The Three Graces are: Euphrosyne- Joy, Thalia – Bloom, Aglaia – Brightness/Elegance.
I’d been trying to use the image of the Three Graces that was printed on a piece of fabric that Colleen sent me for months. But it didn’t come together until the seriousness of the coronavirus became a reality.
When I first laid the underlying shape, that I cut from a table cloth, on the old handstitched, red and white quilt, I reminded me of both a wolf’s head and the Beak Masks that doctors would fill with what they believed to be protective herbs and wore during the Black Plague.
And when I looked at the quilt itself I saw the pinwheels that the red triangles formed and when I looked at the “negative” white space between the, I saw it’s movement too. Like the constant turning of interlocking gears.
I still did not understand what the piece was about, but I had the instinct to fill in the white spaces with images of birth and regeneration from my book The Language Of The Goddess, by Marija Gimbutas.
That’s what all those red thread drawings are, images found on cave walls and pottery from the time when the Goddess’ power was known and revered.
The felt birds and fish originally came from a Sunday School classroom. For me, they become a representation of nature. Although someone told me that they and the center shape reminded her of Noah’s Ark, another plague of sorts.
In those first weeks of the coronavirus, my need for grounding was amplified. I remember walking in the woods and unconsciously seeking out the Mother Tree for comfort. Leaning against her I felt the vibration in my root chakra and saw red, which is its color.
It was after that experience that I sewed the red buttons around the center shape. And when I was almost done, I dyed the crocheted swag, that came from an old table runner and scalloped trim scarlet.
All that red.
So what do the Three Graces have to do with this all?
They are three minor Greek goddesses who tend to Aphrodite the goddess of love beauty and procreation. They represent grace, beauty, and charm. Some of humanities better attributes.
As I worked on this piece more and more I began to see the Three Graces as the ideal garden from which new life would spring.
While we are figuring out how to survive this virus, they are laying the groundwork for what comes next.
A reminder that through the death and hardship there are the small joys, the prospect of better things to come, and the possibility to deal with it all with the elegance and shining light that is life itself.
When I looked up the symbolism of the wolf (which the center shape in the piece first reminded me of) in Ted Andrews book Animal Speak, I found this:
When wolf shows up it is time to breathe new life into your life rituals. Find a new path, take a new journey, take control of your life. You are the governor of your life. You create it and direct it. Do so with harmony and discipline, and then you will know the true spirit of freedom.
Many things will change because of the coronavirus. If we survive it, this is our opportunity not to go back to the way things were, but to become aware of who we really are and what we really want in this life.
The Three Graces is sold.