Originally a Roman Goddess who represented light and birth, Lucina merged with Juno becoming Juno-Lucina. In later years, she evolved into St. Lucia and is still celebrated in Scandinavia on December 13th, represented by a woman wearing a crown of candles, symbolizing the return of the light. As Juno- Lucina, the ladybug and the cuckoo were her symbols. The frieze behind her is part of a larger piece depicting the goddesses and gods of ancient Rome, later than 6th century BCE.

   25"x25" copyright 1996 oil on linen  
  60" diameter copyright 1991-2 oil on linen


Mare Nostrum was the Roman name of the Mediterranean Sea. Pictured are: SEDNA: There was an Inuit legend of a young woman who went fishing with her father. He felt she was eating too many fish and pushed her out of the canoe. As she clung to the side, he cut off her fingers and she sank to the bottom, becoming a Goddess in the sea; her fingers became the fish in the ocean. To ensure a good catch, the shaman journeys to the bottom of the ocean to ask for her blessing. She is wearing a Tlingit killer whale mask, a Koniag Eskimo dance headdress and a Nunivak Island Eskimo necklace; she is holding a Tsimshian soul catcher tube and a Nishga amulet rattle. YEMAYA-OLOKUN: Yoruba Mother of the Sea. She is the source of all life and protector of children in the womb. She is holding an early 20th century Ijebu waterspirit mask from Nigeria and a vessel with a carving of Olokun from an Ijebu drum; her bracelet is Ijebu, 18th century. HAYA-AKITSU-HIME-NO-KAMI: The Japanese Goddess who ate all the sins cast into the ocean. She is holding a Haniwa (death mask) of a shaman from the Yamato state, 5th-6th century, and a female figurine used in sacred ceremonies from the late Jomon period, 1000-250 BCE. ATARGATIS: Ancient Middle Eastern Sea Goddess born from an egg in the Euphrates River, often depicted with a fishtail. She is holding a Roman statuette of herself as Dea Syria from the 3rd century in her left hand and, in her right, an Elamite statue of a Fish Goddess from Tang-I-Sarvak, Iran from the 18th century BCE. In the background is a stone sculpture of a Fish Goddess from Lepenski Vir, Northerns Yugoslavia, from the early 6th millennium BCE.



Mawu is the Creator/Moon Goddess known among the people from the Dahomey region of West Africa. After creating the earth and all life and everything else on it, she became concerned that it might be too heavy, so she asked the primeval serpent, Aido Hwedo, to curl up beneath the earth and hold it up in the sky. When she asked Awe, a monkey she had also created, to help out and make some more animals out of clay, he boasted to the other animals and challenged Mawu. Gbadu, the first woman Mawu had created, saw all the chaos on earth and told her children to go out among the people and remind them that only Mawu can give Sekpoli - the breath of life. Gbadu instructed her daughter, Minona, to go out among the people and teach them about the use of palm kernels as omens from Mawu. When Awe, the arrogant monkey climbed up to the heavens to try to show Mawu that he too could give life, he failed miserably. Mawu made him a bowl of porridge with the seed of death in it and reminded him that only she could give life and that she could also take it away. She is holding a 19th century Fon royal staff from Dahomey and wearing a 20th century shell headdress from the same region.

 30"x24" copyright 1998 oil on linen  
 30"x24" copyright 1999 oil on linen


Medusa, originally the serpent Goddess of female wisdom of the Libyan Amazons, was also known as Metis in those days. Her blood was said to have the power to create life or bring death, symbolized by the 2 black swans, facing opposite directions, who sometimes accompanied her image. She was known as a full moon Goddess who brought rain for the crops. In later myths, she was a beautiful Gorgon Queen who guarded the Garden of the Hesperides containing the tree of golden apples in the land of the setting sun. Athena put a curse on Medusa, turning her hair to snakes and causing those who glimpsed her face to turn to stone, as punishment for making love with Poseidon in Athena's temple. Patriarchal Greek myths tell of Medusa's demise at the hands of Perseus who gave Athena, the Greek Goddess of Wisdom, the former's head to wear on her shield. These myths had also told of Zeus swallowing Metis, Athena's mother, and Athena springing from Zeus' head, a clear example of the way the embodiment of wisdom was changed from the earlier matrifocal myths. The images of Medusa are: left foreground, Gorgon with caduceus from Corfu, 6th century BCE; right foreground, terracotta altar relief from Syracuse, late 7th century BCE; on tree on right, "The Medusa Ludovisi", Roman, c. 200 BCE; tree in background left, 6th century BCE, Taranto. The necklace is from a Medusa's head cameo from Petescia, Italy, 1st century BCE; earrings from Gorgon head appliques from Ukraine, 450-425 BCE.



The primary deity of the northern Germanic tribes, her name meant "earth". When the wagon displaying her statue was paraded among the tribes, all weapons were put away and all fighting stopped. On top of the stones from Externsteine, Germany, is a wagon found at Strettweg, Austria from the 7th century BCE; on the brooch is an image of the matronae from an altar in Nettersheim, Germany, 500 CE.

