This weekend we have two special events, one is a livestream http://salon.shilohsophiastudios.com/codex/ and the other is a live event in Healdsburg http://salon.shilohsophiastudios.com/lady-church/ with my special friend and guest, Emily Grieves.
Why the focus on The Lady?
You might wonder, why is Shiloh Sophia so focused on HER? (people ask me this on a regular basis so I thought I would tell you)
When I was growing up there really wasn’t a feminine divine in my life. I was surrounded by strong women, and we weren’t having a male dominated experience within our family walls, so I don’t really felt like I missed having Her. I didn’t even know She existed.
In my twenties when I was exploring my own faith, within a Christian lens, but in a very expressive free church, Glide in San Francisco, the thought came to me on my own. Where is She?
Where is my Mama?
Hmmm. I wonder where the Mama is? Here I am in this very open church, with room for everyone, and yet it is Mother’s day – and while we honored the women in the church, we didn’t honor any great or cosmic sense of Divine Mother. I will never forget the day She showed up. It was that day. My world expanded.
Thread of the Feminine Were Everywhere…
There were threads of the feminine, through the Goddess imagery in the women’s movement and my own art teacher, Sue Sellars, and there was the Virgin Mary, shown to me by my Catholic friends. There was the earth, and the strong women in my family like my two Grandmothers who were every bit as strong as anyone I have ever met – and were sovereign in their own right. But nothing was woven. It wasn’t until I noticed her ‘gone missing’ that things began to change for me.
She was ‘missing’
When I realized She was missing, not only from the Christian story, but from church, and my relationships and from scripture (I didn’t know where to look) – I have to admit I was pretty astounded. I had one of several epiphany moments, and this one was coupled with despair. Was what was happening in our world connected with Her being missing? Why would they take her away? Why wasn’t the Virgin Mary talked about as truly relevant to the story of Christ’s arrival? She was the one who gave birth to God, and yet, we didn’t relate to her as significant except on Christmas and a mention here or there.
I was astonished at her absence.
From my life.
From the world.
From the church.
From my heart.
So I asked for Her. Not unlike Solomon.
Here are a few excerpts where he asks of God regarding Her in the book of Wisdom Chapter 8 and 9
Indeed, she spans the world from end to end mightily
and governs all things well.
She knows the things of old, and infers the things to come.
She understands the turns of phrases and the solutions of riddles;
signs and wonders she knows in advance
and the outcome of times and ages.
Send her forth from your holy heavens
and from your glorious throne dispatch her
That she may be with me and work with me,
that I may know what is pleasing to you.
For she knows and understands all things,
and will guide me prudently in my affairs
and safeguard me by her glory;
When I asked for Her, She came.
And from that moment on my entire life was expanded, shifted. Parts of myself and the world that were in shadow came to light. Yet with Her She brought both the comfort of the light, as well as the good deep darkness held in the mystery.
So if you ever wonder why is Shiloh Sophia so focused on Her – this is why:
Knowing there was a Feminine Divine changed everything.
She charted out my course for me and showed me where to go.
She revealed the fullness of her child to me.
She called me to share Her with others.
This is my sacred work.
And then finding out that She was a part of the Elohim, that it was just a Him. Then finding that for fifty-thousand or more years, the feminine has been a part of this unfolding story – only I didn’t know about it and many of us are just finding out.
Her image informs me.
When I paint Her, I am in prayer. And I love to share that kind of praying with others, where we can be safe enough to explore Her and what it might mean for our lives and our spiritual pratices, as well as to the survival and thriving of our planet. How we treat Her in her various forms, is how we treat women, and the earth.
As if we don’t really matter.
Really? Yes really.
Without Her a lot goes missing in our lives. For men and women. And we can explore Her without needing to spend all our time making Him wrong. That isn’t the conversation here.
I still walk a dedicated path of Christ, but with Her by my side.
When She first started showing up in image for me, in the physical world was through the Virgin de Guadalupe – this was before internet. Then, of course, I began to see She was already everywhere.
So in this Red Thread Letter you will see the offerings for 2016 that have been dedicated to the exploration of Her. I share my own story, as I will on Friday with my guest teacher Emily Grieves in the CODEX – but more than that – it is about you finding Her for yourself. In the Red Madonna we say She is the one who Rises in your heart… Making an appearance in a heart near you.
I share this with you humbly. Often with some fear, that you will leave because I am speaking of Her before you have a chance to discover Her for yourself. That discovery is essential – because I can share my testimony but I cannot really share Her, She has to occur for YOU. When we paint Her, that often happens. You see Her for you. That’s powerful. And sacred.
In our class starting on Friday, CODEX we will look at Her image and the stories held inside of Her and the messages relevant for women today. Also Emily is quite skilled at things like skin, hands, folds, moons, cosmos and I am excited to share her teaching skills with you – she is Color of Woman teacher, but was a painter all her life and is a profound artist. And a new dear friend to my soul.
On Saturday we will have an in person gathering, sitting in Red Thread Circle with others sharing about and exploring Her in person, Lady church. I am so glad Emily will be here for both as we taught together in Mexico and our common love of the Lady called us back together to share what we discovered, in our friendship, about Her. Emily and her family are flying in from Mexico this weekend!
We are finally closing those big red doors to the Red Madonna, our yearlong painting process where you focus on one painting all year and our theme is the Cathedral of the Heart, this is great for a creative spiritual practice.
And… Heart of Gold – a yearlong intensive where you create 6 paintings exploring the Medicine Wheel of the Madonna in the directions and the elements. This experience will also culminate with an in person gathering, also with Emily on Her Feast Day December 12, in Healdsburg.
I share this from my heart, the deepest place within my heart. If you feel called to explore Her in the sacred containers we have created…please join us.
The Red Thread Café today is filled with stories…and healing.