Painted at Kripalu with Aviva Gold
In April 1997 I did a workshop called “Painting from the Source” with Aviva Gold at Kripalu. I began with a figure joyously raising its arms to the sky. Then I failed to buy something in the shop which was gone when I went back deciding that I wanted it. Normally I make myself wrong for being disappointed in such a situation (“It’s your own fault, and isn’t that really trivial to get upset about…”) but this time I decided to acknowledge my disappointment by painting it. I cut the figure in half and drew it bowed over with its arms reaching down. A tree seemed to be growing up in front of it, so I elaborated on its trunk and roots. After leaving the room, I came back to my painting and saw that there was a woman with arms raised in the negative space produced by the bowing figure and the tree trunk. I outlined her torso more clearly and put in an eye to show that her head was turned sideways. Again I left and again I came back to see that she was connected to legs, made by the roots of the tree. She was slender, dark brown in color and wearing the very full pants that I associate with dancers in India and Indonesia. I could not have painted her if I had been trying to, she was an amazing product of my unconscious.


Painted at Kripalu with Aviva Gold
May 1998: Sixteen people came to learn about the Sacred Calendar, its foundation in astronomy, the symbolic meaning of the eight major holidays, dances that expressed the energy we were celebrating. All parts of me were there: astronomer, dancer, set designer, priestess.
To keep myself from crashing after this intense creative output, I signed up again for “Painting from the Source.” This time I enter the state Aviva calls “plugged in” where there are “no mistakes and no accidents.” I paint with my hands instead of my eyes, smearing paint where it “feels right” rather than “looks good.” I tear pieces of paper and stick them on with paint, building up layers. The surface grows richer and richer. I dip my hands in a color Aviva calls “Placenta Red” and they make a long oval shape in the center. I expect it to be a vagina, but when I look back from across the room, I see a woman: her hand in the ritual gesture, her feet poised, her head crowned with a pointed head dress.

This is not the whole story.  Nine years earlier I had encountered a Red Woman, but it was a long time before I connected the two.  That story is here.