I am writing on the day of a powerful full moon where ‘she’ is showing herself especially close to the earth, honest and naked. It’s a time when all those hidden potentials, but fears and hates too, come to the surface. It is also a time in the world of extreme masculinity in many forms, but especially in the brutal masacres of innocents in Gaza and elsewhere. The paradigm of winning and dominating with the help of the arms trade and power politics seems to be clinging on for dear life (or death). But fundamentalist religious fervour has played its part too. Secularist lefties never expected to see such a rise in religions of all kinds in the 21st Century. I often wonder whether it is a reaction to Feminism at a deep collective unconscious level. For example 40 years ago the Secularist Socialist PLO and the Socialist minded Kibutz culture in Israel could have found common ground. But now patriarchal religions have returned with a vengence eg. claiming sacred land in the name of God. Extreme inequality is the result, as in Israel and Palestine, and of course the occupied people have the right to resist. But the roots of the problem go deeper, not only to colonialism but to the development of the very ideas of ownership of land and the inferiority of women 5,000 yrs ago.
Yet in all religions there has been some ‘memory’, some continuity, some half forgotten honouring of the divine feminine. In Christianity this was expressed by the Troubadors of the Middle Ages and specifically by the symbol of the Holy Grail. With my family I recently vistited South West France, famous for the heretical sect called Cathars as well as good wine. We climbed to the top of Montsegur (see top of painting) which in 1244 was where the last(almost) of the Cathers were massacred. The hierarchical and patriarchal Catholic Church could not stand their much more equalising ideas and social structure. Women were able to preach and could become spiritually ‘perfected’. Some believed that a few of them escaped carrying the Holy Grail with them.
But as I try to express in my picture, the Grail is really a symbol of the fecundity of the earth, of woman, of the spirit WITHIN not above matter. In the same area there are many Black Madonna’s even within the establishment churches. We visited one in Montpelier famous for her miracles. She looked so sad and forgotten in a corner while the male priests led mass. I depicted her holding our planet in her hand looking at it with compassion, despair and hope. The divine feminine, rhythm of life, spirit in matter is needed so badly today. She has many names and forms but I have started calling her Equalia to play a part in ALL kinds of inequalities not only those of gender.
You could visualise her as the swirling light in the painting rising and falling, imbuing everone with her love but also not denying the dark clouds and the disappointing tragedy that is today’s world. Feel the sadness, then let it go. Feel the hope and breathe its rhythms while chanting E- qua- li-a.