Author: Kat

I'm an artist and writer. I'm also a hobbyist cook, student, avid reader, shopper, fashionista, and owner of two beloved male cats named Nittany and Taz. My paintings have been shown in the Mansfield Art Gallery (Ohio), Mt. Vernon Nazarene University Art Gallery (Ohio), and on the walls in homes. My writings have been published on websites and small poetry journals. I have designed and written publicity pieces, ad copy, promotional materials, newsletters, website copy, and more. I co-wrote a small play for a dinner theater in 2003. I am working on three or four novels at the same time (can't sit still!). LEGAL NOTE ------------------------------------------------------------------- Do not copy or quote anything without express permission. All rights are reserved and I retain ownership rights over all intellectual property published here under 'Kat Collins and Karen Dixon' - 2011 © Kat Collins Karen Dixon

What Did You Do?

I revived this blog because I felt there were things that need to be said with today’s world. But I’m having trouble with it. 

The past several months, I was angry. I was dumbfounded. I was in shock over the election and was on the attack, defending human rights, women’s rights, our planet, my friends, my loved ones against the Trump and his cronies. 

Now?

I find myself in the depths of despair. There is so much wrong, so much hurt, so much anger, so much disbelief…and I am lost. How do I fight against something so strong? Trumpism is railroading everything. How can I help stop it?

Right now, I feel I can’t. 

I don’t know how. 

I see friends and loved ones who voted for him and I can’t understand why. I see refugees dying because we’ve refused them entry and help. Why? 

I see women being trampled on for their right to choose what to do with their bodies. It isn’t just about abortion. It’s the fact that government, and I use the term loosely now, is making those decisions. What gives them the right to tell me what I can and can’t do to myself? It’s my human right, my women’s right, to make my own decisions about my body. And yet, I see women arguing for Trump saying “he’s not taking women’s rights.” Oh really? The fact that millions of women marched, AGAIN, should tell you something. 

I hear nomination after nomination of uneducated, racist, extremists for his Cabinet. People who can’t even answer simple questions about their supposed field, yet they’re supposed to run it for the country. I’m looking at you, Betsy Devos, Steve Bannon, Reince Priebus, Rick Perry, Ben Carson…hell, all of you! Yet, you think that’s okay? 

I see families torn apart by this “immigration ban” enacted hastily, without thought or consult, and chaotically against seven supposed terrorist countries. But the terrorists from 9/11, Boston Marathon bombing, and more…their countries aren’t banned? Just Muslim ones. Sure, that makes sense. Why not condemn a whole religion over a few extremists who distort the basic tenets of a love and peace to meet their own agenda? Wait a second, though. You didn’t ban the countries you have business ties with AND also have terrorists who have attacked our country? Imagine that. And you’re still okay with all of this? I’m talking to you, my friends. 

I read the headlines of the Dakota Pipeline plans being re-established. For those of you who fought so hard for your land to remain sacred, I’m sorry. Trump has an invested business in it so who cares who it affects. 

I also read the news of the Keystone Pipeline being re-established. Same problem, different name. But who cares? We need oil to survive, right? We have to be independent from other countries who already supply us with oil. If it destroys the environment, your land, your ancestors, oh well! It’s for the greater good, right?

Guess what? They’re coming after LGBTQ next. Oh, and people of color, too. We all need to be blue-eyed and blonde haired. You’re a woman? Forget it. Didn’t you get the memo? 

Who cares if you need healthcare to survive? It’s not that important. Obama came up with it so of course it’s horrible and has to be stripped, regardless of the good it accomplishes. We don’t have a plan to replace it, so say toodles to any benefits you might of had. Let that cancer kill off your friends and loved ones. Let your friends get sick and potentially die because they can’t afford a medication. Send your family to the state hospital because they lost their mind from their mental health. They have no insurance to get help. Let that baby suffer and die an infant because Mom didn’t have health insurance to help her. You’re pro-life, right? Of course you are. I can tell. 

How is all this okay with you? Tell me again how he’s going to save the economy and save American jobs, but destroy human life and human rights in the process? It’s really okay with you for a President to deliver false press briefs, narcisstic Twitter rants because his fragile ego suffered, investigates voter fraud because Clinton won the popular vote and he didn’t have large crowds at his inauguration, and fire an Attorney General because she disagreed with him? 

Are you seeing it, yet?

I just don’t understand what you saw and continue to see in him. I’m baffled by it. I feel like I’m in a bad dream and never waking up. 

I hope you’re happy in your little white privileged cocoon as the world crumbles around you. 

But you probably don’t care because it doesn’t affect you, right? What have you got to lose? It doesn’t matter what happens to everyone else while you sit on your high horse. 

