RECOVERING HER STORY: FEMINIST ARTISTS RECLAIM THE GREAT GODDESS BY GLORIA FEMAN ORENSTEIN

RECOVERING HER STORY:

FEMINIST ARTISTS RECLAIM THE

GREAT GODDESS BY GLORIA FEMAN ORENSTEIN

Cynthia Mailman. Self-Portrait as God from Sister Chapel. 1977. Acrylic on canvas, 60x 108′. Collection the artist

In her most recent book, The Creation of Feminist Consciousness: From The /Middle Ages to 18701 feminist historian Gerda Lerner argues that throughout Western history female mystics such as Hildegard of Bingen (twelfth century), women in the Cathar (eleventh-twelfth centuries), Beguine (twelfth-thirteenth centuries), anti Shaker (Ann Lee, founder 1736-84) movements as well as many secular female visionaries like Margery Kempe (c. 1373-1438), constitute a long matrilineage of women who, through powerful mystical visions anti divine revelations, ac­ quired the authority to challenge the sexism anti misogyny of their own patriarchal societies and religions. Lerner traces womens biblical commentary and criticism from Hildegard of Bingen and Christine de Pisan through Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Matilda Joslyn Gages The Woman’s Bible.- Her conclusion is that

women were denied knowledge of their history, and thus each woman had to argue as though no woman before her had ever thought or written. Women had to use their energy to reinvent the wheel, over and over again, generation after generation Men argued with the giants that preceded them; women ar­ gued against the oppressive weight of millennia of patriarchal thought, which denied them authority, even humanity, and when they had to argue they argued with the “great men” of the fast, deprived of the empowerment, strength, and knowl­ edge women of the fast could have offered them.3

The revelations of these female mystics often contained vi­ sions of a feminine aspect of the divinity or of a divine female, such as Sophia (the female aspect of God representing wisdom, or the Goddess of Wisdom), They also included images of the Church its Mother, and they frequently conceited of a holistic spirituality in which heaven and earth were linked, and spirit and nature were no longer antithetical. In retrospect it now seems evident, as Gerda Lerner noted, that “the concept of the divine female, Great Goddess, protreatrix, goddess of life and death, continued to inspire women 2,000 years after her pass­ ing. Despite all the gender indoctrination anti the intense pressure towards submissiveness, women, obsessed or rational, wrote themselves into the story of redemption.”4

The female Goddess artists of the 1970s both participate in and expand upon this tradition. However, it is interesting to consider the fact that the movement to reclaim the Goddess in our own time began specifically with artistic anti archaeological rather than mystical expression. The two most important schol­ arly voices of the seventies, women whose works have grounded and launched our contemporary feminist approach to the study of the pre-patriarchal Goddess civilization in archaeology and history, were Marija Gimbutas and Merlin Stone. Merlin Stone had been a sculptor, and she hits often told the story of how she uncovered the material that later became her groundbreaking book When God Was A Woman.5 She had been looking for art- historical images of powerful female forms, which led her to the discovery of the Paleolithic Goddesses such as the Venus of Willendorf, and then took her on a quest for other Goddess im­ ages in pre-patriarchal cultures. Marija Gimbutas’s archaeo­ logical studies have given the highest scientific authority to our

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knowledge of ancient Goddess civilization. Her book, originally published in 1974 with the title The Gods and Goddesses of Old Europe: 7000 to 3500 B.C., Myths, Legends, and Call Images,6 provided a full iconographic lexicon of pre-patriarchal images and symbols.7

The examples of these two pioneer women scholars, whose works served to reclaim the Goddess within a feminist “herstori- tal”8 context, indicate that art is a potent transmitter of knowl­ edge. We ate further reminded that in oral and primal cultures lacking a written language, knowledge was always conveyed through the arts.

The contemporary feminist movement to reclaim the God­ dess through the arts is thus to he understood as embedded both within a larger “herstory” of women’s historical critique of patriarchal religions and within a pre-patriarchal herstorical context of women’s artistic creativity through representations of powerful female figures in nature, on stone, in caves, and in clay. These images contain a vital “herstory” of women’s relation to the sacred and to the secular dimensions of their worlds. Il was, however, the artistic visions of Merlin Stone and Marija Gimbutas that eventually reinterpreted the meaning of these an­ cient, artistic images for us historically and archaelologyically, making them accessible and meaningful to contemporary femi­ nist artists of the 1970s. Thus, the reclamation of the Goddess in art is situated in the heart of the second wave of the feminist movement (1970s to the present) its well as within the newly de­ veloping field of women’s studies scholarship.

Although our Western herstorical foremothers from Hil- degard of Bingen to Elizabeth Cady Stanton created feminist commentaries, critiques, and images in response to the divine or the sacred as it was inscribed and defined within patriarchal his­ tory, the 1970s were the first time dial women’s artistic creations self-consciously extended beyond the patriarchal art-histor ical parameters and references, and reclaimed matristic visual mod­ els and materials from as far hack as the Upper Paleolithic and the Neolithic eras.9 I hits, the meaning of these early Goddess works by women artists of the 1970s must he lead against the Western herstorical background of a powerful tradition of women mystics, heretics, and visionaries, as well its con­ textualized within it movement that lot the first time directed its energy and power toward self-consciously creating an art that would reimagine what it might have been like to he female, and to experience e one’s body, mind, spirit, and soul free of all the fetters imposed upon women by Western patriarchal religions.”’

In California, the Goddess art movement explored ancient Goddess civilizations via history and archaeology, uncovering knowledge of such early Goddess figurines as the Venus of Willendorf (25,000 B.C.), the Venus of Lespugne (25,000- 18,000 B.C.), the Bird-Headed Snake Goddess (Africa, 4,000 B.C . and Crete, 1600 B.C,), and the Venus of Laussel (29,999 B.C.). It was also a quest lor the presence of Goddess energy. This might he manifested in nonhuman nature, in the cosmos, and in our female bodies, both at ancient sacred sites where the God­ dess was once worshipped, as well as in our minds when they entered an altered state of consciousness in which past-life memories could be accessed.

In New York, the context of the reclamation of the Goddess

in art was, to a large extent, colored by the rediscovery of Jung’s concept of the archetype of the Great Goddess. The word archetype was freely used in those days, and it had been taken from Erich Neumann’s discussion of jungian ideas about the ar­ chetype of the Great Goddess in his book The Great Mother: An Analysis of The Archetype.11 Jungian psychology had posited that the Great Mother represents the feminine in the human psyche, and that archetypes are internal images that exist in the collec­ tive unconscious and are at work in the psyche everywhere. I then used archetype in the title of my first article for the (neat Goddess issue of Heresies (Spring 1978), “The Re-emergence of The Archetype of the Great Goddess in Art by Contemporary Women,” because I had also come to believe that the archetype of the Great Goddess was emerging in the universal psyche at that moment in history.

