May 05 2012

Writing about the Divine Feminine caused me to think of a special person I knew in upstate New York.

She was a dancer, a writer a teacher and mentor. She was a very unusual woman. She was spiritual and, at times, didn’t seem of this world. And yet her basic information on her FaceBook page was down to earth while stating:

‘these are the good old days’

I’m a liberal Dem, but not politically correct.

Interested in the art of ‘hangoutology’ and good conversation.
Dancing, writing, painting, performing and cooking are what I love doing best

Her Relationship Status sounds just like her when it says, “It’s complicated”

Her given name was Elaine Zessi, but “Zoe Artemis” was the name she commonly used.

Zoe Artemis, professional name of Elaine Zessi

If there is one thing I love to do, it’s network. Introduce people and cause paths to cross that would never have happened otherwise. But, then, I love it when acquaintances do the same for me in return. When I owned and operated my quilting business for nine years in the 1980s, I used to give weekend retreats where all of the food was catered and quilters could come and quilt without distraction. One of my quilters, Kathy from Syracuse, introduced me to a Women who had dancing workshops, Zoe Artemis.

Zoe belly-dancing.

The last time I spoke to Zoe, it was about four years ago. She was off on her latest adventures, organizing trips to her land of heritage, Greece. When I went to her web site, it was very pictorial with scenes of Zoe in the Greek islands surrounded by white walls and crystal blue seas and skies. I was enchanted by her new ventures, but not anywhere near attending her trips.

I was also amazed at her social history as she had written essays and placed them on her web site. In our phone call, I HAD to mention her affair with TV’s Ed Bradley of 60 Minutes. “Zoe!” I said, “You never told me you had an affair with Ed Bradley!” I was wide-eyed with celebrity wonderment, thinking I was two degrees from knowing Ed Bradley.

“Oh!” she said. “He was a wonderful man. Very polite and soft spoken. Yes. I liked him very much.”

“But,” she continued, “One doesn’t just talk of such things.”

So, when I decided to write about the Divine Feminine in dance, who would naturally come to mind except Zoe Artemis? Wonderful, other worldly, mentor to hundreds of women, Zoe personified feminine power and grace.

I thought that, wow! I could tie my BlogHer series to Zoe and let all my BlogHer friends know about her workshops and trips to Greece. I thought that while I’ve never been able to go, maybe some of you could!

That’s when I found out the bad news.

Zoe reading in Greece. Look at her beautiful posture!

Searching to find her webs site online, I was led to a new web site, one remembering Zoe! At first, I couldn’t even understand what it meant. “Remembering,” I thought, “That’s what you do for someone who has died.” The meaning just didn’t sink in. It took me several minutes to understand what had happened. It was a reality I was not ready to enter.

But, yes, Zoe died last summer, in 2011, of pancreatic cancer. I have been told she died as she lived, bigger than life with humor and looking ahead to her next tour of Greece. She never verbalized the negative, thinking of her life in the physical coming to an end, but rather, I am told she kept the conversation away from herself, preferring to learn about her visitor. She was always a master at enjoying the moment.

Zoe was an energy healer, using etheric
healing to realign skewed chakras.

Once I began to go to Zoe’s dance workshops, I found out that she also did energy healing and I used to go to her as a healer as well. All of us have a light body of energy that surrounds us, about six inches from our skin outward. If the light body is damaged, it can affect the physical body. Many illnesses can be healed by first healing and aligning the chakras, or energy centers, of the light body.

Zoe traveled in very high powered, intellectual circles. Here
she is reading at a tribute to Jack Kerouac in 2004. She is
at the mic from about 14:49 to 22:30 in the video.

I lost touch with Zoe when I moved away from New York State. It wasn’t until the immediacy of the Internet, I realized I could do a search on her and find her. I immediately found her web site, which is no longer up and running, sent an e-mail and soon, we were on the phone, picking up where we left off years before. Her web site was fascinating and beautiful, just as one would expect.

She talked about her trips to Greece, visiting the site of the Oracle at Delphi and many other tempting images. She encouraged me to come on these wonderful adventures, but, of course, I had too many obligations to take off and “head to the Mediterranean.” In all truth, though, I can’t imagine anything more wonderful than having journeyed as part of Zoe’s tour group. Maybe some day….

And so, now you know that why, whenever I think of the Divine Feminine, I think of Zoe, with all of her spiritual and physical talents and attributes.

And now, you will understand why, when I planned this series of Divine Feminine dancing posts, I just HAD to let you know about the incarnation in our time space known as Elaine Zessi, or Zoe Artemis.

For more information on energy healing:

“Hands of Light: A Guide to Healing
Through the Human Energy Field”

by Barbara Ann Brennan

Zoe’s writer’s trips to Greece are continuing. Look
for my post on “Women Reading Aloud,” coming soon.

Tomorrow: Zoe’s New Feminism

 

NaBloPoMo May 2012

 



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Apr 23 2012

I love surprises. Especially ones that change my perspective.

Sometimes I’m turned upside down from what I thought before. This happened to me at the beginning of March this year.

We attended the Masters Thesis concert of a friend, but there were two productions, back to back.

