Sunday, June 22, 2014

Lifting the Veil: Observations

Inside this rural church the Mary, St. Michael and Jesus statues were all painted 'pink' the colour looked similar to the crayola crayon colour called 'flesh'.  The Black Madonna superimposed in the foreground is the same mold as the Madonna in the pink flesh tone.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Miss Cellaneous

Miscellaneous:  " mis" is a prefix meaning essentially - wrong,  it is a negation.  "cell" refers to associated parts of a common theme, "aneous" is a suffix rooted in the Latin - aneus which means having qualities of. One dictionary search turned up this quote when used as an adjective: "A miscellaneous collection of well-known ne'er-do-wells."
In going about business in Kingston I am getting disturbed that in Jamaica's society I am searching for positive pedestal like archetypes that represent the majority of the population and I can't find them.  The majority of  advertisements in all types of media have left out a vast majority of the population.  Decades and generations of perpetuating this is detrimental to the young people growing up, Jamaica's situation differs from say Haiti where there are images of Erzuli Dantor a voudou spirit  known as the Black Madonna of Czestochowa, said to have been brought to Haiti by Polish soldiers, she is also referred to as Our Lady of Lourdes and Our Lady of Mount Caramel.  The difference between us and our sister island is that the Anglicans and the Baptists were here and there was no room for synchretism like in the colonies where the colonists were catholic and there would be a whole pantheon of Catholic Saints for all the African spirit dieties to hide and play church mass behind.  Who is to wake the island up from its beauty sleep to all this white washing, some of the biggest supporters are themselves African believing this is the way it should be.

Friday, February 14, 2014

#VDAY One Billion Rising Jamaica

So late last night my dad accompanied me to lift these three heavy painted  black madonnas into place (see map above).  I had a difficult time explaining what I was doing as I felt very open and vunerable, I  eventually opened up and explained it and he got it, basically it became something I had to do, it was something I felt I had to express in an installation in a public setting.   My hope is that as a society we can recognize the warning signs of a potentially abusive person as well as recognize the subtle signs of someone being victimized.  For us as a society to stop victim blaming and shaming, and to really be our brothers keeper, to really look over and watch out for others children as both boys and girls and women are most times the victims.  I am using a recognizable image that of the Virgin Mary but whereas in the Caribbean patriarchal society, she is often portrayed white, I have made her black, going back to her original roots, the first mother.  The Madonna and Christ image was modeled after the Egyptian goddess Isis holding her son Horus.  Perhaps it is that image that explains the numerous black Madonna's found throughout Europe.  That being said I am depicting the first mother, a symbol of compassion and understanding, someone who can see you, you the perpetrator,  you the victim, you the observer.  I want us as a society to recognize the subtle signs many of us miss unless we have personal experience.  I chose the Manor Park area as it is one area that both classes converge and intersect in passing, with one set taking buses to that area and a taxi up the hill or walking up the hill to the various jobs and the other set who drive down the hill to work or to run their errands in the plaza's below.   It turned out that the organizers of One Billion Rising Jamaica (VDAY)  were occupying the Manor Park area in the morning as part of their first stop as they headed south, ending at the Institute of Jamaica and, they were wearing red, the colour I chose to paint the garment of the Black Madonna.  From the panel discussion today at the Institute of Jamaica there is so much hurt and wrong doing in Jamaica's society, incest, rape of women, girls and boys.  It seems there is much hurt that the perpetrators carry, they did not receive nurturing as children, we failed them as a collective society many of these abusers were themselves abused, though too proud to even go there, it is felt that these emasculated boys who were made powerless and dominated at some point in their lives as children grow up to then exert the same domination that was done to them.   Sometimes the consequences are sinister and dire.  These Black Madonnas, the first mother is a call for us as a society to see and recognize red flags, warning signs and to call out bullshit tales that keep victims silent and to speak up for those unable to do so.  Dedicated to friends who lost their way.

Rest in Peace, gone but not forgotten: Liana Simon 34, Nordia Fearon 19,  Franciena Johnson 19, Raquel A. 32,  Reeva Steenkamp 30, Karen Rainford 34, Latoya Campbell-Thompson 28,
Below is a link to my VDay Jamaica pinterest board. There is a pattern that plays out and which you can become aware of so you know the signs. Destruction always starts attractively packaged as seduction.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

"Red Hood Traps the Wolf in his own game"

  I love the empowering picture of the two little red riding hood characters fighting back, way too often women and girls are taught to smile and be polite in the midst of the grotesque. And society victim blames accusing the victim for the incident. One in three women and girls will experience domestic violence/ intimate partner abuse at some point in their lives. There are many versions of the Red Riding Hood fairy tale but essentially it is another cautionary tale to warn us about social predators, the people in society who dress up as something else, who purposely deceive, gain our trust, lure and bait. Wikipedia: "The tale makes the clearest contrast between the safe world of the village and the dangers of the forest, conventional antitheses that are essentially medieval, though no written versions are as old as that. Specifically, the tale parallels how an innocent victim can be taken in and controlled by a criminal mentality, therefore, facilitating further subjection of a crime or harm against a vulnerable victim through mischievous criminal intent by removing the victim from a familiar or "safe" public location — facilitating the crime in an effort to isolate the victim by drawing her to another location "away from the public eye" where the criminal entity has complete control over the victim. It also warns about the dangers of not obeying the mother (at least in the Grimms' version). There is a second version version which the Grimm brothers wrote that featured the girl and her grandmother trapping and killing another wolf, this time anticipating his moves based on their experience with the previous one. The girl did not leave the path when the wolf spoke to her, her grandmother locked the door to keep it out, and when the wolf lurked, the grandmother had Little Red Riding Hood put a trough under the chimney and fill it with water that sausages had been cooked in; the smell lured the wolf down, and it drowned. Wikipedia: In Against Our Will, Susan Brownmiller described the fairy tale as a description of rape. Red Riding Hood has also been seen as a parable of sexual maturity. In this interpretation, the red cloak symbolizes the blood of menstruation,[28] braving the "dark forest" of womanhood. Or the cloak could symbolize the hymen (earlier versions of the tale generally do not state that the cloak is red). In this case, the wolf threatens the girl's virginity. The anthropomorphic wolf symbolizes a man, who could be a lover, seducer or sexual predator. This differs from the ritual explanation in that the entry into adulthood is biologically, not socially, determined. The film Hard Candy, about a young girl who lures a child rapist into a trap and proceeds to torture him psychologically, is an exploration of the idea of a situation where the roles of predator and prey are reversed. The film's poster features a red hooded girl standing in the middle of an animal trap, often seen as an allusion to Little Red Riding Hood. However, this was a serendipitous wardrobe choice by the creative team that was not realized until later on. Foreign marketing for the film made great use of this allusion. For example, a tagline on the Japanese site for the film reads: "Red Hood traps the Wolf in his own game." Red Riding Hood Fairy Tales Link here

