Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Bull, the Bee and the Goddess

I have completed another Monotype whose imagery draws on the bull, the Goddess and Cretan ritual for inspiration.  It is called The Bull, the Bee and the Goddess.  It will be exhibited at the Heron’s Nest during Vashon Island’s Holiday Studio Tour (December 5, 6 & 12,13) and is one of several paintings and Monotypes I will be exhibiting at The Heron's Nest throughout the month of December.

A few years ago two good friends walked the El Camino de Santiago in Spain. Later, while describing the experience of hiking through Galicia and encountering shrine after shrine to “Our Lady”, one commented that these alters were probably manifestations of the Goddess filtered through the Christian tradition.  Her observation struck a personal chord and inspired my own arm chair research and subsequent visual exploration.

The Goddess or Mother Goddess is the oldest deity in the archaeological record. Her manifestations are legion. One of her earliest (neolithic) forms is that of the Queen Bee, leader and ruler of the hive.  In the ancient world bees were wisely valued as necessary to  pollination,  acknowledged as special beings and honored as symbols of regeneration.   The Queen Bee (Goddess) in particular was often portrayed  at the center of  ritual communication and dance surrounded by adoring sister bee priestesses.  Ancient cultures the world over have believed that bees and bulls are connected. 
Marija Gimbuts conjectures in her book “The Language of the Goddess” that bull-begotten bees or the perception of regeneration and renewal of life which both bull and bee symbolized in many cultures may have come about  “by an observable, albeit mysterious, natural phenomenon: the sudden appearance of a swarm of insects in the carcass of an animal.” 
In Minoan myth the two are inseparably linked. Bees resurrecting from the dead bull were perceived guarantors of renewal or zoe (the indestructible life force) and consequently were also equated with souls of the dead.

The Minoan new year began on the summer solstice when Sirius, the star of the Goddess, rose in conjunction with the sun. Prior to the solstice, honey from bee hives was gathered to ferment and be made into an intoxicating mead central to the ecstatic rites and celebratory sacrifice of a sacred bull. 
My Monotype image with gold leaf, The Bull, the Bee and the Goddess, is 14 1/8 x 35 1/2 inches and mounted on wood panel.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Bainbridge Arts and Crafts Art Auction

The Bainbridge Arts and Crafts Crab Feed, a much loved tradition (1969-1994), party and auction fundraiser,  rides again.  This 2009 gala promises to be spectacular!  In addition to beautiful glass. sculpture. painting and print art donated by local and regional artists there will be such exceptional items as a flight over Bainbridge in an historic airplane, Emu Topsoil Garden Compost (really!), a Sage fly rod, and tickets to the Elton John/Billy Joel concert.  The party starts a 6:00 PM, October 24 at Banbridge Arts and Crafts.  Purchase tickets at Bainbridge Arts and Crafts or by telephone at 206.842.3132.  The image above is my donation to the Art Auction, a Monotype print, titled
The Garden of the Hesperides.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Bull from the Sea

Today I am posting an image of and detail from The Bull from the Sea. It’s a Monotype I have just completed and will be displaying when I open my studio for Vashon Island’s Holiday Studio Tour, the first two weekends in December. Lately I have been reading about bulls and the richly various rolls they have played in human history. If you are familiar with the myth of the Minotaur you may remember to what the tittle refers.
Archaeological discoveries of ceremonial objects and art from numerous Paleolithic, Neolithic, and particularly in Minoan and Mycenaean sites attest a long symbolic life giving connection of the bull, to seasonal waters, vegetative regeneration and the incarnate generative force of the Goddess. Dorothy Cameron in her book “Symbols of Birth and Death in the Neolithic Period” offers diagrammatic comparison that the likeness of the head and horns of the bull in Neolithic art may also be a symbolic depiction of the female reproductive organs.
Cretan culture is rich with bull imagery. Carved figure and colorful frescoes found at Knossos celebrate the ceremonial leap and somersault between the horns of the charging bull. The Minoan Horns of Consecration, an emblem of bull and sacrifice resonates with another familiar Cretan figure, the goddess, arms uplifted in blessing.
Crete’s mythic civilization begins with the abduction by Zeus (as bull) of Europa. With their union, Europa would become the first queen of Crete. When Minos, a descendent of Zeus and Europa, defeats his brothers to become King he prays that Poseidon, God of the Seas, might send him a white bull to sacrifice in recognition that his Kingship is divinely sanctioned. Poseidon’s gift, a beautiful pure white bull, The Bull From The Sea, appears as petitioned but Minos instead elects to substitute another bull and keeps the beautiful sacrificial animal for himself. Poseidon, enraged, curses Minos and persuades Aphrodite, Goddess of Love, to cause Minos’s wife Pasiphae to fall in love with Poseidon’s gift. A child is conceived and born, half bull, half human, named Asterion, but called the Minotaur.
My Monotype, The Bull from the Sea, with gold leaf, is 14 1/8 x 35 1/2 inches and mounted on wood panel.