Friday, May 26, 2017

The Hidden Sky

The Hidden Sky:  Fibonacci Movie from Cara Reichel on Vimeo.

When I find something I love, it stays with me, revisited over and over again. The Spiral...............the Spiral Dance, the Spirals of Fibonacci, the elegant, eternal, mysterious spiral of time and space.  This video was one of the  "trailers" for a play some 7 years ago that was based on a story by Ursula Leguin called "The Masters" (a story not without relevance today, as it concerns a scientist who is silenced by an oppressive theocracy in a post apocalyptic world.  )   Below I also share the Prologue to the tale.

The Hidden Sky: Fibonacci Video
music and lyrics by Peter Foley
book by Kate Chisholm
based on the short story “The Masters” by Ursula K. Le Guin
directed by Kate Chisholm

The Hidden Sky: Prologue Movie from Cara Reichel on Vimeo.

"Science and religion collide in this sophisticated and mythic new musical. At the center of the conflict is Ganil, a young woman whose passionate longing for knowledge leads her on a dangerous journey in pursuit of lost and forbidden truths. With an eclectic score featuring lush choral singing, this compelling tale of spiritual awakening illuminates the complex dialogue between faith and reason."

“The power of Foley´s score effectively communicates the exhilaration of intellectual discovery… The melodic urgency, rhythmic variety, harmonic invention and orchestral sophistication of his music compel the attention. Foley acknowledges a range of influences from Sufi music to the rock band U2, yet what he has made of them is something uniquely his own.”

— The Philadelphia Inquirer

The Hidden Sky:  Fibonacci Movie from Cara Reichel on Vimeo.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Coreopsis Journal of Myth and Theatre (and Artist in Residence for 2017)


An Artist’s Statement

By Lauren Raine

“Myth comes alive as it enters the cauldron of evolution, 
drawing energy from the new storytellers who shape it.”

– Elizabeth Fuller, the Independent Eye Theatre

Mythos is the archetypal ground on which cultures are built, the sometimes fluid template of religions, and the means by which we decide what is sacred and what is not.  In other words, as the poet Muriel Rukeyser famously said, “The world is made of stories, not atoms.”  Artists are technicians of story.   So what are the stories that we are telling about our world, and how are they manifesting?  How are we, as artists, acting as myth makers?

Ritual is a way of bringing the storied realm into the physical realm.  There is something incredibly transformative about not simply observing, but becoming part of the story.  By putting on the mask, or passing the magical chalice, or touching the Earth with imagined roots we embody mythos.   Meaningful ritual is by and large lost in the contemporary world – but it’s a potent, creative field that is wide open for artists to re-animate.

When I went to Bali to study temple mask traditions I was fortunate to produce collaborative masks with Balinese mask makers while there. In traditional cultures, such as Bali, sacred masks are regarded as “vessels for the gods” to gain entry into this world, to bless or to instruct.  Their sacred mask traditions inspired me to create the Masks of the Goddess collection, which was devoted to the divine feminine throughout the world.  As the masks were used by dancers, storytellers, and ritualists, I found myself in a grand conversation, and the masks themselves gained energy, story, and “manna” from those who used them.    After 20 years, they are still travelling, most recently to the Parliament of World Religions.

Another series of masks, collectively called Numina after the Roman word for spirits of place, is a celebration of my lifelong conversation with the numinous intelligence in nature, and I offer them to others to give them voice. We have always personified the vast, mysterious and yet intimate forces of nature, as gods and goddesses, as kachinas, as the fey.   What might the Spirit of the River have to say as humans pollute our waters?  What might the Spirit of the Forest speak of?  What knowledge could the the Mountain Gods impart?

How might we use theatre, and participatory ritual, to engage others in the Great Conversation?  How might the renewal of contemporay Ritual Theatre help us to "re-enchant" the world?

Lauren Raine MFA

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Mother's Day

"Using the father tongue, I can speak of the mother tongue only, inevitably, to distance it -- to exclude it. It is the other, inferior. It is primitive: inaccurate, unclear, coarse, limited, trivial, banal. It's repetitive, the same over and over, like the work called women's work; earthbound, housebound. It's vulgar, the vulgar tongue, common, common speech, colloquial, low, ordinary, plebeian, like the work ordinary people do, the lives common people live. The mother tongue, spoken or written, expects an answer. It is conversation, a word the root of which means "turning together." The mother tongue is language not as mere communication but as relation, relationship. It connects. It goes two ways, many ways, an exchange, a network. Its power is not in dividing but in binding, not in distancing but in uniting. It is written, but not by scribes and secretaries for posterity: it flies from the mouth on the breath that is our life and is gone, like the outbreath, utterly gone and yet returning, repeated, the breath the same again always, everywhere, and we all know it by heart." 

Ursula K. Le Guin

Friday, May 12, 2017

Lost and Found Masks.............

"Flower Deva Mask"

I've made so many masks over the years that I never found a story for, although perhaps those who bought them found their stories and continue to find "voice" for them.  Sometimes a face would just kind of  appear in my imagination, or in the woods, or while working in my garden,  insisting that I make a mask for that special Persona.  So I did, but never really learned more about what those personae had to say or tell or dance.  I  found some images of some of those masks in my files, and just had to share them here, at least, to share their names.  All of these masks have left me, sold or given away............I like to think they are happy with the faces I found for them...........  

