Broadcasting the Divine Feminine in Sarasota

I was four years old, standing onstage with my dance mates at the Fort Hood Family Recreation Center, wearing a white frilly top with red satin inlay and matching red velour skirt. White opaque tights and shiny patent leather Mary Janes completed my outfit. My hair, curls freshly unfurled from pink sponge curlers, served as a mane. Mom had painted whiskers across my cheeks. While the costume was more holiday, the performance was animal. I was cast as a lion amongst lambs in a story about Jesus Christ’s birth. My dance was simple – a crouched position, a turn to the left, a turn to the right, then a full circle. Repeat. It was my first stage performance. After the applause and raising of the house lights, I knew it wouldn’t be my last.

Flash forward to the eve of 40. I sit across from show director Luke Rosebaro in the WSRQ Sarasota talk radio station at microphone #4. Andy Garrett sits to my left, and Frances Roberts-Reilly sits to my right. The three of us are promoting The Living Goddess Exhibit, a production I developed early 2016 that was showcased on November 11th. For Luke and his listening audience, we share poems featured in the exhibit as well as other sacred creations.

This was my first radio performance, and I delighted to share at a microphone that wasn’t propped on a stand on a stage in front of a live audience. Although I faced Luke, I knew my purpose for being there was to reach out to the listening audience – what message do I want to convey? All our poems were formed around the Dark Goddess in our daily living. What does she have to say?

To invoke goddess energy into my delivery, I took my favorite scarf – a gray sheer fabric adorned with black skulls – and draped it over my head and shoulders. Immediately I felt a tingle in the crown of my head, more to the right side. A sensation like an electrical current flowing between two points repeated across the area. I was tuned in.

Photos: Frances Roberts-Reilly

From my collection, I offered ArcAngel, Lady of Blazing Dominion, and Reed-Girl. The beautiful poetess Nidia Del Mar, who embodied Kali for The Living Goddess Exhibit, let me perform her two poems from the show. The Dark Goddess infused me, allowing the words to flow with a lion’s strength and a warrior’s passion.

I felt good sharing with Luke and his audience. I felt empowered, able to perform without the ego getting in the way. After a successful day sharing our art, we touched a bit on opportunities in the region before heading to Simon’s Coffee House for lunch. Our contributions will be aired on Saturday, December 24th and will be available online here.

Our visit to WSRQ was an opportunity to promote POP! The Poet Outreach Program I began to develop this year. The purpose of POP is to bring together artists of all styles, all levels of experience, to collaborate on unique projects and deliver community events across Tampa Bay. This grass-roots level approach embraces literary arts as a catalyst towards increased creativity in communities were artistic exposure may be lacking. Since we were in Sarasota I encouraged the listening audience to consider supporting POP! locally, and to contact our organization for networking opportunities across the Skyway Bridge.

Andy, Frances, and the rest of The Living Goddess Exhibit cast are eager to reprise our show on a local stage or setting in 2017. We hope our visit to WSRQ will stoke interest and draw supporters. Currently, we’re in need of funding to cover exhibit costs. Your generous, tax deductible donations to POP! can be made via PayPal to vsenterprisesfl@gmail.com.

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The Monday After

I took the flower bouquets I received Friday night and consolidated them into one mongo bouquet on the kitchen island. The vase it rests in is the same one from the exhibit, a gift from lady Brigid, the Bringer of Light. I wanted to depict onstage a woman’s womb and its power to birth beauty, thus the addition of the bouquet to the dais. Real flowers this time in the vase; they make me smile widely.

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Gifts from a successful evening, a plethora of flowers and a nice bottle of merlot

It is a strange morning. What had consumed my time, energy and effort these past few months is done, gone. I woke up thinking, what to do now? I took the healthy route and scaled down my interests just so I could concentrate fully on developing this creative piece. In doing so, I freed myself of unnecessary worry. But it’s done now, and I feel a bit…naked.

Let’s reflect on the exhibit itself. By the time I had horns on my head, I was ready to go. I had complete faith in each performer, on the attending crowd, and the spiritual energy in the theater. I smiled big the whole night. When I performed, I gave myself to the stage. I honestly can’t recall doing my poetic recitations, but I know they happened. I remember looking into the crowd, finding the faces of my friends. I remember feeling the heat of the lamps pointed center stage. I remember feeling empowered, thinking, “I am good at this!” as I laughed into my next recitation. I gave myself lines and not one, but two sets of poems to recite. I did not mess up. I am proud of me!

