Tag Archives: art

POWER & THE FEMALE BODY

A Woman’s Space: The Power of the Female Body by Kimberly Harding, PhD

 female body

I had the pleasure of interviewing Kimberly Harding, PhD, a while ago. Then she joined us to talk about her art and poetry. Now she’s back to discuss a new project. Kim has used her talents to explore the power of the female body in her new book. In a beautifully illustrated, gentle book, Kim guides the reader on a journey of discovery examining our perceptions and beliefs about our bodies.

DSC_9989

I know as a teacher of anatomy at the college level, you have pointed out that language used to describe the female body often involves a sense of lack. Can you give us some examples? Was this realization the starting point of your thinking about creating this book for women?

 You are correct.  I think one of the reasons I wrote the book is that I am so disturbed by the mixed messages women receive in regards to their body.  As I write in the book, we want the miracle of childbirth, but not the “messy” uterine lining each month that makes this possible.  Or, we do not mind seeing breasts displayed in advertisements, but some are bothered by breast feeding in public areas.  What do all of these messages mean for a woman and her sense of self and her sense of power in the world?  For in my mind, a woman’s body is a source of innate power and if she is disconnected from her body, she is disconnected from her power in life.

My thoughts on this are definitely tied to my career as an anatomy and physiology college professor.  A book by Emily Martin showed me that even textbooks are not immune to the mixed messages given about women’s bodies.  Martin did a study comparing the terminology used in the standard reproduction chapter common to most college anatomy and physiology texts.  Terms used in the section on  male reproduction included “sheer magnitude, amazing, abundant” (as I have said elsewhere, you almost want to build a monument to it ), while terminology associated with female reproduction included “degeneration, lack, leaking, deteriorate”.

Students see the textbook as the “gold standard” of information, so the use of this terminology is particularly disturbing.

growth

Growth

 

Why is a women’s body seen as threatening or untrustworthy? Is this a cultural perception we can change and if so, how?

I think it is the power contained within a woman that causes some to perceive women as threatening.  I realize women, normally, have a smaller physical stature, but this does not in any way detract from the innate power in women to create, produce, destroy, manifest, and maintain the world.  Women not only manifest the world, but we sustain it as well.

As for being “untrustworthy”, I feel for centuries, women and their bodies have been viewed with a sense of distrust. Often, this likely resulted from women’s projected place in society and culture as the “Other”- something foreign and unknowable.  For ages, women were not even included in clinical medical trials as their menstrual cycle apparently made them “too confusing” to serve as subjects.

I think the change of this perception does not happen on the cultural level first, but rather within each and every woman.  Within our power, we, as women, have the ability to heal ourselves.  When we heal ourselves, we have the ability to heal the world.

In my mind, I believe if you heal a woman, you heal the world. When a woman heals herself, she heals the generations to come.

pregnantpauses

Pregnant Pauses

 

In this age of information, do women have adequate knowledge of their physical bodies? 

 I think this depends on the woman. Those of us who are blessed enough to have access to items such as books, the internet, and supportive medical care, likely have adequate knowledge of our physical bodies.  Many women in the world do not have these resources.

I will also say, though, and this is the point of my book, knowledge of the physical body is not enough.  We must learn about and embrace the power contained within the body’s tissues.  It is one thing to speak to a young woman about the mechanics of her menstrual cycle.  How much more powerful does it become, though, when we speak about what the menstrual lining represents- “the potential of the world”?  What would it do for a young woman to understand she literally forms the potential of the world within her being every month?

That is the type of message I feel is lacking.

emergence

Emergence

 

How does a modern woman reclaim her body and her power?

 It is the work of each woman to do so.  Women can not kid themselves about this important work.  There is no other way for a woman to come in to her true power except through understanding the power of her own Being.  Certainly, we can assist one another on this journey and we should do so, individually and collectively.

At the end of the day, though, it comes down to each woman confronting what she has been told about her self and what she believes in her self.  When one woman raises her self up, she sets the path for all others.

Is there a need for rituals or rites of passage to help women claim their power? I’m wondering about the roles of maiden, mother, crone (borrowing from pagan tradition).