As a critic, I, too, espoused the Jungian hypothesis because, at the time, I had no other theoretical framework within which to interpret the Goddess images I was encountering in feminist art of the seventies, and also because many of the artists I inter- viewed plat ed their works within this context. The Jungian interpretation, which predated Goddess scholarship, lent an in­ tellectual legitimacy to the powerful female images that women were painting, sculpting, and drawing. In other words, while art and historical research could perhaps explain why certain artists were inspired by these newly rediscovered Goddess images, only the Jungian hypothesis seemed to explain why women artists who had never read about the Goddess before were suddenly dreaming about and creating images that tallied with the an- cient forms and symbols of the Goddess that appeared in pre- patriarchal cultures.

,

Surrealist artist Leonora Carrington, who became a friend in the early 1970s and whose art I had studied, had a great af­ finity for the works of Jung, as opposed to those of Freud. Indeed, when I began to analyze her paintings within a Jungian perspective that included an understanding both of alchemical symbology as well as of the archetype of the Goddess, I was at last able to interpret her otherwise cryptic and mysterious paint- ings in ways that revealed important and inspiring feminist meanings. But Leonora Carrington was not the only artist dur­ ing that time who spoke to me about Jung.

Buffie Johnson also told me that since the late 1940s her work had been influenced by the Jungian concept of the collec­ tive unconscious.12 Her paintings evoke mythic memories and archetypal images from ancient civilizations such as the Minoan civilization of Crete, where the Great Goddess was once levered. The titles and subjects of Johnson’s paintings, such as Labrys, 1972, are often symbolic of the knits of nature that were sacred in the worship of the Great Goddess of Crete. Several of Johnson’s works contain specific references to the aspect of the Great Goddess known as Mistress of the Beasts and Lack of the- Plants. In Ariadne (Barley Mother), 1971, the Goddess of Vegeta­ tion is depicted in the image of a gentle rain-flow of a skin of long-grain bailey. Pasiphae, 1976, combines the image of the iris (the sacred Lily of Crete), with a bovine head and leaves that be­ come the horns of the bull (as in The Horns of Consecration at Knossos). All these Cretan mythic resonances show the ways in which contemporary artists may use ancient Goddess memories

170 CHAUFNGING MODE RNISM THE F ACE TS OF F FMINIST ART

 

 

to transform our perception of the natural world from pa­ triarchal to matristic. The paintings complete the regeneration process by stimulating memory in the psyches of those viewers who now learn to perceive the bull-in-the-lily) (in the composite image painted by Johnson) in a matrislic way. The viewer will then, presumably, begin to summon up other mythic memories of the Cretan Goddess civilization once the unconscious has been thus awakened.

Architect Mimi Lobell, working with two other women, one a Jungian, designed a Goddess Temple that expressed the themes of initiation and rebirth into a Goddess religion. The temple was considered to be the externalization of an archetypal structure that exists within the psyche. Its eventual site was to be a mountainous region near Aspen, Colorado, and it was con­ ceived of as analogous to the body of the Great Goddess through which the initiate would pass in a ceremony of transfor­ mation. According to Lobell “To go through the temple will be to experience an initiation into the mysteries of the feminine and activate a prelogical consciousness.”13

In the 1970s Donna Henes was making process environ­ mental sculptures based upon Spider Woman from the Navajo Emergence Myth. Jungian writer Sheila Moon, in her study of the Navajo Emergence Myth, has said that Spider Woman is “the protective feminine objectivity. Spider Woman is the unobtrusive but powerful archetype of fate—not in the sense of determi­ nism, but in the sense of the magical law of one’s own gravity, which leads always beyond itself towards wholeness.”14 Donna Henes also performed a yearly winter solstice ritual celebration entitled Reverence to Her: A Chant To Invoke the Female Forces of the Universe Present in All People. Since, according to Erich Neu­ mann, it is at the winter solstice that “the Great Mother gives birth to the Sun, who is Her Son, and stands at the center of the matriarchal mysteries,”15 Henes’s participatory chant invoked the Great Goddess as the archetypal principle of female power. (Sec also Withers, page 163.)

Feminists of the nineties, reflecting upon the ways in which some American, white, middle-class female artists used images from ancient and indigenous cultures in their own works, might be led to conclude that these artists were appropriating images from tribal peoples and foreign cultures, and making them their own in ways that today might be considered a form of cultural imperialism. However, I would argue that within the context of the notion of Jungian archetypes in the collective unconscious as it was understood in the early seventies (a period of pioneering and exploratory research in women’s studies done in the absence of a feminist multicultural theory), many artists and scholars tended to believe that this collective unconscious was equally ac­ cessible to anyone, anywhere, and that the images thus inspired or created transcended all patriarchal cultural barriers. Indeed, it was believed that via these images all oppressed women (whether oppressed by class, race, or ethnic origin, for example) could reconnect with an ancient primal female forte emanating from these symbols, which would charge them with a specifically female energy (known as “gynergy”). This gynergic force would then bring together in a new harmony women who had pre­ viously been separated from each other by patriarchally constructed divisions such as class and race.

It seems to me that these artists of the seventies were actu­ ally searching for specific matrislic symbols (such as the web) that could become universalized in order to replace the icons of a hegemonic, patriarchal religion (such as the cross) with those of a universal matrislic and holistic spirituality.16 In the 1970s, Goddess artists such as Ana Mendieta, Mary Beth Edelson, Ur­ sula Kavanagh, Betsy Damon, Monica Sjoo, and Donna Henes reclaimed such forms as the spiral, the labyrinth, the egg, the circle, crescents, horns, quatrefoils, disks, coils, meanders, lozenges, concentric circles, the labyris, the earth mound, and the serpent from pre-patriarchal Goddess art. They then ele­ vated these symbols to a quasi-universal inatristic status, interpreting them as symbols and aspects of a unified Goddess culture, rather than seeing them as cross-culturally diverse.

