Deity Dialogues & Dreams

Deities Dialogues & Dreams Extraordinary Conversations with Ordinary People Exhibition 2002

Curators: Kristena West, Tristy Taylor & Mary McCulloch
 

The Deities exhibit is a collection of artists who are being touched by extraordinary experiences with Other in dreams, visions, out-of-body or near death experiences, meditations or within a shamanic context. Many of the conversations have evolved over the years and are still going on, changing and transforming the artist’s personal and artistic life, while shaping their talents into right-livelihood.
 

Please take the time to read the stories of how the deity makes itself known, the struggles of accepting such information and where the prompting of the deity is leading the individual.

Perhaps you will remember a time when you received such information, or had an experience you could not define. If so reflect on if you choose to take the direction given, the fears or resistance you may have encountered, and if you did take the guidance, did it transform your life? How?

If you do not remember such an experience, perhaps you will be open to the possibility in the future, after experiencing the heart and beauty of the intimate stories revealed here.

 

It is our hope, that all who are open, will begin to develop relationships with the gods, goddesses, compassionate spiritual beings and nature spirits who inhabit our mother earth and other realms. In creating the art, the artists were asked to quiet their ego and will nature, to simply wait and allow deity to reveal itself. The deity in many instances wanted the art to be different from what the artist first conceptualized. The artist then takes the information, images and dreams given by the deity and contributes their own creativity in the translation into form. In this way, we work in co-creation with the spiritual worlds and heal our earth.

Half-way through the Earth Art Altar creation. It took three days to complete, just hours before opening night. 

Opening night ritual with drums and shamanic songs. We opened on the Dali Lama's birthday!

THE TWINS

THE CREATOR TWINS KILLER OF ENEMIES AND CHILD OF WATER

 

Kristena West: The Twins
Tapestry: fabric, beads and plaster masks NFS
Dolls: ceramic and cloth-NFS

In the summer of 1998, I drove through southern Utah and spent the night in a small town called Moab. That night a dream visited me that changed my life. 

" I am standing before a Navajo woman. She is ageless. The planes on her face are beautiful with the land behind her. She tells me, "You must teach the story of The Twins. It is a teaching (or healing story) for the People." As I look over her shoulder, I spy two young Native American boys pedaling fiercely on red tricycles, their long black hair flying behind them. They are in a neighborhood, tearing in and out of their neighbor’s adobe gates. They are mischievous, bold and dynamic." 

Upon awakening, I wonder if I am close to Navajo land. At breakfast, I ask a local if we are near Navajo country. He says I am on the border of the largest Navajo reservation. I am completely unaware of a "Twins story", so I jot down the dream in my journal. A few weeks later as I flip through an anthropological journal I see a small book advertisement that outlined the stories included within the text. My skin begins to tingle, as I read, "The Navajo creation story of "The Twins!" I order the book.

I am impatient for information, and go to the local bookstore to see what I can discover. I walk up to psychology section and a title seems to leap off the shelf, "Creation Stories." I pull out the book, Marie-Louise Von Franzs’ "Creation Myths and it opens to a chapter headed, "The Two Creators!" My body tingles all over. As I begin my research I am astounded to find out that there are numerous of twin creation stories from all over the world. 

In the summer of 1999, I drive to the Navaho and Zuni pueblo near the Four Corners region to see if I can find an elder who might be willing to speak with me about the Twins story. I am able to speak with a Zuni elder. I tell him of my dream and research, but it took a while for him to realize that I was not an anthropologist in hunt of a quick story, but a sincere woman who had had a spirit dream. When he understood this, he changed his tone and said, "You have been touched." With brief sideways glances at me, he told me that the Twins are part of the sacred Zuni ceremonial dances, and they come out in the Winter Solstice, that they are indestructible; they cannot be overcome-or hurt. In these dances, the Gods and Goddesses merge with the dancers who are initiated and prepared for this. This keeps the world going. One twin, Killer of Enemies is the Right hand, and the other, Child of Water is the left hand. 

