They see me rollin,' they hatin'.
A number of years ago, I heard from a friend that someone we
both knew was going around referring to me as a “Diva.” Now at the time, this
really got under my skin, especially since the friend in question refused to
tell me who the source was. By the way – I have since learned that if someone
brings you information and they are not willing to reveal the source, it is not
real information, it is GOSSIP and should be ignored. However, Wise Helena had
not kicked in that day, and it was Nervous and Low Self Esteem Helena who heard
Dear Middle School Helena,
I’m going to just get this out of the way right now. Middle
School is awful. Everyone (nearly everyone) is hitting puberty and hormones are
shooting out all over this school in ways that are probably best left not
thought about. I’m Future Amazing Helena, and I am here to tell you a few
things I wish someone had told you then.
You are incredibly bright and talented. You are special and
gifted; even if you mother keeps telling you that you don’t belong in a gifted
I was very excited to learn that two young, African American
painters had been chosen to paint the official portraits of Barack and Michelle
Obama, Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald, respectively. I have followed the work of Wiley in particular over the
past 15 years or so, and was very excited that the Obamas had specifically
chosen these two artists for their National Portrait Gallery representations.
You can see and read about the portraits in this New York Times articlehere
I always tell my students that interpreting art is a deeply
personal thing, so perhaps I should not have been surprised to read online that
there were a number of people who did not feel as I did.
Today's ear worm happens to be a hit song from back in the seventies.... it is reminding me that even when everything looks bad, we need to remain positive. The song was written by someone with the unfortunate name of Wet Willie:
Well you say you got the blues,
Got holes in both of your shoes,
Feelin' alone and confused,
You got to keep on smilin', keep on smilin'
....Keep on smilin' through the rain, laughin' at the pain
Rollin with the changes til the sun comes out again
I have been downright awful about blogging in pretty much every area where I have tried to maintain a blog, and so I begin this blog post by saying I promise to put something here every day, even if it is just a random hello or a little sketch or even some dumb thing. I know that writing begets writing, so I intend to make writing happen for me with starting to write.
I spent much of 2017 feeling sad about a number of things, politics perhaps first and foremost among them. The racial divide in our country seems to be wider than ever, however at the same time, we are talking about it more than in the past.
As many of you are aware, the Assembly of the Sacred Wheel holds an annual Festival of Hecate ritual. I have been a bit behind this week with school keeping me much too busy (see previous post), so I have for you something I wrote that was inspired by one year's Hecate ritual. In this writing, Hecate tells the story of the abduction of Persephone from her point of view. I hope you enjoy it!
I was in my cave, contemplating the depth and darkness of it
all when I heard the Maiden’s screams. By the time I emerged from within, the
ground had already swallowed the Kore up, Hades taking Her down into His dark
April 25, 2015
APRIL is the
cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.
From “The Wasteland” by T. S. Eliot
We count the cycle of the year in so many ways, and for
myself and my colleagues in higher education, April truly can be the cruelest
month. We find ourselves hurtling towards the end of the school year, with
graduation looming for our seniors and finals and final grades for everyone.
For the past four months I have been studying Shamanism with Caroline Kenner in the Washington, DC area. Each month, we explore a different area, and this last class was all about fire. Sometimes I am lucky enough to receive some kind of artistic or poetic inspiration, and this past class, I was very happy to receive this poem about fire.
The outburst of light,
Outpouring as from an exploding star
Expanding expanding expanding
Becoming the Universe;
the brightest flame of them all.
It consumes the star
I was recently asked, along
with a group of other artists, by Renee Phillips of Manhattan Arts, to describe
what kinds of rituals do I use when sitting down to create, if I used anything
to set the mood, any special music, and so forth. The array of answers was
fascinating as artists shared what rituals they use, if any, ranging from
artists who just plunge in and begin working to others who need meditation and
other tools to begin.
For me, the art making
process itself is ritual. The studio is my sacred space, where I am free to
create and follow where my inspiration leads.
I dream now of waters of life
The waters that gave birth to
me and mine
Manannan Mac Llyr I feel you
striding across the North Atlantic
And in the south, I feel
Olokun and Yemoja swimming through warmer waters
And all somehow reaching this
This foreign land where my
All come together and mingle
in my blood
My blood like water
Water flowing through my heart
Blood flowing through my veins
Taking on endless shapes and
Waving on beneath the seas,
the rivers, the little creeks