In the seventies, women artists reclaiming the Goddess were looking for a unity beyond the pluralism of culturally specific symbols. It was important to them to learn that Goddesses once existed everywhere, and that their presence tended, on the whole, to give women higher status in their societies. At the time, feminists did not realize that this retrieval of a worldwide Goddess civilization was largely being done by white, middle- class, Western women and for the sake of what some have called an “essentialist” theory17 until it was pointed out to them. As with other feminist art of the seventies, women were looking for forms and themes that showed female bodies as strong, and that depicted women in positions of power, both socially and spir­ itually. While this pursuit may be viewed as simplistic today, in the nineties, it was revolutionary in the seventies. The aesthetic questions asked at the time sought a universal female response to the inquiry about whether there is a specifically female art or a specifically female iconography. The questions that were then posed in feminist art-historical research sought to use data from diverse cultures to prove that the Great Goddess, whether arche­ type or historical reality, was the original female image of the Creator of all life, and that the multiplicity of different Goddess images found in different cultures simply illustrated her many varied aspects. There was, in my opinion, an important feminist political motive in the way that the Goddess art of the 1970s ig­ nored cultural specificity and transgressed many historic and geographic boundaries by importing, transporting, and trans­ planting images freely, and by using them as universal symbols for a notion of “Womankind”, understood archetypal!)’, as if such a general concept could unite women from around the world in a global revolution against patriarchal oppression.

An example of contemporary Goddess images that tran­ scend specificity is the work of Anne Heal). Her White Gothless, 1972, and Hecate, 1972, depict flowing sculptural forms made of nylon fabric and aluminum bars (to delineate the form over which the fabric flows); both are suggestive and evocative, rather than culture-specific. They refer to the light and dark as­ pects of a universal Goddess. While their titles give mythological substance to the forms, the sculptures themselves are like spirits, and can fly in the wind or bend and turn according to the sur­ rounding air currents. These works indicate the spiritual nature of an all-embracing Goddess.

While feminist Goddess art of the eighties and the nineties has come to be closely linked to ecological themes and to Earth

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Buffie Johnson. Labrys. 1972. Oil on linen, 68 x 96″ Collection the artist

Art, because of the growing awareness of the ecological devasta- tion of our planet, Goddess art of the seventies was primarily focused on the Goddess as a symbol of women’s lost herstory and as a path for women to recover their lost spiritual power.

For if the theory of the collective unconscious is true, this infor- mation and these experiences are not only located in the deeps trata of rock and earth, in the deepest strata of pre-patriarchal herstory, but also in the deepest strata of the minds, spirits, souls, and bodies of all women, everywhere, who ultimately de­ cend in time from this ancient matristic matrilineage.

Marija Gimbutas’s book, The Gods and Goddesses of Old Eu- rope, presented the first archaeological evidence that Neolithic Europe (6500-3500 B.C.) the Great Goddess Creatress was wor- sihipped for thousands of years primarily in two aspects: as Cosmogonic Creator and source of all life (Fertility Goddess, Mother Goddess, Goddess of Vegetation and Creation), and as Goddess of Life, Death, and Regeneration (Moon Goddess), in- corporating the cycles of light as well as the cycles of darkness- the symbol of all renewing and becoming.18 In my earliest stud- ies of contemporary feminist Goddess art I began to observe that the new Goddess artworks fell into the same two categories as the ancient ones. In the aspect of Cosmogonic Creator, Source of all Life and Fertility, were the painted and sculpted artworks by artists such as Ursula Kavanagh, Judy Chicago, Betty La Duke, Judy Baca, Nancy Azara, Yolanda M. Lopez, Ghila Hirsch, Anne Healy, Jovette Marchessault, Betye Saar, and Leonora Carrington. In the aspect of Life, Death and Regenera­ tion that dealt with the cycles, both cosmic and historical, were works based upon ritual, ceremony, performance, and journey

by artists such as Mary Beth Edelson, Betsy Damon, Donna Henes, Jane Ellen Gilmore, Beth Ames Swartz, Kyra, Susan Schwalb, and The Waitresses performance art group.

While it seems more than coincidental that the contempo­ rary artworks should fall into the same categories as the ancient ones, the reasons for this can be attributed to the influence of the hooks by Merlin Stone, Marija Gimbutas, and other pioneer­ ing feminist scholars upon these contemporary women artists, as well as a Jungian explanation that would posit the re-emergence of the archetype of the Goddess in the human psyche. As a pro- fesssor of women’s studies I would prefer to think that the nourishing of Goddess imagery in these contemporary works was the direct result of historical, social, and political changes brought about by the Women’s Liberation Movement in conjunc­ tion with women’s studies scholarship. Many of the artists that I interviewed who did not place their works in a Jungian pet spec- live cited studies, travels to Goddess sites, readings, and scholarship as the immediate sources of inspiration and influ­ ence upon their Goddess works. The research engaged in by the group of women who worked on Judy Chicago’s Dinner Party Project illustrates the importance of scholarship. These feminist researchers came up with the subjects for the plates used in The Dinner Party, among which were The Primordial Goddess, The Fertile Goddess, and The Eye Goddess. Yet, while a simple academic approach might decide in favor of it material explana­ tion of the influence of the new feminist data in the social, historical, political, and archaeological sciences, it is also possible that because the Goddess symbolizes a spiritual mythos and ethos, the latent force unleashed by the discovery of the repres-

17B CHAI L.t. NGING MOOERNISM THE FACETS OF FEMINIST ART

 

 

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Josette Marchessault Plant Mother, 1975. Wood, plaster, acrylic and raffia, 5′ 5″. Collection the artist

Donna Hanes. Pocono Web (Spider Woman Series), 1976. Cotton, 8x8x8′. Site installation at Mountain Home, California. Photograph by artist

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Mary Beth Edelson. Goddess Head (Calling Series). 1975 Photograph, collage, and china markers, 40 x 40″ Documentation of a private ritual performed at Montauk, Long Island. Collect on the artist

Mary Beth Edelson. “See for Yourself,” from Grapceva Cave. 1977. Photograph. Collection the artist

 

 

sion of this image in patriarchal civilization might also have generated a powerful psychic effect resulting in the return of the repressed in our time via dreams. Most probably it was the confluence of these two phenomena that contributed to the de­ velopment of this movement in the arts in the seventies. Thus, we are led to a synergistic explanation of the origins of this sev­ enties art movement.

However, once women artists became conscious of this an­ cient material as it appeared both in their research and in their dreams, they self-consciously set about creating a symbolic vo­ cabulary based upon the pre-patriarchal signs and symbols revealed in the Gunbutas material, where the constellations of motifs and forms linked to the pre-Indo-European mythology included the Serpent Goddess, the Bird Goddess, the Eye God­ dess, the Primordial Egg, the butterfly, caves, labyrinths, grains, rivers, pottery, horns, bull, labyris, the uplifted arms of the Cretan Goddess, and assorted spirals, zigzags, moons, lozenges, disks, animals, and female forms. These sy mbols can also be di­ vided into two categories: natural symbols referring to fertility, sexuality, plant and animal life, and the cosmos; and symbols as­ sociated with specifically female contributions to the creation of culture such as weav ing, cooking, pottery, agriculture, healing, and the arts.