The first poem I recited is an actual poem written by Enheduanna, the high priestess of Ur and first poet of recorded history. It’s actually the invocation portion of an epic poem, Inanna and Ebih, In-Nin-Me-Huš-A, which means “Lady of Blazing Dominion.” You know what I use as a mnemonic? Bon Jovi’s “Blaze of Glory.” I play the chorus in my head, then I launch into the whole poem.

The second poem is an original I wrote earlier this year. It’s a poem about self-discovery and taking chances. It was a story I wanted to tell about me in the search for footing in a 21st century world. I figured it fit with the story of Enheduanna’s difficulty in pleasing the world, leaving her unfulfilled. Until the goddesses hear her desperation, Enheduanna suffers the part. This is so common, especially with modern women. We sit there and stew in our troubles instead of reaching out. Yours truly is a culprit of this activity. Thus, I turn around and encourage the high priestess to reach beyond and find her potential amongst the cosmos. If you can’t find inspiration in this world, be inspired by the worlds beyond.

Today I feel like I released a bird to the sky letting it fly and be part of nature. The exhibit belongs to the artistic ethos now, out of my hands, existing as its own pulsating thing. Today I should allow myself to breathe. Friday was a fantastic night. Today should be a quiet day.

 

Empowered By The Goddesses

Last night can’t be undone.

Magic happened to this scraping-by artist. Months of anxious planning and preparation, interrupted by life and health events, and here it was: my poetry exhibit. Performed beautifully by goddesses of their own caliber, embodying influential archetypes much needed in this post-election week. We gathered to share, we’re not scared. When challenged we have the greatest weapon – our divine sisterhood.

I hand picked artists of diverse creative influences with one common thread: a genuine respect for the power of goddess energy. Allowing them the freedom to choose their artistic interpretation made the project a communal experience. Everyone provided me input as to how they envisioned their deity within the story, based on the loose script I had provided. By the time I met with each woman, got to know her at her craft and on a personal level, and scripted her part, I had the complete story. Using a community-oriented approach to playwriting was a great experience.

And then, showtime. I was not nervous at all. My faith was so strong in these actors I knew I had nothing to worry about. Healthwise, my body had reacted well to new medication, so I didn’t have to concern myself with erratic movement or confusion. Mind, body and soul clear, I took to the stage like I take to my bed at night; cozily and comfortably! You know what? I felt redeemed. After a shitty Wednesday morning feeling tense and scared about my future, I have this moment of success that can’t be taken away. I achieved this, in America, as a disabled person, as a woman of color.  It took incredible fortitude to get here, and I championed that. I’ve arrived at the station I’m meant to visit.

My art has elevated my mood once again. I’m wrapped in the embrace of creativity, considering how to replicate the show for a wider audience. Or, shall I write another performance poetry exhibit? I love mashing music and poetry together, maybe a joint exhibit with live musicians, like how we incorporated a drummer into Pomba Gira’s performance? Wait, wait…let’s bask in the glow of success that was last night. We can do all of that battle planning later, Inanna 😉

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Me dressed as the warrior goddess Inanna
The Show:
 

Last night, the beautiful high priestess Enheduanna, troubled by her Moon Temple followers, found relief in the love, compassion, and commitment of her beloved goddesses. First, Persephone, Maiden of the Underworld, arrived as soon as Enheduanna begged for Death. She brought forward the Matron of the Crossroads, Pomba Gira, who offered the high priestess quite a wake-up call! Upon Pomba Gira’s departure, the Bringer of Light, Brigid, softly stepped into the high priestess’ chamber and blessed it with a light-welcoming poem. 

 
She brought forward Hecate, Great Crone, to call the powers of the four directions to Enheduanna. Her poetry reminds us of her all-knowing power. Relieved, Enheduanna takes a moment to relax, but is quickly interrupted by the powerful Kali, Governess of Time. The intimidating mother reminds the high priestess of her natural divinity and urges her to use it. Glamoured into a sleep state, the goddess Ix Chel visits Enheduanna’s dream. Her poem forecasts necessary change from disillusionment. 
 
When Enheduanna wakes, she is reverent, washed over in love and appreciation. To enhance those wonderful feelings, Yemoya emerges from the water to the high priestess, and they share a dance of divine feminine love. Finally, Enheduanna is entreated to the presence of her personal goddess, Inanna, who shares knowledge of the high priestess’ own written words. Inanna passes on her pure lance to the worthy high priestess, then sends her back to the moon ceremony with a poem of spiritual encouragement.