My friend, Evelyn Mattern, had died shortly after she had published a book about women mystics titled, “Why Not Become Fire”. The legacy of the women in her stories had not been part of my catholic education. From my friend’s book I learned quite a lot about these women of the past who lived with strong courage, faith and deep conviction in their own experiences of God. They defined God in their own terms and often exceeded the limits put upon God by the church of their time. Some dared to describe the divine in feminine language and images of love. In the past woman mystics had been depicted as religious fanatics and in some cases mentally unstable. They lived under threat of execution by the defenders of the faith. Many in fact died at the hands of the church.
Discrediting women especially in the realm of religion was/is important for maintaining a patriarchal system that must control the souls and bodies of the people. Such freedom of thought about God was/is dangerous to male establishments. We fool ourselves if we believe otherwise. Church and state are not separated when it comes to the status of women (and other minorities) in our own time. It is just disguised now as “religious liberty” But with the present political regime change, bigotry will be permitted to drop its disguise. “The truth shall set us free”, but first it will divide us and make us miserable.
I found this image several years ago when I was playing with the idea that artist, Helen Broncato, promoted in “Why Not Become Fire”. By dropping black ink into pools of water and allowing images to emerge we can find surprise paintings that call to us from our unconscious/soul. My mystic image was hiding in the upper left corner of the paper. It only needed three black lines and a few shadows to bring her into focus. It’s not always the big picture where we need to focus.