Because of their pre-tcchnological nature, ancient Goddess or “matristic” symbols—displaying the talents, powers, creativity, and important cultural contributions made by women of the past—have been omitted from the patriarchal record of history. These symbols also re-create an animistic vision that reveals the existence of a vital spiritual energy or life-force inherent in all matter. The works that fall into the second category of the Cy­ cles of Life, Death, and Regeneration manifest vital animistic energies in dynamic aesthetic forms that often invite audience participation.

COSMOGONIC CREATOR, EARTH MOTHER, FERTILITY

One of the most prolific Goddess artists from the 1970s is Ur­ sula Kavanagh, who came to the United States from Ireland and who participated in the early Goddess movement in the arts in Chicago. Kavanagh now lives and works in New York, and spends each summer in Ireland making Goddess earthworks and stone circles for rituals near the sea.

Kavanagh’s art establishes a symbolic language and a ma­ tristic iconography relating to a wide variety of Goddess cultures and to numerous sacred sites that she visited. An exam­ ple from her archaeology scries is Crete, 1979, in which she depicts stone and ceramic fragments bearing images of the God­ dess and the Priestess of the Minoan culture. The colors she employs restore the vibrancy and rhythm of a matristic life wherein gestures of dance, offering, and joy were experienced by the women of Minoan Crete. Kavanagh’s work teaches us how a woman archaeologist might draw certain gy nocentric10 conclusions about womens roles in ancient cultures, with only shards and chips of stone or ceramic from which to extrapolate.

In the early seventies, New York artist Mary Beth Edelson

pioneered Goddess works by using her own body in photo­ graphs taken of poses with her arms uplifted as a stand-in for Evcrywoman receiving Goddess energy from the cosmos. The gesture of uplifted arms soon became a popular feminist symbol of matristic spiritual empowerment. It is inspired by the figu­ rines of the Cretan Goddess of the Minoan culture and from the Bird-headed Snake Goddess from Egypt. In Nobody Messes With Her, 1973, Edelson draws in the Goddess wings of energy that spiritually empowered women will acquire as they reclaim their ancient sacred relationships to nature and culture. Edelson’s work in the seventies also addressed the second aspect of the Great Goddess—the Cycles of Life, Death, and Regeneration. Her installation and ritual entitled Your 5,000 Years Are Up, 1977, held at the Mandeville Gallery of the University of Califor­ nia in La Jolla, and her piece Memorial to the 9,000,000 Women Burned as Witches in the Christian Era, 1977 (A.I.R. Gallery’, New York) commemorate the cy cles of history in which women who worshipped the Goddess were crucified for their heretical beliefs. Her fire circles and fire ladders made these events into ceremonies about the exorcism of the pain of patriarchal history, and they also illuminated the hidden cy cles of female empower­ ment in Goddess civilizations, which the women in the audience could then reclaim. In See For Yourself (Grapfeva Cave: Memo­ rial Pilgrimage), 1977, Edelson documented her journey to the Grapfeva cave on Hvar Island in Yugoslavia. She sat in a fire ring in the Neolithic cave on Hvar Island, where the Goddess was once revered, and photographed herself in meditation. An unexpected energy flare can be seen in the photo on the right, suggesting that the photo might have captured a trace of the Goddess’s spiritual presence in the cave during Edelson’s cere­ mony. In this work Mary Beth Edelson attempted to experience what it must have felt like to be a w’orshipper of the Goddess during the Neolithic era, when people crawled into caves to per­ form their sacred ceremonies.

Los Angeles Chicana artist Judy Baca painted Califia in 1976, which is based upon the legend of the Amazon Califia for whom California was named. This work is Baca’s v ision of the beginning of the world. Califia’s body is webbed with venal and arterial networks that become her roots in the earth and that grow into her flowering branched arms, reaching up to the sky. In this image the Amazon woman is a Goddess Creatress of all life. She is powerful, she radiates the life-force, and she mediates between heaven and earth, between human and nonhuman na­ ture. All that lives emanates from her fertile, creative energy.

Quebecoise artist and writer Jovette Marchessauit sculpted Telluric Women: Women of Hope and Resurrection in the seven­ ties, and she participated in a group show in New York as well as in the New York Woman’s Salon for Literature,20 where her visual art as well as her literary texts created an important link between the Goddess artists of Quebec and the U.S. Her sculp­ ture Plant Mother portrays The Great Mother of Vegetation. Made of materials found in piles of rubbish, Plant Mother exemplifies the recycling of materials as an alchemical process transforming primal matter into a matristic image of feminine spiritual enlightenment. Plant Mother wears branches on her head, which receive and transmit Goddess energies to and from the universe. They serve as her “arms uplifted,” her radar an-

 

 

Yolanda M. L6pez. “Portra t of the Art st as Virg n of Guadaupe” from Guadalupe Triptych. 1973 Oil pastel on paper, 22 x 30″. Collection the artist

Betye Saar. Voo Doo Lady with Three Dice. 1977. Mixed meda collage on fabric, IOVjX 10’//. Collection the art st

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Nancy Azara. About the Goddess, Kali, for Pamela Otine. 1979. Oiled and bleached willow, cherry, black locust, maple and fir; height, 7′.

Anne Gau din (left) and Denise Yarf’tz (center) in The Waitress Goddess Diana, First performed n Venice Beach, Caifornia, 1978. Photograph by Maria Karras

 

 

tennae, showing us there is no distinction between spirit and mutter, for the brunches of a tree can become the receptors ol spiritual messages,

An tit list known for the multiplicity ol het poetic render­ ings of Goddess images from a wide variety ol cultures is Betty La Duke, a professor of art at Southern Oregon State University in Ashland, Oregon. Her many travels to Goddess-levering cul­ tures have fueled her shamanic vision. In Iter depictions of the Ur Mothers of all cultures. La Duke shows how die Great Chain of Being—animal, vegetable and human—and the cycles of life, death, and rebirth are incarnated in the bodies of humble women, seen as epiphanies of the Great Goddess around the globe. Her X-ray, clairvoyant renderings show us how animal, plant, and human life How through each other, and are com­ posed of spiritual energies and material substances from many parts of the world and from many cultures.

