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Rituals & Workshops
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Enigma Art Studio
5401 4th Street South
St. Petersburg, FL 33705
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Rituals & workshops

Weave, Weave, Women Weave
Women weave the web of life
All together, one another
Weave women weave

Lynn Carol and friends at Women's Ritual.

Feminists throughout history have charged us with the task of questioning male domination and better understanding women's power to go beyond the present patriarchal system. I chose to accept this task by creating women's ritual circles, and making and using the art objects associated with them as part of my research, and the inspiration for my dissertation and final project for my doctoral program (called the Project Demonstrating Excellence) from the Union Institute and University. My investigation of women's ritual art and its sources took me on a high adventure through the fields of Art History, Women's Studies, Theater and Storytelling, Psychology, Expressive Arts, and Anthropology. This project is the result of that quest.

At present, feminist ritualists everywhere are in the midst of a cultural and spiritual revolution creating alternative institutions in the arts, education, religion, and healthcare while maintaining networks to combat injustice. Wherever one looks, the wounds of individuals become metaphors for our wounded society. The healing of the sources of pain in one are the avenues of transformation in all. I have come to realize that changing our consciousness to see the problems more clearly is the first step in solving them.

In individuals, the beginning of consciousness change most often comes with a break from the known world-usually born out of crisis and insecurity. Contemporary society is experiencing that break. Many of the world's problems can be framed as a form of imbalance, a disharmony created by tolerance for the behavior and values of patriarchy. This system not only enshrines competition, war, greed, misogyny, and ecocide in the name of progress, but has virtually obliterated all memory of the possibility of any other system. I believe that the healing power of women's ritual art envisions another way; it creates a consciousness that can lead us into the light.

My exploration of the Women's Spirituality Movement provided me with insights into the healing power of story, music, and imagery to have a positive impact on self-esteem as well as cultural continuity, empowerment, and healing. My research question centered on how to use my skills in the visual and performing arts to raise consciousness about the necessity for change and to facilitate that change through women's empowerment rituals.

I found inspiration in ancient cultures that honored the living Earth, women, and the Divine Feminine. This vision, "the new feminist paradigm," actively explores what it means in ordinary life to value being, rather than having, in a resacralized landscape. It discusses and experiments with the creation of cooperative, decentralized communities. Women ritualists have reintroduced altar-making and celebrations of the phases of one's life and the universe, the moon, solstices, and growing seasons to make connections to inner meaning in the context of the natural world. This is the vision made visible by my installation, "Voices from the Circle: Women's Ritual Art."

The investigations leading up to this project became for me a personal ritual of renaming. With each discipline I investigated, I fed another of the hungry mouths of my soul. I explored feminism and found myself resonating to the words of powerful foremothers and contemporary radicals. I learned about the evolution of ritual, and took on the persona of an ancient drummer dancing by firelight. The images and environments of women performance artists filled my dreams with colors and sounds. Spirit beings spoke to me in healing trances with prophecy and signs. And always the women's sagas, the poetry, and myths found voice in my stories. Women's spirituality not only engaged me, it inhabited me.

I came to see myself as part of a tectonic shift already in progress. Attempts to demonize feminist ritualists while trivializing their message were set against a consciousness change seen in the new acceptance of holistic complementary healing practices. The concept of using healing rituals and expressive arts for women's empowerment appeared in every discipline I investigated. Each had established routes for the pilgrims searching for holiness, searching for wholeness, traveling my way.

The women's rituals that most attract me focus on love as the "mestiza" harmonizing of relationships, not just between the sexes, but between all relationships. Love is at the matrix, the mother core, the holy ground where ideological crossroads meet. Love of ourselves, our human family, the environment and ultimately all of creation is at the heart of empowerment. It is the song of life, the vibration that puts us in touch with the invisible electromagnetic and spiritual web that flows around and through us.
In the deep purple light that glows at the dawn of being, the Hopis tell of Spiderwoman. From her own spider being, she draws forth silver threads that she sends to the east and west and the north and south. And there in the center, where the two threads meet, she utters a sound that is beautiful, deep, and sweet. The universe is born in that sound, and all things come from the song of life carried on Spiderwoman's threads.

The patriarchal system sees Spiderwoman's web as a prison, a grid of boundaries between win and lose, enshrining the rift between dualities. The fathers' world is one of separation: male from female, mind from body, physical from spiritual. This is a domination model based on fear and the greed that grows out of it. The power of fear linked to control results in domination over women, the environment, and the emotions. Fear is the suffocating cloud of poison that overwhelms our creativity and shadows the inner light, separating us from the vibration of love. Fear is "the mind killer and the soul destroyer."("Doonsbury") Love is the antidote.

"Voices from the Circle: Women's Ritual Art" as an art installation, a ritual, and an exercise in empowerment teaches us by expanding the definition of love. Love is revealed in all of its aspects: equal partnership, friendship, sexuality, and mystical ecstasy; and in its opposite: possession, envy, and greed. Participants are asked to accept the challenge to unlearn their patriarchal heritage by forming new relationships with each other and with themselves. They empower themselves with affirmations, visualizations, and self-expression. Each participant is encouraged to stretch as far as she can; each step is a victory

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