sculpture

Birth mama, birth goddess

Earlier this month, I finished a new sculpt for a medium-sized version of our classic birth goddess pendant and my husband cast and finished some of them this week. On Tuesday, I woke up with a phrase from a past piece of poetry floating through my mind over and over:

Soft belly January 2014 088
no longer bearing children
I am pregnant with myself
ripe with potential,
possibility, power
I incubate my dreams
and give birth to my vision…

I also thought about what I hope to communicate to others through my sculptures and when I took the new pendant down to the woods with me, a little song emerged to go with her:

Birth mama
birth goddess

reaching out
to join the circle of mothers

feeling her way
finding her place
in the web of women

Birth mama January 2014 050
birth goddess

hold strong
hold steady

make way for baby
make way for baby

Body opens
heart opens
hands open to receive

Birth mama
birth goddess

she’s finding her way
she’s finding her way…

Categories: art, birth, blessings, poems, sculpture, theapoetics, woodspriestess | 3 Comments

Offering…

Breathing in, singing out
Birth of new we bring about
Singing out, breathing in
Live the dream, let change begin.

–Jane Meredith

I’ve been reading one of my new books, Rituals of Celebration by Jane Meredith. It is really, really good. I have a lot of books about ritual planning and there is something beautifully, qualitatively different about this one. I think it is the stories with which she opens each section of the book (which is organized around a seasonal wheel of the year type of pagan calendar). She includes these beautifully evocative, very sensory and complete descriptions of rituals and their impact on participants/priestesses. I’ve felt tears come to my eyes multiple times as I read and for things I wouldn’t necessarily have expected—like the description of her son at thirteen challenging another man for the role of the God in their Beltane ritual. Her writing really touches something deep and brings her group’s rituals to life vibrantly. As I read the book, especially in combination with planning a ritual for our winter women’s retreat this weekend, I’ve noticed some insecurity come up (again!) about my own skills as a ritualist because I do not offer the type of elaborate pageant/performance type rituals that the author of this book offers. However, as I’ve been working on my Amazing Year workbook, I’ve also been thinking about a little sculpture that I bought to resell/give as a gift. She’s titled “Offering,” though to me she looks like she is about both receiving and giving. This afternoon, I decided that maybe she wants to stay with me for a while on my Amazing Year altar space-intention space and I’ve been thinking: what am I offering? I posted my thoughts to my Priestess Path group and asked, how about you? What are you offering right now?

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We have a lot of snow here and the temperatures have been below zero. Since my official year of my woodspriestess experiment is over, even though I have no plans to stop going to the woods, I’ve given myself permission not to go right now in the freezing, freezing cold and deep snow. However, with two days of not going, I’m recognizing what feels like a literal sense of being ungrounded. I’m also noticing I have a sense of confusion about what to do with this blog now that I’ve finished my year in the woods. I started the blog before I started my experiment, but then it’s identity (and my own) became very deeply entwined with my time in the woods and the “woodspriestess” that they named me…

Categories: blessings, chants, priestess, ritual, sculpture, women's circle, woodspriestess | 1 Comment

Womanrunes: The Tool

Womanrunes: The Tool. Rune of Labor. Production. Enterprise. October 2013 027

This is a rune of hard work. Satisfying labor. What are you unearthing? What are you digging up? What are you uncovering? What is causing sweat to drip from your brow, your cheeks to flush, and your heart to beat faster? This work can be dirty. It can be long, it can be hard. But, you can do it. You ARE doing it. Keep digging.

Remember too that others are doing their own hard work, unearthing their own riches, discovering their own treasures. What might you be missing in other people and how can you work side by side, turning over your deepness together?

This rune helps us recognize the ebb and flow and heave and swell of energy. Life energy. Time. Perspective. There is a time and place for production, for being focused on the doing rather than the being. There is a time for rest and a time for stillness and the key is recognizing the differences between these times and not forcing what is not ready to emerge. Then, when the energy peaks, the shovel comes out and the digging starts. Go with it. Put your back into it, lift with your knees, bend with the wind. And, dig, sister. Dig deeply.

It has been a long time since I’ve felt inspired to do a Womanrunes post. But, as always, when I drew the stone, it was just what I needed. I’ve been feeling unproductive and somewhat uninspired lately, but I feel my energy cycling upwards again and I got up on the morning of this reading feeling ready to work. I drew this stone and thought, ah ha! So, yesterday, my husband and I (plus toddler) spent a long time down on the rocks taking photos for our new etsy store. Then, that afternoon I made nine new sculptures! After going to a candlelight vigil in the evening, I wrote a new blog post for my birth blog and crossposted a similar version to Pagan Families. And, I finally finished watching a film I was supposed to review ages ago and wrote up my thoughts about it and scheduled it to post on Monday. I call that good work. 🙂

 

Update: this project evolved into a real book!

