Dzonokwa, the Wild Woman of the Woods, was the Kwakiutl Goddess of abundance and rebirth. She bestowed wonderful blessings upon those who respected her but she was also greatly feared. After her son was killed by hunters, a young orphan, who was not pleasant to look at, led her to the body and they carried him home. To thank the young man for his kindness, she bestowed great riches upon him. When she threw some magical water on him and on the body of her son, the orphan became handsome and her son came back to life. She taught the orphan the secrets of rebirth and revived his parents with her magical water. Kwakiutl mask of Dzonokwa from Vancouver, BC, 19th century; robe is an adaptation of an early 20th century Kwakiutl cedar bark woman's ceremonial cape; early 20th century Kwakiutl pole in background from Alert Bay, British Columbia.



  30"x24" copyright 2001 oil on linen  


Estsan-ah-tlehay, Navajo Goddess of the cycles of life, was born in New Mexico and, as a baby, was fed white shell food, which is the ceremonial name of cornmeal mush. At the age of 16, during her maiden ceremony (called Hozhonigi or Making the Path of Life Beautiful), she changed into a crone, then grew younger again. She did this four times, finally remaining at about 20 years old. With the sun as their father, she gave birth to a pair of twins who slew the monsters that were destroying the people. She also created more people from the flakes of her skin. Natseelit was the Navajo Goddess of the rainbow. The sandpainting on the ground is after one by Bitahni-bedugai from the Hozhonji or Blessing Chant. It was made for a night ceremony invoking Estsan-ah-tlehay to get rid of bad dreams. Natseelit stands between the two blue deities in the sandpainting. Estsan-ah-tlehay is wearing a Navajo squash blossom necklace after one from Arizona, 1915, a ketoh or wristguard, 1930, and a floated warp sash from Arizona/New Mexico, 1910. Natseelit wears a Navajo silver belt after one from the early 20th century.

   30"x24" copyright 2001oil on linen  
 30"x24" copyright 2001-2 oil on linen


Hebe was the Greek Goddess of rejuvenation and immortality who provided ambrosia, the nectar of eternal youth, to the other deities. Paian was the little god of healing, son of a priestess of Artemis and Selene's (Goddess of the Moon) lover Endymion. As sister to Ares, the god of war, Hebe was called upon, along with Paian, to heal her brother. Even though, in the original myth, they heal his person, here they heal him, as well as the earth, by melting the implements of war. When patriarchal invaders overtook the Goddess culture, Hebe, who had been known as Ganymeda in more ancient times, was displaced by Ganymede as cupbearer to the gods and was married off to Hercules. To the ancient Greeks, Ganymede (and by extension Ganymeda or Hebe) feeding the eagle symbolized overcoming death. Hebe wears earrings after a pair found in Kalymnos, 450-400 BCE and a necklace after one found at Kourion, 400-300 BCE. She is holding a cup after an Attic black figure dinos, c 580 BCE. One of the figures of Hebe on the cup can be found on the original dinos, the other is from an Attic red figure pyxis, c 350 BCE. The representation behind her on the right is most likely of herself after a relief from Epidauros, Sanctuary of Asklepios (who displaced Paian as the god of healing under patriarchy), 400-350 BCE. The weapons are after some found in Peloponnesian tombs, 8th century BCE. The helmet is after one from Corinth, c. early 5th century BCE.



The Madonna is a manifestation of the ancient Mother Goddess. Figures of Madonnas from the Neolithic era and later connect Mary to a very ancient line of Goddesses. The story of Mary and her son, who was killed and resurrected, mirrors the myths of Ishtar and Tammuz, Inanna and Dumuzi, Aphrodite and Adonis, Cybele and Attis, Isis and Osiris, and Demeter and Persephone. Mary's name comes from "mare", the Latin word for the sea. Many of the great Mother Goddesses were born from the sea and Mary's title, "Stella Maris", Star of the Sea, originally belonged to Isis. Figures of Madonnas in the myrrh tree in the background are, clockwise from upper left, La Moraneta of Monserrat which arrived in Barcelona in the late 7th century; Mesopotamian Madonna from around 2000 BCE; Madonna from Rhodes, late 6th to early 5th century BCE; a blue faience amulet of Isis and Horus from Egypt, c. 945 BCE.

 30"x24" copyright 2001 oil on linen  


Sekhmet, whose name meant "the mighty one", was the ancient Egyptian Goddess of destruction as well as healing. Greatly disgusted with human beings for their lack of reverence, she began to eat them. The other deities became concerned and put out a mixture of beer and pomegranate juice. Thinking it was blood, Sekhmet lapped it up and fell into a stupor. When she awoke, all her rage was gone. Because of her great knowledge of magic, she possessed tremendous powers of healing. She had the power to manifest energy into form. She holds an ankh, symbol of eternal life, in her left hand; in her right, she holds a papyrus scepter. The papyrus was the emblem of Lower Egypt and symbolized the creation of the world from the primeval waters. The statue of Sekhmet is from Karnak, Egypt, c. 1390-52 BCE; her necklace is adapted from one found in Tutankhamun's tomb, Valley of the Kings, c. 1330 BCE.

