I love the book, “Women Who Run With Wolves” by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. So envious when my painting mentor, Shiloh Sophia McCloud got to spend five days in a workshop with this amazing teacher and storyteller. In Clarissa’s “Dangerous Old Woman” audio series she talks about the “Tribe of the Sacred Heart”. While the Sacred Heart is typically considered a Catholic symbol, it speaks to me as an archetypal symbol as well. When I heard Clarissa call the “Tribe of the Sacred Heart” as her own, I jumped up and down with excitement knowing that she had named me too.
Last night I took the opportunity to do some art journaling with the idea of the “Tribe of the Sacred Heart” . As it drew me in through its flames, it spoke to me of a time when I was a young girl of about twelve. Back then, in my neighborhood we had three races..White, Black and Mexican. I’m Filipina, Native American and White. I was brown. End of Story. My belonging was predetermined.
If you were brown, you hung out with the Mexicans or Whites. Later in high school we would draw divisions by social activities; Stoners (mostly whites but a few of the others), Jocks & Do Gooders and Low Riders. But back in junior high school I hung out with the mexican girls. I wore crisp khaki chinos and mary janes, dark wine lipstick and lots of black eyeliner.
By the time were in eighth grade, many of my girlfriends had gotten involved with gangs. Here in California they are divided in to territories; North and South. There was a moment there when I could have followed them into another life. I’ve always had a soft spot for the underdog and really never wanted to ‘hurt’ anyone. Sometimes in gang life, you gotta hurt people just because. I opted out. I’m grateful I did.
I sometimes think of those girls, now grown women . I watch them on “Lockdown” and wonder if they found some way out – through religion or education. I wonder if we had a way to express ourselves more constructively like through art journaling , if maybe our woundedness , anger, passion =fire could have a way of healing and empowering us rather than keeping the cycle of violence moving ahead. The fire with all of its power to transform us!
So this Sunday morning sending a prayer out there for all of us who have been wounded looking for the fire of salvation. Hoping and praying that we find it in the church of art and creativity and that it leads us on to the path of health and happiness! And thankful that I have discovered a new place of belonging within the Tribe of the Sacred Heart.
This is the third painting I painted earlier this year. At the last minute I entered it into the Modoc County Fair thinking that it would be a ‘growth experience’ for me. I was so excited to get Best of Show I still don’t really believe it. Didn’t realize it would be so important to me. In the back of my mind, I guess I half way expect friends to tell me “white lies” and say they “like” my artwork. But something clicked with this aware. These people don’t know me, have never met me and really have no motive for ‘voting’, although in the back of my mind I still wrestle with that they voted for me to encourage a ‘newbie’ painter. Either way, I’m thrilled that they thought to do so. Yeah! A little encouragement goes a long ways!
I finally recorded a couple of videos for the upcoming Moonlodge Workshop. This is an excerpt from one of those videos. It’s short but I think it serves as a great intro into a wonderful, dynamic conversation about reclaiming our women’s traditions. Hope you enjoy it!
|Make your own digital slideshow|
Are you ready to celebrate
your sacred reflection?
Imagine new aspects of your sacred self
Emerging as you Merge twin realities of
Sun and Moon, Waking and Dreaming
and Ordinary and Sacred dimensions
through storytelling, art and ritual
You are invited…
Step into a sacred circle of women
Summer 2011 Moonlodge Workshop
An online spiritually creative journey for women.
Explore your personal dream symbols and patterns
Use the power of the sacred elements to manifest healing, creativity and connectedness
Develop transformational relationships with spiritually co-creative women
In older times women came together in the warmth of the summer months to weave baskets, gather berries and smoke meat, and enjoy the company of their sisters and friends . In the Moonlodge, women would learn about the art of making of life and love, cooking things up and weaving the seen and unseen worlds together. They would share stories of the past, tell tales of recent escapades and weave new understanding of their dreams and tribal stories.
As we enjoy the dog days of summer and move into the early fall, in the tradition of our ancestors and all indigenous ways, we will begin to gather our dreams and intentions and set to artfully weaving our lives.
Together we will explore old stories and traditions. infuse them with fresh meaning and relevance in our contemporary lives. We will laugh, and maybe cry, when meet old friends with new faces and explore our selves and our relationships from a place of wholeness, empowerment and co-creativity. We will dream old dreams together and explore new possibilities. Grab a girlfriend and join us in the Moonlodge! I’ll see you soon!
Thru art journaling, storytelling, dream work and guided visualizations
we will explore our connections to the Moon and our co-creative ability to:
Release old behaviors and limitations
Reclaim the power of dreams and symbols in our lives
Reconnect with our dreams patterns and cycles
Participate in active imaging and intentional dreaming
Redefine our lives and who we want to be in the world
Renew relationships with our self and others
Reconnect with natural cycles of the sun and the moon
Recognize our own wisdom
Reconnect with the story of your life
The course is designed around the natural relationships between women and the Moon cycle. Here’s the outline of weekly themes:
Week 1 (4 Days): Purification – Orientation & Releasing negative beliefs and limitations
Week 2: Intentions & Dreams – New Moon Ritual and Dream Work
Week 3: Fruitfulness & Creativity – Gathering Symbols and Reclaiming Creativity
Week 4: Harvesting Wisdom – Honoring Your Connection With Wisdom
Week 5: Seeding Abundance – Creating With Intention
Week 6 (3 days): Gratitude – Importance of gratitude and wrapping things up
When: August 25 through September 29 2011 – 4 days before New Moon thru to the next New Moon. Seasonal Moonlodge Workshops will be held in October and January 2012.
Where: Online, through private social networking site and teleconferences
Who: Women of all ages. Post Menopausal Women are welcome!
Cost: $45 for first person in group, $35 for the second. Financial arrangements are available, please email me @
firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. No one will be turned away for financial reasons.
Your Host & Instructor:
Gemma Benton is a certified Master Life Coach, artist, writer and Native singer. Gemma is of mixed ancestry and brings all aspects of her Native American, Filipino and European culture into her art and writing. She has over seventeen years experience leading women’s groups and traditional Native ceremonies for women. She has worked as a secretary, crisis line operator (really!), technical support and recovery counselor. She is a mother of two grown children, a new grandmother and wife. She lives in Northern California with her husband and spends her time creating, writing and dream keeping.