Amazing Art and Iconographer in San Miguel Allende

Mary Jane Miller is fast becoming a voice for exploring new attitudes. Miller has been inspired for the past 25 years by the question, “What, besides spiritual awe, does religion tell us about the our human condition and our desire for the divine? Can we still receive guidance from the a worn out Christ story through interpreting ancient images and text in a new light? The answers she finds led to a new faith and hope for new contemporary images based on that old story, and today that means including women.

 

Currently she has finished a large body of work, published in her new book, IN LIGHT OF WOMEN. The book focuses on the absence of Women in Iconography. The collection includes full page color images with her commentary beside them. Iconography is the discipline of transcribing biblical text into pictures. Think for a moment about all those images of the last supper you may have seen. Mary Jane has painted many traditional images of the last supper, and now with several small changes. She included cultures from around the world and of course the women among them.

Religions around the world profess to want a more loving relationship with God and creation. Her images have the potential to enrich the traditional celebration of sacrament and mystery with a wider view for humanity in general. We are a global community, ready to share and flourish by seeing ourselves side by side with one another in every possible way, with no gender bias. History tells us Jesus transformed those he came in contact with. Amazing Art and Iconographer in San Miguel Allende will be lecturing on Mary Magdalene’s transformation to become a female apostle, disciple and follower.


MARY MAGDALENES´S LOST WORDS

History tells us the man named Jesus was a person who transformed those he came in contact with. Mary Magdalene also experienced a transformation and became a female apostle, disciple and follower. She was a woman who tenaciously held onto Christ through difficult times and today the new icons by Mary Jane Miller hope to celebrate, inspire and expand the feminine visions of the divine. Women are finding themselves in a new world, after 2,000 years. The church has no choice but to reached out to women by revisiting the documentation and significance of what they have known and learned by having Christ in their lives.

UPCOMING LECTURE

We hear nothing about Mary Magdalene after she was sent by Jesus to the apostles. Whether Mary went to a cave in France pregnant with his child or to the Egyptian desert to meditate, we will never know for sure. The Gospel of Mary retrieved from the sandy deserts of Egypt have given painters like Mary Jane a fuller picture of Christ’s early teachings and his conversations with women. For Women, the unraveling has begun. Few of us know if the Gospel of Mary was considered for canonical inclusion or not. The text scrolls found in1896 have been rejected by the traditional church “authorities”. However, in September of 2016 the Vatican finally recognized Mary Magdalene as the undiscovered mystic she might have been. The name Mary means, ‘Barer of the Light’ and Magdalena means ‘Elevated, great, magnificent’.

Mary Jane’s studio is open for a visit and some lively conversation.

NEW book on Amazon, an collection of icons  from IN LIGHT OF WOMEN,  delightfully deviates from the orthodox norm. Part of what Miller discovered while looking for the Women to be illuminated through icons was the fact that there are so few icons with women in them to use as inspiration. The book can be purchased on line through the Web site millericons.com

 

BUY A BOOK Click here

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Undiscovered Women in the Christian Tradition

Cultural bias against women has to a large extent been overcome in the societies of developed nations, however, the tradition and status of women is still unfortunately inferior to men around the world. Jesus strongly promoted the dignity and equality of women yet the early Christians leadership greatly reduced their roles in an effort to build the institution which reflected the cultural norms of the day. For 2,000 years women have been marginalized and I expect many will agree it is time for change. It will not come without effort from everyone one on every side to stop the prevailing ingrained bias and prejudice against undiscovered Women in the Christian Tradition.

For centuries they were physically seen but not heard, present but confined to areas behind grills, convent windows or to one side of the isle. The liturgies are still filled with subtle references to him and his, men of God and mankind. To some extent this is language. On the other hand, women often allow for the injustice and filter the teachings to include themselves or simply accept our names are not mentioned, and our voice is not heard.

