Join us for 13 Moons - we start now!
If you are called to join us, then sign up today. We have just begun and are taking a slow start to orient our students. You still have plenty of time to order your materials and join us! Have a question? Contact email@example.com.
The Red Madonna Sanctuary is a MUSEA Intentional Community working through a Sacred Feminine Archetype we call "The Red Madonna". The Red Madonna is She who appears in your heart and on your path. The Divine Mother in her many forms has appeared all over the world for tens of thousands of years.
We like to imagine that her next appearance is in your own heart. We explore Her and our relationship with Creation through devoted common practices including presence, painting, and prayer and tracking the phases of the moon through our delivery of teachings. We have gathered every moon since December 2011 and focused on different themes and frameworks.
Beyond the teachings, we offer the sanctuary of a Sisterhood Membership to gather in our Red Tent in a safe space to be and explore our unique spiritual paths with loving support, prayer, inspiration, and deep presence informed by intentionally creative practices.
A Message from the Red Madonna 2023 Team
When we intentionally approach our canvas to paint, we invite a gateway for communion, presence, and dialogue with the sacred from a right-brain, intuitive space. Intentional Creativity® painting and writing opens, awakens, and expresses our sacred path and relationships with life. Deep wisdom and healing are sourced in the process beyond what we could ever imagine we could access or know.
We consciously and intentionally attend to the rhythm and flow of the elements, moon, and seasons. Being a part of nature rather than apart from and reconnecting to the natural cycles that our distant ancestors lived by creates harmony and honors the relationship with nature and the rhythms held in our bones of memory. When connected to rhythm and harmony with all creation with an open channel to discover and express our spiritual wisdom and gifts, we empower our sacred work in the world.
This community is exceptional in its safety, support, respect, and honoring of each of our spiritual paths. It is a space to be seen, heard, and valued, a place to feel free to explore our spirituality and spiritual path safely. In all the years we have gathered, the level of care, compassion, creativity, and connection has been such a blessing, a true sanctuary for the soul. The friendships and community created are authentic, deep, loving, and lasting.
Our deepest desire is that we create and curate an intergenerational community; a space for the Elders in the community to share their wisdom, gifts, and stories with those in their middle and younger years. This is for all women to empower each other, learn from each other, celebrate the beauty and grace of all stages of life, and create a legacy that will continue for many years to come. As Shiloh wrote, "Let's grow old together across the world. Let's make it romantic that we have a global community growing up and older together".
We will be creating two Intentional Creativity paintings throughout our 13 Moon journey honoring our connections to the elements, the cycles of nature, and the Tree of Life. We will engage in powerful ongoing writing practices of poetry, soul writing, and inquiry, that explore powerful themes and design rituals to honor our connection to Mama Earth.
Shabbat Meditations: Havi will share her beautiful Shabbat Meditations again this year inviting us to deepen our sense of the sacred each Friday evening.
Roots and Branches: Havi invites you into a brief Intentional Creativity writing practice each Monday to deepen your work with the teachings and inspire the poet in you (honoring Mama Cloud).
Honoring Sabbath: Perhaps the most important, is the Sabbath. A day to rest. What day will you choose? Havi will provide teaching on this as we go along but we would love for you to book days off on your calendar now. A traditional Sabbath will begin at Sundown the day before and last until Sundown the next day.
Plan for a minimum of 1.5 hours per event, 2 hours to work with the teachings
Teachings are on the New and Full Moon. Teachings happen within four days before or after the listed date. Our experience over eight years has shown that flexibility creates ease for all of us. As long as you have dates for creation blocked out on your calendar then it will be right in time.
Full Moon: Curate Shiloh Sophia will share the painting process around the Full Moon. We will be painting 2 large paintings over the course of 13 Moons in rhythm with our journey around the wheel of the year. During the first half, Shiloh Sophia will be taking us on a powerful and intuitive intentional creativity painting journey to bring alive on the canvas Our Lady of the Elements, The Ever-Emergent Ma as she appears in each of us. After the first six months, Havi will guide the painting process.
New Moon: Havi will share teachings on the weave of the elements and sacred sovereignty from a kabbalistic framework as she invites us to deepen our connection to Earth and the sanctuary of our soul, inviting soul writing and ritual. Havi guides us on a journey into Sacred Sovereignty painting during the second half of our 13 moons.
Waxing Moon: On the Waxing Moon, Mary Ann Matthys will bring us into new and deep ways of moving into prayer, inviting us to create a meaningful prayer practice.
Crone (Waning) Moon: Sue Boardman will be posting Welcome to the Fireside posts on the Crone Moon, gathering us in wise conversation.
Sisterhood Circles: These are video calls through Zoom with the community, guided by Havi Mandell, that include meditations, prayer, and connections. They take place on the first Wednesday of each month alternating between 10 AM and 6 PM PT. Shiloh will attend the 10 AM Circles, along with Anasuya Isaacs.
The calls are best experienced live. Recordings are made available.
The Wheel of the Year provides a continuous circle of connection that we will be working with to connect with the seasons, cycles, moons, and ancient markers of space and time to create rhythm in your life with more harmony and flow.
