In Search of the Goddess
by Bonnie Gold Bell
In 1986, I had surgery to remove a lymph gland damaged by an infection called cat-scratch fever. I’d gotten the infection in Hawaii on a spiritual assignment that brought me in contact with the powerful energies of the Goddess. After the surgery, the illness seemed to go dormant. Six years later, I noticed a small lump in my breast. Mammography did not reveal any danger. The lump was thought to be another gland swollen by the cat-scratch fever, and it remained small for eight more years.
When the lump began to grow in 2000, I knew, with a certainty that shook me, that the disease was so deep in my being that no surgeon could excise it. I saw my illness as an outgrowth of my sojourn in Hawaii when I embraced, then rejected, my own She-Powers. In order to survive this illness, I would have to take back my female strength. This quest took me close to death, brought me back to life, and gave me gifts of healing Goddess art.
In our male-dominant culture, the potency of the great Mother has been demonized. When I called on Her for help in the 1980’s, I wasn’t prepared for the self-reflection that came with Her support. I couldn’t process the revelation of my shadow, and the ways I could easily abuse power. Without wise women to guide me, I judged myself and fell into self-hate. In the years that followed, I evolved in many ways, but I buried this negation deep in my cells. In 2000, it rose to the surface as the lump in my breast. Only when I began making images of the Goddess, with her personas of light and shadow, was I finally able to reclaim my She-Powers and heal from the inside out.
By then, my partner, David, and I were immersed in creating “healing mandalas” and icons. We sought to convey the alchemical melding of Spirit and Matter. The source materials for our images were photographs of natural objects from around our home in the wilds of Mendocino County. We scanned these close-up photos into our computer and re-shaped them into geometric Nature mandalas and sacred figures. Like traditional mandalas and icons, our images transmitted activating vibrational information for healing and transformation. The specific image that catalyzed my recovery was an icon of the compassionate Goddess Kuan Yin.
We were creating a custom image for Judy Miller Dienst, a wonderful medical intuitive who was supporting my healing process. Judy wanted to include her favorite statue of Kuan Yin as well the moon, the ocean, owl feathers, and a spiral. We created an image called “Deep Gold” that opened a portal to the energies of the Mother.
Helped by David, Judy and this Goddess image, I began to take back my She-Powers. I wept and grieved and re-embraced my exiled energies. Buoyed by the healing grace that came through the “Deep Gold” image, I decided to make more Mother icons. I worked with Goddess statues from many cultures and mixed them with Nature elements. The Earth-Mother melded with the Spirit-Mothers in these icons. David and I crafted the images together, and we both used them to reclaim our feminine selves.
The colors, Nature elements and archetypal Goddess in each image combined to form a vibrational “song”, a healing message of beauty. I sensed that if I could energetically absorb a Goddess-song into each of my chakras, it would strengthen my entire system. I started to feel more whole.
In the fall of 2002, having transmuted much of my deep self-negation, I was ready to benefit from medical treatment. With my seven Mothers in hand, I went to a clinic where I was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer. I was put on a regimen of allopathic and alternative medicines, without chemotherapy or surgery. I continued to ingest Goddess medicine through our images. To the amazement of my doctors, I quickly and steadily recovered. Today, I am extremely well and grateful beyond words.
Now there are 13 “Mystical Mothers”, and they continue to astonish me. Recently, I discovered the origin of the Kuan Yin statue in the “Deep Gold” image. For decades, she has been on display in the Nelson-Atkins Art Museum in Kansas City. She is a “Water and Moon” Kuan Yin from 11tth-12th century China. Hearing this description, I got chills. Simply on the basis of Judy’s intuition, we had placed the statue on a background of water and a full moon. Not only that: I grew up in Kansas City and visited that Museum regularly. So while I first met the Goddess as an adult in Hawaii, I met this very Kuan Yin as a child in America’s heartlands. Across time and space, the Mother-Powers have reached me and made me new. I hope, through these images, they will also reach you.
Originally published in Common Ground Magazine, Feb. 2005
Words and Images © 2004 Bonnie Bell and David Todd. All rights reserved