According to the Gospel accounts, Jesus’ attitude towards women was one of love and respect. Jesus did not differentiate between men and women; both genders were invited to participate in the future kingdom of God. He walked through cities and villages, preaching and bringing the good news to God’s people. Prophets, Saints, Disciples and Apostles were named and called in both genders. They were all instructed to love, heal, teach and share the words of Gods instructions for the benefit of humankind.

The Women who knew Jesus

Mary Magdalene was one of his travel companions present at many events recording to the bible, yet women of that era normally didn’t speak to men in public. John 4:7 – 5:30 records Jesus’ conversation with the Samaritan, an outcast, a foreigner and a woman, why would Christ even speak with her? The women who touches the hem of His garment He calls a “dog” ! The disciples argue over who will be the wife in heaven after 7 brothers have passed her from bed to bed! The women who washes His feet with her hair illustrates an act of extravagant love yet she is referred to as a prostitute simply because she wears her hair loose. Jesus cured a woman who suffered from menstrual bleeding, curious ailment? yet this healing was possible with God. I call on the priesthood to review these stories and give us a clearer, deeper interpretations, ones where women are seen as valuable and wise rather than their being lesser then men, dirty or in need of healing.

One example of a women who knew Jesus involves the story of Veronica’s veil. As Jesus walked with His cross, a woman called Veronica seeing His blood and sweat, drew out her handkerchief and wiped His brow. Later on, she reverently caressed the piece of linen and later found the image of the blood-stained face of Jesus imprinted on it. This small act of kindness set in motion the whole tradition for iconography.

Women are unnamed disciples of Christ

Women followed Jesus at the baptism, feeding the five thousand, the last supper and Pentecost, etc. They had to have been there witnessing beside men because of His open and inclusive teachings. Women proved their commitment to Christ, at the foot of the cross, at the tomb and afterwards in service to the community as wise women apostles and disciples. Paul’s letters in particular yield strong historical evidence that the leadership roles of women in the infant church got distorted. Contrary to this the artwork in the catacombs appears to indicate that women took an active part in leadership in the early Church and also in the celebration of the Eucharist.

Christian Feminism

Many catholic women are restless and dissatisfied with the Churches refusal to dignify women. They find no benefit from their long devoted silence. No matter how much female devotion and dedication to the teachings, the Church institution continues to limit the service of women. Most women active in today’s church have come into contact with those in control who refuse to re frame the outdated “ancient” teachings institutionalized by men. Women are tired of always getting permission from a man. The bias towards them has changed too slowly.

In 1960 the Roman Catholic Church changed celebrating mass in Latin to each countries native language, before that it was Latin everywhere. It was a necessary alteration in the mass. People had changed and many no longer studied or spoke any Latin anywhere. In addition for centuries Catholics were encouraged not to read the bible independently for fear of false or misleading interpretations. The church had to change a long tradition to suite the times. This was a magnificent change opening communication and debate and thinking. How the church treats Women is a similar landscape which also needs change. Imagine men went to the moon in 1964 but after 2,000 years only a few nations are beginning to ponder the position of women in today’s church or society.

TRUTH Galatians: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus”.

Few biblical text defend the absence of Women’s voices. The words of ancient theologians fuel theological debates but unfortunately continue to perpetuate an ignorance of our contemporary world. Centuries ago women were accepted as inferior to men and considered unworthy, poor things were easily led astray. In the 2nd century Tertullian, said of woman: “You are the devil’s gateway”; in the 3rd century Origen wrote: “What is seen with the eyes of the creator is masculine, and not feminine, for God does not stoop to look upon what is feminine; in the 4th century Epiphanius said: “The devil seeks to vomit out his disorder through women.”

YUP outrageous, Harsh words indeed!

