Guess what I am doing next week? I’m taking artist Tina Lassiter’s “An Evening in the Garden of Goddess Delight” workshop on July 11 at Smith Center for Healing and the Arts. Tina describes the workshop as a collage-making “joyshop” that will evoke change, stimulate thinking, and transform the lives of those who accept an invitation for exploration. It’s just what I need to jumpstart my own collage-making painting process.
More About Tina: She is also a writer, photographer, and Director of Creative & Therapeutic Arts Services at Children’s National Medical Center. Last year, She became a Certified Corporate Wellness Specialist in addition to receiving certifications in Reiki and Acupressure. She is currently working to help Children’s National Medical Center establish an integrative medicine program.
What are you doing to celebrate creativity in July?
During my yoga teacher training at Flow Yoga Center in 2005 and 2006, I developed a series of yoga classes that emphasized the attributes of Hindu female deities better known as goddesses or archetypes and how they corresponded to the seven chakras (energy centers in the body). See a list of some of my favorites below (the meanings are based on my own interpretation and understanding).
Durga is the Hindu warrior goddess of determination, persistence, personal power, and will power who governs the third chakra.
Kundalini is the Hindu goddess of inner power who governs the first chakra (the first chakra is the seat of Kundalini energy).
Lakshimi is the Hindu goddess of material and spiritual prosperity who governs the first chakra (physical survival including material prosperity)
Radha is the Hindu goddess of love and governs the fourth chakra.
Sarasvati is the Hindu goddess of wisdom who governs the sixth chakra. She is also the Hindu Goddess of creativity and the arts who governs the second chakra.
Shakti is the Hindu goddess of divine feminine energy who governs the seventh chakra.
Vach is the Hindu goddess of communication and speech who governs the fifth chakra.
Earlier this year, I learned Sally Kempton, one of my favorite spiritual teachers and Yoga Journal’‘s columnists, had authored Awakening Shakti: The Transformative Power of the Goddesses of Yoga, a book that tells stories, offers meditations, and shares the wisdom of many of my favorite yoga goddesses. Click here to read a Yoga Journal interview with Kempton about her new book. After reading a review of the Awakening Shakti in Yoga Journal, I put it on my Amazon.com list of books to buy. Last month, I purchased it from Amazon.com and decided to add it to my stack of must read summer books (which I will begin reading on June 21, the first of day of summer a/k/a the Summer Solstice).
Last week, I glanced through Awakening Shakti to see what juicy wisdom and insights I could expect to receive. Here’s what I found. Kempton shares how the qualities of 11 yoga goddess archetypes can help people deepen their meditation and yoga practice and better understand themselves. She also shares her personal experiences with each yoga goddess archetype. I am excited about exploring each goddess archetype’s meditation exercises, invocation mantras, visualizations, and personal Gayatri mantra. I adore chanting the Gayatri mantra, one of the oldest and most powerful of Sanskrit mantras. It’s one of the first mantras I learned before entering yoga teacher training.
Yesterday I learned my wire sculpture “Erzulie’s Black Heart” will be featured in the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute’s exhibition “Wearing Spirit: Aesthetically Personifying the Feminine in African Sacred Traditions” from March 11 to May 24 in New York City. The opening reception will be held on March 11 from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. If you are in the Big Apple on March 11, join me at the reception. It will be BIG FUN! For more information about the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute, visit www.cccadi.org. Many thanks to Shantrelle Lewis for inviting me to submit my work!
Ananda Leeke’s passion for African goddesses began while she was studying Kemetian and Yoruba religions and writing My Soul Speaks, her first chap book of poetry, in 1992. In 1995, Leeke began using coat hangers, an assortment of wire, found objects, vintage jewelry, fabric, and amulets to sculpt images of African goddesses including Oshun, Yemanya, Oya, Maat, Auset, and Het Heru. Over the past fifteen years, she has explored these goddesses in her artwork, writing, and travels to Cuba, Egypt, Ghana, Louisiana, and Senegal. She discovered Erzulie, the Haitian goddess of love, while writing her debut novel, Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One. Erzulie influenced the lives of many characters in Love’s Troubadours. Erzulie’s veve is incorporated in Love’s Troubadours logo and artwork on the book cover.
Erzulie’s Black Heart is a goddess of love and healing who was born out of the middle passage experience of enslaved Africans in Haiti. She is a Petwo spirit. Her love and healing energy are hot, aggressive, and quick to act when the children of Haiti need her. Her black heart represents a sanctuary for Haitians when they are faced with life’s hardships including poverty, illness, violence, and natural disasters such as hurricanes and the magnitude 7.0 earthquake that occurred on January 12. Erzulie’s Black Heart heals the pain and suffering of Haiti’s sons and daughters. She protects them with the fierce love of a Black warrior woman. Her intention is to bring the children of Haiti to higher ground.
Thanks for stopping by!
Peace, Creativity, Compassion, and Gratitude for Erzulie, the Haitian goddess of love,