March 5, 2021


March 5, 2021
Edward Rubin, d’ART INTERNATIONAL, Fall 2009


June 8, 2019

About the Hieros Gamos

About the Black Madonna

Black Madonna: The Great Work

Exhibition Catalog Essay


Lisa Paul Streitfeld

The “fallen woman” is a common occurrence in western religious tradition, yet the descending female figure has barely been examined throughout the history of art.  The uproar Frida Kahlo caused in the 20th century with her erotically charged The Suicide of Dorothy Hale revealed the complex dynamism surrounding this archetype that keeps it out of mainstream dialectic —whether in art or our corporate controlled celebrity obsessed culture.

Black Madonna seeks to remedy this imbalance by holding the tension of the long repressed polarity of Venus – as personified in the Sumerian goddess Inanna, the self-declared Queen of Heaven and Earth.  The pentagram has long been associated with the love planet due to its perfectly symmetrical orbit, and this exhibition remakes the symbol from the Christian projection of the devil (lust) to the more ancient figure of Lucifer, the light bearer.  This holistic consciousness illuminates the hundred works in this exhibition expressing what is newly emerging in art: the authentic face of the feminine denied by western religion yet embodied in matter through the Great Work of alchemists.

In the legend of the Black Madonna, the Holy Grail (Sangraal) is Mary Magdalene, who carried the     bloodline of Jesus to southern France through her womb.  The original Grail story of Perceval was written in the Court of Champagne, a cousin and sponsor of Hugues de Payens, co-founder and original Grand Master of the Knights Templars who was related to St. Bernard de Clairvaux, who translated the “sacred geometry of King Solomon’s masons and wrote the Oath of the Knights Templar which venerated Mary Magdalene. (1) While this religious/military order was protecting the pilgrims to the Holy Land and retrieving the treasures hidden within the temple mount, the underground mystery stream bubbled to the surface through the sacred practice of the Cathars in the Languedoc, where Mary Magdalene is traditionally honored as la Dompna del Aquae (“Mistress of the Waters”). (2) Within the confines of secretly held ceremonies, the songs of the troubadours transmitted the collective desire to unite with the Lost Bride through daily acts of chivalry.

If it had been recognized, a messianic lineage carried by the Black Madonna would have subverted the Church doctrine of a celibate Jesus.  The Grail mythology was associated with the Merovingian dynasty.  Yet had it prevailed, this holy bloodline would have become a direct threat to the Vatican’s imposed tradition in which the subjugation of women was enshrined. Yet, the knowledge of sacred geometry and symbols believed to have been extracted by the Templars from the Ark of the Covenant was imbedded in the very foundation of the gothic cathedrals by guilds of masons such as the “Children of Solomon.” (3)

This is how the tradition of “holy intercourse” took root in the cathedral of Chartres, built on the sacred site where the Druids worshipped the Mother Goddess. In the crypt of this structure is the icon of the Black Virgin about to give birth. This was a symbol of renewal exposed by the Merovingian bloodline that sought to restore the Lost Bride to Christianity. (4)  Yet, hopes were dashed when the Cathars were exterminated in 1209.    The bloodline fled to protection in Scotland, where the Grail secrets remain guarded in the Rosslyn Chapel awaiting the unveiling for the Age of Aquarius. (5)

Mark Wiener’s singular work, Still Life in Red (2009), encapsulates a quarter century of collective upwelling of the divine feminine in the face of continued subjugation.  The red X was the secret esoteric symbol of the heretical church.  (6)  Today, it represents the erotic repression — academia, on one hand, and the corporate media, on the other.   As an early Christian symbol, the X stood for the integration of chalice and blade through the merging of the upper (masculine) and lower (feminine) triangles making up the Seal of Solomon.  Black Madonna seeks to transform the X symbol from its current association with repression to the pleasure of “holy intercourse” which entered the gospels as the Song of Songs, which were originally derived from the rites of the Sacred Marriage (hieros gamos) in ancient Sumer.  (7)

The artist began The Black Madonna Series with a series of nude photographs in 1982, just as the ancient mystery tradition bubbled to the surface in the renaissance known as the New Age movement. Paradoxically, the rise of feminists in the academy choked the authentic pursuit of pleasure expressed in early feminist art.  The void was filled by the manufactured idols of the celebrity entertainment culture.  It was as if American institutions conspired to repress the emerging underground stream – and the authentic erotic dynamism between masculine and feminine in its wake!

