Dan Buffo was Dean of the Snowlion Junior class, in 2003, when he interviewed Sally McQuaid, while she was on personal retreat at Land of the Medicine Buddha, in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California.

Sally McQuaid is an artist who teaches process art as a healing modality. She works with mandalas and goddess archetypes to facilitate her students' healing journey.

Dan: How does the goddess mythology help the healing journey of you and your students?

Sally: Through their stories, the goddesses become teachers, mentors, guides and companions. Some teach lessons, some offer warnings, some act as examples of how to live well and some mirror mistakes, weaknesses and foibles.

The words that I like are myth, metaphor and meaning. The metaphorical essence of each myth can be transformed into a personal meaning for me. When I invite these archetypes into my personal life, I uncover, discover and recover lost and missing parts of my psyche.

Dan: What about men, can any of these goddesses help us?

Sally: Well, Dan, actually every one of these goddess archetypes can apply to men. In Jungian psychology it is said that everyone has both masculine and feminine characteristics in their psyche. In men, the feminine energy is not usually the most predominant way of acting in the world. Similarly in women the masculine energy is not usually dominant. Yet it is important for both men and women to be in touch with both the inner masculine and feminine to live in a well-balanced way.

Most of the goddess stories include male partners, companions, helpers or mentors. The god archetype balances, harmonizes and integrates the goddess archetypes. Athena is actually born from her father's head! Kali needs Shiva's assistance so she doesn't carry destruction too far. Eurynome needs to mate with Ophion, her partner, in order to give birth to the cosmic egg. Persephone would not have grown up into a mature woman if it hadn't been for Hades abducting her.

Which brings me to my own developmental edge. The male god archetypes are just as important for women as they are for men. In the first part of this interview, we spoke briefly about Hades, the lord of the underworld, as a male archetype. This archetype often resides in the shadow part of a woman's psyche. Discovering him could open me to an exciting and powerful aspect of the feminine experience. I think my next step will be calling forth some of the god archetypes in my work, beginning with Hades.

In addition to Proserpine, Queen of the Underworld, I'd ask for the goddess Aphrodite to help me connect with him. Hades is very powerful and needs an equally powerful goddess. Aphrodite is ideal for this. She is strong enough not to lose herself in relationship. She loved many men but never got out of touch with her own individuality and longing. She stayed centered and grounded in her own truth.

Jean Shinoda Bolen calls Aphrodite the alchemical goddess, and goddess of love, beauty and joy. She transforms the lead of emotional dryness into the gold of spiritual and passionate love. She lives in the heart chakra, transformer of the heavenly energies of the three chakras above it and the earthly energies of the three chakras below. Here the sacred marriage of masculine and feminine takes place. From her liaison with Ares, the god of War, she brought forth the child, Eros, god of Love. She shows us that when feminine beauty joins with masculine strength, love is born.

Dan: Aphrodite does sound powerful. How can she help your students?

Sally: I remember facilitating a student who asked Aphrodite to help heal the trauma of three difficult relationships, especially in levels 2 & 4 of the field - her emotional bodies.

After creating the goddess' image, she connected with the Aphrodite archetype and allowed herself to receive. As she did this, Aphrodite's energy infused her field and physical body.

Since she was a dancer, I suggested that she let the goddess dance through her body. She also asked Aphrodite questions by writing with her dominant hand - and having Aphrodite's answer come through her other hand.

Over several sessions, the student allowed herself to relax deeply. She released long-held emotional energy bound within the roots of her difficulties, through movement, dance, guidance and meditation. She started to open to a new way of being. She discovered the beauty and joy of living in touch with her passionate sensual self. Her fear of intimacy abated and she began to enjoy a very different relationship with her partner, and others.

Dan: How did you personally experience Aphrodite?

Aphrodite, by Sally McQuaid

Sally: Aphrodite appeared in my second chakra while I was having a healing session. Later, at home, I painted Aphrodite reclining inside a mandala, falling in love with her flowering sensual Self - growing from the creative center of her being. You can see the joy on her face as she gently touches the flower that grows out of her belly.

This was the start of an exciting and important phase of my growth. She helped me be more relaxed with the new vulnerability that Aphrodite brings. Because she is a sensual woman, at home in her body, evoking her taught me to be unashamed of mine and appreciate its innate beauty. My sensuality and desire for intimacy grew. She helped me experience such joy, such delight, even bliss! I felt more connected with my partner on every level.

My heart chakra expanded and was enriched, too. Surely the second and fourth chakras enhance each other as they sing together in the intimate act of love! Unless I'm attuned to my own sensual, creative self, I can't truly open the door to relationship with a partner. Owning my own passionate nature is vital. As I bring my whole self to a heart connection, true, shared intimacy follows. It becomes a dance of equals, moving in harmony in a mature and joyous union.

Dan: It sounds like you may be ready to explore the masculine archetypes.

Sally: I'm sorry that I do not yet know more about them. In many ways, Hades remains a mystery to me. I want to know who he is, and how he perceives the feminine. What might my life be like after I meet him? I have much more to learn. My fantasy is that he's very sensual - and a bit frightening in his power. Maybe that's the reason that I've been taking the time to grow into my most mature feminine self before I connect with him on a deeper level. Until now I haven't felt quite ready for that kind of encounter. Evoking Persephone and Proserpine have helped open the door to him, but with Aphrodite maturing within me, I know that we will meet again very soon. I need to integrate the masculine archetypes into my work and my psyche. I'll ask for a new image to paint and process. Then who knows what exciting new dimensions it will bring to my life?

The painting of your hands is complete, Dan. Would you like to see what I've created?

Dan: Yes, and please share what you read from this process.

Sally: This image represents the essence and the energy that I see you bring through your hands. One hand offers fiery masculine Sun energy and one transmits the compassion of Mother Earth. The spiral on the Sun palm brings the energy ever higher while the eye on the other sees with great compassion. Thus you connect and heal soul and spirit, balancing and harmonizing earth and sky, female and male, dark and light. I see you calling forth the god and goddess archetypes through yourself and offering them to others.

Hand of the Sun and Hand of the Earth
by Sally McQuaid

Painting your hands while we did the interview was a great experience - very energizing. I could feel the creativity and excitement of the Snowlion community as we talked. This art process gave me more confidence

in my own intuitive ability to work with others. It expands my work in a new direction to include paintings other that those of the goddess archetypes. If I can bring new insights to others, then I feel like I am fulfilling my soul's longing to be a Light in the world.

Dan: Do you have a name for this painting?

Sally: I call it Hand of the Sun and Hand of the Earth. For me it is as much an answer to your questions as my words. Please share it with those who read the interview.

Dan: Thank you Sally, I certainly will! And thank you for sharing your creativity with us.

Copyright 24 April 2003 by Dan Buffo and Sally McQuaid. All rights reserved