INVOKING THE GODDESS ARCHETYPES THROUGH PROCESS ART
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, 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
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
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
Copyright 24 April 2003 by Dan Buffo
and Sally McQuaid. All rights reserved