….for the remainder of the essay go here.

BLACK MADONNA curated by Lisa Paul Streitfeld and H.P. Garcia

April 17, 2014

Black Madonna Multimedia Exhibition


January 1, 2010

580 Eighth Avenue
New York, NY

Black Madonna has as its signature image Mark Wiener’s 1982 Still Life in Red, a photograph of the nude pop star Madonna painted with a red X. There is a lot of nudity in this wonderful exhibit, a raw intensity not typically on view in Chelsea, which is why the near Times Square location of HP Garcia Gallery is particularly appropriate. The nudity isn’t only in the flesh once indigenous to this neighborhood, but the stripped down focus of the curators, Lisa Paul Streitfeld and H.P. Garcia.

This multimedia exhibition of 40 artists brings in a bold new discussion of feminism (neo or post or whatever) into the 21st century – this time with men. The tight focus weaves together the unknown with the famous – Carolee Schneemann, Kate Millet, Mike Bidlo, Rick Prol, Martha Wilson and Richard Move — and newly risen stars such as Richard Humann and Heide Hatry, who both had outstanding solo shows at Elga Wimmer this year. All are dedicated to inner explorations of the feminine — a rare preoccupation both in the postmodernism era and the hyperactive art market that followed.

If this exhibition is saying it is time for a change, then it is also showing the way to a new gender dialogue. These strong images of the female honor the awakened serpent that Schneemann made so famous in feminist art through her Eye Body, a focal point of the show, along with the large wall mural of a pentagram bordered by Wiener’s Madonna images. A major delight is the “Origin of the World” pairing of Sophie Matisse – the great granddaughter of the modernist pioneer – with provocateur Mike Bidlo, who painted his way through modernism to the de Kooning erasures before arriving at this shared vacant space in the female womb. These two works (was it a planned collaboration or just happy accident?) launch a whole new discussion about the masculine-feminine energy exchange. Can it be conscious? This exhibition says yes, and therefore delivers a very positive view of the future of sex.

The art world has been in the doldrums since the crash of the market. We needed an exhibition like this to give us a necessary jolt. Black Madonna not only leads us to the abyss, but gives us something to talk about as we fall in. As we climb out, we are rewarded with a positive view of the future – a long-awaited gender equality.

Edward Rubin, NY Arts Magazine

Our Lady of Dublin

November 16, 2009

November 2, 2009

I began my exploration of Dublin with an impromptu meeting with a Druid at the train station.  He assured me that there is no obvious “pagan movement’ in Ireland, as those who emerge with their gifts are quickly “corrupted!”  Same problem the world over.  Secrecy has its purpose.

druid Liam O’Birn

Half Scot and half Irish, he was soooo intense, utterly magikal and a gentleman to boot!  A descendent of the Aquarian Robert Burns, pioneer of the Romantic movement and Scotland’s national poet, he walked me to the Writer’s Museum, right around the corner from my hotel, and posed for my camera in an apt spot, considering his poetic heritage, before the doors of the Hugh Lane Gallery, advertising the opening of a new Francis Bacon exhibit!

A terrible beauty he was…

And my final encounter in Dublin, was another terrible beauty, the Black Madonna known as Our Lady of Dublin

Ladyfull The Shrine of Our Lady of Dublin      Whitefriar Street Church

The statue of Our Lady of Dublin with the Christ child is of sixteenth century origin and, after the sacking of the Abbey in 1539, was hidden and preserved. It was found by Fr John Spratt in 1824 and brought to Whitefriar Street Church. The history of its survival is indicative of a persevering faith in the people and the statue is dear to Dubliners and others alike. The feastday of Our Lady of Dublin is celebrated on September 8 which is also the date of the Birthday of Our Lady. For full text, click here.

LadyCU Our Lady of Dublin

And this full circle brings me to another closed circle, this blog cycle which began under Venus conjunct the New Moon in Taurus, and ends with Venus conjunct the New Moon in Scorpio.

At the New Moon, I deliver a new birth, my book Kundalini’s Daughter accompanied by a new blog with the same name.  You can tune in at http//

Thank you to all my readers for engaging in this rite of uniting Heaven and Earth.  Our gallery exhibition has reverberated through cyberspace during the six months of this experiment and our goal has been nothing less than bringing real change to the culture.  In time we shall see what impact, if any, we have had.