The first post in my Womanrunes series is available here and all others here. The runes and the names of them come from Shekhinah Mountainwater’s Womanrunes system for which there are no written interpretations available other than the names and one word meanings. I’m engaging in a practice of drawing one and then going down to the woods with it to see what it “tells” me–basically, creating what I wish I had, which is a more developed interpretation of the meaning of each womanrunestone.

Categories: art, sculpture, Womanrunes | 1 Comment

Goodbye

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The photo on the left was taken a few months ago. She was 83. One of the ways I will always remember her is wearing zoo-themed necklaces 🙂

She has told stories
she has made memories
she has preserved history
she has created
she has birthed
she has mothered
she has grandmothered
she has been of service
she has traveled far
she has grieved
she has rejoiced
she has loved
and been loved in return

This woman from which I came
this mother of my own mother
she who has been daughter
who has been wife
friend
mother
grandmother
great-grandmother
she has come to the end of her road
to the last stop on her earthly journey

Part of eternity
gave her birth
and she in turn shared that gift
and now she is reclaimed
re-embraced
hugged with the winds of time
and change.

Just a couple of hours after I posted my “last words” post, my grandma did in fact, let go and died during the early part of the morning. I always hope to have dreams about people who have died, to somehow get “messages” from them and the only person that that has ever happened vividly with was my father-in-law, which is strange given our distant relationship when he was alive. I’m surprised I didn’t dream of my grandma at all this month during this terribly short and terribly long process. Last night I did dream a short tiny dream though. In it, she sent a birthday card to my mom—we knew in the dream she’d wanted to make sure my mom still got a card on her birthday (my mom turns 60 next month)—the card came with $20 in it and it was in a homemade envelope. She hadn’t wanted to ask anyone to get her an envelope, so she’d made her own. That was it. Not the enlightening “message” sort of dream I imagine, but at least I had one! More photos and additional thoughts are on my other blog.

Go in peace478397_10200265613655357_366752492_o
go in love
and go knowing that you have left behind
something beautiful
something marvelous
something that matters
The fabric of a life well-lived
the hearth of a family well-tended
the heart of a community strengthened
and a never-ending chain of women
unbroken.

You’re our Mamoo
You’re our grandmother
and we say goodbye
and thank you.

Sink deeply
and gently
into the arms and lap
of time
the great mother of us all

She holds you now.
We let go.

Tonight I went down to the woods at sunset, which seemed fitting. I finished my memorial sculptures earlier in the day and so I took pictures of them there on the rocks. Later, we went back outside to go for a walk and I saw the nearly-full moon rising, so I ran back down to experience the fairly-rare occurrence of a sunset-moonrise, something that is hard to photograph because they take place in opposite directions.

April 2013 003

Generations sculpture

April 2013 009

Sculpture using a rock I found in the woods.

April 2013 024

Sunset

April 2013 012

April 2013 032

Moonrise

April 2013 016

Categories: art, blessings, death, family, poems, sculpture, womanspirit | 5 Comments

Woodspriestess: Sabbath Prayer

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Prayer
sweet wind carry it
stone hold it
earth receive it.

Root it
in my flesh
where the fire of my spirit
may ignite it.

Hopeful
graceful
patient
purposeful

Prayer.
Of love
of service
of indwelling joy.

(4/1/2013)

This weekend I went out-of-town for a faculty conference and so I missed making a woodsvisit for the first time this year! Unavoidable, but it still felt disappointing to have to let go of my record. I have several other overnight engagements coming up during the year, so this is the first of several woods absences. I collected some items for a little travel altar and on Thursday I took it to the woods with me to kind of set up a “link.”

20130407-165018.jpgMy Statement of Faith sculpture is made from a rock from the woods, so in a sense I brought the woods/rocks with me and then “visited” them in the hotel room on Friday morning before heading out to my conference 🙂

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I have more I’d like to say, but I’m really overwhelmed with work to catch up on and I just can’t spend the time on writing right now. So, I offer what I have to offer. May I recognize that I’m enough.

Categories: nature, poems, prayers, sabbath, sculpture, theapoetics, womanspirit, woodspriestess | Leave a comment

Woodspriestess: Bonewind

Winter chill 20130325-152907.jpg
bone wind
settling in
sinking deep

Biting
frosty air
cold stone
bone wind.

