Dream of the Red Chamber
Dedicated to Hildegarde Von Bingen.
Ah I enjoyed painting this one, and I have to admit, I enjoy looking at it as well.
I read a book called “Alchemy for Women” by Penelope Shuttle and Peter Redgrove while I was painting it, and it really crystallized my conception of this card and of the whole project. Because it is a female card, a mandala constructed mostly of womens’ bits (I love anatomy books). The book also explained my instinctive timing of my creative work to match the cycles of the moon. It’s wonderful that these powerful cycles of transformation exist in women and tragic that society has done it’s best to obscure them.
It gave me another interesting take on the meaning of the Magdalene as well. They see her as the deity of the menstrual aspect of the cycle, while Mary is a goddess of ovulation. Society being heavily dominated by the ovulators and those in whose interests it is that women perform solely the function of breeding, has lead to the exaltation of Mary and the denigration of Magdalene. This also has its legacy in the widespread pre menstrual illness, which is really an internalization of societies rejection of this other aspect of a womans’ cycle. Needless to say all the best creative and artistic activity coincides with the time of menstruation. So, in a way perhaps the significance of Magdalene is that she did NOT have a child, rather than her being some ignored christ bride.