 30"x24" copyright 2001-2 oil on linen  


Chief deity of the Scythians, Tabiti was protector of the hearth and of wealth. Since their wealth was determined by the number of flocks they had, she was also known as a protector of animals. Among the Scythians, women were seen as controllers of life and death. They were associated with the mystical realm and powerful animals, sometimes fusing with the latter. The mirror, in many ancient cultures, symbolized protection against evil spirits. The one she is holding is after one found in the Ukraine, near Kerch, from the Kul'Oba Kurgan, c. 4th century BCE. Her torque is after one from Soboleva Mohyla, Ukraine, 350-25 BCE. Her earring, depicting a seated goddess who is probably Tabiti, is after a pair found near Velyka Znam'ianka, Ukraine, c. 4th century BCE. The plaques around her headdress and on her dress could depict the ritual marriage of Tabiti to a king; they were found in the Chertomlyk kurgan, Ukraine, 350-25 BCE. She is holding a cup with horses from Bratoliubivs'ky kurgan, near Ol'hyno, Ukraine, 5th century BCE.

 30"x24" copyright 2001 oil on linen  
 30"x24" copyright 2001 oil on linen


The Three Norns were the Scandinavian Goddesses of Fate. Erda or Urd (on the left) represented the past and lived by the sacred well Urtharbrunn at the foot of the Yggdrasill, the Tree of Life, tending the root that extended to Asgard which was the home of the deities. She is wearing a necklace from Gryta, Sweden, Viking Age (8th-11th centuries), and holds a Frankish pitcher found in a Viking grave at Birka, Sweden, 9th century. Verthandi or Verdandi (in the middle) represented the present and protected mothers and ruled the phases of the moon. She is wearing a necklace found at Birka, Sweden with a pendant depicting a weaving goddess from southwest Germany, 6th centruy, and holds a small plaque of three goddesses holding a child, a scroll and a bowl from the Romano-Gaulish settlement at Vertillum, France. Sculda (on the right) represented the future and held the scroll that the future was written upon. They are all holding spindles. Associated with weaving, they wove the future for each person at the time of birth. The stags in the branches of the tree, Dain, Dvalin, Duneyr and Durathror, represent the four winds. The relief behind them, depicting deer chewing on the branches of the Tree of Life, is from the Staukirke, Urnes, Norway, c. 11th century.



 30"x24" copyright 2002 oil on linen


Three was a sacred number for many of the early cultures, most especially for the Celts. The Goddess was often portrayed in Her three aspects as Maiden, Mother and Crone, mirroring the cycles of nature. Altars to the Matrae (Celtic form), Matres (in Gaul and Britain) or Matronae (in Germany under Roman rule) can be found throughout the settled areas of Europe and are clearly associated with the fertility of the crops as well as the health of the children. The frieze of the Matrae in the lower right, which portrays Maiden, Mother and Crone holding loaves of bread and the fruits of the earth, is from the Roman era in Cirencester, early 1st - 2nd century CE. In the painting, the rabbit holds a frieze of the "Green One" from Wiltshire, England, 13th-14th century CE. The Maiden's torque (left) is from the tomb of Princess Vix, France, 6th century BCE. The Mother's torque (center) is from Snettisham, Norfolk, mid 1st century BCE. The Crone's torque (right) is from Waldalgesheim, Germany, 4th century BCE and her earring is after a bronze disk from Ireland, 1st- 2nd century CE.



Wadjit was the Egyptian Goddess of Creation who birthed the sun each morning from the sacred papyrus marshes. Known as Buto to the Greeks, her name meant "The Green One" or "The Papyrus-Hued One", referring to her exceptional powers of growth. Wadjit was also the protective hissing cobra of the uraeus. She was depicted in both cobra and human form. In her cobra form, she was the symbol of Lower Egypt and it was said that the papyrus emerged from her. As an inhabitant of the marshes, the otter was also associated with her. The relief on the left shows Wadjit in a gesture of protection from the pyramid temple of King Neuserra, 5th Dynasty. To the right of that is a relief of a papyrus marsh from the Mastaba of Mereruka, Saqqara, 6th Dynasty c. 2300 BCE; behind it, on the left, is a statue of an otter from the Ptolemaic Period c. 304-30 BCE and, on the right, a copy of a previously existing mural of a papyrus marsh that was originally in the north palace of Akhenaton at Tell-el-Amarna, c. 1360 BCE. The relief on the right of Wadjit in her cobra form is from the funerary bed of Queen Hetephras, 4th Dynasty. She is wearing an earring and an armband (design adapted from a pectoral) from Tutankhamen's Tomb, c. 1323 BCE.

  30"x24" copyright 2001-2 oil on linen