with Emma Christina Lucia
Walking the path of the Sacred Feminine as artist, scholar and pilgrim.
For the last three and a half years I have been on a pilgrimage to sacred sites of the feminine. Travelling through the sub-arctic circle in Canada, Costa Rica, France, Crete, Cyprus, Greece, Scotland, Spain, America and the UK. I have followed parts of the Magdalene pathways, often into the embrace of Black Madonnas. This sacred path has seen me tracing many lines to interconnecting source points atop of which sites for the divine feminine often lie. At each sacred site I took photographs and had experiences, which became the source material for the creation of fiber forms, bronzes and other artworks.
I am currently doing my PhD in Visual Art at Griffith University, and this pilgrimage is the focus of my research. I am an artist, scholar, and the intuitive and sacred world is of great importance to my life. Combining these with honour has been a great personal reclamation, claiming who I am, what I love as well as the gifts I carry, was part of this journey. By the time Being Woman 2017 takes place, I will have had my final exhibition showcasing textile and bronze sculptures that I made in response to the sites in combination as pilgrimage. For this PhD my body was as a pilgrim’s body seeking out and responding to the call of the sacred feminine.
Undertaking this pilgrimage has been a long durational performance work for me, one where I combine contemporary art, research and the sacred. It has been a balancing act whilst simultaneously treading a sacred pathway across the planet to various shrines and sites of devotion/reverence. It would be a great joy for me to be able to recount stories from the road, and correspond these with images of the many sites I have been to. In this way this workshop would be a combination of story telling, imagery and movement.
I mention movement here because often when at sacred sites, I am involved with dance sometimes in the form of free flow movement that stirs within as I feel the pulse of a site, for example becoming as if a bird with wings. Or at other times the dance, which occurs is part of a group process most often expressed through sacred circle dance. I have been taught by various circle dance teachers including; Laura Shannon (the grandmother of sacred circle dance), Sheila Norris, Isabela Keski-Franti and Sue Collins (who I had the fortune to travel with to Being Woman in 2015). Many times these dances (which are strictly for women) are well over ten thousand years old. In this way they are contemporary and young dances that are still being born through the dancers body today, coming into fruition and maturity.
However, rather than teaching sacred circle dance here I would like to work with movement. Often times I have learnt from practitioners of the sacred feminine (who live close to sacred sites around the world) different whole body movement practices that activate the feminine within. One such movement is called ‘lifting the veil’ and I have found that over the years this movement continues to activate a union between the masculine and feminine/left and right/past and present/mother and father energies within my own body. It is a simple movement for me that can be easily shared in a short period of time. I have taught this movement before and found each time that many women take to this movement quickly and finding a sense of joining occurring within. I would like to share this and perhaps one or two other movements that invite and allow each woman to have her own experience of wholeness within, with no expectation as to how it will be received.
I found in a circle open yet unbroken in Crete, that after having crawled down five interconnecting caves into a cavern in which I could not see my hand passing in front of my face and being invited beyond the veil of a Greek Orthodox church to see icons and be in a different kind of presence, that the Goddess is love for me, light and dark in all her forms unified in wholeness. By presenting images of Black Madonnas, Magdalene, Aphrodite and raw Neolithic fertility sites of Mother Earth/Gaia I hope I can share experiences of journeying towards and within aspects of wholeness. That dark and light are not conflicting ends of the spectrum, but rather complimentarily existing within the cocoon of love that is this earth mother whom I lovingly walk upon. I hope that the workshop will highlight how sites can be as the loving dark womb in which I was born which is just as evocative, tender as strong as the light, which radiates from within.