The study of  Gnostic influences must have really threatened the mainline developing church institution during the first two centuries. The teachings were decidedly unacceptable, too radical, too inclusive, too mystical to teach and therefore rejected, ridiculed and squashed. Many of the texts highlighted commonality and a common spirit shared equally within all of creation. Yet, the church chose to shape the cultural prejudice against women making them inferior to men by nature and by law. A male dominated church rose and kept the control. As late as St Thomas Aquinas 1250, we have a well developed attitude: “… the individual nature, a woman is defective and misbegotten, for the active power of the male seed tends to the production of a perfect likeness in the masculine sex; while the production of a woman comes from defect in the active power….”. Theology like this altered the agenda of the day and may have helped to perpetuate the undiscovered Women in the Christian Tradition

Ladies, if you have ever wondered where the teachings came from, the framework for our continual debasement, the doctrines which have been hailed as word of God, these kinds of text above are still being held to be truth. If the men are so enlightened and want to teach the word of God, those in power will have to recognize the error and make amends, for too long we have failed to see accurately the God given blessed commonality within the male/female relationship. Those in power have the power to omit the words and teaching which do not serve but only hinder and separate women. The past has passed and we are fast coming into a new age of awareness. We are waking up to a new world. The sky and the mountains and the oceans have always witnessed truth, only humanity has failed to see clearly how balanced creation is and how it fits together as a whole, male and female alike.

We Can Allow Change.

It is not heretical to think there is equality with difference between the sexes. We are by no means finished learning to be one body in Christ, we have yet to fully develop and honor the feminine side. Our leaders must condemn sexual discrimination in their congregations on every level and work to put an end to the subordination of women in every community and societies around the world. Or we ill forever remain the undiscovered Women in the Christian Tradition

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Spiritual Wisdom, knowing you are a Remarkable Observer

How many people strive for Wisdom, that moment of sure, deep knowing when something is undeniably clear, right in front of you. It is exhilarating.

Spiritual Wisdom, is knowing you are a remarkable observer, it is the moment  your body, and mind, and all your emotions engage in a single act of perception. Normally it happens in an instant, like seeing the way things are in their total-ness. Wisdom feels like your whole state of being has been lifted into another plane of awareness. Lemons are not just lemons anymore and yet they are just lemons. The other shocking quality is when you tell someone about it, the words get scrambled but you are unshakable sure you know what happened and what you understood.

 

The delightful truth is, Wisdom is normally unexpected and undeniable, a mystical experience offered to anyone and at any time. It is often an acutely altered mode of our being present in the world, and at the same time out of this world. Ironically it is perceived with an increased capacity to have compassion, humility, and groundedness – qualities described in Christianity as “the fruits of the spirit.” ( I have always liked being a fool for God, now I can add being a fruit as well!)

All Religions

Wisdom underlies all the great religious traditions without being exclusively confined to any of them. It is as common as water being poured into a number of different glasses. It can take on their shape or even coloration, but the water remains water, loved, shared and prized by all. Wisdom is the closest point of contact where all beliefs potentially find a commonality in their spiritual traditions. At their tradition, dogmatic and doctrinal poles, they may be light years away from each other, yet as I said wisdom claims no ownership and a never ending source open to all and often un-requested. Wisdom, in any language, age group, tradition, ceremony, circumstance, etc. comes from a source greater than we can imagine, in a world without beginning or end. It cannot be created or destroyed and has no actual form but is undeniably real.

Sacred traditions distinguish wisdom by signature genres and teaching methods; parables, koans, and story telling. The goal is to overturn the ego and mental brain and break through to that life giving center where there is absolute meaning. Jesus, Buddha, Gandhi, the Upanishads, the Dali Lama are clearly recognizable as a Wisdom teachers. We consider them to be wise because they see life from the perspectives of wisdom and love. We seek consciousness as if it were a new age concept, something we can get or achieve or become. I would say this is an upside down perception, the witnessing self who knows there is no self is the beginning of knowing and seeing reality as all love, all wisdom, all truth. The process of learning to loss the self is classically referred to as “putting the mind in the heart.”

