While making “Goddess Eyes” I started drawing a hand then an arm that turned into a tree. Then I wrapped a snake around the tree. When I looked at what I had drawn, it seemed a powerful symbol to me. I’m not sure of what, but the combination of the three stuck with me.
On Tuesday, I got into my studio not sure what to do. I thought of a few days before when my friend Mandy called me up and said she had a snake in her washing machine. I know Mandy has a visceral fear of snakes so I went to her house, got the snake and let it go at the farm. It was a milk snake, small enough to wrap itself around my finger, it’s tiny tongue flicking madly. I thought the tight coil of it’s body beautiful, a perfect upward spiral. The pressure of it around my finger felt the same to me as the few times I’ve experienced a baby hold my finger with her whole hand.
So that morning, the image of the hand, tree, snake, came back to me. And I did something I’ve never done before. I started working on two separate pieces, dealing with the same subject matter at the same time. One on a narrow strip of linen towel and another on an old embroidered table runner.
I stitched the hand, tree, snake on both of them, then they each went in their own direction.
Goddess Shoe, which I posted pictures of last night, has more of my personal imagery in it. All in red. Then surrounding that is a background of pale blue goddesses and symbols that were inspired by my Language of the Goddess book. When it was done and I looked at it, I found it interesting that there was a goddess at the top and a shoe at the bottom. Only one shoe, evoking Cinderella, and yet this is not the shoe of someone looking for Prince Charming. It’s the shoe of a goddess.
Today I was working on my other hand/snake/ tree piece. I knew I needed something to the right of the tree, that empty space wanted to be filled. So I started looking through my books and shelves of fabric for the right image or print. When I couldn’t find it, I stopped and just looked a the piece hanging on my wall. Then I saw what I wanted as if it was already taking up the empty space.
Just a few days ago, Veronica, sent me an old wallhanging her Nana made. She said she had it framed for years, but she didn’t like seeing it a frame. So she sent it to me writing, ” I love the thought that you might cut it up and use it…”
The wall hanging has a Victorian feel to it. It’s many rectangles sewn together. Images of the moon and seasons, fabric rectangles like old luggage stickers from different countries and states, velvety oriental carpets and butterflies. It was a butterfly I saw in the space. Or maybe it’s a moth, but it’s green with a pink aura. So I cut it out, a border of velvety carpet surrounding it and put it where I “saw” it on my piece. The butterfly, often depicted as two triangles coming together as wings, well known in the goddess culture as a symbol of transformation.
I stitched goddesses and their symbols at the root of the tree, grounding it and colored in the embroidered flowers with bright pink and orange markers. Then I drew the markings on the hand, which were originally found on carved goddess statues and pottery.
I’m not done with it yet and would love to have it finished for the Open House, but I’m not sure if I have enough time to do that. Either way I won’t rush it. I’ll let it tell me what it wants next, when it’s ready.
6 thoughts on “Snake, Hand, Tree”
It’s fascinating watching this process unfold for you Maria with snake. As I mentioned to you, I had an interesting experience with snake this summer. It revealed many different layers for me, many shadow sides that I needed to see and work through. There is more there too for me, but I’m not quite ready to unveil it for myself, but I think in time I will. My friend, Dawn, writing about snake says that snake does not mess around. They are a powerful medicine. I think I mentioned this. So I’ve had to take small bits in at a time. But each time I do, I feel a new release. So intriguing! And it is so fascinating watching you move through snake wisdom too. I feel like we are beginning to be kinship snake Goddesses. 🙂
Barbara, I see again and again how different animals come alone and help us understand ourselves and learn.
You are making a beautiful piece here. It has got me thinking again of the whole fear relationship with .snakes. Our children were raised in West and Central Texas and they would play with the small garter and ribbon snakes which were everywhere. In Spring when they began to appear the snakes seemed to enjoy to be picked up–they would curl around wrists, for extra warmth, and stay as long as you wished them too.
They had to learn a healthy fear of rattlers and copperheads. A fear that seems to be innate in cats but not dogs. I cannot forget the time when two of our cats (indoors all their lives) saw a small garter snake coming to drink outside at the small brick-lined pool we had built around the drip from the air-conditioner spout. Both cats froze, with their fur in ruffs and their bodies rigid. What made them do so instead of the usual reaction to birds, of great interest, tail-waving and hisses?
But another time we had to shout to our golden retriever, Nina, with real panic when she spotted a coral snake ahead of us on a woodland track and trotted forward to investigate it.
Animals are working on instinct and experience alone when it comes to dangers such as snakes. I guess some of them seem to know which ones they can hunt and which the need to stay away from. Like how some cats stay out of the road.
Your ‘Goddess Eyes’ is stunning and how wonderful to see my Nana’s butterfly ‘transformed’ by you! makes me so happy that her piece is in your creative hands and heart. . .with gratitude, Veronica
Oh thank you Veronica! I meant to email you with photo of the piece, but I got caught up in getting ready for the OPen House and forgot. I’m so glad you got to see it and like it. That butterfly jumped right out onto the piece!