Chicana artist Yolanda M. Lopez projected die images ofthree generations of women (het grandmother, Victoria E Eranco, her mother, Matgaret E Stewart, and hersell) onto the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, who is at once a woman of color and the Virgin Mary. I he Virgin of Guadalupe is the Patroness of Mexico, and she is understood as the idealized Mother, The Great Mother. In het sell-portrait as ‘I he Virgin of Guadalupe, Lopez, depicts herself as an athlete—a runner wear­ ing sneakers and the cloak of the Virgin—and she carries a serpent in het hand, thus brandishing the serpent grower of the taiddess. Her mother, a seamstress, sits at her sewing machine stitching het cloak of the heavens. Her divine aura radiates pow­ erful spiritual forces. Contrary to the tendency of most other Goddess artists of the seventies, Lopez has always worked within the Chicano cultural context, and has located her Goddess im ages within a specific ethnic , national, and religious heritage. Her work at once questions the nicism of the Roman Catholic ( luuch, whose image of the Virgin Mary is white, while it also celebrates the spiritual powers, the athletic prowess, and the skills of ordinary contemporary women, w ho are created in the image of the Goddess, (he female aspect of the divine Creator.

African-American artist Betye Saar created images of black female power by delving deeply into the religious prac­ tices of Africa and Haiti. Saai resurrects images of the Black taiddess, the voodoo Priestess, and the Queen of Witches. Lot Saar, contempoiarv black women are all incarnations oftlie Black Goddess.

One of the Inst sculptors whose work dealt with the GcmI- dess, and continues to do so todav, is New York artist Nancy Azara, who is also a visionary and a psychic healer. Nancy Azara actually sees the spiritual energy’ fields surrounding all living things. Her works carved in wood and painted in led and gold leaf make visible the physical fled) and the spiritual (gold) enetgies dial traverse all that lives. Using wood as her primary medium, Azara’s Goddess Trees of Life, such as About the (lorl- c/c’.w. Kali, h» Pamela Oliiie, 1977, reveal the female forms of the many breasted goddess in abstract symbolic sculptures. I liese works also relate to the ancient image of Diana of Ephesus, and inspire us to see her as a Goddess Tree of Life as well as a source of healing.

Exploring Goddess imagery within the Jewish tiadilion are

Gilah Yelin Hirsch and Beth Vines Swartz, who have both been inspired hv the Shekinah of the Cabala. According to scholar Geishont Scholem, the foremost authority on die Kabbalah, the Shekinah was the feminine element of God. 1-lirsch‘s work in­ volves the Ain Soph (divine essence or divine thought in the Kabbalah), and she uses the Ain Soph as the DNA spiral weav­ ing it within the woman’s hotly, so that the sacred Word is born in the womb of woman. In her wotk the female both becomes the temple oftlie soul. In 1977 Beth Ames Swartz did both a Gabala Series and a Ibrali Scroll Series based upon the Shekinah. In 1978 she worked on her Luge project, Israel lie- visitnl, in which she honored ten women from Jewish history at ten sacred sites in Israel.

feminist artists ol the seventies who wanted to reclaim the images and roles of powerful women front herstory and mythol­ ogy created a traveling exhibit entitled “The Sister Chapel” (in contrast to I lie Sistine Chapel). Each artist painted a nine-foot- high portrait of a woman of strength and coinage; two of these were self-portraits as Goddesses. Diana Kutz painted hersell as The Durga killing the Buffalo Demon and liberating tile world from evil. Cynthia Mailman painted SelJ-Porhail as (‘mil (page 175), in a pose suggesting cosmic force similar to that of Judy Baca’s Amazon Calilia.

The works by these and many other artists oftlie seventies created a consciousness-raising that immediately deconstructed the patriarchal dualism of nature versus culture. In these paint­ ings and sculptures women artists asserted their positive relationships to nature and culture as creators of both life and art. ‘I he Goddesses in these woiks embodied images of women of power in domains oilier than those traditionally associated with stereotvpic femininity in the West. Here, instead of images of women as mothers or in other domestic roles, we see women of power in religious roles (as Priestesses in works bv Ka­ vanagh), as Warriors (in Kurz’s Durga). as Athletes (in Lopez’s Self-Portrait as Athlete) and as cosmic creators (in Bata’s Cali(ia), In Jttdv Chicago’s Dimin Parts we discover women astronomers, doctors, artists, and musicians, to name hut a few. Not only do these representations of women show them creating life, such as the famous Gw/ Gd’/ng liirth. 1968, of Monica Sjod, (a Scan­ dinavian at tist now liv ing in England21), hut also creating culiur

THE CYCLES OF LIFE, DEATH, AND REGENERATION

Ana Mendieta, whose life came to a tragic end when she fell to her death at the age of lliii tv-six in 1985, had tome to the United States as a child, when she was exiled front her native homeland in Cuba. Dining most of the seventies Mendieta lived and worked in Iowa. Through her art, she transformed the pain of her separation from her homeland into a metaphor about the pain ol all women’s exile from the Great Earth Mother. Men- dieta’s earthworks were often private rituals and ceremonies in which she sketched the outline of her body, arms uplifted, onto the earth. In Sihiela eii Pttega, 1975, she exploded gunpowder in the earthen sketch of the outline of her body, creating a

184 CHALLEiNGING MODERNISM THE F ACE TS OF FEMINIST ART

 

 

Haming image of a sacred site in which one woman reclaimed her passionate link to the Great Earth Mother. Her Silucta Se­ ries of flaming works and their ashen after-images blaze a trail hack to our earthly origins as children of the Earth Goddess. Silueta de Coheles, 1976, shows us the crucifixion of the Goddess with her arms uplifted on a burning pyre, reminding us of the cross. Here it is the Goddess (tradition and history) that has been crucified and sacrificed, not the son of God.

Kyra has been creating both paintings and drawings as well as rituals of the Goddess since the early seventies. While she has drawn Athena, Isis, Artemis, Astarte, and Medusa, her rituals have frequently focused on pre-Columbian goddesses. Kyra’s constant work since the seventies, both as an artist and as a teacher, has carried the images and rituals of the Goddess from many cultures across the United States.

New York performance artist Betsy Damon became well known for her incarnation of The 7,000 Year Old Woman, a piece she performed publicly on May 21, 1977, in the streets of

New York (page 188). Covering her body with many small col­ ored Hour bags, Damon appeared on Wall Street as the living embodiment of the many-breasted Artemis of Ephesus (page 184). In the manner of a ritual, Damon punctured each bag and emptied its contents of sand, like a miniature sand timer, ar­ ranging the bags in a labyrinthine pattern on the ground. In so doing, she reclaimed the seven thousand years of women’s erased herstory from the Neolithic period to the inception of the patriarchal era. Damon, who lived in Turkey as a child (1944-48) near the ancient Neolithic Goddesss sites of ancient Anatolia, was directly influenced by the presence of the Goddess there.

