Thursday, 15 July 2021

Offerings to the Wellspring

I’ve been treading a tricky path these past five years, since starting this blog, trying to reconcile my frequent impulse to withdraw, with the need to share my thoughts and creations publicly. 

As someone who lives with chronic illness as a companion, I have to conserve my energy and protect myself from stress as much as possible, and I haven’t been doing that very well for a long time. Being constantly connected to the internet is the main cause of the problem, and I freely admit that though I am critical of technology, and frequently wish it gone, I am just as susceptible to it as most people. It’s addictive and distracting, for all the connection and creativity it also provides. 

So I’m straddling these opposing needs: to be present and to retreat; to be somebody and to be nobody … And retreat and anonymity are much stronger needs right now.

In order to gift you offerings from my creative wellspring, I need to devote offerings back to it, so I have made the long-overdue decision to withdraw from social media and blogging for the remainder of this year, so I can feed the source that feeds me. 

I hope this lengthy pause will grant me the breathing space to, first and foremost, rest deeply and focus on my health. I also expect it will enable me to open up more fully to creative/spiritual practice, and make some much-needed changes in my life.

My art will still be available from Redbubble, and I will also be contactable via email … though I may be a little slower to reply than usual.

Until 2022, farewell!

Thursday, 8 July 2021

Wisdom Across the Ages: Honouring Marija Gimbutas

Marija Gimbutas, 1993 (Source: Monica Boirar / Wikimedia Commons)
The Association for the Study of Women and Mythology (ASWM) is holding a virtual symposium over the weekend of 16–18 July in celebration of the centennial of the birth of the renowned Lithuanian-American archaeologist, Marija Gimbutas (1921–1994).


Along with presentations by many incredible women (such as Carol P. Christ, Max Dashu and Charlene Spretnak), there is also a public online art show, and I am so pleased that two of my paintings—Mothertongue and Rainmaker—were selected to appear in it. 
Mothertongue, 2019
Rainmaker, 2019
Marija Gimbutas’groundbreaking archaeomythological work has had a significant influence on me since I participated in Sylvia Linsteadt’s Witchlines Study Guild in 2018. Not only has Gimbutas’ investigation of the neolithic cultures of Old Europe been of importance (the social structures, peaceful life-ways, and religious practices), but the wealth of imagery in her books—pottery, signs and symbols, and the ubiquitous (mostly) female sculptures and figurines—has been an invaluable, abundant and ongoing wellspring of inspiration for my own art. 

Mothertongue was one of the first paintings I created that came directly out of my immersion in ancient imagery, reaching back into the past in search of the voices of the ancestors. 

Rainmaker was primarily inspired by two figurines from the pages of Gimbutas’ The Language of the Goddess (1989): the first from southern Italy (c. 5300 BC), with a face this is, I think, calmly ecstatic and receptive; the second from north-east Hungary (c. 5000 BC), with streams of water flowing down her body. It also references the often connected bird and snake symbolism that was so prevalent in Old European artefacts.

I am honoured to have my art included in this exhibition commemorating the life and pioneering interdisciplinary work of Marija Gimbutas. Many thanks to the ASWM for making it possible.

You can find the exhibition here. It will run until 9 September before being archived.

Update (5/09/21): The exhibition will now run until the end of the year.

Marija Gimbutas at Newgrange, Ireland, 1989
(Source: Michael Everson / Wikimedia Commons)

Wednesday, 7 July 2021

Mystery: A Poem

how little I understand 

my own illness 

its blunt fogs 

its sharp disquiets

the sheerness of the fall 

back into myself 

to be nothing more than 

this body, here and now 

elsewhere and -when 

only a dream I visit 

unwelcome, unwanted 

my face is hidden 

even from myself 

my possibilities impossible 

fragments of life unlived 

scattered on bare ground 

there will be no blossom 

except invisibly – 

phantom flowers 

the painful glorious 

ghostly unknowns 

of the life that is mine


I hadn’t written anything in a long time, let alone a poem.

This one arrived when I had a bad headache and fatigue, and was lying in bed trying to rest, if not sleep a bit. Yet in the midst of rest the words started to come, and I had to get up to get my notebook, to record the words before I forgot everything.

A reminder that creative work comes when it is ready, and not before; and sometimes out of the most unlikely and uncomfortable experiences.