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Bluebeard and the Wife


by Charles Perrault

This is a fairytale it happened along time ago references to any living person is strictly a coincidence and no need for you to stalk, threaten or bully.  Here goes...........There was once a man who had fine houses, both in town and country, a deal of silver and gold plate, embroidered furniture, and coaches gilded all over
with gold. But this man was so unlucky as to have a blue beard, which made him so frightfully ugly that all the women and girls ran away from him.
One of his neighbors, a lady of quality, had two daughters who were perfect beauties. He desired of her one of them in marriage, leaving to her choice which of the two she would bestow on him. Neither of them would have him, and they sent him backwards and forwards from one to the other, not being able to bear the thoughts of marrying a man who had a blue beard. Adding to their disgust and aversion was the fact that he already had been married to several wives, and nobody knew what had become of them.
Bluebeard, to engage their affection, took them, with their mother and three or four ladies of their acquaintance, with other young people of the neighborhood, to one of his country houses, where they stayed a whole week.
The time was filled with parties, hunting, fishing, dancing, mirth, and feasting. Nobody went to bed, but all passed the night in rallying and joking with each other. In short, everything succeeded so well that the youngest daughter began to think that the man's beard was not so very blue after all, and that he was a mighty civil gentleman.
As soon as they returned home, the marriage was concluded. About a month afterwards, Bluebeard told his wife that he was obliged to take a country journey for six weeks at least, about affairs of very great consequence. He desired her to divert herself in his absence, to send for her friends and acquaintances, to take them into the country, if she pleased, and to make good cheer wherever she was.
"Here," said he," are the keys to the two great wardrobes, wherein I have my best furniture. These are to my silver and gold plate, which is not everyday in use. These open my strongboxes, which hold my money, both gold and silver; these my caskets of jewels. And this is the master key to all my apartments. But as for this little one here, it is the key to the closet at the end of the great hall on the ground floor. Open them all; go into each and every one of them, except that little closet, which I forbid you, and forbid it in such a manner that, if you happen to open it, you may expect my just anger and resentment."
She promised to observe, very exactly, whatever he had ordered. Then he, after having embraced her, got into his coach and proceeded on his journey.
Her neighbors and good friends did not wait to be sent for by the newly married lady. They were impatient to see all the rich furniture of her house, and had not dared to come while her husband was there, because of his blue beard, which frightened them. They ran through all the rooms, closets, and wardrobes, which were all so fine and rich that they seemed to surpass one another.
After that, they went up into the two great rooms, which contained the best and richest furniture. They could not sufficiently admire the number and beauty of the tapestry, beds, couches, cabinets, stands, tables, and looking glasses, in which you might see yourself from head to foot; some of them were framed with glass, others with silver, plain and gilded, the finest and most magnificent that they had ever seen.
They ceased not to extol and envy the happiness of their friend, who in the meantime in no way diverted herself in looking upon all these rich things, because of the impatience she had to go and open the closet on the ground floor. She was so much pressed by her curiosity that, without considering that it was very uncivil for her to leave her company, she went down a little back staircase, and with such excessive haste that she nearly fell and broke her neck.
Having come to the closet door, she made a stop for some time, thinking about her husband's orders, and considering what unhappiness might attend her if she was disobedient; but the temptation was so strong that she could not overcome it. She then took the little key, and opened it, trembling. At first she could not see anything plainly, because the windows were shut. After some moments she began to perceive that the floor was all covered over with clotted blood, on which lay the bodies of several dead women, ranged against the walls. (These were all the wives whom Bluebeard had married and murdered, one after another.) She thought she should have died for fear, and the key, which she, pulled out of the lock, fell out of her hand.
After having somewhat recovered her surprise, she picked up the key, locked the door, and went upstairs into her chamber to recover; but she could not, so much was she frightened. Having observed that the key to the closet was stained with blood, she tried two or three times to wipe it off; but the blood would not come out; in vain did she wash it, and even rub it with soap and sand. The blood still remained, for the key was magical and she could never make it quite clean; when the blood was gone off from one side, it came again on the other.
Bluebeard returned from his journey the same evening, saying that he had received letters upon the road, informing him that the affair he went about had concluded to his advantage. His wife did all she could to convince him that she was extremely happy about his speedy return.
The next morning he asked her for the keys, which she gave him, but with such a trembling hand that he easily guessed what had happened.
"What!" said he, "is not the key of my closet among the rest?"
"I must," said she, "have left it upstairs upon the table."
"Fail not," said Bluebeard, "to bring it to me at once."
After several goings backwards and forwards, she was forced to bring him the key. Bluebeard, having very attentively considered it, said to his wife, "Why is there blood on the key?"
"I do not know," cried the poor woman, paler than death.
"You do not know!" replied Bluebeard. "I very well know. You went into the closet, did you not? Very well, madam; you shall go back, and take your place among the ladies you saw there."
Upon this she threw herself at her husband's feet, and begged his pardon with all the signs of a true repentance, vowing that she would never more be disobedient. She would have melted a rock, so beautiful and sorrowful was she; but Bluebeard had a heart harder than any rock!
"You must die, madam," said he, "at once."
"Since I must die," answered she (looking upon him with her eyes all bathed in tears), "give me some little time to say my prayers."
"I give you," replied Bluebeard, "half a quarter of an hour, but not one moment more."
When she was alone she called out to her sister, and said to her, "Sister Anne" (for that was her name), "go up, I beg you, to the top of the tower, and look if my brothers are not coming. They promised me that they would come today, and if you see them, give them a sign to make haste."
Her sister Anne went up to the top of the tower, and the poor afflicted wife cried out from time to time, "Anne, sister Anne, do you see anyone coming?"
And sister Anne said, "I see nothing but a cloud of dust in the sun, and the green grass."
In the meanwhile Bluebeard, holding a great saber in his hand, cried out as loud as he could bawl to his wife, "Come down instantly, or I shall come up to you."
"One moment longer, if you please," said his wife; and then she cried out very softly, "Anne, sister Anne, do you see anybody coming?"
And sister Anne answered, "I see nothing but a cloud of dust in the sun, and the green grass."
"Come down quickly," cried Bluebeard, "or I will come up to you."
"I am coming," answered his wife; and then she cried, "Anne, sister Anne, do you not see anyone coming?"
"I see," replied sister Anne, "a great cloud of dust approaching us."
"Are they my brothers?"
"Alas, no my dear sister, I see a flock of sheep."
"Will you not come down?" cried Bluebeard.
"One moment longer," said his wife, and then she cried out, "Anne, sister Anne, do you see nobody coming?"
"I see," said she, "two horsemen, but they are still a great way off."
"God be praised," replied the poor wife joyfully. "They are my brothers. I will make them a sign, as well as I can for them to make haste."
Then Bluebeard bawled out so loud that he made the whole house tremble. The distressed wife came down, and threw herself at his feet, all in tears, with her hair about her shoulders.
"This means nothing," said Bluebeard. "You must die!" Then, taking hold of her hair with one hand, and lifting up the sword with the other, he prepared to strike off her head. The poor lady, turning about to him, and looking at him with dying eyes, desired him to afford her one little moment to recollect herself.
"No, no," said he, "commend yourself to God," and was just ready to strike.
At this very instant there was such a loud knocking at the gate that Bluebeard made a sudden stop. The gate was opened, and two horsemen entered. Drawing their swords, they ran directly to Bluebeard. He knew them to be his wife's brothers, one a dragoon, the other a musketeer; so that he ran away immediately to save himself; but the two brothers pursued and overtook him before he could get to the steps of the porch. Then they ran their swords through his body and left him dead. The poor wife was almost as dead as her husband, and had not strength enough to rise and welcome her brothers.
Bluebeard had no heirs, and so his wife became mistress of all his estate. She made use of one part of it to marry her sister Anne to a young gentleman who had loved her a long while; another part to buy captains' commissions for her brothers, and the rest to marry herself to a very worthy gentleman, who made her forget the ill time she had passed with Bluebeard.

