The Beauty Myth…… Womens’ day 2018…..

My print for Women’s day this year depicts part of the myth of Psyche (Soul). Here she has undertaken an epic trial to venture down into the Underworld and to bring back Persephone’s beauty box. She was firmly told by Venus, not to open the box. However, Psyche  couldn’t resist the chance of securing and enhancing her own beauty, as she  was worried her lover, Cupid, might abandon her and perhaps her looks were fading ? On opening the box of beauty all she found was darkness and she fell  instantly into a deathlike coma, a stygian sleep an unconscious path ? an anxious path ?                       BEAUTY AT ANY COST  ?

“The Victorian woman became her ovaries, as today’s woman has become her “beauty.” Naomi Wolf – The Beauty Myth

Psyche after opening Persephone’s Beauty box

“A consequence of female self-love is that the woman grows convinced of social worth. Her love for her body will be unqualified, which is the basis of female identification. If a woman loves her own body, she doesn’t grudge what other women do with theirs; if she loves femaleness, she champions its rights. It’s true what they say about women: Women are insatiable. We are greedy. Our appetites do need to be controlled if things are to stay in place. If the world were ours too, if we believed we could get away with it, we would ask for more love, more sex, more money, more commitment to children, more food, more care. These sexual, emotional, and physical demands would begin to extend to social demands: payment for care of the elderly, parental leave, childcare, etc. The force of female desire would be so great that society would truly have to reckon with what women want, in bed and in the world.”
Naomi Wolf – The Beauty Myth



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MARY in the ritual bath…

The celebration of CANDLEMAS (Feb 2nd) marks  ‘The purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary’, as told in Luke 2:22-40, which took place 40 days after giving birth to Jesus. It  was believed, and still is in some parts of the world, that a woman who has given birth is unclean and by religious law she must be ritually purified in her place of worship.   The mikveh(ritual bath ) is still used by Jewish women today although many modern Jewish feminists critique the practice as degrading and misogynistic and have sought to revise the practice of mikveh. Some seeing it more  a space for renewal, healing and  contemplation rather than a place for a woman to ‘become clean again’ after menstruation or childbirth. It is most probable  that many of Candlemas’ activities originate from pagan observances such as IMBOLC, a Gaelic festival Also  the Roman feast of  Lupercalia , which was a very ancient, possibly pre-Roman annual festival, observed in the city of Rome on February 15, to avert evil spirits and purify the city, releasing health and fertility. Lupercalia took over from Februa, an earlier-origin spring cleansing ritual held on the same date, which gives the name to the month of February,meaning ‘to purify’.     Nowadays the Christian emphasis at Candlemas is on the ‘light of candles’ representing Jesus, the Light of the World . Candles are blessed in churches for use in the coming year.The ancient practice of  immersion in water to spiritually purify and cleanse is used by many religions and spiritual practices.

MARY – in the ritual bath

If Candlemas Day be fair and bright
Winter will have another fight.
If Candlemas Day brings cloud and rain,
Winter won’t come again.


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OIZYS – Flying on the Winds of Despair

OIZYS is a goddess from the Greek pantheon and was a daughter of Nyx, Goddess of the night. OIZYS is the personification of anxiety, despair distress and worry. The Roman counterpart of OIZYS was Miseria, meaning misery. Despair is a common human experience.which can  strike us sometimes out of the ‘blue’. Riding the feelings may be the answer as we dig deep to find self-compassion once again.  I leave ‘A blessing for beauty’ – words from John O Donaghue for those of you who are travelling the winds of despair…..

OIZYS: flying on the winds of despair



May the beauty of your life become more visible to you, that you may glimpse your wild divinity.
May the wonders of the earth call you forth from all your small, secret prisons and set your feet free in the pastures of possibilities.
May the light of dawn anoint your eyes that you may behold what a miracle a day is.
May the liturgy of twilight shelter all your fears and darkness within the circle of ease.
May the angel of memory surprise you in bleak times with new gifts from the harvest of your vanished days.
May you allow no dark hand to quench the candle of hope in your heart.
May you discover a new generosity towards yourself, and encourage yourself to engage your life as a great adventure.
May the outside voices of fear and despair find no echo in you.
May you always trust the urgency and wisdom of your own spirit.
May the shelter and nourishment of all the good you have done, the love you have shown, the suffering you have carried, awaken around you to bless your life a thousand times.
And when love finds the path to your door may you open like the earth to the dawn, and trust your every hidden color towards its nourishment of light.
May you find enough stillness and silence to savor the kiss of God on your soul and delight in the eternity that shaped you, that holds you and calls you.
And may you know that despite confusion, anxiety and emptiness, your name is written in Heaven.
And may you come to see your life as a quiet sacrament of service, which awakens around you a rhythm where doubt gives way to the grace of wonder, where what is awkward and strained can find elegance, and where crippled hope can find wings, and torment enter at last unto the grace of serenity.

