage painting: Soft Power in 1984.
12JUN14-Full Moon in Sagittarius/Gemini: This is the first blog post for Soft Power/Shamanic Invocation of the Sacred Feminine. I’ve renamed the project to include the Shamanic aspect of my art. Shamanism as a practice for reaching altered states of consciousness by inducing trance during ritual has deep roots in many cultures. The Shaman invokes the powers of the spirit world and elementals, connecting to ancient and transformational energies, as do magicians, witches, sorcerers and all those who tap into what is currently being called the Quantum Field. It is the power of intention that directs the energy of the Quantum Field for desired results. Art and ritual are intertwined. Inducing trance states for creating art is a Shamanic act; the two have been woven together for millennia to create change. When ancient peoples drew images of animals on cave walls to connect with their spirits, they were channeling these energies for healing, spiritual evolution and creativity; seeking connection with their primal power.
The artist/poet as Shaman, dedicated to the Sacred Feminine, acts as a conduit, allowing the spirit of the Divine Feminine; the Goddess in her many guises, access during the creation of art. Channeling the Muse is another way to think of the experience of trance and art making which allows access to both spirit energies and to parts of the self and Higher Self. Some call on the elementals: spirits of earth, air, fire and water, as well. Any and all are valid and potent and this access channeled into the creation of art and poetry makes them available for community, to inspire and share blessings.
Listen and open the inner eye
Lift up the lidded membrane
Temporarily stretched across
The shimmering messages
Their presence dances with the wind
Flickering in a congress
Held behind the body
Like a cloak of stars earthborne
Ancestor shadows shoulder to shoulder
With Bear and Raven and Hawk
Their voices muted with care
Until inner ear retunes with heart
Retunes with inner eye
To the potent remembering
Of hands, feet, drum and voice
A world within a world
Where Shaman and witch
Sorcerer and magician
Draw out the essence with purpose
To redesign the shape of being
Repurposing the mundance
To the tune of mystery
Vessel for the blessings of the Universe
Channeled into body and soul
16JUN14 TASH c