Ceramic pieces by  Claire Partington

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  If you are in a toxic relationship leaving can be very dangerous and you need to properly plan your exit/ escape, please be aware that your email, FB accounts, cell phone and the mileage on your car is being checked as are any websites you visit. Stay safe.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Guardian Angel

The Guardian Angel
2007, Acrylic on canvas, 48"x60"
As I worked on this I would play the song "We're Missing You" from recording artist Kris Kelli whom was a dear friend of my brother who departed this earth in 2001. The song was written and recorded by her as a tribute to his memory. Initially I had planned to paint a blue Krishna/ Shiva figure with a woman in a red saree but when I got into the zone that place where space and time stand still, the blue figure regressed into the background, the woman in the red saree ended up having a corset top and protective metal cage like skirt over her clothes.  In the painting the metal dress is like an armour to face the rough times, the winged  figure in the background represents those we have lost who are still with us and whom can inspire and give us the push we need. I believe we are all energy and at death that energy doesn't die it continues on.  The ground dove that has chosen to fly in through the female figures protective metal over skirt and land on her soft garment is a symbol of the messenger able to dwell in the two worlds heavens and earth, visiting at will.  I was not planning to give this piece a title but a friend encouraged me so I blurted out "The Guardian Angel".  Kris Kelli did ask how I came up with the title she was curious because the song was recorded on the Guardian Angel riddim (rhythm) which is not noted anywhere on the CD. That coincedence I believe is a message from him.  Happy Birthday Jeffrey Stephenson we love you now and forever and always until we meet again and again our love will never end.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Kristie Stephenson: Artwork

Kristie Stephenson: Artwork
Visual Artist inspired by Story and Myth.

Touching on subjects of the past and the human experience, my themes evoke the sacred feminine and female sexuality. By exploring multicultural spiritual ideas of myth and legend, with works that incorporate the collective unconscious. Chronicling experiences of women in society these experiences are represented as a message of empowerment. My subjects are not portraits they are female archetypes that exist in my subconscious. These paintings are part of an ongoing series sometimes representing a past experience or an awoken unconscious idea. Story and Myth inspire my artwork, the characters are often a blend of several female archetype figures that we find in history, folklore, myth or within ourselves. I also incorporate symbols into my work. These symbols I find in many cultures throughout the world, they all help to unite us as a global community, to remind women of their history and to spread my message of empowerment, goodwill & peace.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Beware the narcissistic sociopath disguised as your “Soul Mate” by Paula Carrasquillo

Will You Be My Next Soul Mate?The idea of a soul mate is very romantic. To meet someone else in this world of billions who shares your same values, interests, desires, and goals is an exhilarating notion, don’t you think? It’s possible to meet someone who, at any given moment in time, is at the same place you are geographically and spiritually. But to think two people can remain on a joint wavelength over many, many years is, in my mind, a set up for failure. Yet, we continue to watch those silly movies that end in “happily ever after” and fool ourselves into thinking it’s real. Enter the narcissistic sociopath. A master at making the magic SEEM real just long enough to send you spiraling into a fog. The following was taken from a message board. (I do not know the original author. If you know, let me know so I can cite the source appropriately): [The narcissist as our] “SOUL MATE” is cunning and knows who to select and who to avoid. He will come on strong, sweep us off our feet. He seems to have the same values, interests, goals, philosophies, tastes, habits. He admires our intellect, ambition, honesty and sincerity. He wants to marry us quickly. He fakes integrity, appears helpful, comforting, generous in his ‘idealization’ of us phase. It never lasts. Eventually Jekyll turns into Hyde. Why do they work so quickly? As noted in my previous post, narcissistic sociopaths can’t stand to be alone, and they fear being abandoned. At first, knowing this may make you want to pity such an unfortunate creature and help him change his attitude about life, love, and relationships. But don’t be fooled. The narcissist has no interest in changing. He subconsciously enjoys and feeds off of his own self-destructive nature. On the surface, it doesn’t seem like that is possible. But once you start learning about his past relationships and how he coped by blaming “them” and not himself, you start to wonder. How could such a romantic and loving guy always end up losing the girl? Or falling out of love with her? I have come to understand the following: the narcissist simply enjoys being in the throes of the newness of love. The newness of first meeting and the ego boost/narcissistic supply is intoxicating to him; and he blossoms at this stage (like we all do, right?) But the narcissist takes this stage to the extreme and foolishly believes and expects it to last for eternity. He creates and shares romantic visions of the future. He talks about growing old together. He puts his love interest on a pedestal. She is the most beautiful, the smartest, the best mother, the most ambitious. He never wants to leave her side or spend a night without her. And he says these things to her repeatedly, like a mantra or a prayer, that is meant to hypnotize her into full and complete submission. This is when he plants his seeds of control and domination, the foundation for future abuse. The woman inhales and ingests his words. The words make her think he is a man who has spent his entire life looking for the perfect woman and has FINALLY found her. She is “The One.” She feels special. She feels unique. But little does she know that his words to her are the exact same words he used with every single woman who came before her. He used them on his first wife. He used them on his fiancée that he proposed to just days after he kicked his wife out of his house. He used them on the new woman he proposed to after he kicked his fiancée out of his house. And so on. There is NOTHING unique or exceptional about her, about YOU! The only thing unique and exceptional about you is that you came AFTER them. You are next in line. The narcissist never learned from his previous relationships. He may tell you he has and that he never makes the same mistake twice. That just means he never makes the same mistake twice with the same person. There’s a difference. You are fresh and pure and filled with naiveté and ignorance about what is inevitably going to sneak up on you and slap you in the face. You are not his soul mate; you are not the one. You are his “right now” that he hopes he can control. The ones who came before you were crazy because they were out of his control. They weren’t “out of control” just out of HIS control. And to him that equals crazy. If you know who you are and like yourself, you’ll be the next one who becomes out of control. The next one he calls crazy. Just wait and see. If the narcissistic sociopath’s idea of a soul mate is wrong, then what IS a Soul Mate? A soul mate is a person who wants to be your best friend as much as he wants to be your lover. A soul mate praises you when you need praise. A soul mate never tries to diminish your successes. A soul mate doesn’t expect or even desire perfection. A soul mate accepts you as you are but encourages you if you seek to better yourself. A soul mate never says your efforts will be in vain. A soul mate nurtures you when you need nurtured. A soul mate can sense when you are feeling weak and tries to lift you up. A soul mate doesn’t use your moment of weakness to bring you down further. A soul mate never blames you for anything; instead, a soul mate helps you come up with a solution. A soul mate allows you to blossom and pursue all of your interests even if it means making new friends and being separated for a little while. A soul mate never feels jealous of others you share a bond. A soul mate respects your mind and respects your family and respects your past mistakes and past successes. A soul mate never belittles or shames you. A soul mate sets you free and never tries to control who you talk to, where you shop, what you buy, when you buy it, how you dress, how you walk, how you love your children, or ANY action that makes you the person you were born to be. A soul mate exists for each of us but it takes work, dedication, care, and lots and lots of patience and love for a “happily ever after.” We create the magic in our own lives. It doesn’t just happen. Don’t be fooled by those pushy narcissists who have no idea how to love themselves let alone love another. Peace.

