Critical Trilogy

a critic's millennial journey

Conjuring Her Spirit–

Those who seem overladen with electricity frighten those around them.

–Margaret Fuller

Installation view of Woman in the 21st Century: Margaret Fuller and the Sacred Marriage, Sacred Geometry (Tanya Ragir); Amethyst Portal Outline (Harlan Emil Gruber); and Margaret Fuller (Suzanne Benton)

And this is precisely what this show is about — the electrical genius of Margaret Fuller, which transcends time and space.  This energy, which only had a word in her time for the scientist who investigated it (Franz Mesmer), is now known to the west as the  Kundalini power investigated by my father, Harold S. Streitfeld, a disciple of Swami Muktananda who introduced the guru to the American medical community in the Bay area in the 1970s.

This exhibition is historical in that it is the first time the serpent power is being consciously presented in art.  This happens most literally in Michael Manning’s The Go-Round Thing which literally points to the source of the Kundalini in the female body.

Sought by the Masonic founders of our country, and (ironically) repressed by the Transcendentalists, who used and then repressed the genius in Fuller that created a spiritual awakening in America!

As soon as I drew the chart for the time for the 6:00 PM reception, I saw the opening for the entrance of Margaret’s spirit into the gallery, which would work, like salt on sulfur to transform any negative energy preventing her resurrection on June 20, the eve of the Summer Solstice, and a week before a Solar Eclipse!

First Arrivals: Joan Von Mehren and her friend; HP Garcia

Joan Von Mehren sitting in the West

And who entered the gallery in perfect timing but Joan Von Mehren, author of  Minerva and the Muse, the biography that launched my exploration of Margaret Fuller!  Joan told me, during a ride back to Cambridge from Lexington, that Margaret experienced a healing from a mysterious, charismatic doctor in New York.  I read this as a Kundalini opening, and  — as I have found with women who have this experience without spiritual guidance — she subsequently suffered emotionally from the delusions of an affair with a man who was a hook for her romantic projections.

Joan, with her amazing spirit, was game to join my ritual.  I knew just where I should place her, in the west where Neptune in Aquarius was setting at 6:00 PM in opposition to Mars Rising in Leo.  This opposition on the angles made the ritual all the more powerful.   I called in the spirits of the four directions and Fuller’s energy just zoomed into the circle I created with salt.  I was overwhelmed by her joy (acceptance in Cambridge at last!!) and I could see Joan reacting as well.  She wanted to me to thank Joan for being there.  Margaret was so thrilled to have a space to come home to!  She communicated that she wouldn’t have drowned if she had a home for herself and her family.  How joyous was she to have the truth of story visualized on the walls.  But this didn’t surprise me: I knew she was guiding me all along!

My investigation into Fuller was clearly an act in which I let myself be guided.  Could I ever have believed that I would find poems about the Templars in her long buried treasure trove of writings?

Sub Rosa, Cruz


Margaret Fuller

In times of old, as we are told,
When men more child-like at the feet
Of Jesus sat, than now,
A chivalry was known more bold
Than ours, and yet of stricter vow,
Of worship more complete.

Knights of the Rosy Cross, they bore
Its weight within the heart, but wore
Without, devotion’s sign in glistening ruby bright;
The gall and vinegar they drank alone,
But to the world at large would only own
The wine of faith, sparkling with rosy light.

The pass-word now is lost
To that initiation full and free;
Daily we pay the cost
Of our slow schooling for divine degree,
We know no means to feed an undying lamp;
Our lights go out in every wind or damp.

Though deepest dark our efforts should enfold
Unwearied mine to find the vein of gold;
Forget not oft to lift the hope on high
The rosy dawn again shall fill the sky.

And by that lovely light, all truth-revealed,
The cherished forms which sad distrust concealed,
Transfigured, yet the same, will round us stand,
The kindred angels of a faithful band;
Ruby and ebon cross both cast aside,
No lamp is needed, for the night has died.

Be to the best thou knowest ever true,
Is all the creed;
Then, by thy talisman of rosy hue,
Or fenced with thorns that wearing thou must bleed,
Or gentle pledge of Love’s prophetic view,
The faithful steps it will securely lead.
Happy are all who reach that shore,
And bathe in heavenly day,
Happiest are those who high the banner bore,
To marshal others on the way;
Or waited for them, fainting and way-worn,
By burdens overborne.

My plunging into Margaret Fuller was a continuation of my investigation into the “fallen woman” of the Piscean Age.  The “underworld” adventure began in the summer of 2008 with my penetration into Ana Mendieta in preparation for my interview for Richard Move’s short film, Bloodwork: The Ana Mendieta Story.

The serpent power clearly is the energy sought by the Templars through the Piscean Age, when it was repressed by the Vatican, whose priests wanted the charismatic power for themselves.  No wonder Margaret intended to follow the Templar tradition of  overthrowing the Catholic Church!  In repressing the Kundalini, they were repressing the archetype of female genius!

H.P. Garcia, my collaborator in Black Madonna and heir to the Templar lineage, completed the fierce dialogue between Grace and myself by agreeing to have his photo taken before her ever-evolving (like the feminine) The Last Judgement. So strategically placed it would appear to have been made for the spot above the stair, the raw power of this work unraveling the western culture propels the observer/participant into the underground.

Dove Bradshaw's alchemical painting beside heaven and earth (Aldo Tambellini's "Untitled" above Psyche ("The Alchemy of Love: Hieros Gamos" and below the window

There, the alchemy of Margaret Fuller’s poetry will be a live Muse to a transformative painting performance beneath Dove Bradshaw’s postminimalist alchemical work of salt (feminine) working on liver on sulfur (masculine).

Underground: "Above Ground Painting: Venus Resurrected as Morning and Evening Star" created on September 25, 2009 at the close of "Black Madonna" and launch of "Woman in the 21st Century"

The electrical, the magnetic element in Woman has not been fairly brought out at any period. Everything might be expected from it; she has far more of it than Man. This is commonly expressed by saying that her intuitions are more rapid and more correct. You will often see men of high intellect absolutely stupid in regard to the atmospheric changes, the fine invisible links which connect the forms of life around them, while common women, if pure and modest, so that a vulgar self do not overshadow the mental eye, will seize and delineate these with unerring discrimination…

Women who combine this organization with creative genius are very commonly unhappy at present. They see too much to act in conformity with those around them, and their quick impulses seem folly to those who do not discern the motives. This is an usual effect of the apparition of genius, whether in Man or Woman, but is more frequent with regard to the latter, because a harmony, an obvious order and self-restraining decorum, is most expected from her.

Then women of genius, even more than men, are likely to be enslaved by an impassioned sensibility. The world repels them more rudely, and they are of weaker bodily frame.

Those who seem overladen with electricity frighten those around them.

–Margaret Fuller, Woman in the Nineteenth Century (1845)


May 26, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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