Sunday, December 21, 2014
“Cycles and Seasons”
By Toni Truesdale
The recurrence of the seasons continue to encircle our lives,
Just as it gave celebrations to our ancestors.
Spring Equinox, Summer Solstice,
Fall Equinox, and Winter Solstice
Mark those passages in a yearly cycle all over the world.
We have learned to plant food and medicines
According to the agricultural calendar.
We dance in a circle to celebrate the planting,
Harvesting, and the storing of food.
Buildings, monuments, and spiritual spaces have been built
To align with the celestial movements that determine
The four seasons at the point of each transition.
That moment of blindness,
We turn into radiance.
It is the point of transition;
From fear into hope,
And Despair into faith.
And when helplessness evolves into courage,
Inaction into resolve…
We heal from old wounds,
And become whole again…
We light the candles on the Tree of Life
As we turn from the darkest night;
To help illuminate the world.
T.Truesdale copyright 2006
Friday, December 19, 2014
Every Child Sacred
As we approach this season of lights, solstice, renewal;
And we celebrate the birth of the man called Christ.
Let us remember all of our children are sacred;
The potential is in each to be a peacemaker, teacher, healer...
With the ability to reach out to others with compassion and understanding.
Each birth is a return to our common bond of human family.
Each child is our child;
See not the child of another faith, enemy, race.
But each child injured, killed, sacrificed is our own.
And remember the sacred stories the feminine is eternal,
Through the daughter the family continues...
“Demeter and Kore”
By Toni Truesdale
The Greek tale of Demeter and Kore,
Symbolizes the sacred bond
Between mother and daughter.
In early civilizations inheritance passed
Through the clans on the female line.
The role of female was central in matrilineal cultures.
Daughters were the invaluable continuation of life;
Through her the generations flowed.
The myth of Kore’s abduction by Hades is a
Reflection of great social change.
From agricultural female deities to male dominated city states.
But Earth Mother, Demeter, would neither abdicate her role
Nor her daughter to patriarchal domination.
She won a partial victory.
Her daughter remained with her the fertile half of each year;
Which became Spring and Summer.
This story is a reflection of creative duality,
And Balance; male and female;
Night and day,
Dark and light.
Death and rebirth
Solstice and equinox...
Art and words copyright T.Truesdale
images:top left: Demeter and Kore
top right: The Mothers
bottom: Maia at 12
reproduction with permission only
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
New World Priestess
Wisewomen, Maroons, Conductors to freedom.
Leaders of resistance and civil struggle;
Mothers with magic in their hands,
Healers of grief,
Dancers with vision,
Poets and singers of the spirit.
Heart of the community, stern but sweet;
Architects of comfort and safety.
Artists of life using the threads of the past
Connecting sacrifice into future possibilities.
Mothers, Grandmothers, Sisters, Daughters, Friends
We give homage to all those who unselfishly, give.
The world is humbled before your loving legacy.
by Toni Truesdale 2014
Monday, August 18, 2014
In Honor of Indigenous Women
Grandmother’s Prayer for Mother Earth
“I am a voice for the voiceless. We are speaking to an unseen world.
Speaking for Mother Earth, trying to stop our spiritual blindness.
We speak for the animal kingdom, for those in the waters, for the ‘four leggeds’ and the one leggeds (trees), the Bengal tiger, the elephant, the creepy crawlers.
I pray that the creator hears us. The creatures have a right to be. The creator gave us instructions about this and how to be a long time ago. He told us ways to take care of ourselves, what to eat and where to live. But now we are unbalanced.
We cut the green off our Mother’s face. We pollute the water, Her blood.
We do clearcut logging on the tops of mountains, when the trees they are the ones that call the wind and rain. Without the ancient trees at the top of our mountains, we are in trouble. The little trees can’t do the same work as the old trees that have been destroyed”
... Grandmother Agnes Baker Pilgrim
Grandmothers of the Continents
By Toni Truesdale
"Grand Mothers of the continents
Who crossed now deep waters...
Weren't we all once one?
Ancestors evolve into descendants,
To mix culturally;
Contradicting with bitter irony
The centuries of violence
Caused by the mode of current biases...