Shiloh Sophia connecting with earths elements 2022
Over ten years ago, with my mother Caron McCloud, I dreamed up a sacred sisterhood for women on my knees in prayer. I remember the exact moment the words ‘Red Madonna’ came to me and how it felt in my body and heart. Never could I imagine how much the Red Madonna was needed in the hearts of so many women called to the Blessed Mother, (or however each woman experiences their relationship with the feminine) and what an incredible journey this would be…
There are times I wonder if we will keep going, yet am inspired to continue with the amazing women who have nurtured this community for so long. Like our director Havi Mandell who was the very first person to register when I offered this teaching back in 2011, who is now co-leading Red Madonna 2023 - with a focus on Sanctuary and our relationship with Creation and the elements.
As a spiritually focused leader, the diversity of the cultural and historical teachings include the Divine Feminine, the Black Madonna, Judaism, Kabbalah, and the mystical roots of Christianity. All of this is very rooted in the elements of the earth. With that said, in this community, there is LOTS of room for many views. We are free women, returning to serve within the frameworks we have come to understand in new ways. The revolution we seek is within the heart….and lives in the Great Mystery.
We invite you to the Red Madonna Sanctuary this year, consider exploring “Sanctuary” and what it means to you. Is it your studio, a place of worship, or a space at your altar? Is it the wide open spaces of expansive land? What do you sense in your sanctuary? Is it holiness, safety, protection, source of help, relief, comfort, or connection? And what, if any, traditions are practiced or held for you while in the sanctuary; prayer, dance, chants, song, or silence?
Build an altar, pray with sisters, paint with prayer, bring poetry to your practice, expand your view, and engage with the Divine in a rich and colorful way. This is an experience of sacred connection in the red thread. A place to pray, be nourished and find a deeper intimacy with Creation and the Divine.
As Havi and I explored what we wanted to bring to the sanctuary at this time. We looked for common ground between us. That common ground is literally, the ground. The earth itself, our relationship with the wheel of the year, cycles, and seasons, the elements, her understanding of the tree of life and creation, and my relationship with the divinity I find in nature.
The painting that we’ll be working with is rooted in each one of our relationships with the Divine Feminine. Again, however, you term HER, we will focus on the elements; earth, air, fire, water, and several more as we each orient our relationship with Her and with creation itself. We are inviting you to reorient yourself to the place where you’re living, including land acknowledgment, the phases of the moon, and the eight seasonal points of the year.
Over the years my relationship with what I understand as Creation and Creator has changed dramatically and yet I find myself called to the idea of Ma. How each one of us needs this primary relationship with Ma and with mother.
I am delighted that in addition to Havi, Mary Ann, Sue, and Anasuya will also be joining us again this year to bring their wisdom. With support from Hobby, Katie, and Olivia.
The Red Madonna is an archetypal framework for She who appears in the sanctuary of your heart. The Red Madonna should be able to weave seamlessly with any tradition that you're currently involved in. That said, we definitely challenge structures and invite new possibilities. The sanctuary will be defined as a space together to gather all of us.
We would be honored to welcome you to the Sanctuary.
The Wheel of the Year provides a continuous circle of connection that we will be working with to connect with the seasons, cycles, moons, and ancient markers of space and time to create rhythm in your life with more harmony and flow.
Tuition: $990 or 12 payments of $93
3 MUSEA University Credits
*Past Red Madonna Students of any year may use code alumni for $100 savings.
ABOUT MATERIALS: You will need a canvas size of 30"x40" or as big as 4'x5', acrylic paint in a variety of colors, brushes, a mixed media journal, and some other basic materials. A full list is provided upon registration.
ABOUT SCHOLARSHIPS: Those who can afford the regular price make it possible for us to offer savings to others who express a need. Please select the payment plan option if possible. Red Madonna involves a full staff of team and faculty members, mostly women, who support our community for a full year and are compensated through the income we receive. We are happy to support those called to study Intentional Creativity who have a financial need. To inquire about a partial scholarship please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
OUR GUARANTEE: We offer a 100% Money Back Guarantee if you complete the process and do not experience it as worthwhile. You can view our refund policy here.
Through our sisterhood, we enter a co-created sanctuary space to explore the deep connection with each other and the Divine Feminine energy that lives in each of us. We also practice prayer and alchemy to vision, share, awaken, create art, write, and practice rituals. This opens us to the power and wisdom of moving into harmony with the natural cycles of life, and the elements in nature, and stepping into sacred sovereignty.
Join us as we gather to cherish, nourish, embody, inhabit, celebrate, and honor the women of our Sacred Sisterhood in Circle.
Your investment supports the Red Madonna Sisterhood and goes towards stipends for the women leading you, scholarships for those in need, and to support the general Intentional Creativity® Community. This is a resource well spent.
A video with Shiloh Sophia and her mother, Caron McCloud, from the first year of The Red Madonna, over 10 years ago...