Midwestern artist Jane Ellen Gilmore uses humor and irony in her performance pieces at the ancient ruins of Goddess sites, which were overtaken by patriarchal religions. In her Eclecti­ cism and Stress series, 1978, she staged a comical tableau of cat­ headed women draped as Goddesses, posing in melodramatic gestures at the Temple of Olympian Zeus II. The performances

lane Ellen Gilmore. Eclecticism and Stress Senes’ The Great Goddess at the Temple of Olympian Zeus 1978 Staged photograph

 

 

Jia Mendieta, Earth Bodywork (Silueta Series). 1976. Color lotograph, 13’/ix20″. Courtesy Gallery Lelong, New York, ■ Estate of Ana Mendieta

Ana Mendieta. Silueta en Fuego. 1975, Color photograph, 13’/ix20″. Documentation of earth-work performance with fire, cloth, and earth, in Miami. Courtesy Gallery Lelong, New York, © Estate of Ana Mendieta

 

 

enacted at these ancient sacred sites reveal the discrepancy be­ tween images of empowered women who once revered the Goddess and die way these images have been debased today, when women are depicted as coy sex objects, as pussy cats.

New York and Boston silverpoint artist Susan Schwalb made symbolic works relating to the Goddess in the form of monu­ mental orchids throughout the seventies. Then, toward the end of the seventies (and in 1980 when she went to Norway), she performed a private fire rite intending to return to the land the paper on which she had drawn the Goddess, the Great Earth Mother. After burning the silverpoint drawing and liberating the spirit of the Goddess, Schwalb used the ashes to make small Goddess altars. Her flower drawings, when combined with the flames from the burnings, linked female sexuality to female spir­ ituality in intimate and powerful ways.

The Waitresses was a feminist performance group that cre­ ated the guerrilla restaurant theater piece The Great Goddess Diana, which played to unsuspecting customers in restaurants around Los Angeles from 1978 to 1981. During dinner, the Waitresses would appear wearing their many-breasted waitress uniforms and explain to the diners that today’s waitresses, who are underpaid and overworked, are the debased modern version of the ancient Great Mother Goddess as nurturer, The Wait­ resses’ works focused on social criticism in the areas of sexual harassment, work, and money.

These ritual and performance works by Ana Mendieta, Mary Beth Edelson, Kyra, Betsy Damon, Jane Ellen Gilmore, Susan Schwalb, and The Waitresses often invited the participa­ tion of the spectators charging the exorcism of patriarchal oppression and the reclamation of matristic values with the col­ lective energies of the crowd. Involving the audience and passersby lifted a barrier between art and life so that the new cycle of the Goddess would be ushered into the world, and not remain cloistered and cut off from the populace, as so often oc­ curs in the art world and in academia.

In conclusion, it must be stressed that the feminist move­ ment to reclaim the Goddess in art in the seventies was international in scope. Indeed, French artist Helene de Beau­ voir, Quebecoise artist Jovette Marchessauit, Canadian weaver Sasha Mclnnes, Scandinavian artist Monica Sjoo, Israeli artist Miriam Sharon, and Surrealist artist Leonora Carrington (living in Mexico), all interacted with the Goddess artists in the United Slates. Many of these women took part in shows at feminist co­ operative galleries, and also attended The Woman’s Salon that I co-created in New York from 1975 to 1985.

In honor of these international links, especially among those artists of the Americas, I would like to close by speaking about Leonora Carrington’s Women’s Liberation poster, Mujeres Con- sciencia of 1972, that we carried from Mexico City to New York City in the summer of 1972, and which was distributed to friends in the Goddess and feminist art movements.

In this poster the New Eve returns the apple to the Old Eve from the biblical story of the Fall. The New Eve, thus rejecting the patriarchal myth of the sinful nature of woman and her expulsion from the garden (which is the Earth Mother), experiences an immediate liberation when her Goddess energy is released in the form of the serpent power of the Kundilini,

which rises through the cltakras of her body reaching the Third Eye of Illumination. The poster is green for Green Politics and for our green planet, for as we have seen, Eve is born of the gar­ den, and recognizes her dependence upon it for her life. Carrington’s poster transforms the patriarchal myth of the Gar­ den of Eden in several fundamental ways: It establishes forbidden knowledge (in patriarchal civilization this is Goddess knowledge) as liberatory for women—both socially and spir­ itually, for it leads to political empowerment and spiritual enlightenment; it exemplifies the values associated with the reli­ gion of an Earth Mother Goddess, who teaches us that we must renew the fertility of the natural world by changing our cosmic vision to one that reveres both women and nature. (The parallel counterpoint is the patriarchal Sky Father God, who had us be­ lieve that humans are superior to and above nonhuman nature, and that nature and women should serve the purposes of men.) It asks women to be conscious and to have a conscience—to take the lead in restoring the Goddess vision that is so necessary to the survival of all planetary life today.

As She was reclaimed by women artists of the 1970s, the Goddess signaled a multilevel revolution vis 5 vis women’s art. This revolution included a change in the gender of the Creator, accompanied by a shift toward earth-revering, gender- egalitarian and pacific values, reclaimed from the most ancient and original religion of the earth, the Mother Goddess religion; a recovery of women’s erased “herstory” from as far back as the Upper Paleolithic (25,000 b.c.); a holistic vision of the intercon­ nectedness of spirit and matter, heaven and earth, male and female, human and nonhuman life forms; an empowering of women by reconnecting with the ancient energies, roles, and tal­ ents both of mythological goddesses and of real women who lived in matristic cultures, and who are credited with the inven­ tion of agriculture, weaving, ceramics, healing, and many other important contributions to civilization; a contemporary move­ ment that does not separate politics from spirituality, but that secs art as the crossroads where feminist activism and feminist imagination converge, making for a revolutionary change in both consciousness and culture; and a political and spiritual symbol (perhaps naively universalizing) that would create a sis­ terhood among women everywhere in a struggle to overcome their oppression as women, despite the many obstacles that or­ dinarily divide tliem from each other.