The Navaho story of the twins outlines that Changing Woman (the earth goddess) is impregnated with the light of the Sun. Changing Woman has twins: Child of Water (in some stories the child of the Moon as father) and Killer of Enemies or Monster Slayer. They go on a quest to find their father the Sun. In overcoming many tests with help of their allies, the twins pass the tests their father gives them. The father gives the boys gifts to kill the Monsters of the earth. To one, he gives the lightening of the straight bolt, and to another, he gives the blue flashing lightening. With these gifts, the boys go back to earth, destroy the Monsters, and set the world to rights so the earth can prosper and balance is regained. It is very compelling that the ancient Hindu twins are also associated with lightening.

THE NIGHT CHANT THE CRIPPLED TWINS

The daughter of a poor family living near the Canyon de Chelly was taken in secret marriage by Talking God, and soon gave birth to twins. Later the twins go in search of their father, but they do not have the same success as the Warrior Twins. They are caught in a rockfall, and thought they escape with their lives, the older brother is blinded and the younger one lamed. 
Because they are now a great burden on their family they are turned out and forced to wander around in their pitiable condition, asking the gods for help. Though they are rejected many times because they did not have a suitable offering, Talking God secretly protected them and endorsed their plea. He hinted to the gods that these children might be their kin. Only when they had been tested, and recognized as the children of Talking God, did the gods relent and agree to hold a curing ceremony. 

Unfortunately, while the ceremony was in progress the twins cried out in joy at the hope of being cured, breaking a stringent taboo against talking in the sweat-house. The ceremony suddenly ceased, and the gods departed, leaving the twins stricken as they were before. So the poor blind boy told his brother to mount again on his back. They walked in sadness down the canyon and mourned for what they had done. They now knew not what way to go nor what trail to take; they had no purpose; they wept as they walked along and as they wept, they began to sing. 

The Holy Ones stood grouped behind them and hearing the song, said to one another; "Why do they sing?" I wonder what they are singing about?" and they sent the father of the children to bring them back. When Talking God overtook them he said, "Come back, the Yei wish to see you again and speak to you." The blind boy replied "I shall not go back. They have told us, in anger, to be gone. They are only making fools out of us." But the cripple urged: "Let us return once more and find out what they wish to say." When they returned some one asked them: "What were you singing as you went along?" They answered: "We were not singing. We were crying." And why did you cry?" "We cried because you bade us to go away and we knew no longer where to go." " The Yei persisted and when the Yei asked this question for the fourth time,the cripple spoke: "We began to cry, and then we sang; we turned our cry into a song. This is what we sang:"

From the white plain where stands the water, from there we come. 
Bereft of eyes, one bears another. From there we come.
Bereft of limb, one bears another. From there we come.
Where healing herbs grow by the waters, from there we come. 
With these your eyes you shall recover. From there we come. 
With these your limbs you shall recover, from there we come, 
From meadows green where ponds are scattered, from there we come. 
Bereft of limb, one bears another. From there we come. 
Bereft of eyes, one bears another. From there we come.
By ponds where healing herbs are growing. From there we come. 
With these your limbs you shall recover, from there we come, 
With these your eyes you shall recover. From there we come. 

The gods upon hearing this song determined never again to turn away their own children, so the twins were instructed by the gods how to use their cleverness to gain the necessary offerings. Then the curing ceremony was begun, and they were restored to full health. The daughter of Calling God shaped them to make them as beautiful as her brothers. (Matthews, 1902: 244-45)

Sacred clowns

Kristena West: Sacred Clowns
Augmented Barbies and Wood Manikins-NFS 
Around 1996, well into my shamanic training, I began to have dreams about lightening. Over the years, the dreams became more threatening, as if the lightening is going to strike me, until finally I run away from the lighting. In the summer of 1998, while traveling through Utah, I spend the night in a little town called, St. George and have the following initiation dream. 
I am with a group of Native Americans who have gathered around me, forming a circle. The tall man says to me, "We, the People, recognize that you have the gift of Heyoka. He gives me a spirit name, and tells me which clan I belong to."