But the shit is piling up around you. Eventually, you’ll be covered in your own mess. 

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Those Who Wait

  

My newest work-in-progress (WIP), currently titled “Those Who Wait.” Normally I don’t have a title until I’ve finished the piece, but this one popped into my head as I was working on it. A lot has been on my mind lately and I think this title pretty much sums everything up at the moment. I feel like I’m waiting for everything…I tend to get impatient when I want something to happen, and get frustrated when things happen at much slower pace. 

There are times (frequently) where I question whether anything will really happen or not. It’s hard not to get sucked into the vortex of despair and sadness wondering “when…if ever.” I tend to have an all or nothing attitude…if it doesn’t happen now, then it will never happen. Not quite fair to the universe or myself, but it’s a way of protecting myself in case it never does happen. Then I think I won’t feel the hurt, anger, despair, sadness as much. Wishful thinking. 

Sometimes I even wonder if God is listening or am I just blowing hot air into the empty sky? There are only questions and no answers. Waiting sucks. Royally. And I suck at waiting. So all around this just sucks. I start wondering…am I praying hard enough? Am I seeking enough? Am I doing something that is making me wait longer? Am I being punished for something? What more do I need to do? HOW MUCH  MORE DO I HAVE TO GIVE?

Every day I think I’ve hit the bottom of the well. I’ve been sucked dry. My soul is beaten down and I’ve given up. But, my stupid self with my damn eternal optimism, wakes with a glimmer of hope every morning. I feel the grounding roots pushing through my feet, drawing on the the earth’s energy, Her Sacred Divine, and my soul slowly unfurls to the sunlight, no matter how stubbornly I try to block it out with my misery. Still no answers…and for the time being…that’s okay.

In the past two years, I have fallen in love with working with oil pastel. I love the rich, buttery texture and using my hands to blend, smooth, carve into, and work the painting. I’ve used it on canvas, construction paper, and watercolor paper. One of my favorite things to do is to mix it with chalk pastel. I love the dichotomy between the two mediums. Which I suppose is apropo considering most of work has dichotomies in it…dark and light being the biggest theme. 

The biggest appeal of pastels….to use it directly with my hands. I’m a no frills kind of woman. Gardening and digging in the dit? I don’t wear gloves. Washing dishes? I poo-poo those rubbery things. I need to feel, to touch, to sense, to immerse my physical self into my work, whatever that may be. The oil pastel is slick against my skin, engaging my senses, grounding me yet losing me in the process. The chalk pastel makes me sneeze, blowing dust acros the plain. This is where all my questions, wonderings, skepticism get poured out from my fingertips to the medium to the artwork, allowing room for the optimism and sacred breaths to grow. 

Breathe…

I Hate The Word Submission

 

 I am a woman. I have dreams, hopes, fears, desires, thoughts, opinions, aspirations. I have a voice. But often it is strangled into silence. Submission. 

I am a woman. What on earth could I have that’s worth contributing to the world? I watch other women stifle their voice, bury the woman they are at the expense of a man. They were taught that we are less than a man. A woman is made to support a man and be “submissive” to him. 

Oh, how I hate that word! Submission. Often times it appeared in life, spouted at me as my role as a woman. It’s the Christian way to be. A wife submits to her husband. It was used against me when I was married eons ago. I was to be quiet, subservient, speak when only spoken to woman. 

Sure, it says “submit” in the Bible. I know the verses. And I have an issue with them. Why must a woman submit to anything, especially to a man? But the more I think about it, the more I discern a deeper message, rediscovering the Sacred Feminine, the core of all humanity. And yet we have forgotten, or been denied, the depths of this mystery, of how the divine light of the soul creates a body in the womb of a woman, and how the mother shares in this wonder, giving her own blood, her own body, to what will be born.  Our culture’s focus on a disembodied, transcendent God has left women bereft, denying them the sacredness of this simple mystery of divine love.

What we do not realize is that this patriarchal denial affects not only every woman, but also life itself.  When we deny the divine mystery of the feminine we also deny something fundamental to life.  We separate life from its sacred core, from the matrix that nourishes all of creation.  We cut our world off from the source that alone can heal, nourish and transform it.  The same sacred source that gave birth to each of us is needed to give meaning to our life, to nourish it with what is real, and to reveal to us the mystery, the divine purpose to being alive.

Because humanity has a central function in the whole of creation, what we deny to ourself we deny to all of life.  In denying the feminine her sacred power and purpose we have impoverished life in ways we do not understand.  We have denied life its sacred source of meaning and divine purpose. 

