Archive for April 19th, 2011


The Past Supper

April 19, 2011

The Dinner Party by Judy Chicago is an icon of feminist art.

Image Credit: The Salvador Dali Society

The Dinner Party represents 1,038 women in history—39 women are represented by place settings and another 999 names are inscribed in the Heritage Floor on which the table rests. This monumental work of art is comprised of a triangular table divided by three wings, each 48 feet long.

Broken dishes

Image Credit: Red Crow Arts

The principal component of The Dinner Party is a massive ceremonial banquet arranged in the shape of an open triangle—a symbol of equality—measuring forty-eight feet on each side with a total of thirty-nine place settings. The “guests of honour” commemorated on the table are designated by means of intricately embroidered runners, each executed in a historically specific manner. Upon these are placed, for each setting, a gold ceramic chalice and utensils, a napkin with an embroidered edge, and a fourteen-inch china-painted plate with a central motif based on butterfly and vulvar forms. Each place setting is rendered in a style appropriate to the individual woman being honored.

Wing One of the table begins in prehistory with the Primordial Goddess and continues chronologically with the development of Judaism; it then moves to early Greek societies to the Roman Empire, marking the decline in women’s power, signified by Hypatia’s place setting. Wing Two represents early Christianity through the Reformation, depicting women who signify early expressions of the fight for equal rights, from Marcella to Anna van Schurman. Wing Three begins with Anne Hutchinson and addresses the American Revolution, Suffragism, and the movement toward women’s increased individual creative expression, symbolized at last by Georgia O’Keeffe.

signature image

Georgia O'Keeffe place setting, The Dinner Party

Image Credit: Brooklyn Museum

The Dinner Party rests upon the Heritage Floor and is comprised of 2,300 hand-cast porcelain tiles and provides both a structural and metaphorical support for The Dinner Party table. Inscribed in gold luster are the names of 999 mythical and historical women of achievement, who were selected to contextualize the 39 women represented in the place settings and to convey “how many women had struggled into prominence or been able to make their ideas known—sometimes in the face of overwhelming obstacles—only (like the women on the table) to have their hard-earned achievements marginalized or erased”.


The Nine Blossoms of Blodeuwedd: Blackthorn

April 19, 2011


Moon Month for St-Straith runs from 15 April ~ 12 May

Drawing a Blackthorn stave or card indicates the actions of fate in your life, something that cannot be avoided but must be faced and dealt with. Blackthorn gives you the strength to accept and persevere in the face of adversity. The Sloe berry sweetens after the first trial of winter, the frost. Accepting fate and adversity as a challenge, and making it work for you, results in an unexpected sweetness in your life.

“Straif also offers initiation into the mysteries of self-conquest and transcendence.”


 A Mote from the Muse:

There is some conjecture over which thorn went into the forming of Blodeuwedd: hawthorn or blackthorn.  As we are in the Ogham month of Straith: Blackthorn, I feel that it might be best just to go with the Awen here…..

Image credit:

Blodeuwedd’s tale is very deep. She is by no means the dippy faithless-wife character usually portrayed but a shapeshifting goddess and one of the many faces of Sovereignty, the goddess who is the Earth. Sovereignty is how the Celts think of the Lady, the spirit, the planetary energy, that which lives and moves and holds our being. This concept is similar to how the Dineh people of New Mexico, the Navajo, speak of it; they say Dammas, that which moves. [Words by Elen Sentier, Celtic Shaman]

Blossoms of the Blackthorn

Image credit: Penny D photography

Blackthorn Flower Essence

 Survival in adversity.When feeling panic or in times of crisis…

Blackthorn helps us to cope, so that we instinctively know how to proceed. Heightens our ability to make choices. Awakens the survival instinct. Resilience. [Sourced Wild Medicine ~ Wild Flower Essences of Avalon and Iona]

Blackthorn berries and She Who Squeaks

Image Credit: bibliocook

If you’re a ‘sloe gin virgin’, you might be surprised to learn that this oft-home brewed beverage tastes nothing like ‘straight’ gin at all. In fact, it makes for a rounded, fruity refreshing drink – just the thing to help ease yourself into a evening of relaxation!


8 oz. ripe sloes

4 – 6 oz. sugar

14 fl oz. gin

Remove any stalks and ash the fruit. Prick the sloes at both ends to release their juice and put them into a screw top container which should be no more than half full. Add the sugar and top up with gin. Seal the container and shake vigorously. Repeat the shaking process for two to four weeks after which time the sloes will have turned the liquid a rich red colour. The liqueur should now be left to mature, although it can be drunk after a few weeks the flavour is much improved if left for twelve months. If required the liquid may be strained after three months and bottled before being left to finish maturing. [Sourced Mercian Gathering]

Typical growth habit ~ Hawthorn(L) Blackthorn (R) - messier


How to tell Hawthorn from Blackthorn

  • Hawthorn has lobed leaves, Blackthorn has elliptical leaves tapering at the base.
  • Blackthorn thorns are generally longer.
  •  Hawthorn has leaves before flowers, Blackthorn has flowers before leaves.
  • Hawthorn fruit, haws, have a single stone in a hollow red-crimson cup. Blackthorn fruit, sloes, are round and blue-black often with grey bloom. Both fruits start green. [Sourced SkillsforWildlife]

It was believed that the thorny crown for Christ was made from the Blackthorn

 Blackthorn in bloom is considered an emblem of life and death together as the flowers appear when the tree has no leaves, just black bark and thorns. It is considered wise not to grow three trees closely together. It is said that a Hawthorn will destroy any Blackthorn near it. On the Isle of Man it is believed that if the Blackthorn and the Hawthorn have many berries then the ensuing winter will be severe. [Sourced Hedgerowmobile]