The next day I arrive in Farmington, to take a four-day spirit pottery class with, I come to find out, an apache Heyoka, twin-spirit (see The Twins) shaman. On the first day he says to me, "You are the same as me." I had not told him the dream. It seems clowns recognize each other. Later I found out that Heyoka originates in the Plains traditions of the Lakota. To become a Heyoka is to be called by lighting either in dreams or in daily life. To refuse or run away from accepting the Heyoka status, one runs the chance of being killed by lightning. Given I have had lighting following me I make a ceremonial costume and honor the Heyoka spirit. Then in dreams I meet my clown clan, and they give me the Heyoka colors and teach me. 

Clowns can bring energy to a group that highlights the hidden shadow areas and blows it up. This can look like the clown getting into trouble, or the clown can be sitting innocently looking on—this is their folly working. However, the blow up happens so the group can reform at a more authentic and holistic level. Clowns have an affinity with danger, humor, play, innocence, contrariness, borders, death, dissolution and regeneration, and so teach the village about morality and fertility. Clowns are universal and usually found within a religious context. The southwest creation stories abound with tales of Coyote, the Hopi have Kachinas, the Lakota the Heyoka, Europe has the Harlequin, the Christian religion has Fools for Christ, the Hindus Krishna, and so it goes. A classic clown conundrum is, Nothing is Sacred. And that's because it is.

She

Tomoko Murakami
Woodblock, sculpture, installation

SHE has been floating around me for a long, long time---perhaps even before birth. When I touch a tree, I feel HER.
When I scoop up a handful of soil, I smell HER. When I carve wood, I hear HER.
When I sink into my body, SHE arises.
SHE opens up space to a time before consciousness. 

This open space she evokes in me intertwines with the earth with forms with nature with neither contradiction nor duality.
SHE penetrates my body and it becomes a container for her infinite expansion.
SHE sets me in motion. 
Her movement is as smooth as silk yet so powerful.

Ah! SHE is a celebration of life! 

THE GREAT MOTHER

Mary McCulloch: Honoring the Mother 
Sculpture and mixed media installation

My relationship with Spirit began less than two years ago, when I was fortunate enough to be trying the brew of an analogue of the powerful "vine of the soul" known as Ayahuasca. Grown in regions of the Amazon basin, Ayahuasca is used by local shamans to access visionary or mythological worlds for the treatment of disease or revelation and healing. To be brought to a place that felt much like pure consciousness; breath was my bridge to a deeply expanded sense of myself. What I didn’t expect was to realize how much reverence I felt I now had for the wisdom of the plants and what they were opening me up to.

My third ceremony contributed to what has become to date my most powerful encounter with an energy that feels wholly Other. I had the fully physical experience of having a block in my fifth chakra burst open and waves of sound flowing out of me that came from deep down inside. It was as if I experienced a creative rebirth on a core level. I was completely humbled by the sense of what a gift I had received and knew on a deep level; my path would involve work with this plant teacher. 

I wish to share with you the experience of being in the presence of the Mother as I’ve experienced her in my work with the plant medicine. The challenge was to create with sculpture something that conveys a felt experience. As my intention was to open to what wanted to come through me, I was surprised to find that the doll became so large. She is a reflection of the potential we all have within. 

Soon after this, I found an ad and signed up for a shamanic doll-making class taught by Kristena West. My first doll, Eagle Spirit Woman, opened me up to learning the core elements of shamanism and ways to access spiritual realms of existence for healing and guidance. But what it really did was usher in a profound transformational period that I find myself still in the midst of experiencing. 

 

Dreams of Isis

Betsy Bergstrom: Dreams of Isis

Two Egyptian Broad Collars: Cloth, beads, and mixed media

In my child life, I was lonely and felt unloved in a sometimes-chaotic alcoholic, nomadic military family. However, as a young girl of seven or eight years of age, I embarked on a series of wondrous dreams. One night I went to bed as usual in my flannel nightie, but after falling asleep, I woke up in another realm as a grown woman of consequence, living in an amazing and colorful world. 