If we could perceive through generations
Past, into what will be;
It would transform pointless superiority,
And embrace all the children yet to be
As our common family."
I am inspired by Native Women to think about big things, our place in the world, a sense of community, responsibility and respect for all living things.
Let us keep all our original instructions and with these find the path to a better world community of peace and understanding. It is the time of women to lead the way.
Monday, July 28, 2014
The Sacred Feminine
(for my daughter and her daughter)
(for my daughter and her daughter)
by Toni Truesdale
The beautiful dark Madonna comes down to us
Through time, from the beginning.
She has many names: Ana, Tiamat, Isis, Cybele,
Demeter, Sheba, Mary Magdalene,
Mary, mother of Christ,
Maya, mother of Buddha,
Fatima, daughter of Mohammed,
Nana Bakula, Spider Woman, First Woman,
Parvati, Oxum, Corn Maiden, Eurzuli,
Oya, Morrigan, Ishtar,Tara, Gaia, Saule, Amaterasu,
Coatlicue, Nerthus Eve...
She is of the earth and the sky;
She is our mother and our mother’s mother, and so on
To the very first spark of life,
She is always
The Great Mother.
She is us. We are she.
Copyright Toni Truesdale 1976
Wednesday, July 2, 2014
“Basket of Life”
by Toni Truesdale
The Indigenous people of the Americas developed many
Crops for their nutritional value, taste and durability;
Selectively, over hundreds of years.
Before contact, there were at least five hundred kinds of corn.
Varieties also of beans, squash. potatoes, chili and melons were cultivated
In gardens, often under the harshest of circumstances;
Stone was used as mulch, water directed and hoarded,
As desert water was directed into dry gardens, waffle, irrigated fields.
In the heights of Peruvian mountains, hundreds of types of produce
Were developed in the experimental terraced gardens,
Including a rainbow of potato varieties.
Ancient seeds of beans long thought extinct,
Found in caches in the arid canyons of Cedar Mesa, have been re-cultivated.
The diversity of our food returns to become importance,
At the cusp of the disappearance of many varieties of fruits and vegetables;
Seed banks of native plants are now being stored.
So essential were the life-giving crops that many Creation Stories
Refer to the sacred women known as Three Sisters; Corn, Bean and Squash of the Iroquois and the Corn Maiden/Mother of the southwest.
In a traditional tale from Sky City, a divine sister holds the “Basket of Life”,
Reminding us to preserve, in the cycle of seasons;
The rich diversity of our food for future generations.
Tuesday, June 3, 2014
Tiamat. of the darkest sea of Creation.
Tiamat, of the abyss mixing waters;
The Creatrix vessel, the first
Body of heaven and earth
In the Babylonian beginning...
Tiamat, ancestress of the Biblical,
Alpha and Omega.
Damaged but not destroyed by the patriarchs;
Before the one in two;
Creator male/female: An/Ana
Whose divine daughter, Inanna, descended back into chaos
To establish sacred marriage rites,
Of equality in the ancient
Civilization of the Mesopotamian deltas.
They that revered small clay mothers
Set in every female house.
As Priestesses still spoke to the serpents
Close to the pulse of this sacred earth.
Creator Mother Tiamat’s beating heart, as
Today we gaze up into to see again,
The beauty of her eyes...
Monday, March 31, 2014
“From Garden to Briar Patch
Ode to Eve: another perspective on original sin”
Words and Image by Toni Truesdale
Would have been blind all his life
If it hadn’t been for Eve.
She was the smart one, you see;
She thought it all out
Knowledge was the key!
She listened to the wisdom of snakes
And ate to see….
What kind of sin was that?
You may quite rightly ask.
For what kind of deity demands
People be stupid, mute, blind, deaf, still;
And who would want to believe in that kind of supreme authority
That says “Do not question ME!”
(Adam did, Eve had her doubts)
Thrown out of the garden, (That Primordial duo),
Is how the story goes,
And into the world,
Where ole Eve gives birth;
Wait, don’t women do that anyway?
What kind of curse it that?
