Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The "Oracacular" in Art Process......

This started out as a journal, but somehow it's become quite political, and I feel at least today like pulling it back to it's original introspective intent.

Here's a very old drawing I found, which of course I completely forgot about.  I did it when I was just 20 years old.   It's not particularly good, but from the perspective of 45 years later, it reads to me like a prophetic page in the book of my life, and the reason I'm sharing this little story is not so much about the content of my personal story, but the way it illustrates the seamlessness and timelessness that we can touch when we are in creative (and mythic) mind space, which is also where the "oracular" can be seen.  There are themes......

I didn't know much when I was 20 years old  but I loved to draw.  I had not yet encountered feminism, let alone eco-feminism, Goddess spirituality, patriarchy, the Chalice and the Blade,  Lilith, etc. In fact, most of that was still underground and yet to evolve into the public eye.  Those forces were fermenting.  I had encountered the story of St. George and the Dragon, which is what this drawing was supposed to be about.  

At the time I was living with my first boyfriend, and the face of George is clearly him!  I still remember his angry, bullying face.   He used to hit and humiliate me, classic abusive behavior,  and after I left him I began the psychological quest to  selfhood that most women have to make when leaving such a relationship..........back then the path to understanding and empowerment was not so clear, or so available.  I am fortunate that I lived in Northern California, where the second wave of feminism was making its mark, and "consciousness raising groups" were becoming available, along with the early women's shelters.  

The face of "St. George" was, although I had no such language  for it, the face of patriarchal domination, which was personally playing out in my life and indoctrination,  as well as universally. 

But looking at this strange drawing,  what was the "Dragon" all about?  What a sad face that dragon has, not really fierce at all!  And it rises from depths in the earth.  Behind George is a barren kind of landscape, but behind the dragon, rising from the dark as the dragon seems to rise from the below, are  all kinds of foliage, plants, flowers, the abundance and vitality of nature. 

It was years later that I learned about symbolism of earlier Goddess cultures, the importance of the snake/dragon  as a universal symbol of the Goddess  Earth Mother, the Shakti, the Kundalini force, and the moving forces of nature ("Dragon Lines")  often represented (as in Celtic art for example) as snakes.  Perhaps the "slaying of the dragon", like "St. Patrick driving the snakes out of Ireland" was an intuiting of the loss of an earlier pagan reverence for the earth and the divine feminine.  What Celtic Bard Robin Williamson spoke of as

 "older yet and lovelier  far, this Mystery...........and I will not forget."

And who is the falling winged woman who seems to be part of the dragon? I think she was supposed to be the "maiden" being rescued by "St. George", at least in my conscious mind which was not much versed in mythology.  But a strange maiden she is indeed.   Snakes seem to encircle her as well as her merging with the dragon.........and she does not seem at all happy about St. George turning up.  In fact, she looks quite tragically sad.  From my perspective now, I would say that what we have here is really Lilith, the Goddess banished, along with the Earth Dragon, by the self-righteous sword of good old St. George the warrior.  

I don't know if we can all say that we have (or haven't) "found our life work".  I believe we can have a number of "life works", among them things we have to learn to do our soul making, and these might just as aptly be  called "life themes".  But looking back at touchstones in my own life, I see that the Goddess has always been with me, that if I contributed to anything significant in my life, it was my participation in the great wave of women (and men) who have sought to bring about the Return of the Goddess, with all that means, from women's rights  to uncovering the deeply buried past and understanding the lost and buried mythos and overlay hidden underneath the veneer of  patriarchal religion culture. 

And  the muses can be Sybils.  In fact, the Oracle of Delphi   was called......... "the Pythoness"!

**I wrote a little novel about the Oracle of Delphi based on Riane Eisler's CHALICE AND THE BLADE back in 1993.  It was called "The Song of Medusa" 


Rain-in-the-Face said...

George, George, George of the jungle. Strong as he can be
Ah, Watch out for that tree!!


Sorry, I went to the Temple of Monty Python...

Do you not feel, Lauren, that the time is ripe to let go of
the old classic myths; to cease framing the Millenial Crone -
that you are - through narratives that were seeded in another land?

lauren raine said...

Actually, I decided to leave this man's comment up, because it reminds me of Rebecca Solnit's essay "Men Explain Things To Me". In the course of this Blog, and so much of my professional life, that's exactly what men do, whether they are straight senior engineers, or gay male shamans or teenage boys googling "love goddesses". They patronize, they feel the need to diminish my offering or writing or thoughts to, in their minds, enhance their own importance. From their elevated view, they "explain things to me". What I have rarely experienced from men is to listen to me, and respond with something that is not ego based. I am sorry to say this, but it has been overwhelmingly true. Solnit says it so much better than I:

"Most (activist) women fight wars on two fronts, one for whatever the putative topic is, and one simply for the right to speak, to have ideas, to be acknowledged to be in possession of facts and truths, to have value, to be a human being. Things have gotten better, but this war won't end in my lifetime. I'm still fighting it, for myself certainly, but also for all those younger women who have something to say, in the hope that they will get to say it."

Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

I'm sort confused here about Rain: what paradigm are your questioning??

Unknown said...

Lauren, your drawing of woman, dragon, man with sword reminds me of Medea and Jason. I am finishing a theatre piece "Medea Everywoman" which has a scene between Medea and the dragon, a flashback to when she was a menarche maiden. I'd love to send that scene to you (but not publicly). My email is Thank you for your many years of brilliant devoted work.