In that other world, I found myself experiencing the unfamiliar sensations of being an adult woman. I waited and complied while two female attendants prepared me for the day; bathing me, applying makeup, wig, jewels and a soft dress. I walked barefoot, savoring the feeling of stone beneath my feet. I watched the dawn and sang hymns to the rising sun. All was orderly, potent and somehow contained in away that felt marvelously right. I walked to a temple, a place of worship. In the hush of this place, away from the fierce sun, I bowed to the golden statue of the great Goddess Isis and entered into a state of communion with her. Becoming lucid at this point, I was aware that communion with the Goddess was not a rare event, but a way of life. In that moment, She appeared as a presence of unsurpassing love and golden light and I knew myself to be bound to her throughout all eternity. That knowledge gave me peace and a place in the world, a calm that I could take with me into my life and family. I lived a life of a little girl during the daytime, but after falling asleep, I continued my life in Egypt as an adult woman, with day by day continuity. 

When I was asked to participate in this show, I had an immediate image of a painted triptych of my experience with this deity. Try as I might, however, that was not what she wanted. I employed the shamanic journey to connect with Isis and determine what she wanted me to do. She specified that collars were to be made in the Egyptian fashion. While making the collars, I found myself entering into a contained state similar to that experienced in the dream. Isis told me of the specific store and remnant bin to find the flannel for the child’s collar. When I got the remnant home and unwrapped it I was amazed to see my initial "B" on the blocks and the text of "I love Mommy and Daddy." This sentiment exemplifies the longing that I felt for connection in my childhood. 

Isis then led me on a journey through my home, finding memorabilia of my childhood in this box or that drawer that she wanted on the collar. All of my history and longing is what I bring to her in her world. The second collar is Isis, a startling contrast and testimony to her transcendence. The feeling I had as a child was that Isis’s world was the real world, a realm of light, colour and consequence. In my childhood dream journeys, Isis showed me that I would not always be a child, and gave me an experience of sacred order. Isis gave me a reason to live and showed me the way to do it. She continues to be a close presence in my life and shamanic practice, allowing me to be a vehicle for her healing gift to the world.

kali ma

Curators: Kristena West, Tristy Taylor & Mary McCulloch

Trismegista Taylor: Kali Ma

Sculpture: plaster and mixed media

My first memory of meeting the Hindu Goddess Kali was being birthed by her. One night I had a dream that I was sitting in a waiting room with other folks, waiting to be born. I knew that I was inside the Hindu Goddess Kali, and as I sat reading the excellent magazines, I heard her voice inside my head, telling all of us that it is time to be born.

We all lined up in front of a huge red velvet curtain that was the doorway to her birth canal. When my turn came, I sat at the top and started to slide down, just like a slide. As I laid back and slid around and down the spiraling birth canal, I felt the walls with my hands, which were lined in Burgundy felt. As I slid down the canal, I thought "how crafty Kali is, to line her birth canal with burgundy felt!"

When I emerged and was birthed, I was dropped right in front of my parents house. Kali's booming voice entered my head again, and she said, "It's time to get to work on the Church of Craft!" Then I awoke. I had a huge powerful surge of energy steaming through my body. It felt like my entire body was on fire. I felt that energy coming directly from Kali and it stayed with me for many hours. I listened to her advice, and spent much of my time crafting the church and now the Church of Craft is an international organization, bringing together diverse communities in the act of creating.

Since this dream experience, I have had a myriad of waking and sleeping experiences with Kali-Ma. She has become my own personal connection to the Divine, and she always comes to me when I ask for help. Her fierce power and energy has taught me about my own power and how it is rooted in my ability to create and destroy.

the Green Woman

Polymer tempera paints 

"Green Woman" was never meant to appear in public, let alone hang in a show with other paintings. It was painted in a "process painting" workshop where process is valued over product. But she has had a life of her own and I have been unable to keep her closeted.
She was the first painting I did, in the first process painting workshop I'dever taken. I was raw, nervous and fresh from a year of experimentation in figure drawing, having been convinced since kindergarten, that I could not make art. I knew that the human form was what interested me the most, so when faced with the "kid" friendly tempera paints and the lovely heavy quality paper, and permission to paint absolutely anything I wanted, I was not surprised to find myself drawing a crude face and upper body.