And where would any of us be?
Now, all women have been blamed,
(for thinking it appears)
And called imperfect for centuries,
(for seeing it all clear)
Why? Cause we wanted knowledge!
And for this, a male ”god” wrathfully imprisoned us
(said: we needed to be controlled, wanted to be dominated)
And Eve is still cursed for her intelligence
Original sin it is called. But, is it “god” or Men
That so fear the wits of women?
Like the trickster, Brier Rabbit,
We are born into a thorny world,
For who wants to live cloistered anyway?
And would we rather be free?
To think, to question
And to SEE.
So when you see that image of the couple,
Standing meekly by the apple tree,
In their nudity.
Think about it.
Is that what you want to be?
The Great Tree of Life
Is far older than any Authority;
Is from what we all are descended,
Our Mothers, Grandmothers, Great Grandmothers, Great, Great and so on…
So thank the thoughtful Eve,
She challenged “god” and won,
For the thorny bush is filled with roses,
And that beautiful garden has always been
In all glorious fecundity,
All Women in history.
Monday, March 24, 2014
Dana/Danu: Song of the Tuatha de Danaan
Spirals pecked into rock
Set into massive stone shrines,
Built to last all the ages of humanity.
They signal the constant cycles of seasons;
Newgrange, Knowth, Dowth…
Portals for the Sidhe that
Drift into this world from the Other
At Equinox, vernal and autumnal;
From the chthonic world they were cast
By the Sons of Mil.
Waters swell to the surface,
From deep subterranean waters
Within this greening land.
Wells and Grottos mirror the darkening sky,
Just as they did for the eons of
Offerings and prayers
Left with generations of hope.
This is the song of Dana/Danu
Stone, water, land
Great Mother of the Tuatha De Danaan
The mysterious, gifted and beautiful
Ancestors of Ireland.
Please remember all my work written and painted is copyrighted, Thanks!
Coming: Spirit Women Coloring Book and The Great World Tree by Toni Truesdale
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
"The Woman who fell from the Sky" Iroquois Creation story
There are thousands of stories that explain who the world began, as many as the diverse cultures of the world. There are commonalities in all, water or the abyss, we begin in darkness and water. As human beings emerge usually after the earth is formed and animal wildlife exists, the stories can part in interpretation. The Judeo-Christian belief finds fault the female, even though she brings about modern life. And the Tree of Life common, in so many stories, forgets that the roots are from ancient female lineage. Forgotten also is An/Ana, male and female duality; and Inanna, their sacred daughter.
The most ancient story, predating the garden of Eden, is of Tiamat of the mid-east. She'll follow in another blog because she deserves her own discussion...
The Skywoman story is reflective of the duality myths. But just as the Iroquois (Onondaga, Seneca, Mohawk, Tuscarora, Oneida, Cayuga; together they call themselves the Haudenosaunee) love to expand on the human gift of explaining the world and promoting understanding; their original tales are complex and meaningful. The Great Tree of Peace is the direct descendant of the "Tree of Life" and remains central to their culture to this day.
Her story, The Skywoman, begins in the skyworld. From this beautiful place, a young woman pregnant with twins, fell into the abyss to land on the back of the turtle. Her body became the earth;
her twins, nurtured by the divine grandmother, created the world as we know it with their dynamics of oppositional dialectics. They call the world, "Turtle Island".
See this story in "Skywoman" by Joanne Shenandoah and Doug George, illustrated by the wonderful Mohawk artist( and my long time friend), John Fadden.
More Spirit Women Stories and their roles in the Creation of the world follow in new blogs.
Monday, February 24, 2014
Spirit Woman Stories: Callieach as Creator
The sleeping woman stirs…
Earth Spirit, a woman, Callieach of
Scotland, Ireland, England, Wales and the Isles.
She weaves the landscape, pours the rivers;
Molds the mountains, controls the elements;
Spirals with the seasons, the Callieach.