Watch this video with Shiloh, Caron, Sue Sellars and Mary MacDonald about Mama Love
Shiloh Sophia Red Madonna Painting In Progress
Our painting process for Red Madonna Sanctuary 2023 is centered around our relatedness and intimacy with ourselves, one another, Mother Life for YOU, and all of creation. Our hope through our process is to come home to ourselves and earth by experiencing a level of interconnection with the natural elements and rhythmic cycles. We will be exploring our relationship with “Ma”, She Who Is, Always Was, and Always Will Be. The archetype of the Red Madonna is she who makes an appearance in your heart. This idea of the Diving Feminine is not pre-scribed or dogmatic, or historical. While She is rooted in the rich archeomythology of the Divine Feminine ever-present in humanity - She is the Emergent Ma.
The Divine Feminine isn’t returning – She has never left, She has always been here, and it is us who is returning to our awareness of Her. She is one most needed by you and by earth at this time. She is Mother Life – that which gives birth to creation. Regardless of your past relationships with the Mother, you will be able to weave these teachings with your chosen affinities, as nothing needs to conflict with your pre-existing stories. However, we will challenge ourselves to expand our understanding of Her, and our relationship with Her.
We will work with the idea of “Matrica”, an all-encompassing mothering presence and a turning point in our lives where our relationship with Her is ongoing, ever-changing, and deepening. The Ma of the World is many, multi-faceted, and is specific often to not only the region on earth, with specific Goddesses appearing in specific regions in the symbols and colors of the people there. In the age of globalization, it is time for us to revise Ma for ourselves. She is no longer limited to specific places and peoples and cultures and sightings – although we will look at how she works in specific ways through Her appearance as the Black Madonna.
MA is holographic, appearing uniquely to each person and place, and culture yet ultimately each one has a part of the whole. We see Her and make Her in our image when we make art devoted to Her. The Timeline of the Goddess is a record of human beings making HER in their image. This is the very thing Patriarchal traditions ask us not to do – the understanding is clear – do not worship the thing itself as God. Understand, we only do that when we have nothing else to refer to and fixate on the objectification and personification of matter. But what about how everything has life and is animate? Every rock, tree, bird, and bee has life and agency, and what if our reverence for that IS part of our actual honoring of all of life and life as a Divine Relationship?
Ma encompasses masculine and feminine and all the spectrums in between because she is the Mother of All Beings in relationship with Creation. There has to be a first mother for there to be children, first father is the dominant paradigm to the degree that many of our traditions of the past 10,000 years only focus on the father and have systemically removed the mother or assigned her to an ‘energy’ instead of a birth-giving reality. That said, we will not be spending our time dismantling external patriarchal structures, however, we will be exploring what I call the ‘underside’ which is often thought of as a kind of shadow or darkened place. We will not be using shadow or dark to indicate the hard parts because as women we want to welcome the rich darkness of night, and of the mystery. So we will be calling it the under-side in relationship to the impacts that oppression has had on us, inside of ourselves. We will look at how we have internalized oppression – just enough to find the joy that awaits us through self-liberation.
While these are subject to some change, as curriculum needs to be emergent relative to the rhythms present at the time of living out teaching. These will offer a basic idea of the areas of our Life in Relationship with Mother Life that we will explore together through painting. If you haven’t painted in this way before, we quite literally move the brush while we metacognitively explore the specific inquiry we are working with.
All of our ancestors were created with intention. When they made the Great Pyramids or put the stones in place to align with the Solstices and Equinoxes they were creating with Intentional Creativity. When they hand-crafted clay sculptures of the Mother in their image and their body shapes, they were creating and worshiping with intention. So it is not so much that we worship the thing itself, it is that creativity IS active reverence and worship. The resulting artifact has the life we put into it – but it was the act of making it that we were in direct relationship with creation, and being co-creators ourselves. When we engage with Intentional Creativity understand that the act of co-creation is THE RELATIONSHIP with the DIVINE in real space and time. Painting is prayer in motion. The artifact speaks to that cycle of devotion and holds the power and presence we put into it so our relationship with it is sacred.
My relationship with Ma has always been rooted in painting to pray and be with Her and listen in that in-between space. Love is at the Center of our practice in Intentional Creativity and in Sanctuary we bring that love into the spaciousness of the sacred. Sacred is how life already is, and it is our responsibility to understand that life and, we are all part of a sacred call and response.
Painting: An Archetype of Divine Wisdom by Shiloh Sophia, 2010
Caron, Shiloh, Susan, Emily and Havi, December 2019 Red Madonna Gathering
We are the living sacred landscape of Life. Within us are her landscapes, desert to forest to ocean: the elements of fire, air, water, earth, ether, nature, and mineral. We are the cycles of the moon and the stardust of the Cosmos. We are living space, time, consciousness, and body, and a creative imagination that extends to dimensions that have yet to be known. We are Life, all Life interbeing. We are the Embodied Divine, “the garment that enlivens all life”, as Reb Nadya says. We carry within us what was, is, and will be. We are a living prayer to all that is; each breath a holy connection, each breath a creation, each breath a weaving into Oneness. We are the relationship and the One, the creator and created.
Existence exists and blossoms in our relationship to it, to all. Your loving attention celebrates and invites the grasses to grow, the trees to root and reach, and the winds to blow.