It quickly became apparent one piece of paper would not contain what was coming out and the facilitator rushed to attach more sheets, then more, and more. This image wanted to be BIG. And she didn't want me to use dainty, hesitant, careful strokes. Everything that came out of my hand was a big stroke, a broad line‚ one might even say (and I did) a crude line. She was a raw-boned, strong, oak-sturdy, cougar-wild, far-seeing, owl-eyed, volcanic MONSTER of a woman. 

As I painted I felt driven and anxious. Whoever this was, there was no getting around the fact that she was a self-portrait. This nearly derailed me. I wanted her to be attractive. But, if I painted her arm thin and graceful she pulled the brush out and smeared the line until it was thick and rough. I was in control, of course, but I had granted the workshop the power to be a safe place to let the "unspeech-ripe" roll out of me and onto the paper, so I gave that part of me permission to use my arm to manifest herself in the world.

When I look at her I am the nine year old who ran in the thick woods at the bottom of the Niagara River Gorge, who made up stories about giant beings who climbed the thick step-like bolders, who climbed to the top of an impossibly high rock to catch a glimpse of the larger world of the lake beyond the gorge, the girl who dove 35 feet down to the bottom of a murky lake just to grab a handfull of mud and know what was down there; the one who walked silently hoping to come close to frightened deer, to get a bird to land, finally, on my hand. A few years later (around puberty), she dove underground and stayed there, safe like a seed, until this moment, 45 years later. I suddenly had no more energy to keep her hidden; it was a form of surrender (although that isn't a word I would have happily used). 

But while buried in the earth she had grown, and grown a little twisted and mangled and marred. When I looked at her painted form that afternoon I found her so frightening I thought I‚'d never look at her again. I quickly folded her into a small bundle and stuffed her in a bag and then in the back of my closet. Later, she came out to visit with some friends with whom I worked my dreams and I found myself astonished that they were not immediately repelled by her "injured" qualities. They saw other things, and finally I did too. She had stayed with me, underground, all these years, at the center of my being.

the Dark Angel

Nancy Albro: The Dark Angel
 

 The Dark Angel came as a vision while I was living in a small county cabin in the woods. I believe the quiet and the wooded hill behind the cabin had something to do with the rich detail of this vision. I wrote in my journal:

" I see the black or dark angel, dressed in black and spun silver. Pearls border the edges and folds of her gown. A band of spun lace and pearls surround her forehead. Her hair is silver, partly bound in braids and partly loose. She carries a sheaf of calla lilies." 

After the initial visit, she began to come to me in dreams. After some time, when I finally began to paint her, she revealed herself to me as the Angel who guides one from the body, at death, to the light. For me, the "grim reaper" is a sad image constructed from fear. The Dark Angel has removed this fear from my vision of death. Many months after I finished the painting, she came to me again in a dream, and thanked me for painting her with love and grace. 

This painting is so personal, and it has changed my work in extraordinary ways. I have always loved painting angels, but now each one I paint has a divine purpose. The Dark Angel opens me to a spiritual force that flows through me into my paintings. Faith, spirit and soul informs the work as much, or more than surface and medium. 

Memorial Installation

Susan Shanti Gibian: Memorial Installation 

About a year ago, ten Eucalyptus trees were cut down near my home. When I went to survey the damages, I had an experience that significantly changed my life and my art. It is hard to explain exactly what happened that day. In fact, I am still in the process of trying to understand this event in its fullness. 

I found myself running my fingers through the sawdust and crying. My heart felt such incredible pain and sadness. When my eyes fell upon the scars inflicted by the chainsaw as it cut into the limbs of the trees, I felt a burning sensation on my arms and legs, as if the saw had cut into a part of my own body. At first I was a little scared, and I wasn't sure what was happening to me. I took a deep breath, and summoned the courage to remain in the present moment, and experience it fully.