Friday, July 5, 2013


Liana was born on September 30,
1976 and passed away on Sunday, January 10, 2010.  Two months before Liana passed away  twin sisters Carla and Lisa  were murdered on Thanks Giving Day by their brother who suffered from mental illness.  Liana was also murdered by her boyfriend in what the news report headlined as a murder suicide.  Below is the official  death investigation from Miami Dade County Florida:
The Miami-Dade Police Department, Homicide Bureau is conducting a death investigation at the listed location.  Upon the officer's arrival, they observed Liana Simon suffering from an apparent gunshot wound and Kevin Rivero deceased from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.  According to investigators, Ms. Simon and Rivero, who have been dating, were involved in a verbal dispute inside a vehicle.  As Ms. Simon ran away from the vehicle, Rivero discharged his firearm striking Ms. Simon and subsequently shot himself.  Ms. Simon was transported to a local hospital where she was pronounced deceased.

Liana was described as a friendly, dynamic and dedicated school teacher who touched the lives of many preschoolers and their families.

She was a beautiful young woman I knew and who I would see at the local Jaycee chapter we were members of in Miami.  Behind her beautiful face and blond hair was always a smile.  I have become a bit more observant of late and when I read this now I realize Liana was a victim of domestic violence, the most dangerous time for a survivor is when she is trying to leave.  The statistics are extremely high as reports say one in four women will be a victim of domestic violence.  She was perhaps trying to end the relationship or had ended it, but her boyfriend begged her, probably crying and bawling and threatening suicide if she did not meet with him, so she did.  She may not have even known she was in an abusive relationship. Her cell phone, her emails were all probably checked by him.  It is often hard for a survivor to leave without proper planning.  There are many more red flags and warning signs so I encourage you to do a search of those on your own.  And I hope you know how powerful and beautiful you truly are. Rest in peace Liana you are gone but not forgotten.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Lunar Eclipse ~ May 25th, 2013

Here is a perspective you might find interesting of energies flowing through for us at this time, written by Astrologer Molly Hall:

May 25th Lunar Eclipse, Full Moon.

Shockwaves & Aspirations
The May 25th lunar eclipse ends a month of release and coming down to Earth. The Scorpio and Taurus eclipses were a call to invest more in what nourishes, than what steals our vital energies. For some, it's been full of sobering experiences or having bubbles burst.

That phenomenon of coming out of denial, "waking up" to hidden truths, or meeting the shadow lightens the load. That's the reward of taking the risk -- it's the enlightening process! We die to old realities, and enter new ones. The past can eventually feel like a lifetime ago. "I can't believe I use to think that way," we say.

The release of old traumas and limiting beliefs frees up energy to get fired up about the future, to feel optimistic and aim for something higher. A Sagittarius Full Moon is divine timing, to elevate our thinking!

The release brings more of your soul into the now. This gives you the agility to act on what's happening, and trust your instincts. A lot of change can happen in a short time!

Between the high solar activity (there's a geomagnetic storm in-progress), and the waxing Uranus-Pluto square, the tension is great showing both inwardly and outwardly. These strong currents are surely stimulating -- they get us moving! There's a sense of urgency in the air. And yet, we can also feel agitated or scrambled by the big squeeze. It's not always clear how best to direct it. My normally super high-energy husband said he feels tired, but extremely restless to be doingsomething.

Big Picture Views
At this Sagittarius Full Moon, there can be flash sightings of a new big picture. Sagittarius is mutablefire, the sign of broad knowledge -- the kind that connects the dots. This is very, very empowering, and allows you to consider new and surprising possibilities.

Since there's an awakening happening, the timing is sweet. An event or breakthrough in perception snaps you awake to a new way to see. After the first two eclipses, A Sagittarius eclipse brings together the lively curiosity of Gemini (Sun) and the sharp instincts of Sagittarius (Moon).