Did you know that the ancient religions on Earth celebrated women? We were revered, honored, worshipped. God was the Goddess. He and She were one. Women create life. We are the only ones who can do that. It’s a gift from the Divine. We were celebrated for that gift. The Divine Goddess was the Mother of All, Healer, Queen, Giver and Sustainer of Life. She is LOVE. 

The feminine IS the core of creation that is LOVE. Every woman instinctively knows that she is at the center of this great mystery of bringing life into the world – the sacred transformation of light into matter. Every woman intuitively knows that nothing can be born without the feminine Creatrix.

Sophia is a very ancient form of the Goddess of Wisdom. She is known in many traditions by different names but she carries the mantle of intuitive intelligence. Sometimes she is Isis, spreading her wings of ascension. Sometimes she is Asherah, the original bread of life. Mary Magdalene is said to have been an incarnation of Sophia.

The Old Testament’s King Solomon had a deep and profound relationship with Sophia. She was revered as the wise bride of Solomon by the Jewish people. In Greek mythology, Athena was the goddess of wisdom and weaving; the owl and the olive tree were sacred to her. 

The symbol of Sophia is the dove, depicted as the bird descending from the heavens, known in Christianity as the Holy Spirit. 

Isis is the Egyptian goddess of magic, fertility, and motherhood. She has gone by many names, such as the Queen of the Heavens, Star of the Sea, Light-Giver of Heaven, Lady of Green Crops, and She Who Knows How To Make Right Use Of The Heart.

She is the Great Mother of fertility, of creation, of life and death. Some see the Mary, the mother of Jesus, as an incarnation of Isis.

Women AND Men need to rediscover the feminine principles of nurturing, of love, understanding, compassion, insight, intuition, creativity, forgiveness, healing, and wisdom.

Women, we need to heal ourselves and allow our Sacred Feminine the breath of life. We need to stop denying who we truly are. We must celebrate our Divine Feminine, give ourselves a voice. Stop thinking you are less than and start believing and feeling you are more than! You are someone. You do matter. You have a voice. You are real. You are valued. You are loved. 

You are a Wild Woman who is free to be who you are in ALL your beauty and glory. 

Who Cares If God is Male or Female?

imageRecently, I had a discussion with a friend about my journey of finding the Sacred Feminine. They asked me, “Why does it matter if God is male or female?” Good question! Honestly? It doesn’t matter in the actual gender sense. In my opinion, God is both mother and father (see post here where I talked about this). They initially thought that was the point of my journey, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg! 

“The Sacred Feminine is a concept that recognizes that “God” ultimately is neither male or female, but a Divine Essence – an essence that is in a unified balance of masculine and feminine principles – a dynamic interdependent ‘immanence’ that pervades all life. The Asian Yin Yang is a good representation of this idea.

However, seeing the divine as an abstract concept of overseeing, distant consciousness, or immanence, is a challenge for most humans, myself included. We all have a basic need to put the inexplicable into tangible form in order to explore and understand our relationship to it. Thus we tend to attribute human characteristics to the unknowable. We name and assign form to an abstract concept in order to relate to it at our level. So the Divine Essence or Absolute has become a “Father” God figure that we were taught to visualize, pray to and imagine having a personal relationship with. In and of itself, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Unfortunately, seeing the vast, infinite, absolute and indescribable “God” only in the form of masculine metaphor and symbol has severely limited our human spiritual potential and greatly hindered our ability to live in peace and balance on this earth. For the last several thousand years, the dominant religious belief systems of our world have been patriarchal which sanctioned social ethics that elevated God the Father over Mother Earth and men over women. 

But it hasn’t always been this way! It is important to remember that for eons before patriarchy, throughout the Paleolithic and Neolithic ages, there were worldwide “Mother/Female and Earth” honoring societies that lived a more egalitarian, sustainable and peaceful culture that thrived without war for thousands of years. It is urgent to rediscover and rebuild the lost memory of those cultures to inform us and inspire us to construct a more stable foundation for society’s future.

Remembering the lost matriarchal civilizations authenticates and validates the significance of the Sacred Feminine and the importance of women and female values. 

It is time to balance the masculine and feminine principles within our belief systems, our religious doctrines, our cultural ethics, and within ourselves.