Then, it was as if all my years of spiritual practice and time spent in nature crystallized into one moment of profound clarity, a tangible experience of truth. I realized that there was no separation between my Self and the earth. Immediately, I understood that the imbalances that are present in my own body were related to the thoughtless destruction of the natural world. It became very apparent that the prevalence of human disease was a result of this destruction of the earth and its ecosystems: and that when balance is restored to the earth, human beings will experience greater physical, spiritual, and emotional health. 

Standing in the sawdust of the freshly cut trees, surrounded by limbs and stumps in the blazing California sun, I had a direct experience of my connection to all of nature. What was I supposed to do with information like that? For weeks I was completely absorbed in a state of not knowing what this all meant to me, and why I had received this profound knowledge. I had no desire to create anything. I had picked up one of the limbs from the ground and placed it on the picnic table outside my window. I could see it from inside my apartment, and every time I looked at it I would feel such an intense pain in my heart that I would fall apart crying. Instead of distancing myself from the pain and sadness, I knew that I had to surrender to it, and to experience it fully.

Rather than forcing myself to create art during this time I worked hard at allowing myself the space to just be. To simply be present and to trust that when the time was right, that the inspiration would come and move through me, and a creative work would manifest. Embracing the limb, or just sitting with it and gazing out at the hillside was how I spent my studio time. That period of stillness and quiet contemplation was an indispensable part of my creative process. It was also a means of gaining access to the knowledge in my heart, as opposed to trying to understand this event through the logical mind. 

The limb became a symbol of vulnerability. I felt extremely protective of the earth, and wanted to take action to protect it. I was no longer inspired to use paint to express myself. Eventually, my work was formed from the sawdust and the limbs of the beautiful trees that once stood and offered me their shade on a hot summer day, their scent of Eucalyptus as the fog rolled in, and the rustling sound of the wind through their leaves as I drifted off to sleep at night. 

After a year of meditating on and contemplating this experience, I have come to understand that the earth is speaking through me. It is my sacred duty to listen attentively, and to convey her messages to others. I pray that we, as humankind, take care of the earth, love it, nurture it, and protect it, as if it were our very own Self.

Kristena West: The Veils of Illusion, a Meditative Journey to the Sophia 
 

The seven vices are considered to be the veils of illusion that occlude us from Sophia, holy wisdom, the Beloved of every human heart. These seven vices today are considered to be behavioral patterns adopted by us as coping mechanisms. Eventually, these behaviors can become addictions which cause us pain, limit our growth, and are considered obstacles to the spiritual path.
 

The seven virtues which are called the "contrary virtues",  are the virtues to cultivate instead to the vices. So, instead of cultivating anger, we cultivate kindness, instead of laziness we cultivate perseverance, and so on, until we purify our desire or astral body to the point of becoming a vessel worthy of Sophia. To become one with the Sophia is the evolutionary goal of humanity-as she represents a spiritually evolved humanity.
 

For this installation, I was in a long room, with all the lights off except one pin light. There were seven colored veils hung in a row (in front of the Sophia) so that you had to walk through the veils-of illusion- lifting one veil after the other until the last seventh veil is lifted to reveal the Divine Sophia. All seven veils are completely transparent, yet when hung one in front of each other, and standing at the back you cannot see the Sophia.

The emotions that we choose to cultivate are also transparent, we cannot grasp them, but we engage with them our life long. To lift the veils of destructive desires, we must cultivate the qualities of virtue. Only then, the Sophia will emerge from the veils of illusion.