(2/6/13)

This surprising second winter continues. The ground is snow-covered. The air is frosty. When I went to the woods this afternoon, I thought of some bonewind observations from some cold days last month. Yesterday, when I went to the woods it was snowing sharply enough that I couldn’t face forward on the rocks, but had to turn to the side, to keep cold snow from hitting me straight in the face. I finished a variety of new sculptures this weekend, but I knew it would be too cold to photograph all of them, so I just brought down a couple. I made two new figures with rocks. As I’ve said before, I don’t do this often, just when the rock seems “given” to me. The smaller white stone was laying out on the moss like a gift when I went out to take a picture of my first Crone sculpture. It caught my eye because the rock has a “foot” that looks like it is stepping out/stepping forward and I thought again of my reader commenting on needing a sculpture of a Crone going back to school—so, when I made this one, that is what I was thinking of. She’s casting off things she no longer needs, she’s gathering her energy at her core, she’s finding her balance, and she’s stepping out into a new direction 🙂

20130325-152858.jpgI didn’t plan it this way, but it ends up that the two new rock goddesses look like they could hold hands.

20130325-152917.jpgAnd, I’ll write more specifically about these later, but my little girl was asking and asking me to make a “Daddy Goddess” for her the last time I was making sculptures. So, I did. When I showed my husband, I said, “this is a different spin on a Trinity,” and he said, “and it is one that actually makes sense.” I was pleased with them.

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Categories: art, nature, sculpture, spirituality, woodspriestess | 1 Comment

Woodspriestess: She is Crone

March 2013 107Crone
Wise woman
Sage woman
Grandmother

Her cloak of many colors
Is woven from the threads
Of a million stories
Part of the fiber of her being

Her righteous anger is carried
In the soles of her feet
No longer apologetic
She walks with purpose

Like water upon rock
Time has made its mark
Left its patterns on her body
Carved her away
To her most essential self

Around her waist she gathers
Her girdle of power
She holds her wise blood
Her cells imprinted
With the memories and potential
Of a thousand generations
Children have written upon her body
And she carries it well

These breasts have fed
The world
These shoulders have borne
Heavy burdens
These hips have cradled infants
Have carried children
And danced with friends and lovers

She who changes
She cannot be pinned down
Her multicolored cloak
Shifts its pattern in the breeze
Carrying the voices
And the wisdom of the years

She wraps her cloak of stories around her
Scoops up dreams with wide arms
Tilts her face to the sky
Whispers a blessing on the wind

She picks up her staff of memory
She sings the song of experience
And she takes another step
In the river of time…

I hoped to have more time to write tonight and to expand my thoughts on the Crone. I’ve been wanting to make a new sculpture ever since a reader posted and asked if I’ve ever made a Crone sculpture for someone going back to school. I’m also on the Crone lesson in my Triple Goddess class at OSC, a class that encourages explorations of the triple goddess archetypes through creative expression rather than more academic discourse (the academic discourse came in the Introduction to Thealogy class—the hardest class I’ve had so far!). Late last night after I had such a sucky day, I picked up a rock off the bookshelf and went to toss it outside because it didn’t belong there. It had been colored on by children and had a little face on it and scales. As I held it though and realized it could be stood on edge, I found one remaining scrap of clay in my almost empty box and I made my Crone. Her cloak is supposed to be a bit like butterfly wings, thinking of the menopause metamorphosis described in Women’s Rites of Passage. I purposely left the child-drawn monster face on the bottom exposed, because, she has been written upon by children, was the first line to come to mind when I saw that. And, it makes me smile, because it is like her little secret.

March 2013 106

As I worked on her I kept singing…

 Old and strong

She goes on and on and on…

Then, tonight I got some bad news about my own grandmother and it made me think that perhaps I’d actually been writing and sculpting for her without knowing it yet.
March 2013 099

March 2013 105 And, finally, in the not-too-understood augurs from the woods, I found these stones lined up just like this went I went down to the woods to take photos of my Crone. Kind of a Triple Goddess right there, right?!