The heart is understood as the seat of spiritual perception. Unlike the mind, which perceives through differentiation, the heart perceives inter-dimensionally, by directly grasping a larger pattern. The heart is liberated from its personal emotional drama and its attachment. “be still and know” This purification is brought about through the classic practices of silence, surrender, non-identification, and compassion.

Humanity is finally Changing

William Blake once described it – the higher intensity of the vibrational field is divine presence, it witnesses consciousness after the mind displaces its belief attached to personal identity. It is Spiritual Wisdom, knowing you are a remarkable observer. Teilhard de Chardin: “To understand the world, knowledge is not enough. You must see it, touch it, live in its presence.” Gospel of Thomas “ Jesus said: I will give you that which eye has not seen, an ear has not heard, and hand has not touched, and that which has not entered into the heart of man”. All of them say the same , there is more than what we think of as enough.

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Painting Medium of Egg Yolk and Timeless Dirt, Fantastic

If there is NO GOD then I have had a great time living the illusion that there is one and

If there IS a GOD, it will confirm a life illuminated by something greater than I can imagine.

Mind and spirit exist in God as well as in the ancient medium of egg tempera, (painting with million year old dirt). The practice allows us to slowly witness our selves as we work and simultaneously watch the image as it arises in form and beauty. Our minds and spirits cannot help but give meaning to what we can see around us as the image unfolds. The egg tempera technique reveals a marvelous tiny world were we comprehend the unseen and make it visible. Egg tempera is so intimately yoked to me ( pun intended) I have thought I might one day be transformed into a chicken. I want to breathe in life and know God at every moment while pushing pigments around. The easiest way for me to find beauty, harmony and peace is in this dirt.The tradition of Painting Medium of Egg Yolk and Timeless Dirt, can withstand lots of history, for its beauty and limitless range of image and message.

I invite you to allow this rich tradition and

experience to take you into the mystical and illogical.

“I am” is an ancient concept of the divine, it states a moment of individual existence. So with an icon,(means image). Painting images in egg tempera is limitless meditation; the process has seduced generations of icon painters into looking at what is obvious, “I am”… matter and mind simultaneously. The potential for spiritual awareness is trapped in million year old dirt waiting to be seen. There the grains of sand individually placed are beauty and stillness changing our world, one inch at a time. The delicate membrane around the yolk holds the essence of life within itself, liken to humans whose flesh holds the consciousness of God.

We are grains of sand screaming at the ocean of God.

Expect to get astonished by the divine link, as you witness Gods action in you merging matter and spirit through painting icons. We witness our efforts to create as the color deepens and changes, is transformed and highlighted all in some magnificent symphony played out in simple dirt.

My new body of work is challenging to the status quo of the icon community. This is fine, there have always been heretics and rebels in every aspect of life around the globe. The tradition of Painting Medium of Egg Yolk and Timeless Dirt, can withstand lots of history, for its beauty and limitless range of image and message. God is a verb, changing and revealing him/her self to us, just as if every instant is God’s fist thought of creation. The foundation for every great icon is first in the spirit, and not necessarily in the tradition. The first icons expressed a universal idea which dates back more than a millennium and speaks of holiness, the fantastic blending of flesh and spirit in Christ. That mystic concept is creation being felt and experienced by everyone, even today.

WE .. ARE… BEING… THOUGHT

All communication will lead us to realize;

We are not alone,
We are all connected,
We live outside of time and space
We are loved because we are sustained
We will begin to perceive this through our
thought, love, vibration, breath, and energy.

It is not loneliness I carve, it is ONE liness.

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CHAOS and FRACTALS and POSSIBILITIES…

What is going on?

(1) We are in the end times.

(2) Humanity has never seen such greed and selfishness before.

(3) We are experiencing life as chaos.

As people experience their world spinning out of control and sense their own powerlessness with daily craziness, acts of violence, and unimaginable suffering, nothing seems stable.

Destruction and ruin lurk everywhere, taking many forms. It feels uncertain, too many anxious individuals living in a worn out system. Our vulnerability is increasing as cyber technology exposes us and hacking holds us hostage.

