The Charge of the Goddess

Charge of the Goddess soul of nature

2003

36 pages

10.25 H x 7 W x .5 inch D

Unique calligraphic manuscript book

Listen
to the words
of the Great Mother
who of old was called
Artemis
Astarte
Mary
Isis
Demeter
Aphrodite
Cerridwen
Inanna
Diana
Brigid
Hecate
and by many other names

I am the beauty of the green earth
and the white moon among the stars
and the mystery of the waters.
I am the soul of nature
that gives life to the universe.
From me all things proceed
and unto me they must return.

Let my worship be
in the heart that rejoices,
for behold,
all acts of love and pleasure
are my rituals.
Let there be beauty and strength,
power and compassion,
honor and humility,
mirth and reverence within you.

And you who seek to know me,
know that seeking and yearning
will avail you not,
unless you know the mystery.
For if that which you seek,
you find not within yourself,
you will never find it without.
For behold, I have been with you
from the beginning,
and I am that which is attained
at the end of desire.

Excerpted from
The Charge of the Goddess by Doreen Valiente,
in the mid-20th century, in England.

The book and its handful of decorations are housed in a fourfold Cave paper wrapper with the title lettered on the spine and a braided ribbon loop and button closure, a case made in 2007 when the book traveled to Minneapolis to show in the MIAD exhibit “Sacred Texts, Contemporary Forms.”

The text block is sewn on olive green grosgrain ribbon tapes which are then tied to the cover through slits. The decorations on the spine of the book are actually not a structural part of the binding but were added on after the book was sewn. The bits and bobs were tied on or threaded through to make a full handful of bright ephemera while holding the book open in the hand for ceremony.

The pages were painted with pigmented wheat paste in the summer of 2002, with ocher, spring green, magenta and purple color, with Twinrocker gold powder added during the painting process, so all the pages shimmer. The lettering was then added in 2003 with folded and broad-edged pens using colored gouache.

The book cover is made from a heavy watercolor paper built up with a crumpled thin Japanese tissue, then overlaid with acrylic colors and medium, to which sparkle of various kinds was added. Endpapers are a shiny gold Japanese paper meant to be crumpled, but instead appears  as a shining sheet leading into and out of the book. Methods used on the pages include pochoir (stencils) and frottage (rubbing over a stencil or charm to leave a ghost image), plus the marks left by tools in the wet pigmented paste.

Artist’s collection.