Art, Myths and Rituals:
Visual Language for the new Reality
Art, Myths and Rituals
Author/Artist's StatementWe are currently experiencing an accelerated shift in consciousness and spirituality which I describe and extrapolate in my book. By re-interpreting and revitalizing our mythological heritage, I promote the empowerment of women and the liberation of both women and men from the intellectual grip of social stereotyping. I also pay tribute to the beauty and sanctity of Mother Earth. The images in the book are based on universal, matriarchal and multicultural mythologies that I re-interpret for readers who are seeking to get away from the restraints of a stale social system in order to liberate themselves and unlock their creativity.
From the book: Art, Myths, and Rituals
All of the world's religions, myths and archetypes are inventions of human minds. Since the deepest recesses of prehistory, humans have been spinning tales that subsequently evolved into their religions. These original mythologies were gradually transformed through the millennia, providing humanity with new forms of belief and archetypes that reflected the many changes in its social structures. In the past, each socio-religious shift was always mirrored by a change in the visual images that those cultures produced. As new images were created, they reflected all the changes in social directions. This transformations continue today in order to give birth to the new, gender balanced and multicultural social order.As most societies changed from matristic to patriarchal paradigms, their religious mythologies and their archetypes increasingly projected the masculine, while obscuring or obliterating the feminine. This slow and gradual process took many thousands of years. The first, matristic civilizations were many thousands of years old, and most scholars date them beyond 35,000 BCE The conversion to patriarchy began about 5,000 years ago. This time span is comparatively short within the context of the totality of human history, and current social changes indicate that we are witnessing the development of yet another social model. During this period of transition, planet Earth is experiencing a dawning of the new possible future - that of a partnership society, a term first used by Riane Eisler in her book, titled The Chalice and the Blade. Within this new culture, female visions, myths, archetypes and values will be allowed to co-exist with the surviving components of patriarchal culture. We are already beginning to experience an accelerated shift in consciousness and spirituality.My art works attempt to describe and predict this shift. This transformation within our society is both physical and spiritual, and it is deeply affecting all human beings. It is bringing into focus the need for inclusion of submerged female values that lie dormant under the layers of the dominator model's militaristic and hierarchical society. Historically feminine values, which many men and women are now beginning to adopt, regard world peace as essential. They also promote reverence for all ecosystems, advocate love and compassion as cardinal functions of a civilized society, accept the belief in the interconnectedness of earthly and spiritual realms, and respect the inherent rights of each human being to pursue his or her freedom. All these issues are visually and symbolically represented in my art works, and the text of this book is regarded by me as an extension of my visual statements. The main source of inspiration for my art is drawn from prehistoric, ancient, Native American and other cultures that, in part, are predecessors of a new world that I envision. These cultures provide me with unlimited number of myths, archetypes and symbols to recreate, recombine, revise and incorporate into my art works.
FROM CHAPTER TWO: THE FACE OF MOTHER GOD
In order for humanity to succeed in transcending the patriarchal social structure and step into the portal of a gender-balanced society that is spiritual, peaceful and respectful of Mother Earth, it is necessary to readjust and rethink our myths, archetypes and religious beliefs. As we have seen, all organized religious systems that presently function within the dominant cultures visualize their God exclusively in male form. My belief is that in order for a society to succeed in transforming itself into a new, egalitarian structure that is spiritually and ecologically conscious, it is imperative that both women and men should be able to visualize God in both female and male forms, with equal ease.Only when humanity is able to revive, re-accept and re-absorb the image of the omnipotent and universal creator as female, the gender-neutral or genderless concept of God can be brought out for philosophical discussion, and accepted by humanity on both conscious and unconscious levels. Since a single-gendered patriarchal culture has been dominant world wide for over two millennia, it is impossible for the majority of human beings to visualize an all powerful creator in the body of a woman. Even if the concept of God is dematerialized into a pure energy or spirit form, this spirit-energy is usually perceived by the human mind on a subconscious level as either all masculine or more masculine than feminine.Artists usually place the male God, or the male divine Trinity in the heavenly realm, residing on a layer of clouds and surrounded by lower ranking spiritual beings, most of which are also male. Even the priesthood, considered by many organized religions to be spiritually superior to lay people and, therefore, closer to God, is still predominantly male. In spite of this, God-the-Mother was never totally excised from the genetic code and the subconscious minds of human beings. She appears in Christianity as the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, and she is the occult Mother God in the psyches of most people who were raised as Christians. Even as you read this book, the role of the divine feminine is being re-evaluated within the Christian establishment, and some clergy and religious philosophers are ready to incorporate the original sacred feminine of early Christianity into contemporary organized religion, equating God-the-Mother with either the Holy Spirit or the Virgin Mary, or both. Some propose that she could be perceived as the mother of the divine son and the divine daughter. On the other end of the spectrum of Christianity is the complete public denial of the existence of God-the-Mother.
Since the Reformation, many branches of Christianity have minimized or erased the role of the Mother of God, and the devotees of these religions are still deprived of the joy of celebrating the divine feminine principle in its veiled form. The need for this void to be filled is now emerging. My Latin heritage has gifted me with the variety and richness of the images of a Great Mother, providing me with an easy transition between the time of discovery of ancient myths of the world, that include the divine feminine principle, and the realization that the sacred feminine must surface into the mainstream of our society. Discovery of the old myths and archetypes came early in my life. I learned to read by the time I was five years old, and I was immediately attracted to the world's myths and religions that worshipped God in female as well as male form. The study of matristic religions and civilizations became my life-long passion.Images of the divine feminine started to appear in my childhood sketches, and later in drawings and paintings created during my undergraduate studies at Arizona State University (1969-1973). Ultimately, they evolved into a series of art works on the theme of female spirituality during my graduate studies at Florida State University (1974-1975). During my college years, my investigation into the prehistoric and ancient cultures led me to the realization that the Great Mother was worshipped all over the globe before male gods were invented by humankind. Although she had thousands of names, depending upon the geographical locations and languages in which she was worshipped, she was consistently believed to be the creator of all that exists. She was omnipotent, the giver and taker of life, the provider of abundance and fertility in nature. She ruled over the earth, the waters, and the sky. She was worshipped as the Great Creator of humans and animals.
Both the earthly and the heavenly realms were believed to be equally loved by the mother of all. The religion of the Mother permeated all aspects of human existence: all that was, and all that will be. The status of women in those matriarchal cultures was equal to the position of men. Female sexuality and spirituality were respected, and human beings shared a profound respect for their environment, a respect that bordered on reverence. The trees, the plants and the creatures that inhabited planet Earth were presumed to have equal place with human beings in the world of the Great Mother.