we were with you
as you scoured desert sands
demanding to know
where your dear daughter had gone
who had taken her
who held her
Blighting the earth with drought
raging and howling
We too cried out her name
her many her three hundred names
We too asked the sun
the copper sun who knows everything
Where were you? What did you see?
Frances Guerin worked as an activist for social justice for many years, conducting workshops and managing events. She has a Master of Visual Arts from Latrobe University Bendigo and Honours Degree in Philosophy and Women Studies. She exhibits her work on a regular basis in Australia. The Wombat Forest and the landscape of Daylesford where her studio is located is the source of her artistic inspiration.
Published posts from the recent:
I was summoned to Ireland by a crow tapping its beak loudly against my window just after dawn for many months. In frustration I yelled out, “Who are you and what do you want?” Surprisingly, a thought responded, “Mother and grandmother”. Then the crow came no more.
However at night I dreamed of the Gaelic place names of Ireland, and the mysterious words, Cailleach Beare and Fianna, written in the scales of a snake’s back. The great blue snake sped across the south west of Ireland and transformed into a woman in white with a red sun behind her. Then little ceramic figures emerged including one of a woman riding a turtle.
Frances Guerin 2012, Woman riding a Turtle ceramic, raku fired .25mx .9m.12m
The great Ah ha moment came when I found other contemporary artists who had made similar works of a woman on a turtle.
(a) Annette Messager, 1988 detail from Le Jardin du Tendre (b) Peter Jones,
Louise Skywoman falls to earth ( c) Vishnu’s 2nd incarnation as Kurma the Turtle
French artist Annette Messager drew a constellation in the form of a woman on a live turtle and set them free in the Jardin du Tendre. Peter Jones, an Iriquois Indian, told an old tale of Louise Skywoman falling to earth, off balance as she copes with contemporary life as a drinks waitress. The final discovery was the blue Hindu god Vishnu’s 2nd incarnation as a turtle that bore the earth mountain on his back during a flood similar in ways and times to the biblical Noah.
[This essay is part 1 of an edited excerpt from Chapter 1 of her book PaGaian Cosmology: Re-inventing Earth-based Goddess Religion.]
Jewel in Womb of Space
For years I described my spiritual practice as Gaian, perhaps encouraged by Charlene Spretnak’s use of the term for an article in 1991. It is an Earth-based spirituality, which requires only birth, not baptism, for belonging. We are all native to Gaia; all humans are indigenous to Her, though as Primordial Mother She may have other names. All humans can lay claim to relationship with Air, Fire, Water and Earth and to the Mystery at the Centre of it all. We do all issue forth from the same Origin – this is not just poetic flourish, this is biologically and cosmologically true. Gaia, as I understand Her, is not only Earth; She is Cosmos. Earth is that particular manifestation of Her with whom we are most intimate, and with whom all humans participate, whether conscious or not. The same Creative Dynamic (capitalized because it may be a name for the Sacred) that flourishes in Earth is assumed to be the same Creative Dynamic present throughout the Universe. Earth-Gaia is Seed and Jewel of a larger living Organism. Earth-Gaia is our Mother, but She is Daughter too, of an essential sentience that seethes through the Universe. Inasmuch as I am sentient, and I arise out of Earth, and Earth arises out of Universe, then Universe-Gaia is alive and sentient. She is the eternal pulse, in which each one of us flows. Gaia is Earth, is Universe, is Ultimate Mystery, is you, is me – She is multivalent. The only faith required in this spirituality is in the Teeming Abundant Creativity (another Name?) that has been manifesting now for some thirteen point seven billion years, and which has survived on this planet in particular for millions of years. This is not a flimsy track record! Perhaps, as James Lovelock has said, this is “as near immortal as we ever need to know”;or as Susan Griffin said more poetically, “at no instant does She fail me in Her presence.”
that Mary Magdalene and Christ