The Last Period

(click to enlarge)

April, 1997
Acrylics on paper
16”x 20”
Framed in crazy Quilting 25” x 30”

In Lane's Greenwitch Tarot this is the 6 of Fire:

When wild chaotic Fire erupts, burning everything in its path, there is nothing we can DO but surrender to it. Not giving up but giving over. Breathe. Allow in the absurd. Let the mysterious Black Madonna chop off our head with a duck-shaped hatchet. Wha?? Wallow in our cyclical menstrual or life’s blood seeping onto the crescent moon remembering that compassionate Kwan Yin often sits on that moon. Let the snake-headed Greek Medusa/Hopi Kachina call in new sparking energy.

Can you, as Rainer Marie Rilke says,“Learn to love the questions themselves”? Can you remember that you are okay even if it doesn’t feel like it? Can you maybe even find the humor in it? You’ve got this, hard as it seems in the moment. This too shall pass.

February 2004 - text from Out of Ashes Show

I finally got it as I sewed the frame for the “Out of the Ashes” Show in 2004 that this painting is about my croning!

For a long time I saw this as the Allies chopping back my head so I could be more in touch with my body [though that is also still true]. The spirit of Kali Ma – She Who Knows When To Cut – had turned up again. And that is one of the stories. But now I also see these two as crones waiting for me to emerge from my menstrual years. A cutting of a different sort. This painting was done when I was still bleeding, when I couldn’t really comprehend any other way of being without that odd mix of messy pain and the glory of fertility and motherhood. As usual, both are true. There I crouch, pushing myself up from the ground, cradled by the moon, wanting to speak of my experiences. Originally it was called Phoenix II – blood as purifying fire I guess.

The Black Madonna, here looking very Arabic and mysterious, is revered in Catholic churches both in South America and around the Mediterranean. She is yet another remnant of the ancient African Mother Goddess who appeared in my very first Allies painting. Her blue hands are folded…. or is she holding the duck above my head? Duck as cleaver? That silly duck just wouldn’t go away, as hard as I tried to paint it out or turn it into something more glamorous like Raven or Hawk. In case I think I’m in control of what I’m painting! A Hopi Kachina dances next to her as Kali. She is also Medusa with her snake hair.

The Last Period Framed

As to the frame – I’d been working all that year on crazy quilt pieces and got the urge to use them as a frame. The left side was one I’d already made. The other sides were put together for this. Many of the patches have special meaning for me mostly about family ties (lots of stories here). Towards the end I worried that it was “too much.” But then I realized it is like a Tibetan tanka. And I thought about how the Hopi are related in mysterious ways to the Tibetans and it all seemed apt.