 

It is scary stuff filled with fear and anxiety.

We are not able to function well – our thoughtfulness, creativity, and ability to respond with kindness is being compromised.  The surge of unbridled greed and selfishness is effecting everything; our families, schools, governments, the eco system, religion, commerce, science, etc. Greed and selfishness bread evil, destructive, supremacy, and lives with no reverence. We are living in a time of social regression, “charity no longer begins at home” . Our hearts are tight, our souls are afraid, and our minds have ceased to think well. We are living separate and isolated lives, tainted by the “loveless” behavior of others.

Co-operation among people, states, cities, counties, and nations have all been thwarted by chaos. We live in a world of lies, forgetting that one part of the system does indeed affect all parts of the system. We live an illusion outside the natural order where all things are connected. We believe the sun, the rain, the earth, the stars and ocean all work in cosmic harmony, without us. We live privileged lives thinking we are not part of a larger, complex world system at virtually every level.

 

Fractals are a hopeful metaphor for what is happening.

Out of chaos emerges the new order. Chaos is a natural part of the universal cycle of life. Chaos is not a total absence of order. It appears we are living with a profound lack of organization or order, yet with time what eventually arise is a pattern for the future. Within the “chaos” is everything needed to create the future. A fractal is a thing of beauty and wonder that when seen in small scale may seem disconnected. Yet as you back up and away of the one part, all the parts become organized beauty and pattern. The metaphor is a good one for today, each of us is being called to get out of the one moment or one problem or one person and see a larger landscape. The new bigger picture is filled with pattern repetition and grace. We have a grand opportunity to interpret and connect the dots in new and different ways.

I paint with millions of grains of colored sand mixed with egg yolk, who could possibly believe what the whole image looks like if you only saw a fragment. Again the metaphor, we cannot see the whole if we look only at the moment. We cannot see the ocean if we keep looking at the beach.

 


In the midst of all this chaos of greed and selfishness

something wonderful is happening.

By God’s grace we are living in a fractal moment. God’s gift to us, is precisely the possibility of this moment, even if it appears like horror show. I would ask, “What do we see, think and understand and what are we to do?” First, make the commitment to live in the midst of this moment through acceptance, none of us own it, sustain it or maintain it. Step up to the creative process of living, experimenting, focusing, examining, seeing all the potential that has been given. As a believer I ask myself, “How can I best serve God? Creation? Others? How do I connect the ocean and the sand in my mind and make peace with things which are so much greater than I? How do I learn from the wonder and beauty of great situations and accept them as simply patterns repeating in millions of ways.

The Spirit will lead us to create the new things,

in a new order that will support, sustain, and enliven our future.

It will be good, a complete and bodacious surprise.

 

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Mend the Hole in the Cosmos

The question may be, is there a whole in the cosmos? As a metaphor perhaps there is. Humankind is making real deep and lasting gash on the face of the planet, deep bleeding holes in continents around the world. We are using up the resources for our own benefit with little thought for the future health of the planet. Sheep have eaten grass for centuries with no noticeable change to the environment, but humans have created a massive machine cranking out everything in its wake for its own self preservation leaving their footprint all over the countryside.

Greed and Beauty

Magnificent coastlines which have no buildings, and pristine mountain slopes standing naked but for some weathered trees are both visual comfort zones of peace and rest. The fields grow wheat and oats, the sheep and cattle graze on a thick bed of moist green grass. At first glance the beauty will take your breath away until you realize a few, a very few humans own it all, swapping its production and output among themselves. The beauty is owned by the unbridled greed of the supper wealthy, fortunes amassed in an age of greed and excessive power.

When is it Enough?

I learned 85 % of land in Scotland is owned by 7% of the people, the percentage may vary a bit but it illustrates the point. Ownership keeps the land beautiful and productive but at what expense to the rest of us, our education, freedom and human diversity? Perhaps we should thank these few chosen dynasties for their environmental concerns and conservation efforts. Perhaps we should hail the rich persons vision of shared resources. I cannot, it is a lie, this sort of pristine beauty is controled and not shared, not sustainable and not realistic.