As you nourish relationship from a place of sacred sovereignty, as you open to the spiritual and physical mycelium of miraculous connection on all levels of your being, you breathe unique co-creation into each moment, you illuminate the Divine, you celebrate each being's heartistry and presence.
As you intentionally open to and invite the swirling, spiraling intimacy of Da'at to fill more and more of you and more of creation, you begin to truly see and "know" life; you begin to notice the relationships thriving between each being, each cell, each moment in divine lovemaking and sacred expression. You begin to hear the harmonies that evolve deeper and fuller connections and the wholeness that unfolds the Oneness.
When you open to your own Da'at, you experience the living Tree of Life within everything, and these trees become a sacred grove, an Eden we all participate in revealing and creating.
I invite you to join us in intentionally and gratefully tending and immersing in sacred connection and intimacy with all the wonders of creation, opening in our own deep relationship with the Divine within us and being in a relationship with all of life from a place of sacred sovereignty.
The Mothers by Havi
Join us as we journey into deep knowing, honoring, and embodying of the elements through meditations, ceremonies, Intentional Creativity, and weekly writing practices to honor the cycles of the moons, the seasons, our inner rhythms, and the ecstatic, intimate dance with Life, guided by the Tree of Life and Sefer Yetzirah.
Become immersed in the theme of Sacred Sovereignty and the power and possibility it offers. Imagine decolonizing your spirituality and intentionally and consciously creating your life as a living prayer, guided by your deep gnosis, the calling of your heart, and the integrity of your embodied presence. Imagine stepping into and expressing your Sacred Sovereignty in the world in a way that honors you and honors being in the right relationship with clarity, authenticity, and accountability for your choices and for living your piece of the Red Thread. Imagine experiencing the magic of self-sovereignty in harmony with belonging.
I will be teaching guided by a feminine perspective of the Kabbalah, taught by Rabbi Nadya Gross, and the Sefer Yetzirah teachings of Rabbi Jill Hammer. We invite you to embrace and claim your own way of walking your path of sacred sovereignty, letting your heart lead the way.
Sacred Sovereignty speaks so clearly to what has been at the heart of Red Madonna throughout the years; an honoring and embodiment of living in a sacred relationship based on personal authentic truths, values, and ways of being, with ourselves, each other, and the earth, grounded in respect, harmony, inclusiveness, self-accountability, and empowerment.
The Red Madonna is She who appears in your heart and on your path. She is not a construct of any particular religious belief or culturally defined path, but a connection with what is most vital in your heart, most integrous to your path, and most empowering to your soul. The beauty of intentional creativity is that it speaks the language of the heart, of what emerges when connected to the sacred within us, and gives it form through creative expression in word and image.
This sanctuary is for women who are ready to dive deeply within to explore their inner soulscape and knowing, honor their unique gifts, embody their empowered expression of the Divine Feminine, and weave their threads into inspired action.
Live your magnificence as a living prayer and blessing for the planet and as she who sources her Sacred Sovereignty and carries and shares the gifts of her deep spiritual and creative practice, meaningfully claiming her place and vision for the coming generations.
We invite you to welcome the wisdom within and the calling of your soul to inhabit a life filled with sacred artistry, activism, adventure, affection, authenticity, and amazement and to embrace the potency and promise of living your sacred sovereignty
Writer. Healer. Painter. Speaker. Coach.
Painting: "YEMEYA, MOTHER OF US ALL!" by Anasuya Isaacs
It is my ecstatic pleasure to bring forth the wisdom, grace, and healing waters of The Black Madonna into our Red Madonna Circle 2023. Here is a sneak peek into what I will be sharing this year in our Sisterhood Circle.
The Black Madonna, Dark Mother, First Mother, the One who was God when God was a Woman. Those who worshiped, worshiped her because only women birthed life and saved life throughout all the trials and tribulations of being human. Their art, talismans, and artifacts reveal the church was Her body, Holy and Revered, worthy of being praised. She has been and still is elemental to our survival whether we call Her Black Madonna, Isis, Yemeya, Durga, White Buffalo Woman, Tara, Shekhina, or any of the thousands of Her names around the globe.
To honor the Black Madonna is to honor the womb from which we all came.
To honor the Black Madonna is so grateful that She made a way out of no way and made sure we all survived each and every exodus that humans have made as we spread across the very Earth of Her being.
So let us form a new Cosmos to honor the Black Madonna to celebrate the Mother we were denied; to reclaim our divine source; to free Her from the confines of religions and restore Her to her Sacred Sovereignty which came before religions and other interruptions and imprisonments by patriarchy and his lies. Let us Praise Her with our prayers, our poetry, and our songs using the "Three Mothers:" Aleph, Mem, and Shin to form a more perfect union between all of Creation. Let us return to the Temples of the Earth, the oceans, mycelium, volcanoes, and the cosmos and praise Her with our prayers, poetry, and paint!
