(click to enlarge)

In Lane's Greenwitch Tarot this is the 6 of Air

Surrender isn’t always about “giving up,” but can be about letting go into a process, giving over to what is. Doing so despite fears, legitimate as they may be. In 1995, when  it was time to leave teaching at Fire Mountain School (which I helped found) many were upset. My family, pretty ribbons still tied to my ankle, were also wondering what I was up to, hoping I wasn’t also leaving them. For a time I felt I was floating above it all ready to explore ancient worlds of the metaphysical, surrendering to the new that was emerging in me. That was when I bought my first tarot deck, the MotherPeace, still a favorite.

What is it that you need to surrender to? What is in process deep within? What can be left behind that no longer serves? What cords/ribbons need cutting? Which ones stay? Can you float peacefully for a while until clarity makes forward movement possible?

Painting Journal 6/27/95

The assignment for the July meeting is to paint Ms. No-Can-Do, the receptionist who greets the intention with consideration of the price that must be paid to get through. I had an image from the week school went out of me as a kind of limp blimp floating over a crown of demanding people as I had cut several of the ties that bound me to earth. The ties floated below me. And I had an image of the demanding censor - a combined version of the 3 guardians from my very first painting: “Who are you, what do you think you are doing?!”

            At first it seemed like two paintings - one with me more active. But I’m getting tired of that fierce crowd of censors as well as my concerns for my family waiting below. So  I combined the images.

           A naked blue figure floats high in the horizontal painting. Below her are maypole ribbons - brightly colored. Below them are several figures. Those on the left are holding ribbons - one, a woman is shouting - another - a child is waving (goodbye? or in need?). The ribbons going from those two dangle just out of reach from the hand that hangs limply. A yellow ribbon in the middle floats between the blue body and a woman in orange with her arms akimbo - the judgmental censor/receptionist. She’s not holding on - just acting askance at the woman above. On the right side are Tom, Skye & Morgan. Morgan reaches up with both hands to hold his silver ribbon. Tom’s hands are not visible -what is he thinking? needing? wishing for? His ribbon is gold and goes out of view to where the hands are. Both Morgan’s and Tom’s ribbons are attached to a dangling foot - one (not clear which) is tied around the ankle. The ribbons appear to be holding the figure back, yet they are also grounding her. She is needed - she also needs them. Skye is turned towards the front and is playing the flute. He is much larger and seems somewhat in the foreground. His ribbon -silver - floats unattached at either end. He is less needy of his mother’s care. More ready to be on his own and have her on her own. He even seems to be egging her on - or at least accompanying her (musically) as she floats in her new dimension. Tom may be feeling this way too - it’s just not at all clear in the painting.

           I agonized over these family figures - wanting to make Tom more clear, frustrated with trying (technically) to do Skye’s face (I didn’t give Tom any face at all, just as he has no hands). I don’t want my ties to them to be a price I must pay. I’m willing to leave the school people and I can stand up to the receptionist (or ignore her) - but I am clearly ambivalent about my family. I want to have it all. We’ll see.

           The background is a light green earth curving roundly just past the watching figures. The woman/me floats in a dark night sky speckled with stars. Three other ribbons float from hands and feet off stage - other people, I presume. Community, deMoll family of origin, other ties.

           I thought about putting in a dancing circle of women to help things along (like the one dancing on the belly in another painting and dancing in the background of an earlier one). The women are nearby, I think - or are they one of the ribbons let go?? I also thought about the moon - but the stars are too bright.  Must be a new moon.  

           I did this painting in two sessions - feeling torn about the family trio and not clear whether it should be a night sky or more blended somehow to dawn or day. Should the second arm hang over the belly or reach up and off the page again? Was also struggling with technical issues - new oil paints didn’t always work the way I expected. Details getting smudged by color mixing and smallest brush not being very predictable. It seemed to matter to me that the figures looked right - say certain things via gesture, color, body language. It felt kind of crude to me somehow. Am I getting more exacting in my “great maturity?” Less willing to let the strokes come as they will?

           I ended up unhappy and grouchy about the painting - but liked it more later. It will be interesting to see/hear about it with the group’s eyes.