Blessed be!

Hill of the Witch

November 16, 2009

November 1, 2009.

We departed from the Newgrange hotel after breakfast and passed through innumerable shades of green…


…to arrive at the place where the Spring Equinox was celebrated!







Loughcrew, the Hill of the Witch. Silabh Na Cailli.  Caelli would seem to be derived from Kali, the Hindu name for the Dark Goddess!

The story is this: She jumped three hills to get to the fourth, then fell and was buried on Patricktown Hll.  Sounds like the story of the feminine being sacrificed to the patriarchy!

We walked up one of the four hills of Longhcrew, home to 40 tombs.

I came upon the mushrooms which could have well provided the hallucinagins for the ritual making.


Magic mushroon? I didn't find out.

Our intrepid guide had the key, so we could enter this magical place, as if we arrived for the first time, in illo tempore…


Opening the gate


rock carvings inside the mound

The sacred geometry inside was a cross and this opening was east to capture the light of the Spring Equinox as it passed through the entrance which was illuminated by quartz crystal and provided  the hexagonal shaped light representing the moment of awakening in Spring!


corner depicting the precise sacred geometry of the mound interior


November 15, 2009

October 31, 2009.

Our intrepid guide, Ciarian Bennett, president of the Irish chapter of AICA, led us inside (a rare treat) the sacred sites of Ireland commemorating the New Year (Winter Solstice) and Rebirth (Spring Equinox)


Newgrange model, Visitor's Center



Standing Stone before Newgrange entrance, most likely used for astronomical marking


Entrance to Newgrange

These stones were most likely placed for astronomical markings.

On the moment of the Winter Solstice, the sunlight passes through the entrance to reach the end of the passage.


Rear Stone marking where the Sun passes to illuminate the interior on the Winter Solstice, Newgrange

The interior is a magnificent feat of construction.  We gained access but were not permitted to take photo-graphs.

It was in the shape of a cross with a ceiling as an inverted ziggaret.  I counted seven levels with sacred geometry of the hexagon, pentagram and square.  This gave me a real jolt, entirely unexpected.  Turning off the interior lights, we were in complete darkness.  The guide demonstrated how the sunlight would enter during the Solstice to hit the rear of the interior space where there was a wall relief of three spirals.

Taking in the sacred geometry, I was convinced that this “tomb” was used for ritual ceremony, the death and rebirth of the god experienced precisely at the Return of the Light during the Winter Solstice.  In this way, the human psyche could feel at one with the gods, by experiencing the cosmological initiation of  of death and rebirth at the New Year!  This moment of suspension between the two conditions of opposites — death and birth — was the experience of the Sacred Marriage.  What the ancients did through rituals, we contemporary secular humans are attempting to perform through sex!


November 14, 2009

October 31, 2009.  All Hallows Eve in Meath, Ireland.


"Crossroad" entrance to Tara

We entered Tara, the site worshipping the Death Goddess, and encountered a living goddess…


Belinda Quirke, director of the Solstice Centre in Navan

And there was Tara, whose very name evokes the Dark Goddess!


Tara, the elevated womb


Tara's entrance

And her Consort


Her Consort...

And here we had the Sacred Marriage Rite on the very day of the “lifting of the veils” between the worlds of the material and the spirit!


Channeling the Spirits on top of Tara

And this was my personal bid to enter the universal rite of the Sacred Marriage.  The spirits gathered around as I renewed the ancient ritual of God and Goddess celebrated on All Hallows Eve as the lifting of the veil between worlds…the crossover point between the Fall Equinox when Persephone makes her descent and Winter Solstice when she begins her return…


Tara grave site

Until the Return at the Winter Solstice…


Solstice Centre in Navan

What a divine experience, to connect with All Hallows Eve at its source!

During the evening festivities, the Goddess was in full bloom!


All Hallows Eve at New Grange Hotel


Complete with a touch of irony…DSCN5208DSCN5219DSCN5204




Susana, the Argentine critic from France




November 12, 2009

October 24, 2009


Rosslyn Chapel, Scotland

On this day, I took the bus to the village of Roslin and combed Rosslyn Chapel inside and out, seeking the “sacred in the material” that would connect this magnificent creation of William St. Clair to H.P.’s Knights Templar legacy.