Oh certainly!  Rituals and rites of passage can provide a physicality to the internal psychical changes a woman undergoes.  These can serve as a source of grounding and a reference point that enable a woman, alone, or within the collective to mark her awakening.

 

angelsun

Angel/Sun

 

How do the images and text of your book work together to help women explore and reclaim their bodies?  

For me, and this is difficult to say from an unbiased perspective as the artist, the images complete the text.  I find myself, when I read the book, that the words are engaging, but then I will look at the image and the message is understood on a completely different level.

I purposely put images and text on each page, as for myself, the image, more so than the words, is the trigger to return to the idea.  I see the image and immediately associate it with the concept.

I really hope others resonate in a similar manner.

Thank you so much for this opportunity.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and work concerning this important topic! For more about Kim’s work, please visit her website and check out her books on Amazon.

http://soulhealingart.com

Amazon link: https://goo.gl/TVmsaI

Watch Kim’s fascinating lecture on Female Embodiment- A Woman’s Place (22 min)     https://goo.gl/nPLMC2

 

 

https://amzn.to/30oq1NL

14 Comments

Filed under Book Review, Uncategorized

Mystical Life

Nicholas & Helena Roerich

The Spiritual Journey of Two Great Artists & Peacemakers by Ruth A. Drayer

 Roerich

This was an enjoyable read that followed the lives of Nicholas and Helena Roerich as they fled the Russian revolution traveling the world looking to bring a measure of spirituality and art into everyday life. Although not a name recognized today, Roerich was very well known from the 20s until his death in 1947. He was primarily an artist who left a vast legacy of paintings (most of which remain in Russia). But he was also a bit of a Renaissance man dabbling in archeology, spirituality, travel, and efforts at conservation and world unity. Equally interesting was his wife, Helena, who was a psychic and healer who had contact with some of the Masters known to the Theosophists. She wrote and developed the foundational works of the Agni Yoga practice. Together, they functioned as a spiritually-driven couple who established a school of the arts in New York City in the 1920s.

Rerikh_NK

Their pursuit of all things spiritual eventually took them into India, China, Mongolia, Tibet, and Siberia. The treks happen at a dangerous time when few Westerners have traveled these regions. They often find themselves in situations they are ill prepared for. As a travelogue, it’s a fascinating journey, but not one many of us would choose. We learn that the Roerichs are in search of signs of the coming of Maitreya (a future Buddha) and interested in establishing a New Country (Shambhala) that has been prophesized. All through the journey, they hear tales about Christ (Issa) having spent time in the East. Although Nicholas’ art is energized by the trek, they don’t seem to find what the Masters are leading them towards. They settle down in northern India.

Nicholas’ next chance for adventure north comes in 1934 when he is asked by the US government to lead an expedition into these regions to find seeds for drought resistant grasses to help recover lands being swallowed by the dust bowl. He agrees, but things don’t go to plan due to political instabilities in the region. Around the same time, Helena maintains a correspondence with FDR.

N_Roerich

Roerich’s lasting legacy is his art and the signing of the Roerich Pact in 1935 by twenty-one nations including the US. The document was signed at the White House to protect artistic and cultural property, especially in times of conflict. Roerich was trained as an artist in Russia but also incorporates his sense of spirit with influences coming from peasant culture, Buddhism, and Theosophy. His work is overwhelmingly mystical.

The Roerich Museum (NYC):   http://www.roerich.org/

Link to Drayer’s book: http://goo.gl/IrxpnP

 

Roerich-google

 

 

madonna-oriflamma-1932

 

 

 

Рерих_Помин-о-четырех-королях_1911

 

 

 

Procopius_the_Righteous_Averting

 

 

Pskov_Church

 

 

the-last-angel-1942

17 Comments

Filed under Book Review, Uncategorized

What 2015 Brought

As 2015 draws to a close, I suspect most of us get reflective. What happened that surprised us, delighted us, disappointed us? Like most years, 2015 was a mixed batch of experiences. We decide which tag to give each one. I have a container filled with little slips of paper that mark what I label good experiences and soon it will be time to review those in the spirit of gratitude. Always there is the tug of those events that never materialized. But linear time demands we move on, but not before a shout out to some of the new friends I welcomed in 2015. Here are five people  who have enriched my life and moved us closer to a paradigm shift.

