It's Grief, Part Four
Beyond the Time When She Lusted for Lovers
In the introduction to my last post, I wrote about the unpredictable pace at which the creation of shamanic performance art sometimes proceeds. The other interesting thing about the process is that it can also be profoundly nonlinear. That’s because in shamanic reality, the place from which the images and text for “It’s Grief” are coming to me, time moves very differently from the way we perceive time moving in physical reality. When working on such pieces, I may get the end first, the beginning last, and the images and text between the two in no particular order. When images and text seem complete, the process then becomes one of organizing everything into the kind of linear sequence that makes sense to us here in physical reality.
Also, once one’s intent has been set to create such work, the archetypal energies residing in shamanic reality take it very seriously, and special ceremonies may be required of one in order to properly translate shamanic perspectives into physical world images and text.
That’s what’s been happening since my last post. After moving along more or less steadily on the paintings and writing, we suddenly felt stuck, blocked, unable to continue the work, and strangely uncomfortable psychologically—enough so that I knew a shamanic journey was in order to discover what was going on. Turns out that an ongoing ceremony was needed; that we would be asked to release our own personal grief accumulated over our own lifetimes in that ceremony as a prerequisite for becoming competent to offer such healing to others. (We talk about this in our April 28 Facebook live stream, which you can view here.)
As soon as we began the ceremonial work, everything opened up for us in the studio, the blockage broke, and we were able to get back to work on the center panel of the second triptych.
Our April 28 live stream discussion continued in a second post made on May 6, after we had begun the ceremonial work, and the blockage had broken. In this live stream we digress a bit to share our thoughts about the current state of the art world and the political situation, how they’re related, and how our project addresses both.
Not long after all of that activity, the part of The Dancer’s story I’ll share with you below, which came to me as a prose poem, began making itself known. It goes with the first of the three triptychs we’re working on.
In the time beyond the time when she had lusted for lovers;
Beyond the time when she had danced into their welcoming arms,
Blinded by desire, driven by her lush fertility,
Her soul aligned with creation’s purpose,
She invited new life to enter the world through her body,
Once in winter while snow drifted down;
Once in autumn on a cliff by the sea;
Once in spring among budding wildflowers;
Once in summer where sweet fern grew;
Great suffering followed, and
She learned that the causes of her suffering
Were the lies ancient patriarchs had enshrined in the Word;
She learned that nothing is born except through woman,
And that never had she called life into her womb in sin
As the patriarchs claimed women did,
For loving is not sinning.
She learned that human suffering isn’t caused
By a curse or a flaw inherent in woman’s nature
As the patriarchs claimed;
That their lies were a perversion, a denigration
Of one of the great mysteries once understood and overseen by women,
In which the cycles of birth, life, death and rebirth were revered.
She learned that the power of such women
Came to be envied and feared by the patriarchs
Who then set about to steal that power for themselves.
And she turned her back on the lies of the patriarchs,
And she turned her gaze away from the gods of the Sky,
And away from lovers who looked like gods,
And she found that divinity resided in her woman’s body and heart and soul;
In the wild ways of the forests through which she roamed;
In the wild ways of the white bellied fisher hawk
That still flew down to the sea as it had in her youth,
Crying Kee-Ah! Kee-Ah!
And she listened to the white bellied fisher hawk.
She listened to Raven.
She listened to Owl.
She listened to Turtle, and she walked with Bear.
And she listened to the Black-Eyed Junco,
Who brought her messages
From ancestors lost in the distant mists of time.
From that time on only in secret did she sometimes dance the sensuous dance
That the great red serpent of her youth had taught her so long ago,
For by then she knew that each time she had created life
She had become more vulnerable, not only to the ravages of time,
But also to the ravages of man that the patriarchs had so long ago set in motion.
Knowing this, she became fierce.
Her steps loud as thunder, dangerous as lightning,
She danced into the twilight time; into the in-between time
Where one state of being transitions into another.
And the lovers who had once desired her came to fear her.
Ignoring them, she danced alone into the solitude of moonlight.
She danced alone beneath the shimmering Northern Lights,
And wolves howled in the frozen distance.
And she answered their call.
TO BE CONTINUED…
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