Deus Ex Machina

DeusExMachinaDecember, 1996
Oils on Masonite
20”x 24”

I suspect this painting has more to plumb than I know yet, or that comes easily to me to write about.

I’ve never shown it either – it hasn’t seemed ready. As I painted, I had such a strong image in my mind of the Goddess appearing in the hay byre to the despairing village woman about to be killed – the one that I had uncovered in a Dana Zia massage session. See the Flashback painting. She is related to the promise to me from the Goddess that is held as the birthmark on my chest. It was a shock when she manifested in this painting so gaudily and almost like a humorous caricature.

The title came strongly in my head as I finished it. According to Wikipedia: “Deus ex machina is a Latin phrase that is used to describe an unexpected, artificial, or improbable character, device, or event introduced suddenly in a work of fiction or drama to resolve a situation or untangle a plot (e.g., having the protagonist wake up and realize it was all a dream or an angel suddenly appearing to solve problems). In modern terms the deus ex machina has also come to describe a being, object or event that suddenly appears and solves a seemingly insoluble difficulty (e.g. the cavalry arriving). The notion of deus ex machina can also be applied to a revelation within a story that a seemingly unrelated sequence of events are joined together by some profound concept. Thus the unexpected and timely intervention is aimed at the meaning of the story rather than a physical event in the plot.” It literally means “God from a machine.”

Perhaps it is about the fact that all these different, seemingly unrelated, pieces in our lives and stories, including the mysterious concept of past lives, do indeed have meaning in the “plot” of our Soul’s Journey if we let them unfold and reveal themselves to us in their own good time.

Journal, 10/1/97: Dana session today. Caverns, catacombs. My sister and I lying broken and beaten on straw, locked in. Two different times. I said it was our sanctuary defiled. Dana had an image of one slim ray of light. I told her I’d been painting this and how like my own image in an earlier session this year of me in the shed. In my painting though the Goddess appears like a gaudy deus ex machina on a trapeze with a leering mask on.

Dana said that Tom was a priest who had done this to us. And it wasn’t the first time – in other lives he was attracted to me but repulsed by my sexual skill as a priestess. Killed me, raped me. I felt it went back to Adam and Eve – a misinterpretation of sexuality, wildness and force of life – Goddess energy. I so miss that freedom. Hate that the erotic is treated as perversion. The confusion. “Ladies don’t move,” said the Victorian gentleman to his bride. And now I know that the awful fat man I was repulsed by and pushing away was Tom. I think after all those lives he retreated to the Zen and Tibetan monasteries to recover.

Dana and I also talked about how we’d also done evil things in other lives. When I came home and was thinking about telling Tom about this I realized that another time I’d probably raped him. And I don’t think I made that up. It makes sense with our two way blocks.

Written Fall, 2006