 30"x24" copyright 1996 oil on linen  


Ancient Egyptian Goddess of the Cosmos, she was also known as "she who bore the gods". Nut was the eternally permanent sky arched over the earth, with her children, the sun, moon and stars, moving through her. It was she who poured the nourishing rain down from the heavens with her water jar and she who offered water and food to the souls of the departed. Her image was often pictured inside the tops and bottoms of coffins so that the dead could be embraced by her for eternity. Ceiling relief from the Temple of Hathor, Denderah, Egypt, 1st-4th century CE.

 25"x26" copyright 1995 oil on linen  


Yoruba Goddess of the rivers that sustain life, she rules love, beauty and the arts, especially dance. Streams, rivers, lakes and waterfalls carry her voice on their waters. Adorned with gold jewelry, she speaks to one of her birds, the parrot. She is holding the fan of a priestess of Oshun who is the mediator between the divine/natural world and the world of people (the cross in the circle indicating a meeting of the two worlds), from Osogbo, Nigeria.

 28"x24" copyright 1996 oil on linen  


Oshun, the Yoruba Goddess of Love and Life-Sustaining Rivers, is the Goddess of all the arts, but especially dance. Beauty belongs to Oshun and represents the human ability to create beauty for its own sake, to create beyond need. It is also said that she is the knitter of civilization, since great cities have been founded, for the most part, along rivers in order to supply water to their populations. She is portrayed here in a pose typical of the Yoruba priestesses of Oshun who recline gracefully along the banks of the Niger River in West Africa. In the branches of the tree on the left is the fan of one of these priestesses from Osogbo, Nigeria.

 29"x24" copyright 1999 oil on linen  


Oya is the powerful Yoruba Goddess of the Winds of Change; the Primeval Mother of Chaos; Queen of the Nine (for the nine tributaries of the Niger River). Using her machete, or sword of truth, she cuts through stagnation and clears the way for new growth. She does what needs to be done. She is the wild woman, the force of change; lightning, fire, tornadoes, earthquakes and storms of all kinds are ruled by Oya. She is also Queen of the Marketplace, a shrewd businesswoman and adept with horses. As the wind, she is the first breath and the last, the one who carries the spirits of the dead to the other world, which is why she is associated with cemeteries. The sculpture on the right is after the Oya Shrine: Female Equestrian by Bamgboye, Odo-Owa, Ekiti region, mid 20th century. The heads on her necklace are from the same piece.

 30" diameter 1999 oil on linen  


Hawaiian Goddess of Fire and the Kilauea Volcano. She is said to appear as a wise crone or a beautiful young woman with a fiery temperament. As a young woman, Pele met Lohiau; they fell in love and were wed. After awhile she longed to return to her volcano and so left him. Pining away for her, Lohiau nearly died but Pele sent her sister Hiiaka to retrieve him. Hiiaka and Lohiau fell in love during their journey and Pele, after an initial outburst, in an act of generosity, allowed them to leave and be married. She found a new lover, Kamapua'a, whose temperament matched her own and even now their fiery courtship continues. Lava Goddess symbol from Honolulu.

 30"x24" copyright 1997 oil on linen  


Psyche was in love with Eros, the son of Aphrodite, Goddess of Love, meeting him only in darkness. Becoming curious about his appearance, after prodding by her sisters, one night Psyche lit an oil lamp to see her lover; some oil fell on him waking him up. He flew away and vowed never to return. Psyche went to Aphrodite for help and was given a series of difficult tasks, one of which was to descend to Hades and get a container of beauty ointment from Persephone. After successfully completing all the tasks, she was reunited with Eros, given a cup of ambrosia and made immortal. Psyche, in Greek, has the meaning of both soul and butterfly. The butterfly design on the container is from Mycenaean Greece, 15th century BCE; the box has a middle Minoan seal impression from Zakros, Crete, 1700 BCE; the spirit figures behind her are after an ancient Roman sculpture of Psyche and Eros.

  20"x20" copyright 1997 oil on linen  


At a time when the Lakota people were in great need, two Lakota men saw a "wakan" (holy) woman floating toward them. When they met and saw how beautiful she was, one of the men thought of her only in a physical way and acted disrespectfully. He was struck by lightning and became a pile of ashes. The other behaved properly and she instructed him to tell his people to prepare a medicine lodge for her arrival. She taught the Lakota people many skills, giving them the sacred medicine pipe and showing them how to pray. She told them that the pipe binds together the sky, the earth and all life on it. She also said that the buffalo is a sacred being, representing the universe and standing in the west to hold back the waters. When all the buffalo are gone and the waters cover the earth, the sacred hoop will end. The bowl of the pipe is Sioux, from the historic era in pre-contact style; stem from a Brule-Sioux pipe 1900-10; dress - Sioux 1885; wristband - Sioux 1920; hair ornament - Sioux 1875-1900.

 28"x20" copyright 1997 oil on linen  


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