Finally, it can be said that in the 1970s the Goddess was perceived to be the one symbol that could transcend difference, diversity, and division, and that could harmonize women from a wide variety of backgrounds on a level that penetrated so deeply into human history and the collective psyche that the contempo­ rary patriarchal political and social constructions separating women from each other could be overcome. Although regarded as theoretically naive by postmodern revisionists in the nineties, this spirit of solidarity continues to unite women around the world at international conferences and gatherings, and serves as a rallying cry and an emblem of transformation, empowerment, freedom, and rebirth. The Goddess may be interpreted as a luminous symbol of hope for women living through the dark night of patriarchal holocausts, genocide, and ecolog­ ical disaster.

 

 

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Diana of Ephesus (Artemis). Second century B C. Archeological Museum, Ephesus, Turkey

Louise Bourgeois wearing a latex costume that she designed and made, 1970, Photograph by Duane Michals (originally published in Vogue magazine, October 1980)

Betsy Damon as The Seven Thousand tear Old Woman. Street performance, New York, March 1977. Courtesy the artist

IBB

 

 

criticism, publications, relationships, and I lie art,. , . Womans pace. iV«»wr«/Mrr Journal, the Womans Building. Ihe Feminist .Studio Workshop, Mol her Art, I’etninist Ai l Workers, Ariadne, Wain esses, An Oral Hcrslniy of Lesbianism, Lesbian Art Project, C/r n’-w/iv—to name some of our work.” Raven. “‘Ilie Circle: Ritual and the Occult in Women’s Performance Art.” .Vrtr ,A>7 Evuwrnrrr, Novem­ ber 1986, 9, reprinted in Raven, f-‘ninfitg Ovrr– Feminism and Art af Social (‘.ontrrn {Ann Arbor, Midi.: UMI Research Press, 1988), 23-32,

7. Carolce Stlineetnann, Afarr than Meat Joy; Complete Pcifortitunce IWh and Selected Writings, ed. Brut e McPherson {New PallZ. N.Y.: Documeutext, 1979), 52.

B. Ibid., 52. 9, Carolce Sthueemann. telephone interview by Josephine Withers, June 22, 1993,

19. Sthueemann, Mare than Meat Jay, 191. In l he Morris performance, Sell nccmann was posed impassively in a tableau viva nt based on Manet’s famous painting Olympia — ilie paradigmatic object of the male gaze.

11. Carolce Sthueemann, C/zanne, She IVr„ a Great Painter (New Paltz, N.Y; liess- puss Press, 1975), 36.

12. U illoughhy Sharp and Liza Bear, “the Per former as a Persona: An Interview with Yvonne Rainer,” Avalanche, no. 5 (Summer 1972): 56.

IX lbhl.,59. 14. Liuric .Anderson, quoted in Mel Gordon, “Liuric Anderson Performance Art­

ist,” Drama Review 24, (June 1986); 51. 15. Craig Owens, “Amplifications; Laurie Anderson,” Ar< in America, Maith I9HI,

122. Hi. Lucy R. l.ippard, “(analysis: An Interview with Adrian Piper,” in From the Center;

Feminist Essays an IVmrirws Arf (New York: Dutton, 1976), 167; originally pub­ lished in Drama Review Hi, (March 1972).

17. Ibid., 170. IB. I he text is taken from Scbneemanns him “Kitch’s List Meal,” (1973—77) and is

reproduced in its entirety in More titan Meat Jay, 239—19. 19. Ibid, Sthueemann says that ihe text used in Interior Scroll is “actually a secret

letter lo Annette Micbaelson. I here are some women whose insight is so impor­ tant io me, Inn who couldn’i understand my work and couldn’t deal with it or regard it. She was one of those,” Sell neeinariri. telephone interview by Josephine Withers, June 22, 1993.

20. Donna 11 cues quoted in “Spider Woman Donna lleties Interviewed by Linda Burnham.”//rgft Performonce 2 {June 1979): 27.

21. Ibid., 28. 22. See Mary Beth Edelson.SriTN Cycles: Public /fdrm/vmlio, Lucy R, Lippard (New

Vork: self-published, 1980). 23. Edclson quoted in Ahtrv lieth Edclson Firsthand; Photographs / 9 “J—/ 99.7 anti

Shooter Series (New York: sell-puhlislted, 1993), 23. 24. Betsy Damon, “The 7000 Year Old Woman,” Heresies 1. no. 3 (Fall 1977): 11. 25. Betsy Damon telephone interview by Josephine Withers, June L 1993. 26. Linda Montano, zb7 in Everyday Life (I.os Angeles: Astro Anz. I9BI ),n.p. (see. 2). 27. Mi mi aim’s characters appeared on video in a talk show format tilled Learning la

Talk, 1977. 28. Mom ano, Arf /« Everyday Life, n.p. (sec. 5). 29. Eaitli Ringgold, quoted iu Lucy R Lippard. “Faith Ringgold’s Black, Political,

Feminist Art,” in From the Center, 262. 30. Suzanne Lacy.”Made fot TV; California Performance ill Mass Media/Pcr/wm/ng

Arfo Journal, no. 17 (1982): 54. 31. Aviva Rahmani, personal communication,July 22, 1993, I be others of ihe group

were Ida Applebroog, Faiya 1-redman, Pat Patterson, Judy Nikolaides, Joyce (‘utler Shaw, and Barbara Siresan.

32. Eleanor A nt in, in ac kuowledg inent s to ,4 ngel of A ferry, ex h. cal. (La Jolla, Ca I if.: La Jolla Museum of Contemporary An, 1977), n.p. I he Angel of Mercy is I lie moniker for her incarnation as Eleanor Nightingale.

33. Seejosepbine Withers, “Eleanor A nt in: Allegorv oft he Sou I,” Femin ist Studies 12, no. I (Spring 1986); J17-27.

34. See, for example, Lucy Lippard, introduction to Mary Belli Edclson, .Screw Cycles: Public Rituals’, P’lizalieih Abel, “(F)metging Identities; The Dynamics of Female Friendship in Contemporary Fiction by Women,” and Judiih Regan Gardiner, ‘The{Us)esof (l)deniity: A Response io Abel on ’(E)Merging hleinities,‘”A7g«-v; Journal of Uhwcw in Culture and Society 6, no. 3 (1981): 134-35 and 438; ami Christa Wolf, “Interview with Myself,” in het The Reader and the Urdcr; Essays, Sketches, Memories {New- York: IntcrriatiomiL 1977), 76. Note I bat Carol Gilligan’s infiueuti.il In a Different I birr was not published until 1982.