May Divine Beauty bless you.

John O’Donohue, from Beauty – The Invisible Embrace


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The Sun Returns – Nisaba

Golden winter solstice blessings as we arrive at the return of the Sun. This print parallels the return of the Sun on our birthdays , when the sun returns to the place where it resided when we were born, our astrological Solar Return. Western astrology developed in ancient Sumer (Iraq) where the  Sumerian Fertility Goddess, Nisaba(2430BCE), was credited and aligned with transmitting the origins of astrology.

“Astrology is assured of recognition from psychology, without further restrictions, because astrology represents the summation of all the psychological knowledge of antiquity.”
― Carl Jung

Sumerian Goddess of Astrology


Ancient hymn to NISABA…..

Lady coloured like the stars of heaven,

holding a perfectly endowed lapis-lazuli tablet!

Nisaba, great wild cow born by Uraš,

wild sheep nourished on good milk among holy alkaline plants,

opening the mouth for seven …… reeds!

Perfectly endowed with fifty great divine powers, my lady, most powerful……..

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The Language of birds ….

The “Language of birds” is also called the “Green Language”. This is a mystical and sacred language of symbols whereby the core of what needs to be said, is actually not said, and is used as a ‘living’  language in Alchemy and other esoteric subjects. To many, the language of birds is nothing more than a series of  codes , texts and phrases, which pass by in daily conversation. Those with ears that “hear” the  secret and perfect language are offered  the  key to perfect knowledge.

The Alchemists used  symbols of birds such as  – the Black Crow, White Swan, Peacock, Pelican, and Phoenix – to describe certain stages of the alchemical process.

The language of birds


Hark, love, while through this wood we walk,
Beneath melodious trees,
How wrens with redbreasts ever talk
What tuneful words they please…
No graybeard linguist, love, could vie
With our large learning, then!
You’d speak to me in Redbreast; I
Would answer you in Wren!
~Edgar Fawcett, “Bird-Language,” Songs of Doubt and Dream, 1891


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AIDOS – Goddess of Shame – # MeToo

This print is my response to the # Me Too campaign ….
This is AIDOS , the Greek Goddess who personifies shame. She was a close companion to the Goddess of justice and vengeance -Nemesis .
I don’t need to read the papers about the prevalence of sexual harassment and objectification. My own experiences and those of the women in my life are riddled with penis exposure , workplace harassment, incest, sexual assault and rape. Perhaps you may think this is too strong a statement but most women have experienced some of these. Often women react with misplaced shame and bury the feelings that are a part of our society .We have been told for too long to endure it , that it’s ok and it is just how it is……BUT it’s not ok to carry the embarrassment, the burden, the anxiety and the shame, the humiliation, the anger …ITS NOT OK.

Women are made to feel ashamed for not fighting hard enough

Women are threatened into silence and punished for speaking out


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The Muse of Alchemy ….🌹

Lady Alchymia is the guiding principle of Alchemy and is also known as the Anima Mercuri. She is Nature , but she is also the astrum – the stars . She is Quintessence , the 5th element.

“As above, so below, as within, so without, as the universe, so the soul…” Hermes Trismegistus

Lady Alchymia – the muse of Alchemy

There are 2 entwining paths in alchemy …..which end in one .

THE SOLAR PATH – The first way of knowing is rational, deductive, argumentative, the intellectual thinking that is the hallmark of science and our patriarchal Western culture. The alchemists called this consciousness the Solar path and assigned it many code words, such as ….Sun, Fire, Sulphur, and Spirit. The solar path is the King.

THE LUNAR PATH – The alchemists called the other way of knowing Lunar. This kind of intelligence is a non-linear, image-driven, intuitive way of thinking that is an accepted tool of the arts and religion. Among its symbols are the Moon, Water, Mercury, Lady Alchymia the Holy Ghost, Soul.The lunar path is the Queen.

THE STELLAR PATH – is the sacred marriage of both the King energy and the Queen energy. The alchemists believed that perfection could only be achieved by working with both Solar and Lunar ways of knowing and ultimately uniting them in a third state of Stellar Consciousness, the Egyptian alchemists called this the “Intelligence of the Heart.”

Paracelcus – the great alchemical physician was  father of modern day homeopathy. He saw the function of  his remedies as  the restoration of celestial harmony between an inner ‘astrum’, or star, in man and a heavenly astrum.

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