It is time to honor the Sacred Feminine. “Honoring the Sacred Feminine,” in the spiritual sense, means valuing the feminine principle, along with the masculine principle, as equal and fundamental aspects of the Divine. From a planetary level, it means respecting and healing our Mother Earth. From a cultural standpoint, it means reawakening the archetype of the Goddess through entertainment and the arts and using language that gives equal emphasis to “she” and “her.” In the societal sense, it means re-creating the role of Priestess, and respecting the contribution of women in business, science, art, and politics, as well as the home and community. In a religious view, it means offering ceremony and service that reaffirms our connection to the divine, the Goddess, the earth, and each other. In the human sense, honoring the Sacred Feminine means especially valuing the innate worth of woman’s body, mind, and soul, as well as appreciating the “feminine” qualities in the male character. “ (Tate, 2014). This is what my journey in re-discovering the Sacred Feminine is all about, my friends. 

 *Tate, Rev. Dr. Karen. (2014). Voices of the Sacred Feminine, Changemakers Books. ISBN: 978-1-78279-510-0.

I Am Mother



One of the main componenets of the Sacred Feminine is the mystery of creation. It is the one thing that men absolutely cannot do. It is exclusive to women. Not only is a woman able to give birth physically, but she is able to be a place where the light of the soul takes on human form and remains true to its essential nature. But what about those women who can’t physically give birth, like me? Where is the mystery of creation for us? Are we a “lesser than” version of the Sacred Feminine? Do we still contain the connection of oneness, the connection of heaven and earth within ourselves? Does this exclude us from this divine circle of women?

These are questions I continually ask myself as I delve deeper into the Sacred Feminine and the divine exploration of the other side of my beloved God. I refuse to accept that I am “less than” a woman who can give actual brith to a new life. While I cannot, I can still create. “I Am Mother” (painting shown) was created over a period of six weeks as I explored this concept. It started out as a simple scribble drawing, inspired by Florence Cane in Art Therapy. I used that scribble drawing and discovered the hidden, subconscious images within the scribbles. Over time, it metamorphised into its current state. It is a constrast of light and dark, yin and yang, sun and moon. It is the various faces of Our Mother. 

“I Am Mother” gave me glimpses beyond my individual self into the archetypal world where the symbols that belong to all of humanity also change and transform. I was working not just with the substance of my own soul, but with the soul of the world. The light I discovered in my own depths is a spark of the World Soul, and the world needs this light to evolve. I realized that I am not a mother in the traditional sense, but a Mother in the global sense. It is a much larger concept of Mother that I ever imagined or can fully grasp, hence the glimpses. If all was revealed at once, I don’t think I would be able to comprehend it or become overwhelmed by it. “I Am Mother” showed me that we take on our role as guardians of the planet, and we do so with the consciousness of oneness that includes and connects the sacred and the mundance, the inner and the outer, spirit and matter, the world’s soul and body and our own, the individual and the planet. 

“I Am Mother”

I am life-giving, nurturing, possessive.

I am expansive, embracing, passionate.

I am swirling energy, passive calm, paradox.

I am honest, deceiving, punishing.

I am soothing, caressing, rocking.

I cradle you.

I push you away.

Angry, joyful, ironic.

I am life-sustaining, promising, shelter.

I am all these things.

I am hope.

I Am Mother.

God is He/She

For years I struggled with the idea of a God who was prone to angry fits, wrath, vengence, punishment, and remote up there in the Heavens. I wondered, is there more to Him? To this? I knew He was a God of love, too, but it seemed I had to always play hide and seek with Him to experience His transcendent love. I grew up a pastor’s kid, in more churches than I can count, and unfortunately, saw the dark side, the seemy underbelly of religion. Religion damaged me. Hurt me. Hated me for who I am and what I wanted to be. I became an outsider, a non-believer, an outcast from the church. But I never stopped pursuing the God I wanted…a God of love. And He, or should I say SHE, never stopped pursing me.

As far as I can remember, my art has always channeled various forms of women….naked, voluptuous, pregnant, scarred, damaged, broken, pieces, radiance, life-giving, and so on. It was variations of the same embodiment, the Sacred Feminine. Although at the time, I didn’t realize who SHE was and how much She was pursuing me. She appeared continuously in my art, begging to be seen in Her wholeness, Her Oneness. It is only within the past two years that I have come to discover who She really is. She is the Sacred Divine Femine, the Goddess. She is the love and nurturing Mother Earth. She is the other side of God. Without Her, there is no complete Him.

In our Western Judeo-Christian culture, we have been dominated by a masculine, heavenly God. He is one who banished us from paradise. He was the God of wrath, tempered occasionally with love and kindness, but woe to the one who got on His bad side! Then it became hell-fire and brimstone, an emphasis on our human failings and sinfulness. Over the years, morality engraved fear rather than love into our religious culture, stressing human inadequacy and leaving a trail of repression and neurosis. How much has this image of a remote and wrathful diety influenced our relationship to the divine? I fear, too much.