Shiloh Sophia Legend painting 2020
Intentional Creativity is a process, a way of being, that invites us to live each moment in a mindful and heart-centered way, opening to our intuition and deeper knowing, so that our lives are a conscious co-creative journey with Life herself, willing to be in the Mystery as it unfolds. The creative process is the key that unlocks the flow of deeper connection to the ancient wisdom within us, to the rhythm and flow of life moving with and through us, and to symbols and stories that shape the reality and the truth we choose to live in. Often surprising revelations arise, healing of places of inner brokenness begins, and there is an empowered sense of being at cause in our lives.
Meaningful personalized rituals, self-sovereignty, and an honoring of being an essential part of the interweaving of Life are foundational to Intentional Creativity. One particularly beautiful practice is the red thread circle, honoring our connections that last beyond the circle and claiming our unique piece of the red thread that we are responsible for.
In Red Madonna, we have gathered in the community for 11 years, intentionally and non-judgmentally supporting each other on our personal spiritual paths, sharing presence, prayers, and painting. Women from many traditions have journeyed through the moons together, building a safe and sacred sanctuary for the soul.
People often speak of their Intentional Creativity experience as a spiritual process, connecting into their sense of Divinity and into a more mindful and compassionate space of living in the world and with themselves.
According to an Intentional Creativity Foundation Study (2017) of 500 respondents:
93% said they experience creativity as a mindfulness practice
89% said they include creativity as a part of their spiritual practice
89% felt a sense of connection with the Divine (as they define it)
86% felt that their creative practice positively impacted those closest to them
92% feel that creativity influences their compassion for themselves
90% said they experienced compassion for others near them through creativity
83% experienced compassion for others they did not know through stories they heard
Our Lady of Living Waters
Our Lady of The Flowering Earth
Our Lady of The Flaming Heart
Shiloh Sophia painting at Terra Sophia
YHVH Tree by Havi
Matrica by Shiloh Sophia
Medicine Wheel Hildegard
Guardians: Red Madonna Painting by Shiloh Sophia 2020
The Red Madonna Sisterhood is a Spiritual Creative Path of Devotion. Gather with women throughout the world to celebrate, explore and let this 'virtual sanctuary' become a place to pray and create. Together we work with the sacred power inherent in Intentional Creativity when we focus on it. You are not alone, we are connected by the Red Thread in the most common and uncommon ways. Let's feel the quantum connection...
"Joining Red Madonna in 2014 was a magical and heartfelt decision that has nourished me through the years as an ever-expanding beautiful journey. Being in a supportive, generous, and caring community of women has been fun, and a cherished and integral part of my life. Curiosity is my spice of life, and Red Madonna is the special ingredient!"
~ Cathy Pearl
"I have taken Red Madonna several times, the journey is a deep and fruitful one. The collective Spiritual Wisdom blended with art instruction and symbolic guidance is a rare find."
~ Kendall Sarah Scott
"Red Madonna has been one of the few places I've found where I could just be myself and feel not only accepted but welcomed and nourished. I love having a place to share my art and experience others' processes and creativity. Whether it's a drawing, painting, music, prose, poetry, or inspiring readings, the heart-warming and spiritual focus of the lessons and sharing continues to be a wonderful source of inspiration and food for my soul."
~ Deborah Pierce
"The Red Madonna Sisterhood became one of the treasures in my life. I experience love, beauty, depth, wisdom, knowledge, and sharing with a deep sense of acceptance. For me, it is like a place by the fire, where we gather to share our stories, our worries, and our joy wrapping it in prayers and psalms of devotion to the divine, to the Mother - whatever this might mean to each woman. I am very grateful for this gift in my life, guided by women of a heart of wisdom and compassionate love."
~ Anna Maria Michalski
"Red Madonna is a dance with the mother: yours, mine, ours; a dance on the canvas floor, back rubbing against the heart walls of our yearning to feel our divine mother's pulsating passion pouring through our hands, feet, and tongues. We reclaim Her, one intentional stroke at a time, and She renames us by her star-lit sighs, an orgasm of delight at our homecoming, our coming home to the truth of who we are: hers.
When we go on this journey called: Red Madonna, we are going on a pilgrimage to the holy temples of the Mother in the desert of the faraway places in our soul we were never taught existed, but knew... they had to, be. The terrain can be unforgiving ~ we have been prodigal daughters for too long ~ yet the rewards... ah! The rewards for such a pilgrim, for such a daughter, are... to be discovered, for all who make it before the altar of the Most Holy Womb have been sworn to secrecy about such a blessing. All I can say is
"I am not the same.
Go ye and be transformed in the crucible of her love."
I gift you Blessings for your journey!
~ Anasuya Isaacs
There is something profoundly powerful about women gathering together in Sisterhood. Sisterhood has been essential to women's communities since ancient times in the red tent and is a foundation of the women's movement. The loving bonds, the nurturing, the empathy for every experience, the safety, the deep sharing, the encouragement to fully show up as your authentic self and live your truth, and the ways sisterhood empowers each woman to claim her sovereignty and to come together in inspired action is a gift beyond compare.
Our Sisterhood is about connection and belonging and has been formed over many years to be a loving supportive space in which to cultivate your inherent wisdom and explore your own journey within a supportive sisterhood.