So Where is the Hole in the Cosmos?

The hole is in the greedy heart, it designs systems for its own gain. The Lord, Duke and Earl paradigm is over, it no longer works in a world that loves plastic, fast food and Cell Phones. Their wealth drives the system and is intimately linked to the ignorance the ones in power perpetuate by seducing the poor and the way they a taught to live. The wealthy owners of great conglomerates hide their waste and miss management of the environment from the press but not from the poor souls who see the destruction happening in their fields, forests, water systems, air quality, etc. More and more of the population is squeezed into small urban areas, working long hours, with very little beauty around them, their glory is in buying more stuff and sending selfies to one another. The unavoidable effect from the greed driving these “unseen owners” is costing the rest of humanity our ability to live on the planet in a flourishing environment.

There is no way to stop the behavior but there is a good bit of waiting to see what our collective future will be. The time is now, to see clearly. There is hardly a place you can look and see beauty with no human footprint. When we notice original untouched beauty, not created or manipulated by humans our heart is filled with the thought, Ha! This is the way God created it!

Mathew 18:15-20

Whatever we bind on earth will be bound in heaven and whatever we loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” I wonder what it is we are doing on earth which will be reflected in heaven? There is an abundant amount of great beauty being created as well as a great amount of misery. I would suggest we reflect, think carefully and go gently through life. Don’t waste, or take more than we need and be kind.

Perhaps this small effort, to shift our consciousness will be enough to keep it all in balance.

Peace

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The Dialogue, Peace Between Us

PEACE BETWEEN US

“THE DIALOGUE” has been cleaned and dusted, ready to be packaged and shipped to Houston, Texas

We invited anyone to sign  their name on the back as global residents dedicated and committed to the idea of peace beginning everywhere. People signed from around the world; from New Zealand, Holland, Canada, India, Australia, England, Ireland, Argentina and more. Adding more names to our book of visitors. Lighting a candle for peace, or tossing a tiny signature of angers or prejudices from the past years right into the bonfire are small ways to commemorate our desire for new beginnings.. The Dialogue installation now lives in Houston at the Raindrop Institute for Interfaith studies, after a long ten year  journey in making it, marketing it and finally sending it into the world in peace.

  March 4th 2018

The Interfaith Dialogue Institute in Houston. The group is run by the Raindrop Turkish Center. If you do not get the message from the name this organization is founded and administrated by a large Turkish/Muslim community settled in the USA. They are a delightful group of “immigrants”, many of whom have fled from their own country. They have a new vision for a peace garden, it began construction and was halted by lack of funds. Their intention is to build programs for education around the installation to promote and encourage construction again and for the dream to be completed. We need these kinds of gardens in every city around the world.

Fatih Ozcan is the founder and coordinator, when I met him I was immediately taken by his smile and obvious comfort in who he is and what he believes, I think he is a warrior like myself, he does not shy from stepping into the arena of controversy, NOT for the purpose of knocking down but rather to build, to listen, to learn and to understand. He and I both believe humanity can have peace.  Now we begin one heart at a time.

Connections are interesting these days in case you have not noticed. In my case it was one client by the name of Kathlynn Curtis who crossed herself before a meal in blessing. The architect beside her noticed and inquired about her faith. She informed him she was looking for support about placing the art Installation called The Dialogue, made in Mexico but her desire was to move it to Houston. He himself is Muslim and said he knew  Fatih Ozcan, well schooled in religions and spiritual debate, a scholar of Islam studies and always willing to listen to new ideas. With that she contacted him and then me and now we are all looking forward to new beginnings, new events and new insights.

YOU TUBE  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ob1Ux-zW0ow

We hope to see you in Peace, Valentin and Mary Jane

OUR WEBSITE

PEACE  BE STILL

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