A Project in Moss Side Alexandra Park
During Alexandra Arts’ Pankhurst in the Park Residency in Manchester, UK, 2014
Public Ritual performance took place Friday November 28th in Alexandra Park Pavilion
Go! Push Pops, a NYC based radical, queer, transnational feminist collective sent out a call to Manchester women interested in celebrating together the power of the Goddess/Creatrixx aligned with the legacy of iconic feminist suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst. Participants came together as an intentional community (collective, circle, coven) in Alexandra Park, historic stomping ground of the Suffragettes, for a period of two weeks leading up to the final live ritual performance. We believe the female as Creatrixxx is primary. The Goddess is our informing power, a psychic reality giving shape to the here and now.
Women have been circling up since the beginning of time. The circle is the declaration of sacred ground and a container of energy raised. Drawing together in a circle formation, we call on the Goddess as a channel of power. Through incantation, movement, mantra and the transformative power of free play, we honor the fierce fighter spirit of the Pankhurst lineage that has been culturally erased from the territory in which she was born and raised. Sometimes called “raising a cone of power” or “drawing down the moon,” in the center of our circle lies the crystallization of our combined energies. It is through taking on the archetypal power of the Goddess that we root into the earth, expanding our auras until they loom large as the Creatrixxx.
Magical rituals are psychodramas, and things did get wild. Collectively practiced movement mantras, vocalizations and gestures of power to live tribal drumming activated a glittering bricolage of transcultural spiritual traditions syncopated with freestyle interludes. In the nebulous space of free-form movement ignites the pyrotechnics of pure energy. Go! Push Pops typically draw upon the energies of the intercultural Maiden Goddesses of beauty, creativity, and desire. Arretos Koura, an Ancient Greek archetypal of the ineffable Bride, the Nameless Maiden, is one who spins a cosmic dance from which all things come into existence. Arretos Koura is the original artist, the “transcendent unique” the creatrixxx of all uniqueness.
As a feminist collective, Go! Push Pops work deals in embodied feminism, activating women’s inherent creative energy, sacred intuition and connection to nature as organic power.
Go! Push Pops guiding principle of “embodied feminism” is a departure from what we saw as an early movement of feminist art that was very mired in psychoanalytic theory “The Male Gaze” and a shrewd politics that was necessary at the time, but very much wrapped up in art world speak, white middle class female anger, lofty intellectualism and marketplace politics. For us, embodied feminism is about showing and telling female power – women as strong leaders, powerful lovers; patronesses of community, creativity, nature, magic and the sacred. Embodied feminism is no longer being alienated from our innate power. Embodied feminism is understanding and honoring the female principle – call it the Goddess, Shakti, Cosmic Creativity, Mother Earth. This is powerful energy – a universal truth that is forever unfolding.
We are border crossers, determined to transgress the false boundaries of race, gender, class, nation…to smash the matrix of oppression to which we all our culturally bound. Often we draw from popular culture as a way of highlighting the hieroglyphics of goddess worship that permeate today’s visual culture. In many ways, the divine feminine has been beaten out of us, suppressed for so many thousands of years. Too often all things socially recognized as “sacred” are falsely entangled with male abuse of power. A great deal of our work is using the transformative power of play to trace our way back to the ancient, primal power of women. We are using our bodies to interface with the archetypal realm of Goddesses. We are one feminist collective among many in this Aquarian Age of partnership, trust and love determined to reclaim female divinity in a way that speaks in the here and now.
We experienced such a warm welcome from the communities surrounding Alexandra Park and WOManchester. Coinciding with our artist-residency In the park we facilitated a 5-week Holistic Art for Female Empowerment workshop series for the moms and students of St. Mary’s Primary School. Designed as a series of yoga-based creative movement workshops incorporating therapeutic art exercises and consciousness-raising style open sharing, the series culminated in a “living shrine” or “altar” crystallizing the energy of the group within the dynamic of female empowerment. Primary School students were guided to make their own personalized, rainbow warrior talisman, imbued with a sacred intention. The final altar, installed site-specifically in the school, was a visual representation of our collective work around female empowerment and a place for all of the participating moms and their families to place special objects so that they may be charged by the energy of the group and hold space for our powerful intentions. By engaging moms of St. Mary’s primary school and the general community in a sacred ritual honoring the divine feminine inherent to nature and given in all women, we honor our own power and cosign the legacy of all unsung female heroines cross-culturally, charging the female divine with the energy of the group. Through this unique series of workshops were able to grow and transform in beautiful and unexpected ways as we made magic with women, herstory, art, and earth. Ultimately, we left Manchester with a greater understanding of all women’s power and co-signed a “living monument” that blessed the school with beauty and uplifting color in the months and weeks to come.
Our Sacred Arts workshops in the park and at the school allowed us to connect in a deep way to a whole league of powerful women based in Womanchester fighting at the frontlines of the gender war, including our sister Alexandra Arts founder and director Lotte Karlsen. Having learned a bit about the legacy of the suffragettes, particularly the wacky, violent and colorful tactics that enabled them to mobilize thousands of people within the grounds of the park for women’s rights, we feel very much in line with their vision and were fortified by the historically fertile territory upon which we hosted our final performance ritual. In the end, we trusted our instincts and worked with percussion, divine incantation, song and circle work to hold and charge the energy of the Holy Creatrixxx. As an eclectic army of creative change-agents, warriors, mystics and new age divas, we ushered in a new gender-egalitarian, spiritual paradigm here on earth.