It's time for the enlightened Fool to set forth on a new adventure! Be watchful for prophetic dreams, and note the serendipity in waking life. Sagittarius is ruled by lucky Jupiter, the planet that keeps us close to the path that feels right and true. The lucky star!
Please Share This Rare Opportunity!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Darkness of Ignorance: sleeping in Gu

Darkness of Ignorance: Sleeping in Gu.  The true meaning of Guru is "one who dispels darkness of ignorance". "Gu" means "darkness of ignorance" and "Ru" means "one who removes". Ru in the film is nature, intuition, the collective unconscious, subconscious communicating with conscious and unconscious, spirit guides - the white Alsatian dog, my childhood dog, who had been with me while I was inside my mothers womb, I never saw another dog like it, except in this new land where I would see lots of them, the heavens, the constellations, Orion's Belt- the constellation of stars I search for when I travel to another country or continent, I often place them in my paintings, the ability to communicate with another human being who is far away without using words but using thoughts, call it telepathy.  Thoughts going out to those in toxic and dangerous situations may all beings be free of suffering.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Cautionary Tales

The original fairy tales did not have the happy endings as we know them to be, for example in the story of the Little Mermaid, she dies in the end.  In Little Red Riding Hood, the wolf represented sexual predators, and Little Red represented innocent girls.The most noticeable was when the wolf asked Little Red to get into bed with him when he was dressed like grandma. The lesson being, to listen to your parents, don't listen or talk to strangers. In the original tale of Sleeping Beauty, the young woman is put to sleep because of a prophesy, rather than a curse. And it isn’t the kiss of a prince which wakes her up: the king seeing her asleep,  rapes her. After nine months she gives birth to two children (while she is still asleep). One of the children sucks her finger which removes the piece of flax which was keeping her asleep. She wakes up to find herself raped and the mother of two kids.  Cautionary Tales is a modern day reminder to wake up and revisit those original fairy tales whose purpose was to warn society of social predators those suffering from various degrees of mental illnesses, anti social personality disorders and psychopaths.  Lifetime movies seem more like fiction than truth but they are quite common.  This "tale"  explores the pysche of a charming social predator with a deformity his family hides, his targeting of women and colleagues outside of his social network, his ability to lure and bait facilitated by a network of underserved peers, who benefit from his deception.  Once he is discovered and the heroine escapes (leaving is dangerous as many women are killed  or threatened with his suicide)  she is ceremoniously and symbolically buried in the deepest darkest  part of his house and a new tale is devised to explain the disappearance, all that is left of the escaped women are their shells (clothes).

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

On a Jet Plane

The world lies in the hands of those who have the courage to dream and who take the risk of living out their dreams - each according to his or her own talent. ~ Paulo Coelho  #mala #mantra #prayer #travel #safetravel #peace #love #light #lead # Live #Free #Being #NewBeginnings #Power #Buddha #Krishna #Christ #Spirituality #Protection #DivineMasculine #SacredFeminine #blessingbeads #prayerbeads #onajetplane #LifeLessons ♥

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Rani & The Raj: The Sacred Feminine & The Divine Masculine: Blessing Beads Inspiration

I have a love for Indian Bollywood movies especially historic films one of my favorites is Jodha Akbar it is about the Muslim Mughal Emperor Akbar the Great, played by Hrithik Roshan, and the Hindu Rajput Princess Jodhabai who becomes his wife, played by Aishwarya Rai. My love for Indian textiles and gems especially how in the film tons of pearls would be paired with rubies or emeralds. Here I was inspired by the spirituality in the film, the blessing beads which are tear shaped pearls from the earth in Jamaica and combining them with precious and semi-precious stones. I am creating something that gives you power and protection a personal talisman. #driven #powerul #ladyboss #sacredfeminine #divinemasculine #malagoddess #islandmala #blessingbeads #storyandmyth #108beads #rubies #jade #jobstears #yoga #mantra #prayer #intentionsetting #madeinJamaica #integrity (Rani and Raj translates as Queen and King.)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Miami Tsunami Reconstruction Team

Remembering the December 26th (Boxing Day) 2004 Tsunami, the friends I met in Galle, the stories they told of loosing loved ones. The beautiful spirit, hospitality and kindness of the Sri Lankan people.  The seven samurai from Miami who journeyed there.  We were living in Miami from several countries and we made it happen and made a difference.  You are always in my thoughts, always. Namaste.
I had lost a loved one when I took that journey, a change in geography, helping people who lost several family members and friends created a shift and a positive change and outlook in me.  I am late with this message, thinking of you all.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Caribbean Yoga Conference 2013

Looking forward to the CYC this year in Montego Bay and reconnecting with the wellness community. Working on malas for the VIP presenters. Main Event January 31st to February 3rd.


Sunday, January 6, 2013

Ring of Fire: Welcome 2013

"The Messenger", 60cm x 80cm, acrylic on canvas. The painting is influenced by my occassional jogs through the forests and woods in Belgium, running there was my yoga I felt grounded. I would stop and listen to the birds there and admire the beauty and awe of the woods in fall and winter. No trees perse are depicted but the subject is surrounded by a ring of fire, suggesting her environment is up in an enferno, the enferno was my new life and role in a foreign country. Although that constructed paper mache world was burning around me, the fire I would later realize is a positive thing. Fire represents destruction but also regeneration, purification and transformation. The hands symbolize her connection to self, to source, when all else cannot be trusted, your heart or your head the one thing you should always listen to according to Einstein is your intuition. The figures right hand rests on her stomach and holds the plumes of the mythical phoenix bird that is speaking into her ear. The Phoenix is described as a bird with colorful plumage and a tail of gold and scarlet. It has a 500 to 1000 year life cycle, near the end of which it builds itself a nest of twigs that then ignites; both nest and bird burn fiercely and are reduced to ashes, from which a new, young phoenix rises, reborn anew to live again. The new phoenix is destined to live as long as its old self. The Phoenix's ability to be reborn from its own ashes implies that it is immortal.  I look forward to leaving all those things that did not serve me in 2012 behind and I express gratitude for all the wonderful things that I experienced that year. Here is wishing you all better positive energy for the new year, a year filled with being surrounded by good honest people and energy and the ability to listen and trust your intuition. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Wake Up Sleeping Beauty!

"Wake Up, Sleeping Beauty!"
An original Play invites us to participate in the creative reawakening of a young woman's psyche, asleep for more than a thousand years in an enchanted wood. Using song, imagery and movement, this princess' rebirth is the death of the damsel-in-distress archetype. With story by theatre-artist and musician Michelle Riu, live original music by the Gritty Girl Ensemble, set and costumes by visual artist Kristie Stephenson, and hand-drawn animations by Diego Romero, 'Wake Up, Sleeping Beauty!' is a tale of metamorphosis, intuition and communion that explores female empowerment, self-esteem and anti-bullying. 
Not appropriate for children under 12.
Funding for this project is provided in part by the Broward County Board of County Commissioners as recommended by the Broward Cultural Council with support from the Broward Center's Arts Access Program. This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. 

Serving as a Creative and Performing Arts Lab, Gritty Girl workshops guide girls in finding their voices- individually and collectively- through acting, poetry-writing, and music skills. Under the facilitation of professional singer-songwriter, actress, and teaching-artist Michelle Riu, the girls create and perform original music and skits.