When God is relegated to the heavens it is easy to lose touch with the divine in everyday life. We come to know Him only as a distant authoritarian father. We feel alienated, impotent, uncared-for, unprotected, isolated, and no longer an integral part of the great wholeness of life. We lose our purpose to life. The sacred wholeness of life belongs to the feminine aspect of the divine, the Great Goddess. For Her every act is sacred; every blade of grass, every creature is a part of the Great Oneness. In contrast to His awe-inspiring transcendence, She embodies the caring divine prescence.

Banishing God to the heavens, we lost touch with the sacredness of the earth and its many forms of life. Reinstating the Goddess means restoring the sacredness of a nurturing, all-embracing divinity. God’s masculine omnipotence and transcendence need to be balanced by the feminine aspects of care and nearness. God is both Mother and Father. We are wrong to restrict our image of a transcendent diety to the patriarchal power-drive. Reinstating the feminine, all-embracing Goddess does not mean we reject the masculine diety. They are One, each a piece of the other.

She is the Love I crave, the Oneness and Wholeness of life and reconnecting with myself and Mother Earth. I have always believed that you can’t have one side of God without the other. There is no masculine without the feminine. It requires balance. If there must be retribution and omnipotence, there must be nurturing love and connection. Otherwise, we are left to wander in a soulless, dark world where nothing matters and the patriarchal power-driven image will dominate, as it has for the last few centuries, causing ruin, heartbreak, and despair.



What is The Sacred Feminine?

WHAT IS THE SACRED FEMININE?

I find my path in life is always taking surprising directions, yet there is a constant theme of “I Am Mother” and the Sacred Feminine. It has only become more apparent in the past year and a half, during my studies at Cedar Crest College in Art Therapy. But what does the “Sacred Feminine” mean? Or when someone says the divine feminine is the way to healing and enlightenment? Is it a Christian concept? Buddhist? Pagan? Wiccan? New Age? Is it even tied to religion? Or is it a spiritual concept? 

The answer is simple. The divine feminine is the goddess in all traditions, and has been since the beginning of time. These traditions are a mystical, magical, powerful, part of primal Mother Earth. They symbolize balance and healing, renewal and restoration. The feminine principle is one of nurturing love, acceptance, understanding, compassion, insight, intuition, creativity, forgiveness, healing and wisdom. Whatever your beliefs and choice of traditions are, whether She appears to you as Ishtar or Mari, Gaia or Quan Yin, as the great Mother Mary or Magdalene, or as one of the pantheon of goddesses from ancient Egypt or Greece or Rome, to Africa or the Middle East, to the cults of the Black Madonna, or whether she is spun from one of the archetypes of the indigenous tribes, such as Spider Woman, the divine feminine is still the primordial She who creates from a central source.

The sacred feminine is a the term we use for that mysterious source of all life, the wellspring of creation. The big She. The feminine force that births both male and female forms. The circle that contains both yin and yang. The portal between the worlds. She is by nature indefinable, yet her presence has been experienced so tangibly by peoples of the earth from the beginning of time, that She has been honoured and deified in many forms as bringer of life, growth, decline, death and rebirth by many ancient cultures.The Goddess is our primary life force on the planet. If we don’t utilize the love, nurturing, understanding, and kindness of the divine feminine within all of us, we will not survive. We need this essence to return balance to our world, our bodies, and our lives.

The Divine Feminine is this unseen dimension of soul to which we are connected through our instincts, our feelings, and the longing imagination of our heart. Soul is not limited to our own psychic life. Soul is invisible nature, the immense web of relationships that is concealed beneath the veil of matter. It is something both inconceivable and immeasurable to which we belong, in which we live – an intermediate dimension between our physical world and the deep unknowable ground of being. 

The Divine Mother is asking us to trust and protect life, to work with her in all we do, opening our understanding to the knowledge that we are not separate from herself but an expression of her being. The unknown dimension of soul is our conduit to the Divine. Cut off from soul, the mind becomes impoverished, rigid, dogmatic, and inflated. In compensation for this loss of relationship with soul, it becomes driven by the need for ever more power and control. The journey in search of the unknown dimension of soul, back the way we have come, toward nature and the ground of our own nature, is difficult and even dangerous because it asks that we relinquish the certainty of deeply held beliefs, both religious and scientific. It means opening ourselves to discovery. The Sacred Feminine is urging us to open our minds to a new vision of reality, a revelation of all cosmic life as a divine unity. For those awakened to this vision, to be born a human being is not to be born into a fallen, flawed world of sin and illusion, cut off from the divine; it is to be born into a world lit by an invisible radiance, ensouled by Divine Presence, graced and sustained by incandescent light and love.