Reborn each spring
Child, woman and then elder, the first trinity;
Callieach, of the Earth, eternal, ever changing…
Stones of Callanish, sacred dance to the maximum of the moon as it pauses;
Callieach the last shrine in the wilds of Scotland, Glen Lyon
Seeds left to be rekindled bringing the past into the future as we remember the
Beautiful and sacred Earth, some call Callieach.
Sunday, February 2, 2014
How we see ourselves as we move into our elder years: The Grandmothers
With the children of our children, our own lives expand, as do our hearts. As we reach out to those tiny hands, embrace the small frames; we experience anew everything in all its freshness through loving and curious eyes. We can’t but want the world to become a better place for them to grow into.
Abby Arquero, Cochiti Pueblo, has nine grandchildren under nine years of age. I asked her about her role as Grandma. “Unconditional love,” she says, “and it is seeing everything from a different perspective.” I’m an honorary Grandma to hers as she is to mine. Those little ones are all joy! To think of her Grandchildren and my own, images of hugs come to mind.
My friend Patty Morris, just became a Grandmother last week. A tiny new one takes a place in the next generation. Can we not but think of the passages in the fabric of the life of our families. Victoria Scott said shortly before the birth of her first grandchild, “…and life will never be the same…” In truth, after they come into the world the redefine our lives with their precious presence.
We cannot but celebrate this.
The dearth of imagery in western culture of this important stage of our lives reflects the lack of respect for woman in their later years. The emphasis on youth and materialism degrades the authority of senior femininity. In truth we are at our most intelligent and influential. We have time, wisdom, identity, leadership; the strength of the love that comes with age that provides positive power in the family and community. And there are a lot of us in this generation.
Check out my Grandma series of images at Truesdaleart.com and add to the discussion….
Thursday, January 23, 2014
People often ask me where do my seemingly endless ideas come from. I am almost always working on several projects at once. These visuals usually have a sequence in a series that are variations on a theme. Currently these are the treads I am working from:
The great Earth Goddess Callieach (Scotland, Ireland and England) whom I encountered last fall in Scotland. I'm thinking to integrate her into the cycles of both the seasons and life. This idea was generated from a previous topic which was not "finished" to my satisfaction. So I will look over older sketches and give them more substance before painting four pieces that interlock in some way. I will approach images by first identifying old concepts; which will become concrete with more information and/or research. Intuitive knowledge plays an important role as well, this wonderful and powerful spirit woman has been living in my unconscious for years. In fact, the sketch I did of her in Fife, was similar to one I did in my early 20's while living in intercity Detroit. I do believe in genetic memory! And this is my cultural heritage. I'm also working on an original prints of these images. On my easel is the painting from this drawing.
Other images I am continuing to develop are Everyday life which I will blog on shortly and Waterways, that is, how the waters are the world are connected and the sacred tree.
Next blog, I will continue to delve into how I process images from seeds of thought and the many origins of ...
My Portrait is by my talented daughter, Maia T. Scott
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
Blog for solstice 2013
Facing the west close to the Atlantic, on the island of Lewis, in the Outer Hebrides is the stone circle of Callanish. Sitting silently for 5000 years, the luminous pale stones seem lit from within and worn pearl-like without. They communicate still over thousands of years to the people from all over the world to see the structure built as a cross long before the introduction of Christianity. It is a circle to the four directions built by the indigenous tribe of Western Scotland to align with the maximum and minimum lunar cycle.
It is easy to envision the phenomenon of the standstill of the moon every 18.65 years when the moon is full, the dance of the ancients within this sacred space. It is said that it is the moment, as the full moon rises over the distant “Sleeping Women” mountain, of rebirth. The woman sleeping is the venerable Callieach; the multifaceted and complex personification of the magic of the feminine manifested on Earth in Nature, in women.
The stark landscape of the lonely and windworn place brings visitors to cross the barrier of eons to see through the eyes, those that struggled to create a rich spiritual life in the face of extreme physical odds. The ancient people must have had a meager life from the moody sea and the rocky, peaty terrain. Still they left us a measure of their reverence of life and joy; love for the Mother of us all, the Spirit of the Earth, in the monument to Callieach, at Callanish.
Next blog is on the Spirit of the Earth, the ancient female, Callieach. The beginning of her stories….