Presenting 'Wake Up, Sleeping Beauty!' An Original Play for one day only Sat. Sept. 15th, 8pm at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Oud Xamayca: The Mermaid Project. Workshops

Oud Xamayca: The Mermaid Project

Every culture it seems has a mermaid or water spirit story.

Jamaican Intuitive artist Kapo (Mallica Reynolds) depicted Mermaids in his paintings as did Australian artist Colin Garland who made Jamaica his home for 45 years.  I will be sharing images of their work  with a group of 8 to 14 year old at risk youths in Kingston as well as telling stories of similar Mermaid tales from Jamaica the Caribbean and Africa.   I want to communicate that talented artisans, scientists, families, kings and queens were uprooted from their homeland transported half way around the world and that our ancestors memories live on through cell memory, intuition, dance, the arts, story and myth.  And wonderful things have come out of our colonial past. And countries with a similar background to ours have this connection too.  She always teaches a lesson in these stories.   We will create a magical world where anything they draw can manifest in their lives.
The images attached are that of South African artist Karen Miller. Whose work and especially these images I adore.  I will be using them as part of Oud Xamayca's visual art workshop with under served and at risk youths in Kingston.  The majority of which consist of Jamaica's population of African origin.  Xamayca is the Taino word for "Wood and Water" they were the original inhabitants of the island of Jamaica.  The Neo Tainos of the Caribbean had a mermaid /water spirit goddess who they called Aycayía.  The Europeans who came also had mermaid stories.
In the ocean near Haiti in 1493, Christopher Columbus (probably glimpsing a manatee) reported seeing three mermaids but said they were "not as pretty as they are depicted, for somehow in the face they look like men."
 The ships the Europeans came on when they docked in Africa before coming to the New World sometimes had carvings of Mermaids on the bough of the ship.  These images along with European mermaid tales of the comb and the mirror helped to shape the image of the African Mami Wata, water spirit goddess.  Mami Wata  from  Africa is said to have the body of a snake and the upper torso of a woman, by the time her people arrived in the New World, European imagery and folktales had an influence and as such in the Caribbean she ended up with a mermaid tail and not the body of a snake.  But her story is still alive, in Jamaica she is known as the River Muma, she guards fresh water ways and canals, river and streams, the fish in these waters are known as her children. She also has a golden table located at the bottom of the river and comb. In Haiti she is one of three sisters who are powerful water spirits La Sirène, Erzulie and Simbi. In Trinidad & Tobago she is known as Maman De l'eau.
 Oud Xamayca: The Mermaid Project explores themes of identity, femininity and interculturality through the use of metaphors and myths of the African Diaspora, particularly mermaids and water goddesses. Through the unique intervention of North African/Mid-Eastern dance, in addition to the exploration and connections with National Xamaycan dances, Oud Xamayca strives to offer a culturally enriching, socially progressive and empowering bodyworlding experience to participants and audiences. Visual arts and movement arts come together in Oud Xamayca to create new modes of expression and wider global contexts. Oud Xamayca is a community outreach and performance project that recodes notions of womanhood, individual articulation and cultural relativity.
Jamaica is a patriarchal ruled society with households run by matriahs.  Anything considered  not christian is viewed as evil or of the devil especially where religion is concerned.  I have come back to a country where some members of society are bleaching their skin, men, women, and some children and some upper  and lower classes are spooked by anything 'African'.  So I have called in for reinforcements in the form of Tiffany 'Hanan' Madera an academic who will be facilitating the dance workshops with at risk girls, teen mothers and pregnant teens.  She allows one to dance from within and  to connect to your core. Dance is rooted in ritual, when one dances as if no one is watching or makes visual art, becoming lost in time and space and has no concept of time, is a form of prayer or communication with god.  During my darkest moments it was the dance that woke me up and breathed life again into me.  Middle eastern dance in particular, perhaps it was the community of women of all shapes and sizes, the rhythmic, curved movements, the drum beats and the winded instruments which carried me faraway in my mind. To another place and time.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Meaning of 108 Beads on a Mala

