The New Moon occurred yesterday and this week will be a time of looking forward and contemplating the second Feminine Truth, “The Sacred Fire of Love Exists Within All Living Beings”.
However, today I want to finish with my reflections about how I worked with the alignment principle, “We Have Kinship With All The Natural World” last week. I found out that two of my paintings which I have shown previously on the blog, and were part of last year’s Heritage series, were accepted to the “Faces of Africa”, Cultural Connections show at the Guistina Gallery on Oregon State University’s campus.
This first painting entitled, “Sans Woman” is about our human interconnectedness. The Sans people of Africa have the oldest DNA on the planet and there is speculation that all of the races of humanity derive from these beautiful people. Since I was tracing my matrilineal heritage, I thought that I would add another theme of what we have carried forth into the present. The grasshoppers collaged on the painting have been and continue to be a principle source of protein for the Sans. I was struck by this because people in other parts of the world, including Mexico, the land of my grandparents, still eat grasshoppers. This gives me a deep sense of gratitude for the little creatures that may provide we humans with sustenance on a fragile ecosystem.
This next painting that was accepted is entitled, “Honoring Our Relations”. It was in Africa where we humans began to sing and celebrate what we Indigenous Americans call “The Giveaway”. The Giveaway is when a living being gives its life so that others may live from its meat, fruit, leaves, etc. The Africans created these beautiful headdresses in honor of the antelope that they would hunt for meat. Then they made a dance in celebration of its death. The faces of the individuals dancing are hidden underneath the fibrous strings hanging below the long necklines of the graceful animal “mask”. Whether we as a human species continue to honor All Our Relations, the animals and plants that sustain us in life, remains a question. Gratefully, there are cultures that continue to realize our Kinship to all of life.
The third steppingstone of my Heritage Mandala is called the “Heart of Grandmother”. It is an aerial view of the Congo River which is the second largest river on Earth.
More than 100,000 years ago, our ancestors lingered here before venturing northward and splintering into diverse groups across the planet. I think about my own female ancestor who lived here and found the resilience to survive.
When I first saw the NASA aerial photo of the basin I was amazed by how the river, its tributaries and basin reminded me, not only of the “life blood” of our Grandmother Earth, but of her “heart” as well. The very soul of our common humanity was nurtured at this spot and given the nutrients necessary, not only to live, but to search beyond the horizon.
I chose to use the vibrant colors of the Huichol Indians of my grandparents’ native Zacatecas, Mexico, to depict this beautiful and compelling river valley. Through their sacred ceremonies, the Huicholes “see” the aura of all living beings around them.
I also saw this river as a mandala in which we are drawn into the Womb of Creation at its center. Here, we may contemplate how to find our Paths With Heart in this, our present incarnation on our precious Earth.
Remember the third feminine truth: All Paths Are One.
I first learned about the feminine energy field from Carlos Castaneda (1925-1998), an anthropologist and author of many books. His first book is entitled: The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge. I heard him give a lecture when I was a sophomore in college. That lecture changed my life. One of the reasons was that Don Juan was an indigenous wise man from Mexico. Since my grandparents were from Mexico, the idea that this sophisticated and yet magical wisdom flowed from there was intriguing and appealing. Another reason was that the ideas that Carlos spoke about resonated with me. I felt at home. I felt alive and connected. At that lecture I set a wish in motion that I might learn about indigenous wisdom from the Americas and have an apprenticeship similar to Carlos’.