Our wonderful team will be here to guide you on your path. We will be inviting you into the classroom a few days before we begin - between now and then, make a date with your calendar and the art store.
Curate Shiloh Sophia
Dr. Havi Mandell
Sisterhood Circle Facilitator
Hearth and Art Tender
Dr. Sue Boardman
Crone Moon Gatherer
Mary Ann Matthys
Waxing Moon Maven
Art and Hearth Tender
Zoom Circle Host
MUSEA University powered by Intentional Creativity® ignites a new era of change-makers, healing, and visual artists, and thought leaders!
We are home to an inter-generational and multicultural collective of emerging and experienced creatives, healers, and leaders.
MUSEA offers educational classes, certifications, and a degree in the field of Intentional Creativity®. We are a private university open to all centering on the healing arts and visual arts. In 2023 we launched our first-degreed program, CURATE. The CURATE degree is designed for women, though aspects of the curriculum are open to all.
The Red Thread is a sign of connection.
A reminder that we are already connected.
A symbol of protection.
A gift of blessing.
The color of life.
The Red Thread is a legendary Talisman throughout the world
with different meanings of sacred, destiny, and taboo,
which makes it a dynamic symbol that wild women love!
The Red Thread is the hem of the garment of the Great Dancing Lady.
Our first red thread is the umbilical cord to our very own mother, of life force in the womb, our red room.
The Red Tent from times of old that women gather in to rest and tell stories during their moon cycles.
Red, the color of the thread the Blessed Mother was used to weave the veil of the temple, the red gateway to the holy of holies.
A place is forbidden to women that has a gateway woven by women’s hands.
The color of desire, sex, passion, romance, and devotion, and the red velvet box for wedding rings.
A color used symbolically in stories, like the sturdy red thread from Little Red Riding Hood’s coat, with which she saved her life.
The red thread the fates are spinning, the color of memory the red rubedo in the final stage of the magnum opus in alchemy,
and the cover of Jung’s Red Book
and the Libre Vermell of the Black Madonna with the songs of pilgrims singing
and dancing The red roses associated with Guadalupe, Magdalene, and Mother Mary
The Red Thread is tied around the expectant mother’s wrist and the women in her life who are supporting her.
The Lover’s bond at hand-fasting with that red satin ribbon.
The red thread wrapped around Mother Rachel’s Tomb.
Red, is the color of thread women in positions of power wear throughout history.
The color of royalty, the sacred spaces, and the red carpet rolled out on special occasions for a special guest.
The color of the forbidden fruits, the apple, the pomegranate, chili, and the deliciousness of cherries and strawberries.
Red, is the color of the thread Ariadne gives to the warrior, along with a sword to navigate the heart of the labyrinth.
Some say that the words 'web' and 'email thread; come from the story of that spool of the wise Greek princess.
Many Asian traditions say that those who are supposed to meet are connected by an invisible red thread before birth! That it may stretch or tangle but will not break - it will lead you until you are face-to-face with that person.
The red thread can be the symbol of quantum connection when we say, I am sending you my love, representing energy moving across space and time.
This is the red thread we connect with in our Intentional Creativity Circles.
The fiery core of our star, our sun, our heat, our life, red.
Red, the color of our blood, the red from the iron of exploding stars from billions of years ago.
If you need to feel our connection you can just tug on the red thread and imagine we are there with you, and we are.
In our community, we have legends of the Red Thread, that we feel make a life move beyond just a story into a legendary life -
Dear One You are already connected.
You are called to this circle.
You have your own unique piece.
You are only responsible for your own piece
and You, are not alone.
We bear witness to each other’s red threads.
Let us spin a red thread of story throughout our lives,
finding a common red thread woven between us.
The Ever-Emergent MA - Why Her, Why Now
A Creative Spiritual Painting and Prayer Practice
Rooted in Inquiry, Intuition and Insight through Intentional Creativity
by Curate Shiloh Sophia for Red Madonna Sanctuary 2023
Do we make the Divine Mother in our own image as humans? Is that part of how we are in relationship with Her powers, symbols and stories throughout history? Do we make ‘art’ in her honor based on where we live, how we live and what we know of mothering? Is Her image specific to the artisan who is creating Her? Do we infuse Her image with our own internal imagery and external references?
Here at Musea we do. Here we are creatives offering our craft into a devotional space. Intentional Creativity can be an act of devotion invoking real time intimacy with yourself, earth, and your relationship with the Sacred in all life. Including the Divine Mother.
For those of us interested in including the feminine in our spiritual practice we have a lot of choices for exploration from a historical perspective – we definitely have proof of our human relationship with Her and Her relationship with us and earth.
We have thousands of years of images since 30,000 BCE demonstrating a long-standing relationship with our idea of Mother and our human need to be in relationship with Mother in some form. Why would we seek to dis-include Her in the first place? Now that is a big question for each of us to explore within inner-most heart space.
How DO WE practice an inclusive intimate feminine-infused spiritualty?
Well, most of us make it up, we weave it with existing traditions and ancestry and make up our own version. Others of us begin by looking for her within our current traditions, and while she may seem somewhat hidden, if you look, you will find Her. There is no life without her, so she IS there. Many of us are curious about ourselves as women in relationship to Her and how not having Her as present as she could be - has impacted generations of mothers and their children.
