Critical Trilogy

a critic's millennial journey

Death of the Patriarchy



Heide Hatry at the entrance to Pierre Menard Gallery
Heide Hatry is never boring.  Her genius expression comes from a heartfelt authenticity, which she attributes  to having grown up on a pig farm.  Naturally, in discovering the artist and her work I made a link between her work with pigs and Persephone, as pigs substituted for the goddess in being driven off the cliffs during the Eleusinian Mysteries.  In embracing her name, which means pagan, Heide is at the forefront of a new movement revealing what is alive and stirring under the decaying body of the patriarchy.

Imagine it Thick in Your Hair came together quickly as a response to the disastrous oil spill on April 20th, which brought the patriarchal destruction of our planet into high relief.  Having a sufficient stock of expired animals in her studio, Heide got to work doing a reverse alchemy. Using dead life forms and organic materials such as oil and tar to mimic the technological abuse of nature’s cyclical processes, the artist brings the observer into participation with the cyclic processes of life/death/rebirth with which creates oil as a natural resource.

The result was an exhibition as powerful as it was timely at the Pierre Menard Gallery in Cambridge that came together with amazing speed after I closed Woman in the 21st Century: Margaret Fuller and the Sacred Marriage.

"Imagine it Thick in Your Hair" by Heide Hatry

Imagine it Thick in Your Hair

Imagine it thick in your own hair
your eyes stuck shut   

you gouge your scummy finger
in your nose to break a way for air
the black snot won’t come out
you breathe a little, it whistles
it’s in your eyes now, burning
and your ears are stuffed with sludge now too
you can’t even hear yourself scream   

and while you’re screaming
you’re thinking
if you can still think
that all this oil was leaf and meadow once,
turf and forest waving
millions and millions of years   

all this was green life once
and even now the glistening black sludge
has a sheen of tree-brown in it
a sheen of green—   

forget the pelicans and pretty ducks,
this is happening to you   

you are the one
sealed in scum   

you feel your scalp aching
your head trying to breathe
did you know we breathe through the skin?
only you can’t, not any more,
never again,   

your skin belongs to business now
this is the Midas touch of money
they trade in your skin on the bourse,
there is nothing left of the original you
you still are screaming
you make hardly any noise
your throat is choked with oil
you make only a little shushing noise
like money changing hands   

you still worry about he pelicans and the sea turtles
you worry about the ducks and cormorants
the beautiful anhinga
but this is happening to you   

a tar-black seagull
wings still flapping
is stuck to your shoulders   

you can’t breathe any more
you pray for the pelicans
are you praying for them or to them
and you are the pelican now
Robert Kelly

Heide explained the title while we were searching for new specimens for her art on the seashore of Cape Cod.   In a YouTube moment that was for me alone, she held up a lock of her hair to relate the mystery of how she managed to extricate herself from her new medium — oil — with it.  It seems the follicles absorb the oil.   Now, wouldn’t that be a fascinating ritual of a clean-up of the mess of the patriarchy — woman cutting off their locks of hair and throwing them in the ocean!

It happens that I discovered a myth relating to hair while checking the shamanic astrology website of Daniel Giamario, the astrologer who taught me about tracking shamanic Venus, a 13 year voyage I wrote about in the handbook for the book, Woman in the 21st Century.
I discovered Cayelin K. Casteli’s exquisite Celebrating the Equinoxes during a mystical evening when I made a leap into “galactic thinking” while writing an essay on the work of Dianne Bowen, whose astrology chart, like mine, clicks right into the meridian points.  The night I discovered it, Mars made contact with Saturn at the Fall Equinox point, Zero degrees Libra.
Here is an excerpt from this illuminating essay:

It is fascinating to note that the Zero Libra point, marking the September Equinox, is currently aligned with the North Galactic Pole.  The North Galactic Pole lies 90 degrees north of the Galactic Plane in the constellation of Coma Berenices.* This particular near exact alignment only happens for 144 years, during a 26,000 year cycle as the equinox and solstice points move one degree every 72 years. The exact alignment is happening now. One interpretation of the constellation Coma Berenices is that it represents long beautiful hair. This is a classical story concerning the hair of Berenice, the wife of Ptolemy III of Egypt.

“It happened that Ptolemy had to fight against the Assyrians. Berenice feared for his life and went to the temple to pray that her husband would emerge victorious from the fray. In her anxiety she promised to sacrifice her hair to Venus, the Goddess of Love, if Ptolemy were to return safely.