VICES

1. LUST

2. GLUTTONY

3. GREED

4. SLOTH

5. WRATH

6. ENVY

7. PRIDE

VIRTUES

1. CHASTITY

2. MODERATION

3. CHARITY

4. DILIGENCE

5. FORGIVENSS

6. KINDNESS

7. HUMILITY

Kristena West: Sophia Holy Wisdom

In 1990, I was at the end of an emotionally dark relationship, and I began to have a series of nightmares. One night I woke up from another nightmare, with my heart pounding while trying to calm my fears. I was lying in bed looking through the darkened room at the moonlit curtains. Slowly in front of my bed a half circle of mist gathered, forming a foggy group of people who spoke directly to my mind and said:

"You are at a Nexus point. There is no judgment in this, but you must know that you are standing at a crossroads." I understand that I can continue in this darkling relationship, or what? Then I see two distinct picture images flash in front of my eyes. I see a daylight scene of my boyfriends blue pick truck in front of an unrecognized house on a hill, with palm trees on the right. The other image is more confusing. I see a darkened space like a gallery with veils of fabric hung from the ceiling. The fabric is transparent with gold medallions on it. There are layers of fabric hung from the ceiling, one in front of the other, with something in front, which I cannot see. I know that it is a figure of a female, a goddess. I understand that if I leave this relationship that the second image is a possible future.

The next day however I discount the circle of people, the information received and the images. I had to run an errand for my boyfriend who was at a new job site and as I followed the directions to the site, and turned the corner to go up the hill, my breath catches as I see his pick up truck in front of the house and palm trees exactly like the scene from the previous night! Seeing this scene from the first image, was the validation necessary for me to pay attention and believe what had taken place. It takes a year to leave that relationship, but it is the beginning of my healing journey. 

I am about to graduate and am offering a show of individuals work, honoring their conversations with deities and dreams. I wondered what new piece I might create. A nudge from the spirit world brought back this memory, and I committed to bringing into form the possibility shown me twelve years ago. The question was, who is the female figure behind the veils?

For some years, I have been researching cross cultural religions and esoteric wisdom traditions on mystic women (and men) who have attained god realization. As I read stories within the esoteric and eastern orthodox Christian traditions, I found repeated reference to The Sophia. I realized that the Sophia has many names within different cultures; Quan Yin, Tara, the Bride of Christ, the Holy Spirit, the Schekinah of the Cabala, the Black Madonna, Divine Wisdom, the alchemic divine wedding of the Conjunctio, and the Beloved to name a few. I would create a Sophia behind the veils of desire. But how would she look? 


The context of working with deity outlined in this exhibit is to quiet ones ego and will, and allow the space for the deity to reveal itself. So over the course of some months, I saw in pictures when waking from sleep; the head, with colors red, blue and gold spears. The meaning was; red for the beginning stages of discipleship working on the desire body, the blue for the stage of devotion to higher communion, and gold for the attainment of the Purified Soul, or Astral body. Then behind the head I saw in holy script that may have been Islamic, Greek or spirit script in flaming golden light flowing wisdom emanating from her head. The golden aura is a symbol of this. Then I saw the pose as a standing straight figure with arms straight out at the sides, with white hands. I saw myself holding the white hands over fire allowing the fire to smoke the hands. This represents Holy Sacrifice. Her figure is red as it is represented in Eastern Orthodoxy.

 

On the day of installation, I was up on the second story covering a 20x40" skylight with a tarp to make the long room dark below. The seven virtues and vices that one has to overcome to see Sophia I had made seven veils with the words of the Virtues into transparent veils hanging from the ceiling and the 

Vices text on the floor before each hanging veil.
 

When we walked back to the very end of the room, where one entered this installation and turned off all the lights but the one spot on the Sophia figure the past of 12 years previously and the NOW merged. I had created what I had seen in an "imagination" twelve years in the past. It was complete. One had to look at the text of Vices at feet, gaze into the transparent veil reading the Virtue to overcome the Vice, and take hold of the viel and move forward.Although all colored veils were transparent, hanging one in front of the other, you couldn't see the Sophia until you were at the very last veil.
 

"There are three Sophias. One through whom we are gifted with understanding, reason and knowledge of what is to be done, through whom we practice art, pursue science and know God; another who is seen in creation; and a third who appeared in our Redeemer which unbelievers call foolishness." (Theologian Theodore, fifth century)

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