In our community creating with intention is a primary devotional practice that brings us into direct relationship and exploration with life as sacred. Life as sacred always includes the feminine, otherwise we have male-only structures, that in time will fail due to lack of true root system or awareness that we were all given birth to by a mother. Inclusion of the feminine does not result in exclusion of the masculine, She includes all spectrums of genders as her children.
Many of us, regardless of our relationship with our human mother feel a call to re-mothering and to have a meaningful spiritual practice that includes Her – in some real, intimate and tangible way. When we look for Her we find Her in image and in story ~ but how do we really engage in a meaningful relationship with a Divine Mother for our times?
Even the term ‘The Divine Feminine’ can feel othering instead of mothering. Perhaps what we want is the Real True Big Mama and we want Her presence to help us navigate the uncertain terrain of life that often feels cruel and conditional. We want a mother’s love to nest around us in grace. Who doesn’t? In a life where there is so much joy, and suffering, so much capacity to connect, and yet so much isolation there are riddles to solve. No wonder we want re-mothering. We feel a sense of paradox that keeps us in a struggle for potent meaningful spiritual practices that have a living root system.
For me, She is the Ever-Emergent Ma, an archetypal framework encompassing all Mothers from our Ancestry and all of those to come into the future. We are in a time where the call to Her is exponentially rising as each person comes into contact with the idea that there is a Divine Mother and explores that potential relationship. At times we may experience anger and betrayal that She has been so intentionally absent in our sanctuaries – hence the need to rediscover sanctuary for ourselves.
We needed proof of Her and proof that She had been hidden on purpose in order to make sense of things. It just doesn’t make sense. The weave of the global web originating in 1990 gave us access to Her many stories and has made widespread awareness of Her possible – we now have evidence of Her everywhere around the world and in every single spiritual tradition. Before 1990 our capacity to ‘search’ for Her was limited for most people to bookstores if you knew what to look for, women’s circles and in some places in the world, Goddess traditions that remained alive and interestingly enough the Orthodox and Catholic churches included Her in their way in the form of Mother Mary and Mary Magdalene- which included a limited, yet present feminine in the story.
“Does not Wisdom call out?
Does not understanding raise her voice?
At the highest point along the way,
where the paths meet, she takes her stand”
The past 10,000 years have seen a rigorous attempt to hide, dis-member, dissociate and frame “Her” in a storyline that seeks to make it appear as if we have no mother. And if we do, we can’t trust Her. In the story of Eve, called First Mother by some traditions, we are taught that She is the reason all Mothers would give birth in pain, that she disobeyed and created a fallen state. While not all traditions follow this storyline – it is still persistent in the paradigm of blaming women and the treatment of women worldwide continues to be influenced by a lack of the feminine or a feminine gone astray or forbidden. While many of us have moved beyond this limiting story constraint we still needed the evidence in the form of Her image – and to find our own permission slip to connect with her energies and stories.
Inside of ourselves we didn’t buy this story of there not being a mother, because we all came from a mother and that is pretty obvious. We just kept looking for Her. The rise of Feminism in the late sixties and early seventies finally saw an increase in awareness of the Mother in books and education, that was hard won and relatively sparse in many of our lives. Without Her we act as motherless children, exploiting and colonizing life for our own gain and removing mother from the Divine Parent storyline.
I can’t help imagine, how lonely the Father is in His own heart for Her. The presence and archetype of “Father” didn’t remove Mother, human beings removed Mother and isolated Father. What a great sorrow this divine divorce has initiated and continues to insist upon. May we all return from this tragic story and enter into an emergent relationship with Creator that is both personal and intimate, and yet somehow able to be shared with others in community.
“I, Wisdom, dwell together with prudence;
I possess knowledge and discretion”
Truly, being able to search for Her on the internet has revolutionized our capacity to know about Her. Power structures that seek to frame and defame Her from the timeline were only successful for a short time in making it appear as if she doesn’t exist in any real way, second to Father and (2-5,000 years).
In 1982 only 8.2 percent of households had personal computers and only 3% had internet. By 2014 85 % of households had a computer and approximately 80% had internet according to the Census Bureau. As soon as we could we began to look for Her in the ‘web’ and we each entered Her image and story in from around the world creating a coherent story of global continuity. Finally, we had the truth, She has always been here.
I am breathing more easily as I enter this part of this writing, feeling a sense of relief that I can speak freely to most of you about Her without fear of condemnation. The burning of Her groves, removal of Her images, destruction of her temples and the changing of her names was indeed intentional - but no matter what, She continues to appear. For while She appears in image – She doesn’t live there – She lives everywhere, appearing in different ages and times and symbols and colors according to the need.
I must admit, I do imagine a rather grand array of outfits in the closet of the Divine Mother – she chooses her clothing colors and her skin colors. Or, we more specifically make Her in our image, so She reflects us. In our community we do make Her in our image, as humanity has done all of our lives. Just because human beings fashion Her by hand, doesn’t mean she isn’t infused in the object, because we know energy transfers through our hearts and hands into matter. Her images are resonant, and when destroyed return to earth and are made again. She cannot be silenced.