E. Magnani - Fuoco - 2011

Fuoco (Fire)

Enrico Magnani: Visionary Artist

Enrico’s paintings have been widely exhibited throughout Europe and in two locations in the US. Currently, he is working on a project called “Cosmic Hug.” Begun in 2013 in Prague, the effort will link art and individuals in a global project demonstrating the interconnectedness of all beings while benefiting the needy.

https://ellisnelson.com/2015/02/03/the-mystic-as-artist/

 

For more on Enrico Magnani, please visit these sites:

http://www.enricomagnani-art.com/

https://enricomagnaniart.wordpress.com/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5eFPKHrivbQ

 

Rea Nolan Martin: Visionary Writer

Rea is the award-winning author of three novels, THE SUBLIME TRANSFORMATION OF VERA WRIGHT (2009), MYSTIC TEA (2014), and THE ANESTHESIA GAME (9/2015). MYSTIC TEA is the recipient of the 2014 IPPY gold medallion and US BEST BOOK award for Visionary Fiction; the 2014 PINNACLE gold medallion in the category of Literary Fiction; and a finalist in the International Book Awards.

https://ellisnelson.com/2015/07/23/the-sublime-transformation-of-vera-wright-by-rea-nolan-martin/

ReaNolanMartin

For more on Rea’s work, visit her website or blog.

http://www.reanolanmartin.com/blog/

http://www.reanolanmartin.com/books/

 

  Dana Taylor: Author and Healer

Dana writes books with a mystical touch. Her non-fiction book, Ever-Flowing Streams, chronicles her spiritual journey into alternative healing. She is also a Reiki Master who gives healing treatments.

https://ellisnelson.com/2015/05/28/interview-with-dana-taylor-author-healer/

Tapping400

For more on Dana and her books visit her blog.

Website: Supernal Living

Facebook: Dana Taylor

Supernal Living with Dana Taylor

Twitter: @supernaldana

 

Theresa Crater: Visionary Writer

Theresa Crater brings ancient temples, lost civilizations and secret societies back to life in her paranormal mysteries. In The Star Family, a Gothic mansion holds a secret spiritual group and a 400-year-old ritual that must be completed to save the day. Her other novels are Under the Stone Paw and Beneath the Hallowed Hill. Currently, she teaches writing and British lit in Denver.

https://ellisnelson.com/2015/11/19/the-star-family-by-theresa-crater/

Star

Visit her at http://theresacrater.wordpress.com

Twitter:  @theresacrater

Facebook:  Author page   https://www.facebook.com/tlcwrites

 

Kim Harding: Artist, Writer, and Teacher

Kim is a professor at Colorado Mountain College.  She holds a PhD in physiology and biophysics and a master’s degree in transformative visual art. Her interests include women’s issues, art, and female embodiment.

https://ellisnelson.com/2015/05/07/heart-centered-creation/

flyintodarkness-1

For more information on Kim and her work, please visit her at the following sites:

http://soulhealingart.com

https://kimberlyharding.wordpress.com/

 

What a year and what a talented bunch! See you all in 2016. There are surprises ahead.

19 Comments

Filed under 2016 Summary

The Age of Atheists by Peter Watson

(How We Have Sought to Live Since the Death of God)

A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2014

atheistsI’ve always regarded the word atheist as a quagmire. What does it mean, really? People mean so many different things in using it. Even after reading Watson’s book, I’m still puzzled. So let’s more away from that term and look at the meat of the book.

Watson traces the history of thought following Friedrich Nietzche’s 1882 pronouncement, “God is dead.” The big questions about the meaning of life and how to live it are quested after by artists, writers, poets, philosophers, and scientists. The 626 page tome follows hundreds of individuals and their pursuit to answer the stickiest of questions in a post-modern world where salvation doesn’t exist.

This is a book for everyone because it is about our collective history. Unless you have a PhD in philosophy, you won’t know all the people Watson brings up in his survey, but names like James Joyce, Sigmund Freud, Albert Einstein and countless others, will ground you in the familiar. Some chapters are absolutely fascinating. Did you know that some people thought poetry would supplant God? Or that many intellectuals looked forward to WWI as a way to purge the modern age? Other chapters are a slog to get through. But persist.