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Categories: art, nature, poems, readings, sculpture, theapoetics, woodspriestess | 3 Comments

Woodspriestess: Echoes of Mesopotamia

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Custom sculpture for a Facebook follower 🙂

 

Echoes of Mesopotamia
small figures from ancient places
ancient times
and ancient faces
ancient words
and ancient wisdom
still flowing in my veins

Clay in my hands
clay in her hands
running on the rivers of time
spiraling in the mysteries of being
spinning in the eddies and ripples of eternity

I have a strong emotional connection to Paleolithic and Neolithic Goddess sculptures. I do not find that I feel as personally connected to Egyptian and Greek and Roman Goddess imagery, but the ancient figures really speak to something powerful within me. I have a sculpture of the Goddess of Willendorf at a central point on my altar. Sometimes I hold her and wonder and muse about who carved the original. I almost feel a thread that reaches out and continues to connect us to that nearly lost past—all the culture and society and how very much we don’t know about early human history. There is such a solid power to these early figures and to me they speak of the numinous, non-personified, Great Goddess.

What were they thinking? Those ancient woman who transformed stone into potent and enduring images of the Goddess. Who crafted with their hands, something that persisted for 5,000, 10,000, 15, 000, 20,000, 30,000 years. Images so compelling that they reach across time, space, and understanding to say hello. Who made them and what was she thinking? Who am I and what am I thinking? Perhaps it is encoded in the layers of our being. Carrying on a legacy. The next link in a chain that spans the centuries and that is beyond the reach of history.

During our last women’s circle meeting we talked about our personal cultural histories and we began work on “sacred bundles” that we will continue to add to throughout the year-long course. I added photos of my ancestors, a fossilized stone shell, (because the Earth itself represents the shared cultural history of us all!), and one of my own Goddess sculptures and I tied the bundle with a Goddess of Willendorf necklace. I surprised myself by bursting into tears when I tried to explain the significance of my items, feeling the swift swirl of time and how those grandmothers in my pictures are now gone, but they were people, just like me. I also shared about the deep connection I feel to the land I live on and how my parents moved here in the 1970’s, so maybe this isn’t really where I “come from,” but that this is where my blood and roots belong. I continued crying as I described how when I sculpt my little figures, I feel like I’m part of an unbroken chain that stretches back at least 35,000 years, from the person who carved the Willendorf Goddess, all the way down to me with my rocks and clay. Later that week, my dad said he needed to talk to me and he shared that in our family history it is really only HIM who “broke the chain” of being “from” this exact patch of the Earth, here in Missouri. He was actually the only member of his side of the family in a long time who wasn’t born here and that, in truth, six generations of my family were born, lived, and died within a 25 mile radius of this very hillside that I find so meaningful. He said that he feels like his blood called him back here and he returned to this land as a young man and raised his own children here because it called so powerfully (I was born one mile from where I now live). So, he said, no wonder you feel like this is your cultural heritage and where you belong. Your lineage is right here, right where you like to be.

When I was taking a Goddess history class at OSC, I wrote the following about the common use of red ochre on Goddess figures:

As I saw the slideshow and reflected on goddess figures I have known and loved, I was suddenly struck by the realization that the walls of my home are, in a sense, colored with red ochre. We live in a straw bale house and the walls are plastered with an earthen plaster that include the red Missouri “clay dirt” that is a feature of the Ozarks region in which I live. The clay is red because of iron oxide, which is what red ochre is defined as. I looked at the Goddess of Willendorf on my altar and at her rich reddish color that exactly matches the shade of the earth on my bedroom walls. No wonder I feel such a deep, personal connection to these ancient figures—quite literally, some part of me identifies Her with home!

Last month when I shared a photo of some of my Goddess sculptures on Facebook, someone left a comment saying simply: Echoes of Mesopotamia. And, I really liked that.

Goddesscraft. 20130311-153757.jpg
Womancraft.
Lifecraft.
Who molds who?
Who sculpts who?
Is it just one beautiful dance
of exuberant co-creation?

Expansive memory,
silent witness,
inner wisdom,
embodied connection
solid space
all twisted together
in an incredible tapestry
of time
culture
power
and life.

Today, in the woods, I carried some of the sculptures I’ve made recently and am getting ready to ship to their new homes and I offered this prayer for them:

In this place of elemental peace 20130311-153846.jpg
with the earth, stone, trees, sky
as my witnesses
I bless, dedicate, and consecrate
these sculptures.

May they go forth
in wisdom
love
grace
and peace

May they bring a message
may they carry with them
the loving intention
with which they were birthed
and may they go forward
to speak to those who need to hear from
to enter the hands and homes of other women
with love, joy, power, and connection

May they recall deep wisdom of deep places
bright kindness
of bright spaces
and may they be just
what another woman needs

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Categories: art, blessings, Goddess, nature, OSC, prayers, sculpture, spirituality, theapoetics, womanspirit, women's circle, woodspriestess | 6 Comments

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