Goddess: Chalice of Life and Death
30 watercolor, 1983
the story of
In the pot sun
and moon shine eternally.
Once upon a time
there was a hermit who always carried about with him;
a pot that could
hold a peck of rice. At night he slept in the pot.
pot changed into the universe with the sun and moon in it.
He named the pot
"Pot Heaven," and he himself was known at Mr. Pot.
Story of this Painting
the common intention of a group of artists focused on a high ideal,
empower one to transcend common everyday mind and take us into a non-ordinary
reality where we begin to perceive and create truth? This question
is a guiding force in my life at the moment--"my head's on fire
with it," as they say. Invisible hands reach out to help and
guide me through what often proves to be intense art group dynamic
that makes me want to run and hide. But as Joseph Campbell says, I
must be "following my bliss," for the times those beneficent
forces come into play I feel as though embraced by a lover, my head
and body swooning and flushed. It was with great pleasure that I reread
the intricate process development of working with the symbol of the
cup, (from a paper I'd written in a class on symbols at JFK University)
from which this painting was to evolve, to come at last upon an experience
from my own life which supports the experimental hypothesis stated
at the beginning of this narrative. The process itself extended over
9 weeks, starting at a very mundane level analyzing in depth the common
aspects of my coffee cup. It slowly evolved from this point, leading
me on an incredible meandering path filled with amazing insights about
the different expressions and finally mythologies of the cup, and
its "cup-ness." The final and most powerful insight occurred
during a group guided meditation where we were all focusing on our
personal symbols, and a common sun in the center of the circle.
A quote from my
paper on The Cup: "In group meditation and attunement,
I was empowered to see the cup in its metaphorical concept, as a symbol
of the universe. We [artist, poets, dancers] were sitting in a circle
on chairs, holding hands with eyes closed. Appearing in my minds eye,
against a fabric of darkness, I saw our circle of beings as a vessel
with the open universe at our feet, folding through the curve of space.
A circle of white light energy, heart high, formed the lip of the
chalice like image. Traveling down into the stem of the chalice, I
perceived that it was like a spiraling cornucopia, filled with stars
and planets rather than fruit. My body was saturated with a feeling
of wholeness and oneness with the universe. The cup contains all.
When Shanja our guide, said to send out golden light from the sun
of our hearts the chalice turned to spun gold. Each being had a heart
that was a sun, and the light radiated out to all in the circle and
Each person returned
from that group experience to their own introspective dance with the
muse of creation. Alone in their studio but empowered by the group
they painted their visions, danced their dreams and sang their words
to paper, attuned to the paradox of being a unique expression of the
essence that pervades everything, understanding our interconnection.
Continuing to share these experiences and our creative expression,
further enriched our perception of the reality and power of symbols
to expand our awareness.
In the group I
am currently working with we envision ourselves as mythmakers in a
society that so needs new positive images and myths. In working as
a group we are indeed on the mythic quest. A psychologist, Rollo May,
expressed this in an article for Saybrook Institute.
the royal road to wonder, to mystery, to ecstasy in an otherwise drab
life. Freud and other leaders down to Sullivan have regularly seen
myths as the public form of the dream. The dream of the group is called
myth . . . the myth and the dream are almost interchangeable--the
one private, the other expressing a group experience."(2)
There's a moon
in my body, but I can't see it!
A moon and a sun.
A drum never touched
by hands beating, and I
As long as a human
being worries about when he will die,
and what he has
that is his,
all of his works
for the I-creature
and what it owns
then the work
of the Teacher is over.
The purpose of
labor is to learn;
when you know
it, the labor is over.
The apple blossom
exists to create fruit;
When that comes,
the petals fall.
The musk is inside
but the deer does
not look for it:
it wanders around
looking for grass.
Miura and Fuller Sasaki, The Zen Koan, no p.#
May, Saybrook Institute, p. N.A.
Kabir, The Kabir Book, p.15