From a Madonna archetype and perspective, in Cuba, She wears a yellow dress with brown skin, in France, she wears a Blue Dress with Black Skin, in the Slavic countries, she is many colored in Her skin and is often seen wearing Red or Blue, and in Mexico, she wears Green. Yet all of these colors can be traced to an earlier relationship with the Goddess from that particular region. Oh the Glory of finding Her everywhere here, because we can search for Her and find Her.
“I love those who love me and those who seek me find me”
Choosing to paint as a devotional practice is one of the most astonishing, revelatory initiations that most of us who practice this purpose-filled art have ever experienced. This offers a truly engaged active potent journey to your inner world to discover the mystery that is present within you and your relationships. I have painted monthly and annually by the moons since 2012 and it has completely transformed me and my relationship with Creation, Creator and Community into a pure lived experience of life as sacred. Your body, your mind, your studio, your community becomes a sanctuary through your choice to bring it into being.
The Painting Process
Our painting process for Red Madonna Sanctuary 2023 is centered around our relatedness and intimacy with ourselves, one another, Mother Life for YOU and all of creation. Our hope through our process is to come home to ourselves and to earth by experiencing a level of interconnection with the natural elements and rhythmic cycles. We will be exploring our relationship with the ever-emergent “Ma”, She Who Is and Always Was and Will Be. The archetype of the Red Madonna is she who makes an appearance in your heart. This idea of the Divine Feminine is not prescribed or dogmatic, or historical. While She is rooted in the rich archeomythology of the Divine Feminine ever-present in humanity - She is the Ever-Emergent Ma.
The Divine Feminine isn’t returning – She has never ever left, She has always been here, it is us who is returning to our awareness of Her. She is most needed by many of us and by earth at this time. She is Mother Life – that which gives birth to creation.
Regardless of your past relationships with the Mother, you will be able to weave these teachings with your chosen affinities, as nothing need be in conflict with your pre-existing stories. However, we will challenge ourselves to expand our understanding of Her, and our relationship to Her.
We will work with the idea of “Matrica”, an all encompassing mothering presence and a turning point in our lives where our relationship with Her is ongoing, ever-changing and deepening. The Ma of the World is many, multi-faceted and is specific often to not only the region on earth, with specific Goddesses appearing in specific regions in the symbols and colors of the people there. In the age of globalization it is time for us to revision Ma for ourselves. She is no longer limited to specific places and peoples and cultures and sightings – although we will look to how she works in specific ways through Her appearance as the Black Madonna.
MA is holographic, appearing to appear uniquely to each person and place and culture yet ultimately each one has a part of the whole. We see Her and make Her in our image when we make art devoted to Her. The Timeline of the Goddess is a record of human beings making HER in their image. This is the very thing patriarchal traditions asks us not to do – the understanding is clear – do not worship the thing itself as God. Understood, and we only do that when we have nothing else to refer to and then fixate on objectification and personification of matter. But what about how everything has life and is animate? Every rock, tree, bird and bee having life and agency, and what if our reverence for that IS part of our actual honoring of all of life and life as Divine Relationship.
Ma encompasses masculine and feminine and all the spectrums in between because she is the Mother of All Beings in relationship with Creation. There has to be a first mother for there to be children, first father is the dominant paradigm to the degree that many of our traditions of the past 10,000 years only focuses on father and has systemically removed mother or assigned her to an ‘energy’ or a metaphor instead of a birth-giving reality. That said, we do not be spending our time dismantling external patriarchal structures, however we will be exploring what I call the ‘underside’. We will not be using shadow or dark to indicate the hard parts, because as women we want to welcome the rich darkness of night, and of the mystery. So we will be calling it the underside in relationship to the impacts that oppression has had on us, inside of ourselves. We will look at how we have internalized oppression – just enough to find the joy that awaits us through self-liberation.
All of our ancestors created with intention . When they made the Great Pyramids or put the stones in place to align with the Solstices and Equinoxes, they were creating with Intentional Creativity. When they hand-crafted clay sculptures of the Mother in their own image and in their own body shapes, they were creating and worshiping with intention. So it is not so much that we worship the thing itself, it is that creativity IS active reverence and worship. The resulting artifact has the life we put into it – but it was in the act of making it that we were in direct relationship with creation, and with being co-creators ourselves. When we engage with Intentional Creativity, we understand that the act of co-creation is THE RELATIONSHIP with the DIVINE in real space and time. Painting is prayer in motion. The artifact speaks to that cycle of devotion and holds the power and presence we put into it so our relationship with it is sacred.
My relationship with Ma has always been rooted in painting to prayer and being with Her and listening in that in between space. Love is at the Center of our Choices and our practice in Intentional Creativity. We bring our Love and Her love into spaciousness of the sacred. Sacred is how life already is, and it is our responsibility to understand that life and, we are all part of a sacred call and response journey.
All References are Proverbs and Wisdom from the Scripture.
May Love Be at the Center of All Choices
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