Watson takes us on a journey to understand where we’ve been and perhaps where we’ve going. In the end, we see the search for meaning seems to be universal and that many have answered the call by looking to transcend this life while others (the subject of Watson’s book) look for meaning in this world in diverse and rich ways.

http://www.amazon.com/Age-Atheists-Sought-Since-Death/dp/1476754322/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1440638504&sr=1-4&keywords=peter+watson

 

7 Comments

Filed under Book Review

HEART-CENTERED CREATION

Interview with Kimberly Harding, PhD- artist, author, and teacher

moonpull

As the Moon

pulls the Wave,

God

pulls the Soul.

Welcome, Kim. Please tell us a little about yourself and your work.

I am currently a college professor at a small school in central Colorado. I teach in the science discipline- primarily anatomy and physiology, microbiology, and such. I am not one who always knew I wanted to be a teacher, but when I taught my first college lab, I was hooked. It was only after completing my PhD education and securing my first job that I “let out” my artistic side. I remember a New Year’s Eve in which I stayed home to paint and I realized how much everything had changed for me. I do not know what precipitated my sudden interest in art at that time, but it has been with me ever since.

Currently, you are combining teaching science and creating artwork. Does one support the other? Could you see yourself doing only one?

 I think most of my colleagues would be surprised to learn if I had to choose only one- it would be art. However, science and teaching provide a grounding force in my life, which I believe support my artistic side with a sense of security.

Of course, there are points in which the two interests converge. I have written and spoken about the power of the female body. Many of the details arise from my scientific training. When I speak on this topic, though, I always present my artistic images, and I believe those are what remain with the audience the most.

Likewise, when I did a book comprised of artistic images and poems of the heart, many of the ideas I played around with were based on my understanding of the heart from a physical perspective.

flyintodarkness-1

It is those who have been

hurt the most,

that understand the best.

 

And it will be those,

with the Soul’s awareness ground into bone,

that heal this world.

 

I read that you started creating art when you were thirty. What led you to begin expressing yourself in this way?

I truly do not know that answer. I have never taken an art class in my life and throughout my earlier years I had self-defined to the nth degree that I was a scientist and “very logical”. There is something about touching colors, though  ( I work with pastels and move the pigments around with fingers and hands) that speaks to my soul.

How important is creative expression to spiritual growth? Because so much of your work seems to center on the heart and compassion, I wonder how art can aid healing?

I do believe that art can facilitate healing. I recently wrote that “The artist sees before anyone else believes.” When we are in the creative state, our inner artist is able to reveal to us what is has “seen”, usually before we are even willing to be conscious of the experience.  My artistic process is very “in the moment”. I used to “receive” images in my mind while falling asleep and I would feel compelled to create them the next day. It was almost a compulsion.  Now, I begin with blank page and make a few random lines. I have to sit with the image and see what it wants to become slowly. In the process, there is such an inherent sense of my having to be honest with what is arising. When I try to manipulate, control, and project, the image veers off into something less than profound.

Were you a creative, artistic kid? Did you like art classes or did you gravitate to science very early?

I was not a creative child in any form. My parents are not very well-educated. I saw education as a “way out” and liked the security (and money- sciences tend to be very well-funded) that science education seemed to provide. Early in my life, I would not have risked becoming something as “crazy” and “unstable” as an artist.

appearingYour Spirit’s shape and form stand out in

stark relief against the

background of any circumstances.

What themes has your art allowed you to explore? How do you see your work developing? What impact would you like your paintings and poetry to have on the world?

That is the gift of art, isn’t it- it gives us the ability to explore. I have explored the power of a woman’s body, as well as the power and strength related to male-ness. I spent one summer in what I refer to as my “phallic phase” as images of penises abounded. I have also done entire series on hearts, birds, symbolic shapes, symbols of union and more.

I am constantly surprised how my work develops. I have to say, and I wonder if this is true for other artists- that I will sometimes want to define myself with limitations, -i.e., I want to be the “heart artist” or whatever idea I am currently playing with at that time. That type of self-definition does not seem to be part of my artistic pathway.

As for the impact of my art and poetry, I want it to be “gentle”. That may be a strange thing to say, but I feel so much in life, including spirituality, is layered and projected upon us. I want my art to simply be a gentle opening for others to realize their own understanding.

