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Goddess "" Earth "" Cosmology "" Women's Health "" Reader Contributions "" Book Reviews "" Editor's Desk

Reflections of Cosmology

Sacred Spiral

In Celtic tradition, the time between Winter Solstice and Imbolc is a time during which we turn inwards, rest, regroup and begin the cycle over again. Unfortunately, being a full-time student, I have been ripped out of this natural cycle. I find that I have taken to grasping desperately at any quiet time that presents itself and enforcing it whether or not I have projects, deadlines or columns to write. I had one taste of quiet time nine weeks ago at the end of spring semester. Now, at the end of summer school, I find myself at the beginning of a five-week hiatus that stretches out before me as a reward for all my hard work. And after this, my last semester of college looms before me, the home stretch.

Spiral In, Spiral Out

My best-laid plans for this article have gone awry. The artists I've been in contact with have been as busy as I these last weeks, and our schedules have not aligned in any way that would be helpful to the process. At the eleventh hour, I decided not to fight the situation and to succumb to the overwhelming force of my brain trying frantically to go inwards, to retreat, to rest. So no interviews this time. Instead, I share with you some of the paintings of one of my favorite artists.

Helen Klebesadel and I first met at Pagan Pride in Madison last autumn. She came to a discussion group that I led about women making art. I knew nothing about her, but was quickly drawn into her energy. She listened excitedly as I talked about my own work in music and my desire to explore the work of women composers. When she mentioned she was the Director of the Women's Studies Consortium of the University of Wisconsin System, I understood her interest. After talking about her own art, she gave me a postcard with information about her latest show. I flipped the card over and caught my breath.

On the back of the card was a print of her painting entitled Sacred Spiral. I had seen this painting when I went to the show that Rae Atira-Soncea shared with other feminist artists (see my article in the Imbolc Issue). I had stood, staring up into those beautiful spiral branches for a long, long time, feeling that I was viewing my own, personal cosmology on canvas. As the print on the postcard registered in my mind, I gasped and asked "You're this artist?"

I have twice since visited Helen's studio, a lovely little building in her back yard, and have been completely floored by her obvious talent and accomplished technique. Although I have never seen a painting by her that I didn't immediately love, aside from her spiraling branches my favorites are her quilts. They speak to my Midwest core in a profound way. I have quilts that were made for me by two of my great-grandmothers. They are my only real link to those women and they are the holy relics of my own personal matrifocal religion. So Helen's quilts, too, speak of my own cosmology.

Victorial Crazy Quilt
larger view
Freedom Quilt
larger view
Crazy Quilt
larger view

There is much to know about Helen Klebesadel and her art, and I hope, in the future, to write a proper article about them. But for this issue, with my brain going into hibernation, I just want to share my favorite images. If you would like to learn more about Helen and her art, please visit her website.

Graphics Credits

  • all images © Helen Klebesadel. All rights reserved. Used with permission
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