Valerie Durham’s Masters of Fine Art Thesis
March 8-9, 2012

Two Master thesis presentations in one evening. The second was an unexpected surprise. I was delighted to see a whole company of Isadora Duncan styled dancers, right in front of me, on the small, personal stage at the University of Maryland’s Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center. When I went into the theater, I had expected to see our family friend’s performance and figured I’d be tapping my fingers and politely clapping through the other one. In a amazing about face, I was swept away by Valerie Durham’s production, for many reasons and my attention was riveted to every note and movement.

Valerie Durham’s company, The Duncan Dancers,
performs dances in the style of Isadora Duncan.

Valerie Durham is a fourth generation Duncan Dancer. Her company, Duncan Dancers, has a web site that teaches about the techniques, choreography and style of their mentor, Isadora Duncan:

“Since discovering Duncan Dance in 1992, Valerie has focused on building, preserving and learning more about Isadora’s gorgeous, timeless and inspired technique of dance and repertory of dances. Valerie firmly believes that Duncan Dance is a vital aspect to the dance of today and that all dancers can benefit from its unique focus on musicality, artistry, personal expression and openness. She is working to innovate the Duncan technique for the 21st Century with contemporary music selection, expanded and developed movements and challenging choreography.”

Companies of Anna And Irma Duncan

Isadora Duncan considered the body the temple of the
soul. She encouraged the harmonious integration of the
mind, body, spirit and emotions through dance.

Isadora Duncan believed her audiences should concentrate on dance movements, rather than complex stage settings and costumes. Duncan stage settings were minimal and costumes were free flowing to emphasize the body and movement. The movement, likewise, appeared free flowing. Although there is a disciplined technique underneath, the dance was meant to appear free and spontaneous. A large collection of web links, along with a biography, may be found here.

Duncan style dancers explain that in ballet, there is a great awareness of technique. With Duncan technique, if done correctly, there will appear to be no technqiue.

As the Center for the Preservation of Modern Dance reveals: “Duncan dance is free-flowing and appears spontaneous; has a sense of energy and grace that radiates from the solar plexus; reflects the rhythms of nature; is danced to the great classical music; and is state of mind as much as a style of movement.”

Isadora Duncan 1877 – 1927

The divine feminine was exemplified by Isadora Duncan’s style of dance. The manifestation of a powerful feminine spirit was heightened by feminine garments and an emphasis on the passion of nature and nurturing. The sacred reverence for the female body in all of her archetypes was represented and blessed. The Isadora Duncan International Institute, Inc. in New York, NY, has tours to Europe to study our female archetypal heritage in all of its manifestations and forms. For a brochure of last year’s trip in 2011, click here. For a listing of learning events, click here.

There are many women’s groups studying and participating in this revival of feminine power. By recognizing the maternal world that existed before the power structure of male strength was imposed upon it, beauty and peace are revered. Expression of the female spirit through dance has led to this emphasis on the divine female.

It is important in a world that is more technologically
structured to affirm and actively respect
women and their naturally feminine shapes.

Next in this series: Introducing Zoe Artemis

NaBloPoMo April 2012



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Apr 17 2012

The book “Demeter’s Daughters” made a great impression upon me when I read it in the 1990s.

It set me straight about feminism in Colonial America. Many people wrongly assume that feminism is a time-line with recent, progressive advances. But, as author Selma R. Williams points out, in the United States, it wasn’t until “…the end of the eighteenth century the self-sufficient, independent wife was replaced by the “lady” whose indolence, ignorance, and subservience were cultivated as the status symbol of her husband’s prosperity.”

This early 1900s postcard shows the influence of dancer
Isadora Duncan’s emphasis on free and natural movements
inspired by classical Greek art.

In truth, “Demeter’s Daughters” convincingly maintains that, “Like the ancient Greek Goddess Demeter, females of early America were responsible for supplying society with earth’s blessings: food, marriage, children – and civic harmony. The story of these women – heroines, victims, and at least a few out-and-out scoundrels – is the story of the founding of the United States.”

Ms. Williams continues that “…colonial women set the pace for twentieth-century feminists. And the modern “Ms.” has yet to catch up,” as written in 1975, the date of the book’s publication.

I have been greatly influenced by the book, “Demeter’s Daughters, The Women Who Founded America 1587 – 1787,” and one day it occurred to me that being a daughter bonds all women.  Not all women are wives, mothers or sisters, but all women are daughters.

In recent thoughts about BlogHer, I realized that we BlogHer daughters are gathered in cyberspace to supply each of our own societies with earth’s blessings. And that…

Why, wait a minute! What’s this? A poem!

It must be an entry for Mel’s NaBloPoMo Poetry Contest: Villanelle

How in the world did that get here?

Gathered Daughters

By Robin, SunbonnetSmart.com

Gathered daughters, unrelated mothers,
Come to nurture soul with soul aligned and
Reaching, teaching, purposed for each other.

Once strange women, questing for a smother,
Of female caring, so they join and band
Gathered daughters, unrelated mothers.

Young women writing, some mommy bloggers,
Use adult words to make their baby plans,
Reaching, teaching, purposed for each other.

Middle women writing, baby boomers,
Lessen life pains with extra love to span
Gathered daughters, unrelated mothers,

Older women writing, sound unfettered,
Free to offer guidance and a quick hand,
Reaching, teaching, purposed for each other.

Small portraits beckon, on the screen cluttered,
Attracting mentors, to a comment land.
Gathered daughters, unrelated mothers,
Reaching, teaching, purposed for each other.

Ta-DA!

NaBloPoMo April 2012



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