On the exterior wall is a carving of an initiation, linking the Masonic builders of the chapel builder (foreground) with the Knights Templar (in characteristic attire with the cross on the front).

Carving of a Templar initiating a Mason on the external wall of Rosslyn Chapel

Through my research into HP’s geneology, I already discovered the connection between the  two families.  The first William St. Clair (Sinclair) was a friend of Hughes de Payans, who not only accompanied him on a Crusade but married his daughter!

H.P.’s earlier ancestor was a priest in the Temple of Solomon. This explains the impetus for  Hughes de Payans to found the Knights Templar and launch the Crusades to retrieve the Holy Lands.  Moreover, the order was unique in that members were both warriors (body) and monks (spirit), and therefore were living icons of the Sacred Marriage of Heaven and Earth at a time that the official Church hierarchy denied sacred in matter, along with the divine feminine.

The ancient rites of the Sacred Marriage were embedded into the Holy of the Holies of Solomon’s Temple, where the Templars resided during the Crusades.  In their book The Second Messiah (Barnes and Noble Books 2000) Christopher Knight and Richard Lomas theorize that the Rosslyn Chapel was never meant to be the apse of a cathedral but actually a replica of Solomon’s Temple, complete with the still standing but crumbing front exterior wall.


Rosslyn Chapel exterior front wall

The chapel’s tormented history includes: Cromwell using the chapel as a stable for his horses (!); destruction of original statues by English invaders; and misguided attempt at preservation by painting concrete over the original sandstone interior.  Despite these assaults on its beauty, I still managed to locate key symbols within the architecture which were resurrected for the historic Black Madonna exhibition at HP Garcia gallery in New York City.

Primarily, there is the prominent X, which I wrote about in the catalog essay ( as the early Christian symbol of the Sacred Marriage, the unity of Chalice/feminine (downward pointing triangle) and blade (upward pointing triangle):


X in the window of Rosslyn Chapel

Mark Wiener and I had no knowledge of this symbol when we created the signature image Still Life in Red for the exhibition.


Mark Wiener, "Still Life in Red" mixed media, 2009

Then, there was the Templar Cross, which was already established in the design of HP Garcia Gallery.


Templar Cross above the front entrance of Rosslyn Chapel

But what was unexpected was the appearance of the Yod embedded within the sacred geometry of the original structure.  The Yod, which is the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet, is known as the Finger of God, which bestows bounty from heaven to those who are able to complete the alchemical transfusion of spirit into matter!!


Yod embedded in the center of the chapel window

The Yod represents the divine hand of destiny, marking a convergence in which all possibilities can be realized as a multidimensional unfolding of spirit into matter.

I have been working consciously with the astrological Yod for the dozen years of my avant-garde experiment of applying the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle to the matter of an emerging 21st century archetype.  This was the topic of the paper I delivered for the 2009 AICA International Congress (the paper will be posted at


Eros Consciousness diagram from Lisa Paul Streitfeldl's "Applying the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle to 21st Century Art"

This holistic integration of Sacred and Matter (X) and Manifestation Process (Yod) is contained in the chapel’s Keystone (below).


Rosslyn Chapel Keystone

An interesting bit of contemporary lore I picked up during the tour:  the makers of The Da Vinci Code film were so intent on having the Seal of Solomon symbol of the Sacred Marriage in their film that they stuck one on the wall above the entrance to the crypt where they filmed the final scene of the movie.  It left a mark!

In their quest to uncover this symbolic link between Rosslyn Chapel and the past, Knight and Lomas claim that the Seal of Solomon is embedded in the  construction by way of the column placement, but that leaves position for the downward pointing triangle in the center of the floor.  I asked the guides if there could be something on the floor marking the spot and they told me that the rugs were just picked up: no mark of any kind was found. Debunkers of this theory point out that a hexagon could be marked within any square space!

Having a Seal of Solomon inside the Chapel would have been far too obvious of a signal to its true orientation and would have been long ago destroyed by invaders. The makers were far too brilliant for that.  Instead, they combined the X and the Y (Yod) to create a more esoteric symbol of the Sacred Marriage, readily available for a pioneering art critic to discover.  Within the proper timing, clearly!

And my personal Yods which drove my process of discovery was triggered in two places by transits of the Sun, Mercury and Saturn on the day of my visit.


Two Yods (natal and progressed chart) triggered by Saturn, Mercury and the Sun