35. Josephine Withers, interview wiih Eleanor Amin, San Diego, April 29, 1986. 36. See Moira Roth, “An Interview with l.yun Her.dnnah,”/nnrn///ry’f/rr Los Angeles

Institute of Contemporary Art 5 (January/February 1978): 18-24. 37. “Correspondence between Jack! Apple and Martha Wilson, 1973-1974,”

Heresies: A Feminist Publication on Art and Polities I, no. 2 {May 1977): 47. 38. See Faith Wilding’s essay in ibis book. 39. See Judy Chicago. Through the Flower: My Struggle as a llbmrjn ArfA/ (Garden

City, N Y.: Doubleday, 1975: New York: Penguin, 1993), 213-17, ■16, Fram,oise Li< mnet. A utabtagraphical I wire (I iliac a, N. Y.: (.ornell U niversiiv Press,

1989), as quoted in Judiih Hutncra/Tonei on Wheels as Gaia: Identity. Rhetoric, and History in ihe Angry Art of Rachel Rosenthal,” Text and Performance Quar­ terly 11 (January 1991): 36.

11. Rachel Rosenthal, quoted in Moira Roth, ed., The Amazing Decade: Uhmru and

Performance Art m Auirojctr, /97f/-/9tW (l.os Angeles: Astro AnZ, 1983). 126. 42. Rosenthal, slalement at a workshopat New Ym k University. May 21-June 7.1985.

as quoted in Eelka Lampe, “Rachel Rosenthal. Creating Her Selves,” Drama Review 32, (Spring 1988) 176

13. Lacy, “Made Ibi I \ 55. 44. I his performance is mole fully discussed in the essay by Moira Roth and Yolanda

M, Lopez in this book, 15. Suzanne l.acy/’ln Mourning and In Kage(W iib Analysis Aforethought).”ZArO.Y,

2d series, no. I (Eall/Winter I9B2). ■16. At one time or another. I be Waitresses included )erri Allyn, Leslie Bell. Anne

Gauldit!, Atdia Green, Chutney Gunderson, Patti Nit Mans, Jamie Wilduian- Wchber (a.k.a. Jamie Wild, and Wildoue), and Denise Yarfitz.

17. BotuiieSherk, interview by Linda Erye llurnham. “Between (lie Diaspora and the Cihiolinc,” High Performance I (Pall I9BI); 76.

18. Ibid.. 58. -19. Ibid, 56. Suzanne Lacy, ” I he Greening of California Performance; Art for Social

Change —A Case Study,” Images and Issues 2, (Spring 1982) 67. 51. Lorraine OX irutlv. correspondence with Josephine Withers, July 2,1993/1 he first

per h ii mam c took plat eai the Just Above MidiowhfDow’niown Gallery on June 5, 1986. O’Grady performed this chai at ter again, with modifications, in 1981 at ihe New Museum of Gnhtctnpnrnrv Al t iu New York City.

Orenstein / Recovering Her Story

1. Gehla Lerner, The Creation of Feminist Consciousness: From the Middle Ages to IS7P (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993).

2. Elizabeth Cody Stanton ami Matilda Joslytt («age, The IYioh/imv Ililde, 1895, A radical feminist critique of the Bible, summarizing Biblecrrilii istn and providing, iu a ctitled perspective, information pertinent lo women,

3. Lerner, CmMoH. 115, -L Ibid. 5. Merlin Stone, It’/mr Cad Urn .4 Itimmn fNew York: Dial Press, 1976). 6. When her book yvas republished, Matija Ghribuias c hanged iis title lo Goddesses

and Gods of Old F.uro/te, theieby giving priority to die (ioddesses, 7. Mal’ija Girnhuias. The Gads and (dnldesses af Old Eurofie: 7(ttlO to 35f)tt ll,C,,

Myths, Legrnds.and f nil Images (Berkeley L’nivetsiiycd’Califoruia Press. 1974). 8. I heterin ”hel story” (Iter story) is used locontrasl history (his story), tocouuote a

feminist rather than a pa,tian hat narrative. 9. 1 lie word “matristic” is used in general to mean Mother Goddess-centered, t«

characterize cultures for which die terms “man ilineal,” “man dotal.” and “ma­ triarchal” would be too precise given the lack of lexis and other specific data available about them.

16. According to Z Budapest: f/suz.satitm Budapest), a Priestess of die (ioddess Religion and author of The Holy Rook uj Womens Mysteries: Feminist XYitcluraji, Goddess Rituals, Sfirlleasting.andOther Wcrnicm/v ,-lr/.r(Oakland.Calif: Wingbow Press, 1989R The Grandmother af Time: /I Womans Rook of Celebrations, Sfi/ Ils,and Saired Objects fat’ Every Day of the Ryu (San l-rancisco: Harper San Erancisto, 1989); Grandmother Mwn: Lunar Magic in Our Lives: Sjvffc, RituaE, Goddesses, Legends, and Emotions under the Moan (San Francisco: Harper, San Frant isto. 1991): ihe Goddess in the Office: Personal Energy Guide for the Spiritual llunwr of 11 «»rk {San Francisco Harper San Erancisto, 1993).

11. Erich Neumann, The Great Mother: Au Analysis of the Archetype (Princeton. Primetou University Press, 195:5).

12. Bui lie Johnson, /.ndv of the Rcasts- Ancient Images of the Goddess and Her Sacred Animals (San Fraut isco: Harper & Row, 1988),

13. Minn Luhc41fe “The Goddess lem pie,” Z/hmuhm/ Ideas in Architect are 29. no. 1,20. I I. Sheila Moon, A Magtc Dwells (Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan Univetsiiy Press.

1970), p. 152. 15. Neumann, Great Mother, 313. |6. I use the word “matristic” instead of ma trial chai, because I am referring lo a

mythos and ethos that neither is hierarc Ideal nor operates via domi rial inn. I he word matriarchal means rule In die mother. The word matritficis is used by Marija Gimhiitas to mean a civilization, cultuic. or religion that was focused upon the Goddess In general, these cultures were van lb revering, gender-egalitarian, and pacific. I heirs was an Earth Mo,her Goddess,

17. With regard to the use of the term esseiitialist, cl itics of Goddess scholarship inainiain—wronglv, I believe—that a monolithic Goddess symbol creates an im­ age of die “essential” fenunine. Oftourse. we know that what is refer red to as “feminine’is culturally cons,rttcicd, I inainiain, however, that ihecreaiion of a monolithic Goddess symbol was an a I tempt io establish noi a universal image of die “feminine” but rather a universal symbol of a worldwide civilization that was the antithesis of pan inn by.

18. Gimbuias. The Gads and Goddesses af Old Europe., 19. “(Allotentl it” is used to mean womamcentered, as contrasted with “matriitii,”

Goddess-c cm creel.

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