Thanks for sharing your work with us!

Kim has two books available which combine her paintings and poetry.

The Heart Within You-

http://www.amazon.com/Heart-Within-You-Learning-Yourself/dp/1495432351/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1428943038&sr=1-2&keywords=Kimberly+Harding

The Spirit Within You-

http://www.amazon.com/Spirit-within-You-Learning-Compassion/dp/1499318286/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1428943089&sr=1-1&keywords=Kimberly+Harding

Watch Kim’s fascinating lecture on Female Embodiment- A Woman’s Place (22 min) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BcKXaq1l1kk

For more information on Kim and her work, please visit her at the following site:

https://kimberlyharding.wordpress.com/

 

 

 

17 Comments

Filed under art, Books

THE MYSTIC AS ARTIST

THE WORK OF ENRICO MAGNANI

 Amiens Labyrinth

Amiens Labyrinth

“I pursue a language to express universal truths that cannot be communicated with words.”   Enrico Magnani

Enrico Magnani is another friend I’ve met through blogging. He is a fellow mystic who expresses his journey along the path through his abstract artwork. His paintings are profound, using symbols to speak to our subconscious minds. For him, the symbols act as a catalyst to stimulate a process of inner questioning. The viewer is taken on a sojourn deep within ourselves to discover our alchemical gold revealing universal truth.

Mars & Pluto Game II

Mars & Pluto Game II

Enrico’s artwork can speak to all of us because it transcends culture, time, and space. Those on a spiritual path will find a companion truth seeker and an instant resonance will be established. Walk with him as he explores those mystical symbols, labyrinths, astrology, sacred geometry, the I-Ching, spiritual alchemy, and archetypes.

Reading his interviews, it’s clear he sees art as creation but he also wants art to evolve as he feels we all should do. His own path included a time of creating realistic images but eventually he began asking deeper questions and his art became more and more abstract. Today his work is entirely abstract using the understanding he had derived from more than twenty years  studying ancient traditions, philosophies, religions, and myths.

Fuoco (Fire)

Fuoco (Fire)

“Art can penetrate the domain of the soul and emotions, of everything that is not material, nevertheless real.”

Enrico Magnani

Enrico’s paintings have been widely exhibited throughout Europe and in two locations in the US. Currently, he is working on a project called “Cosmic Hug.” Begun in 2013 in Prague, the effort will link art and individuals in a global project demonstrating the interconnectedness of all beings while benefiting the needy.

For more on Enrico Magnani, please visit these sites:

http://www.enricomagnani-art.com/

https://enricomagnaniart.wordpress.com/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5eFPKHrivbQ

19 Comments

Filed under art, Spiritual/Mysticism

THE VISITORS by Sally Beauman

Photo: Steve Evans

Photo: Steve Evans

The 70s were a long time ago, but reading The Visitors took me back to the time when Tutmania ruled. I remember seeing the exhibit in the Metropolitan Museum of Art along with record crowds. The golden mask of the king glittered looking new. So did the statuary, jewelry, and crisp decorative paintings. Ten years of careful excavation and restoration accomplished by Howard Carter and his team ensured the 1923 find would be preserved.

Visitors

Sally Beauman takes us back to that time with the story of a young British heiress named Lucy. After suffering the loss of her mother and recovering from an illness, Lucy travels to Egypt where she befriends the daughter of an Egyptologist. This allows her access to the exciting world of excavation in the Valley of the Kings just prior to the discovery of Tut’s tomb. Lucy meets Howard Carter, Lord Carnarvon, and many of the other players in the upcoming historical find. We glimpse aristocratic society in the colonial period, the politics of the fight for Egyptian independence, the conflict over ownership of artifacts, and the obsession of the two men who desperately wanted to make names for themselves. Throw in the fictional murder of a free-spirited heiress and Beauman’s book is a thrilling read. Unfortunately, this is a book where the author lost control of the story. For some reason, she felt compelled to keep writing allowing Lucy to grow up, marry, divorce, and live a mostly tragic existence. Read the book for the first 300 pages and skip the more than 200 pages that follow.

3 Comments

Filed under Book Review, Books