From – Ancient British Goddess: Her Myths, legends, sacred sites and present day expression, Edited by Kathy Jones

Ariadne Publications, 61 Tor View Avenue, Glastonbury BA6 8AG

I am not a Goddess Artist

Katheryn Trenshaw

I have always been a creatress/artist from the time. I got the hang of the opposable thumb. I am an artist. I don’t think of myself as a Goddess artist! I am, however, a woman increasingly in touch with my own divinity and the closest thing to naming that is the Goddess. I feel a contemporary connection to ancient wisdom. And so, here are some questions I find myself pondering: Who is the goddess to me? Where does she live? How does she speak to me?

Who is the goddess to me? The divine feminine has crept in to my life gradually and steadily ever since I can remember. She midwives my art and every act of creation. Both birther and midwife, I have come to know her in many guises. When I surrendered to the deeply personal and sacred in my life – the dark, moist places where the Goddess lives – my work moved into the realm of the mythical. At a certain point I stopped caring about making aesthetically beautiful or culturally pleasing images; I went for the more gutsy, soulful and untamed. Art-making allowed me access to dangerous and frightening realms – my inner self – and my work became my autobiography.

When I created the Breaking the Silence exhibition in 1990 (a series of nearly 100 sculpted masks and paintings to encapsulate the varied emotions that are experienced in the healing process from child sexual abuse that toured throughout the US and parts of Europe) I was beginning to re-member myself and my divinity.Out of
pain and chaos, I was putting the pieces back together. I was remembering the goddess within and coming to know her face.

Where does she live?

She lives in my belly and at the core of my cellular memory. How could I create something not connected to myself, my body, my divinity, the Goddess? At best, she inspires me to create the most juicy workraw and visceral while still well crafted and formed. This is my favorite dialogue with the Goddess. It goes something like, “OK, I,ll be your muse, your mother, sister, lover, and all you need to do is get out of your own way and allow images to arise out of the belly.

Give form to the ineffable. Then share and teach the same with your heart wide open.

The liberating thing about the Goddess, for me, is reconnecting and remembering being juicy and wild. Over time voluptuous women/goddesses simply became integral to my work.

How does she speak to me? As my life changes, I ask for different qualities to come into it. In the last decade, I have chosen a goddess/archetype that holds qualities with which I would like to be imbued to be my guide for each year. I “research” her, dance her and collect images of her. I paint her and write songs about her. This practice has become a part of the Drawing Down the Moon yearlong group I lead. It is powerful to have a subcommittee of goddesses to a circle of wonderful women! The Goddesses invoked have a huge impact on the shape of the year for each circle. It is potent magic. And, though it may sound simple, like the descent of Innana it is sometimes the
most challenging journey of all.

I see the Goddess in every woman. I relish the diversity that I am privileged to witness in my travels, my community and in circles of women I participate in and lead. I celebrate the gorgeousness of the goddess beneath rolls of fat and anorexia, behind scars and illness, in creative genius and graceful gestures. I find the Goddess in the sacred sites and stone circles that inspire my work most profoundly. But equally I find her in the mundane everyday acts of liferight down to preparing
meals, simple acts of kindness, gardening and cleaning.

So, I am not a goddess artist, but there is a passion in me to create, to celebrate life, to re-member. Every act of creation is an act of the goddess. May we all be inspired to create, celebrate and re-member our most vibrant and alive selves!

Katheryn Trenshaw is a fine artist and an experienced facilitator of circles specialising in healing through art, ritual, body awareness and creativity. Her contagious passion for life and her ability to encourage celebration and making everyday sacred are hallmarks of her workshops and exhibitions. Her Affirming the Female Body and Drawing Down the Moon groups for women as well as the Celebrating the Body camp for men and women take place in the UK, Europe and the US. Katheryn’s watercolors and raku-fired sculptures are displayed in galleries from California to Leiden.


All text and images copyright © K Trenshaw