ancient myth, Lilith was a fiery and passionate figure,
the original Wild Woman who lived in the Tree of Life.
She was called Mistress of the Wild Beasts.
Temple did not know her identity as she painted, but
understood the figure was bursting into flames of passion.
Liliths message was: I got jive, I got joy,
I got the green growing thing going. Wake up and sing!...
Im alive, Im alive, Im alive!
more of Temple's work:
(click on the images to zoom in)
of the hut:
For eons, women gathered in the
womens hut as their bodies cycles met &
matched the cycles of the moon. In this painting, they
have gathered during the season of birthing & nursing.
The female bear shaman stands over the hut as protector
of the sacred fertile space the women share. A poem
accompanying the painting reads in part: O sisters,
let us remember the rhythms of our mother and our mothers
Let us remember how to hold the spaces
for each otherthe rhythms of giving and takingthe
rhythms of life.
fire of isis
The story of Isis is the quintessential
story of death, loss, and transformation. Temple had
never read the myth of Isis before she painted the picture,
yet all the symbolism is present. The painting was the
gateway for her awareness of the Feminine Divine.
This painting became a journey
to heal the separation between two parts of the artist:
the dark goddess, earthy, primitive, fecund and sensual,
and the virgin, pure, ethereal, and visionary aspects.
Exploration of this separation revealed a further separation,
one between the organ of inspiration (the heart) and
the organs of procreation (the womb and vagina). In
the painting, the Virgin and the Dark Goddess, the ethereal
and the sensual, reunite in an embrace and become a
unified whole. The last verse of a poem accompanying
this painting reads: In my body the Whore and the Virgin
are one/ In my heart the earth is rooted/ In my womb,
heaven is born.
In mythology, Malatte is described
as a milk goddess; her milk was believed to be the substance
of creation. She is often associated with a serpent.
discovered the goddess' identity many years after painting
sisters, let us remember the rhythms of our mother
and our mothers mother
Let us remember
how to hold the spaces for each otherthe rhythms
of giving and takingthe rhythms of life.
yourself in front of Temple Cassaras work and
you enter a world of dreams where all is inside out
and upside down and the artist is clearly on a voyage
paintings are full of death and rebirth, of journeys
to and through parallel universes. She journeys through
dark nights of the soul and back out into the light
in a dreamworld of vibrant color, imagery, and a tumultuous
outpouring of feminine energy.
conscious exploration of her nighttime dreams has been
integral to Temples life for the past decades.
In fact, it was through a remarkable precognitive dream
she met an art therapist who would later become her
great strength of her work is that she paints from a
very spontaneous invention of image and colora
kind of immediate connection to psyche that pours a
stream of consciousness of personal emotional images.
In another artist, this might be called courageous,
but there is no evidence of pre-concieved notion that
would require courage; it is the release of inhibitions,
a flagrant act of painting! It is the interior landscape,
a kind of active dreaming which is the hallmark and
strength of her work.
Temple Cassara began her life as an artist at a young
age, following in the footsteps of her mother. She received
her BA in art at UNC-A. By her thirties, however, she
felt that the artist part of her, so rich in her early
youth, was dying. By letting go of judgments of her
own creative work and following an intuitive process,
Temple found the tools to use her painting as a healing
wasnt until 1990, when dealing with a challenging
health issue, that the intuitive painting journey exploded
into new and unexpected dimensions, and a series of
powerful images of the feminine emerged. Images spoke
to her of parts of herself that had been lost and almost
forgotten, of anguish and anger that her womb felt but
she had denied, of an inner fire buried by her fathers
harshness, and of a deep grief felt by her womanhood,
but denied by her mind. In the cave of her illness,
barely able to crawl from her bed, she painted until
slowly she found her own path to healing. The images
that emerged from that time forward, fed her spirit,
nourished her and often came with deep spiritual teachings,
synchronistic evens, and subsequent life changes.
night has red feet
In the fertile garden, the Mistress
of the Night reveals her fertility through the rich
red stream at her feet and the red rose, an ancient
symbol of the feminine. Cat-like creatures curl around
the Mistress to insure that her instinctual nature
is intact. This painting is a blessing to all who
work with their dreams.
After a painting emerged, chance readings or comments
from friends identified for Temple the symbolism shed
unconsciously painted. Her images were goddesses, sometimes
ones of which shed never heard, each an archetype
for an area of her own growth as a woman and artist.
Since that time, Temple writes, I
have continued to paint intuitively, allowing images
to arise in their own way, in their own time, leaving
expectations and self-criticism behind. More and more,
I live my life like I paint. My life is more about trust
and less about planning, as I allow myself to be my
ugly as well as my beautiful parts, trusting that something
bigger than myself is in charge. My art has grown rich
and is an intrinsic expression of my deep, soulful self.
It continues to enrich and free my life, my womanhood,
and my humanity.
once again Temple is dancing with death and rebirth.
She was diagnosed with lymphoma in December 2002, and
is without health insurance like many other women, artists,
and others whose employers limit their hours in order
to avoid providing benefits. Her friends and family
encourage you to support Temple by supporting her art.
Prints of six of her paintings are being offered for
sale by her son. These can be previewed now at centerpeace.net/temple
and ordered online soon. Please share this information
with friends as a great opportunity for women to support