"Butterfly Fairy" 

One of a series of very large "butterfly masks" I made for a photography  trade show in NYC.  I wish they had thought to send me a photo of some of the people who used the masks...........would have been fun!  

"Fire Elemental"

There was a time when I make many "Fire" masks, being very drawn to that element.

"Wood Elemental"  (from Devils Hopyard State Park, Connecticut)

Two mystical, magical, wonderful residencies at I-Park Artists Enclave in East Haddam,  Connecticut resulted in lots of masks that spoke to me from the woods, the ponds, the dappled light of an incomparable Summer Solstice there.

"Bone Being" (a Samhain mask)

A very old Pagan mask, one of the "Mother of Bones" Masks I used to make, the Crone aspect of the Goddess and the turning of the year into darkness.


I made a series of masks for the Elusinian Mysteries plays some people I know were staging in California, but they never used them, or even seemed to notice I had made them, so they ended up sold off at a Renaissance Faire.  Too bad, the series was rather beautiful, I wanted to make them look old and antique, and I think I succeeded fairly well.  This was Hades.

"Luna Moth"

This was a Luna Moth experience I had during one of my wonderful summers at Brushwood Folklore Center in Western New York.  I had never seen such a thing as a Luna Moth before, and finding one that was dying, I needed to at least celebrate it's incredible beauty.  So I kept it in a box and used it for the model of this mask.  When it died I gave it back to my favorite tree, feeling very blessed by that beautiful little life.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Puzzle Synchronicity

I had a funny, and illuminating, synchronicity the other day, one that I think I need to take to heart!

I can see the street from my dining room window, and sitting at the table I noticed a couple of brightly colored  boxes in the street directly in front of my house.  It seemed strange that they were there, and no other trash or debris, so I went out to investigate.  They turned out to be two puzzles, both new and still in packages inside the boxes.  I have no idea of how they got there, except someone must have dropped them.

Just that day I'd been thinking of several things.  One was the habitual depression if not outright despair I' ve been feeling since the election, a despair that always seems to be heightened after a morning read of Facebook news. Sometimes lately I feel paralyzed by it.

The other thing I'd been thinking about was going to visit a friend in Sedona when I make my cross-country trek this summer - it's a bit out of the way, but it's been on my mind.   I remember in the 80's when we used to make our "pilgrimages" to Sedona, to walk the "vortexes".  I used to always stop there when I was passing by, and walk in Boynton Canyon in particular.    I'm not as idealistic a I used to be,  but Sedona is still a special place,  beautiful and considered by many a power place or sacred place.

So what were these puzzles?  One was "Sedona"...........and the other was called "White House Holiday"!!  Sedona - going to  a special place where people think about geomancy and spirituality and art.  And taking a much needed "holiday" from what's happening in the news and in the White House!  

I think these puzzles so kindly provided by the Goddess of synchronicity and serendipity are not so difficult to put together..........

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Joanna Brouk - Farewell to a Friend

I just lost my oldest friend, the composer, poet and writer Joanna Brouk. We were young artists in the halcyon years of Berkeley, and her art has travelled with me across the years. Joanna was one of the early composers of synthesizer music, and she worked at Mills College and the University of California in the early 70's, and she was one the early collaborators of the Hearts of Space radio show. I remember her "Gong Piece", a beautiful work using a Japanese gong.........I had a copy of it on reel to reel tape, and carried that around for years until it finally disintegrated.   She and I and another friend, Felicia, collaborated on a book of poems,  and it was my delight to reconnect with Joanna many years later, in 2011.

Since then we've visited several times a year, and I've watched Joanna's music be re-discovered (she was invited to perform in France this Spring), as well as she was finally ready to release the first edition of her "Lost Eros" books, a project she was excited about.  Creativity was flowing for Joanna, it was my privilege to experience her inspiration and enthusiasm,  and it seems impossible that that conversation is suddenly not to be continued.  But what I find I remember best.......the two of us just sitting on the beach,  watching the pelicans come home. Or watching movies with popcorn.  Or working on her garden, hauling humongous bricks around.  I remember she had a bee hive in a tree, and I was planning on visiting in the summer, to see how the garden was coming along with the new improvements.  

"Joanna Hearing Music" 

In  a recent release of one of her albums I heard the sound of a woman's voice singing - and suddenly remembered that was me, singing at the bottom of the stairwell at Kroeber Hall, while she recorded me, 45 years ago. The last time I saw her she visited me in February for the Gem show, and was excited about going to France for a concert. We talked about the book she was working on, how weird it was to be growing old. We were sure we had more adventures ahead......

I remember Joanna used to say that she just "heard the music of the spheres" and she did strange abstract drawings trying to "write down" what she heard. In many ways her music was an effort to re-member that music that was already there. The same with her poems, which she said were more about "the space in-between than the actual words". She's fine, I know, but I feel grief for her son. And for me. Grief is always really about us, the ones who are left behind.

 I don't know how to honor her except to share a bit of what she contributed to the world, the world she was a true artist in:   a pollinator of souls.

light of morning
the fairest light, the fairest light
has come

softly, I feel its coming

night has given
night has given
a place to morning
breath returns and moistens
the grass the birds feather

no longer do I hide
no longer do I hide
gone into darkness

light has come

Joanna Brouk (1972)