On a mala, or set of mantra counting beads, there are generally 108 beads, or some fraction of that number. The question often arises: Why are there 108 beads on a mala? Below are some of the many reasons that have been given for having 108 beads on a mala, as well as a few other points of interest. None of these reasons are being promoted here as more or less true than the others. However, you may notice that 108 appears to be somewhat like a road map of reality in general, and the human in particular. Regardless of the meaning of 108, it is important that if a mala is used to count mantras, the mantra be remembered with sincerity, devotion, feeling, and full attention. (More on use of mantras) 9 times 12: Both of these numbers have been said to have spiritual significance in many traditions. 9 times 12 is 108. Also, 1 plus 8 equals 9. That 9 times 12 equals 108. Powers of 1, 2, and 3 in math: 1 to 1st power=1; 2 to 2nd power=4 (2x2); 3 to 3rd power=27 (3x3x3). 1x4x27=108 Harshad number: 108 is a Harshad number, which is an integer divisible by the sum of its digits (Harshad is from Sanskrit, and means "great joy") Desires: There are said to be 108 earthly desires in mortals. Lies: There are said to be 108 lies that humans tell. Delusions: There are said to be 108 human delusions or forms of ignorance. Heart Chakra: The chakras are the intersections of energy lines, and there are said to be a total of 108 energy lines converging to form the heart chakra. One of them, sushumna leads to the crown chakra, and is said to be the path to Self-realization. Sanskrit alphabet: There are 54 letters in the Sanskrit alphabet. Each has masculine and feminine, shiva and shakti. 54 times 2 is 108. Pranayama: If one is able to be so calm in meditation as to have only 108 breaths in a day, enlightenment will come. Upanishads: Some say there are 108 Upanishads, texts of the wisdom of the ancient sages. Sri Yantra: On the Sri Yantra there are marmas where three lines intersect, and there are 54 such intersections. Each intersections has masculine and feminine, shiva and shakti qualities. 54 times 2 equals 108. Thus, there are 108 points that define the Sri Yantra as well as the human body. Pentagon: The angle formed by two adjacent lines in a pentagon equals 108 degrees. Marmas: Marmas or marmasthanas are like energy intersections called chakras, except have fewer energy lines converging to form them. There are said to be 108 marmas in the subtle body. Time: Some say there are 108 feelings, with 36 related to the past, 36 related to the present, and 36 related to the future. 8 extra beads: In doing a practice of counting the number of repetitions of the mala, 100 are counted as completed. The remaining are said to cover errors or omissions. The 8 are also said to be an offering to God and Guru. Chemistry: Interestingly, there are about 115 elements known on the periodic table of the elements. Most of those, around or higher than the number 100 only exist in the laboratory, and some for only thousandths of a second. The number that naturally exist on Earth is around 100. Astrology: There are 12 constellations, and 9 arc segments called namshas or chandrakalas. 9 times 12 equals 108. Chandra is moon, and kalas are the divisions within a whole. River Ganga: The sacred River Ganga spans a longitude of 12 degrees (79 to 91), and a latitude of 9 degrees (22 to 31). 12 times 9 equals 108. Planets and Houses: In astrology, there are 12 houses and 9 planets. 12 times 9 equals 108. Goddess names: There are said to be 108 Indian goddess names. Gopis of Krishna: In the Krishna tradition, there were said to be 108 gopis or maid servants of Krishna. 1, 0, and 8: Some say that 1 stands for God or higher Truth, 0 stands for emptiness or completeness in spiritual practice, and 8 stands for infinity or eternity. Sun and Earth: The diameter of the Sun is 108 times the diameter of the Earth. The distance from the Sun to the Earth is 108 times the diameter of the Sun. Moon and Earth: The average distance of the Moon from the Earth is 108 times the diameter of the Moon. Silver and the moon: In astrology, the metal silver is said to represent the moon. The atomic weight of silver is 108. Numerical scale: The 1 of 108, and the 8 of 108, when added together equals 9, which is the number of the numerical scale, i.e. 1, 2, 3 ... 10, etc., where 0 is not a number. Meditations: Some say there are 108 styles of meditation. Breath: Tantra estimates the average number of breaths per day at 21,600, of which 10,800 are solar energy, and 10,800 are lunar energy. Multiplying 108 by 100 is 10,800. Multiplying 2 x 10,800 equals 21,600. Paths to God: Some suggest that there are 108 paths to God. Smaller divisions: The number 108 is divided, such as in half, third, quarter, or twelfth, so that some malas have 54, 36, 27, or 9 beads. Hinduism: 108 is said to refer to the number of Hindu deities. Some say that each of the deities has 108 names. Islam: The number 108 is used in Islam to refer to God. Jain: In the Jain religion, 108 are the combined virtues of five categories of holy ones, including 12, 8, 36, 25, and 27 virtues respectively. Sikh: The Sikh tradition has a mala of 108 knots tied in a string of wool, rather than beads. Buddhism: Some Buddhists carve 108 small Buddhas on a walnut for good luck. Some ring a bell 108 times to celebrate a new year. There are said to be 108 virtues to cultivate and 108 defilements to avoid. Chinese: The Chinese Buddhists and Taoists use a 108 bead mala, which is called su-chu, and has three dividing beads, so the mala is divided into three parts of 36 each. Chinese astrology says that there are 108 sacred stars. Stages of the soul: Said that Atman, the human soul or center goes through 108 stages on the journey. Meru: This is a larger bead, not part of the 108. It is not tied in the sequence of the other beads. It is the quiding bead, the one that marks the beginning and end of the mala. Dance: There are 108 forms of dance in the Indian traditions. Praiseworthy souls: There are 108 qualities of praiseworthy souls. First man in space: The first manned space flight lasted 108 minutes, and was on April 12, 1961 by Yuri Gagarin, a Soviet cosmonaut. Excerpt from:

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Spider Woman

Several Native American tribes have long embraced the concept of a woman as the creator of the world. To them, it only makes sense because it is woman from whom all life springs.

Among the Pueblo Indians the goddess is so revered that her real name is never spoken aloud. Referred to only as Spider Woman, the Pueblos believe that all things sprung out of her thoughts. The Hopi hold a similar belief as do many other Native American Tribes.

Although each tribe has a slightly different slant to Spider Woman's story, one thing remains constant; that it is she who is responsible for all earthly creations. Some tribes believe that Spider Woman began with the universe itself.

As the myth goes, Spider Woman began her many creations by spinning and chanting (or singing), first developing the universe in four sections - - east, west, north, and south. Within the space sprung the birth of the sun, moon, and stars, which immediately banished darkness from the world.

Next, she took shells of turquoise, red rock, yellow stone, and clear crystal she next created the mountains, oceans, and desserts. Then the earth goddess herself became the womb from which mankind sprung over time; gradually, as is the case with childbirth. To create various races, it is believed that used many different kinds and colors of clay. Using her remaining thread, the goddess bound each of her human creations directly to her.

Several tribes, however, consider the Spider Woman to be just the earth goddess. They credit Tawa, the sun god, with the mysteries and powers of the above sky.

Eventually, the heavenly couple decided that other gods and goddesses must be created to share in their role as the keepers of mankind. Legend says that Tawa divided himself into. His duplicate became Muiyinwuh who was assigned to be god of all life germs. The Spider Woman also divided herself into to create Huzruisuhti, the goddess of all hard materials.

From Muiyinwuh sprung all of the marine life, animals, and insects of the earth that would help sustain and nourish mankind. From Huzruisuhti sprung all minerals, metals, gems, and shells that provided substance for mankind to make tools, build shelter, and adorn. Together, the four gods and goddesses taught mankind about the importance of their ties to the earth as well as how to use earth's resources to sustain life.

The Navajo culture also credits Spider Woman for their unusually talented weaving abilities. As the story goes, a young Indian girl wandered into the dessert where she viewed a wisp of smoke coming from a hole in the ground. Peering into the hole, the girl saw Spider Woman spinning a blanket.

The woman welcomes the girl into her shelter and listens as the child explains her loneliness and her need for a specific purpose. In response, the Spider Woman decides to teach the girl how to spin cloth, intricately weaving beautiful patterns into it.

The girl returns to the village with her newly found skill and amazes the villagers with the beauty of the blankets she weaves. The women beg the girl to teach them as well, which she willing does. However, she reminds them that they must leave a small hole in each blanket. In puzzlement, they question why. The girl explains that it is a tribute to the Spider Woman for teaching them how to weave.

From that day on the girl was never lonely. She was befriended by all she encountered and she returned their gift of friendship by teaching them how to spin cloth.

Much in the same vein as Spider Woman used chanting or singing to spin her intricate webs, tribe shamans used the same technique to bring about a transcendental state of mind. Native American traditions often also included ceremonial drums and dance as a way of reaching the same kind of heightened state of consciousness.