Berenice was very famous for her beauty. She had beautiful long amber-colored hair which she was very proud of. She asked the royal oracle, Conon, what to do. Conon advised the queen to offer her beautiful hair to Aphrodite (Venus, the goddess of love and beauty) for the safe return of her husband. Berenice did not hesitate, she was willing to sacrifice anything for her dear husband. After weeks of tension and waiting Ptolemy returned safe and sound. The nation rejoiced but when Berenice told Ptolemy about her promise to sacrifice her hair, Ptolemy was very upset because it was the crowning glory of his queen; it was looked after with loving care by Berenice’s ladies-in-waiting, it had the admiration of the nation, and it gave inspiration to the poets.

Nothing, however, would change Berenice’s mind. She went to the temple where her beautiful locks were cut off and laid on the altar by the priests. The next day when the king went to the temple to have a look at his wife’s hair, he was furious to find the hair had been stolen. He summoned the priests and would have put them to death, then and there, had not the court astrologer intervened in the nick of time. “No, no, your majesty, do not blame the priests, it is not their fault, wait until it is dark and I will show you where your wife’s hair is.”

So when day turned into night the astronomer took the king to look at the night sky. “Look! Dost thou not see the clustered curls of thy queen, too beautiful for a single temple to possess, placed there by the gods for all the world to see? Look! They glitter like a woven net, as golden as they were on Berenice’s head.” And there, between Canes Venatici, Bootes, Leo and Virgo, twinkled a mass of very faint stars.

The astronomer declared that Jupiter had descended from Heaven the night before to take the golden locks up to the heavens where they could be admired by the whole world, not only by one nation. The king was satisfied with this explanation and Berenice was delighted that Venus had so honored her.

The essay continues by making a connection between Coma Berenice and Ariadne, which is the theme of the shamanic Mask Tale performance by Suzanne Benton at the opening.

Coma Berenice seems to have been first alluded to by Eratosthenes as Arladne’s Hair in his description of Ariadne’s Crown. It was not known till about 243 BCE, in the reign of the 3rd (Euergetes), the brother and husband of Berenice, whose amber hair we now see in the sky figure. It was the happy invention of this constellation by Conon of Samos (the royal astrologer) that consoled the royal pair after the theft of the tresses from the temple of Ariadne.

The rising Sun at the September Equinox obscures our view of this constellation and the North Galactic Pole. Astronomers consider this region of the sky one of the best for studying other galaxies, because the conditions here are favorable, in essence creating a clear window to see other galaxies. This gives us further clues about what we can tune into during this timing as the brightness of the Sun, also seen as a “doorway (or window?) into the knowing” according to the Upanishads, activates the North Galactic Pole and the constellation of Coma Berenices. This timing then may be an excellent opportunity to more clearly experience our intergalactic connections, and to receive a greater understanding of our relationship to time and space.

The constellation of Coma Berenices also gives us some important clues about this area of the sky. The symbol of hair conjures up many images and mythical stories. In some traditions hair symbolizes our connection to personal power, life force, and strength, i.e. Samson. In the story of Rapunzel her hair symbolized a link to the outside world, and the sacred masculine (Prince) who intended to free her from her prison tower. Other traditions see hair as a symbolic link to the power of thought, spiritual knowing and inspiration, and higher powers.

Daniel Giomario relates the Venus/Mars saga, which will culminate this month with their conjunction in Libra, the sign of the sacred marriage, with the tale of Rapunzel.  More on this later!  And this writer points to the multi-dimensionality of this convergence, now triggered by the Mars/Saturn conjunction.

The alignment of this seasonal point with the North Galactic Pole lets us know that we are truly becoming more multi-dimensional, as we learn how to consciously exist in many realms simultaneously. Accessing the mysteries from this multi-dimensional perspective enhances our ability to consciously dream the dream onward.

The old rules have been tossed away as the patriarchy dies an agonizing death.  We need to cast our ear to the ground and go within in order to make contact with the multidimensional manner that the sacred marriage is entering the collective consciousness. We will be exploring them in this blog!

Lame Duck Books’ literary archive

Meanwhile, gallery owner John Wronoski, was selling off his storehouse of (mostly) dead white male literature at a 50 percent discount.


John Wronoski in his shop, Lame Duck Books

In September, the shop will move into the basement of Pierre Menard Books, thereby bringing his dual line of business — literary and fine art —  into one location.  A clear sign of the (r)evolution to come!

Heide Hatry with a favorite book by Robert Kelly, whose poem "Imagine it Thick in Your Hair" inspired the title for the exhibtion



August 3, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , ,

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