A slide show I
saw at that time on women's spirituality, as revealed in sculpture,
symbols and paintings, from 25,000 BC to the present, gave her a name
and meaning. This river of femaleness mirrored back to me something
lost so long ago in the world family: sacred mother, sacred earth, sacred
female power, sacred death, sacred body, sacred nature, sacred woman.
It became a meditation practice for me to let these female images -
incarnations - come through my hands and onto my paper. Influences from
many cultures and from dream time entwined with my personal understanding
to create a multifaceted view of what women could be.
My journey became
a pilgrimage to sacred Mother sites in India, Thailand, Bali, Malaysia,
Nepal, Burma, Java and later, England and Ireland. For nine months in
India during 1983-84 I wore the sari and visited temples and Shakti
Pithas dedicated to the goddess, photographing art, sculpture and women
for my Masters thesis on the Mother Goddess and the Womb of Creativity.
Sacred stones, holy wells and tree shrines brought me close to her presence
in the earth. Later I found churches dedicated to Irish women saints
and the Blessed Virgin Mary revealed the sacred feminine, western style,
in a strange new light. Tibetan Buddhism and Anutara-yoga-tantra honored
my inner holy woman and gave me spiritual practices that brought her
deep into my life. It has certainly been an interfaith journey of discovery
The labyrinth at
Grace Cathedral and a wealth of great writers such as Susan Haskins
in her Mary Magdalen: Myth and Metaphor, allowed me to come full
circle and find the sacred feminine in my religion of birth, Christianity.
In the 1990s, as I came to the Cathedral, images of the Blessed Virgin
Mary have slowly inhabited my meditations and revealed her shining countenance
to me. An astonishing result of the exhibition of my paintings at Grace
Cathedral and the encouraging feedback I received was the birth of a
new series of contemporary iconic images of Mary done in watercolor.
The collection of
materials that I accumulated over those years of exploration - slides
of art, sacred sites and the women themselves from various cultures,
an image bank of slides of the art work done by contemporary Bay Area
women working with the re-imaging of the sacred feminine and my own
personal quest materials, both paintings and prose - gave me the basis
to create and teach many classes around the Bay Area.
All during this
period from 1980 to 2000 I have been participating in group art shows
on this theme of the sacred feminine. It is my hope that this artwork
can give its audience a taste of what it's like to engage with the sacred
feminine in a 'deep' way.