Much of the culture that Spider Woman is credited with bringing to American natives continues to live on even today. No other culture is more closely aligned with the powers of Mother Earth than those of Native America. It's a pity that the remainder of mankind hasn't taken a lesson from their book and learned how accept that important bond.
by Charlotte Kuchinsky

Monday, April 9, 2012

S.W.A.N Supporting Women Artists Now

I was in Miami last weekend for the Spoken Soul's S.W.A.N event, honored to be called a SWAN now. The best part about these shows is the networking and the community. The Sunday Brunch was the best with Elena Linares, who went from a battered woman in a shelter to the owner of RazzleDazzle Barbershops, she was the guest speaker at the Vanessa Baez memorial lunch at Mister Collins in Bal Harbor. SWAN ARTISTS 2012:
Loni Johnson, Katia Danilova, Crystal Maria, Diana Contreras, Manouchka, Sasha Suarez,Alexandra BoomSheeka Seda, Elena Santayana,Tiffany Savinon, Maru - Poet,Tasha Wahlenberg, Antonia Jenae and Kristie Stephenson

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Rain Queens of Africa

Click on the link for information promoting awareness of Africa’s traditional female leadership traditions including Rain Queens, Queen Mothers, Queens, Priestesses, Shaman Healers, Warriors and their associated roles, customs and history.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Dancers Pose or Natarajasana

Dancers pose or Natarajasana allows us to experience the physicality that can produce fear in our bodies. It is said that we store fear in our hearts.. When you open your heart in a backbend or any other pose you are releasing the fear held in your heart and you are opening up yourself to all the lovely possibilities that come with an beautiful open heart. if we can find the graceful rhythm that comes from balance we will eventually be liberated in our bodies and in our minds. Excerpt from Om My Blog by Love Peace Yoga.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Finally An Empowering Take on a Classic Fairy Tale - Snow white

Looking forward to my collaboration with Michelle & Diego Romero for "Wake Up Sleeping Beauty" in September 2012.

Wake Up Sleeping Beauty Project Synopsis:
A modern musical telling of a classic fairy tale, 'Wake Up, Sleeping Beauty!' invites children and adults alike to participate in the creative reawakening of a young woman's psyche, asleep for more than a thousand years in an enchanted wood. Performed live in a poemagogic style, this princess' rebirth is the death of the damsel-in-distress archetype. (In a surprise twist, the audience itself awakens the sleeping beauty!) Upon re-awakening, she babbles in a multitude of languages, gestures and song in a near-vain attempt to relate what she has seen in her mind's eye: Death and birth, masculinity and femininity, time and space are all one and the same. With music and story in collaboration with theatre-artist and musician Michelle Riu, set and costumes by visual artist Kristie Stephenson, and hand-drawn frame by frame animations by Diego Romero (all South Florida artists) 'Wake Up, Sleeping Beauty!' is a multi-lingual tale of metamorphosis, intuition and communion.

Funded in part by the Broward County Cultural Division and the Broward Center's Arts Access program, the show aims to recruit and develop youth talent from Coral Springs, Parkland, Coconut Creek and Fort Lauderdale.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Blessing Beads

I call them Blessing Beads: My secret island find they are protective and magical, of mother earth. They are also called Job's tears (Job from the Bible) Mary's Tears, Christ's Tears. My inspiration in using these seed beads were of photos of tribal women in mourning from Papua New Guinea (PNG). The story is that these Mindima widow's will remove one collar of seeds each day while the mourning time until the last one. Then she can wash herself and find a new husband. Papua New Guinea 1983, photo by Jeff Shea.

They are mother natures perfect bead they already come with a hole and when you tap them against your teeth they feel like porcelain. This is my spin on it I have been attaching some of my designs I had cast in bronze, they are of female archetypes. The yoga community here in Jamaica will see the Buddha and I notice Trinidadians here will say they see Mother Lakshmi.
Excerpt below from Waynes World.
The common name Job's tears refers to the droplet-shaped, pearly white "beads," and to the biblical man of the Old Testament who endured great suffering. This relationship to tear drops is also reflected in the specific epithet lacryma-jobi, in reference to the tear-producing lacrimal glands located near the eyes. Although there is unanimous agreement that the beads resemble tears, there appears to be some disagreement as to exactly whose tears the beads resemble. Depending on exactly where you happen to be in the world, this plant goes by various names including David's tears, Saint Mary's tears, Christ's tears (Lacryma Christi), and just plain tear drops.

The leafy inflorescence of Job's tears (Coix lacryma-jobi) showing numerous green "beads." The dried, gray beads are strung into necklaces throughout tropical regions of the world.

3. Structure Of The Job's Tear Bead

Interestingly enough, the actual beadlike structure resembling a seed is not a seed at all. It is a very hard, hollow structure (called an involucre) containing a minute fertile female flower and two sterile flowers. Pollen-bearing male flowers are produced on a slender stalk that extends out of the bead through a tiny pore. Two feathery stigmas from the fertile female flower also protrude from the pore--ready to receive pollen from the male flowers. Like other members of the enormous Grass Family (Poaceae), Job's tears are pollinated by the wind. Following pollination, a seed-bearing grain is produced by the fertile female flower. The shiny gray beads are dispersed and planted like seeds, but they are actually remarkable little shells containing flowers and grains.

Close-up view of flowering Job's tears (Coix lacryma-jobi) showing the hollow, beadlike involucres which naturally have a hole in them. The threadlike styles of a female flower and a cluster of male flowers protrude from a tiny opening in each bead. Inside the bead is a minute, seed-bearing female flower (bottom).

4. Job's Tears As Food

Native to tropical Asia, Job's tears (also called Adlay) are used for food, particularly by peasants of the Far East. The distinguished 17th century naturalist Georg Eberhard Rumphius stated that in his day Job's tears were planted in Java and Celebes on the margins of rice fields. According to Agnes Arber (The Gramineae, 1965), Job's tears were introduced into China in the first century A.D. by a Chinese general who conquered Tongking, where the grains were widely used as a cereal. The general became so fond of Job's tears that he carried back several cartloads of the seeds to his own country.

A patch of Job's tears (Coix lacryma-jobi) in full bloom at the WAYNE'S WORD headquarters in southern California. The numerous flower clusters contain immature, green "beads."

Like other cereals, there are many cultivars of Job's tears, including soft-shelled, easily-threshed types with a sweet kernel. In some, the hulled grain is adapted for parching or boiling like rice, while in others it can be milled, ground into flour and baked into bread. Reportedly, the grain has a higher protein content than most cereals. The grains are also utilized in soups, porridge, drinks and pastries. In India, the Nagas use the grain for brewing a beer called zhu or dzu. A Japanese variety called "Ma-Yuen" is brewed into a tea and an alcoholic beverage, and roasted seeds are made into a coffee-like drink. According to Agnes Arber, the leaves are used as fodder in parts of India, and are especially relished by elephants.