Tuesday, September 23, 2008


by Laura Cerwinske

Stop the Executions, painting by Judith Hoch

After 30,000 years of peaceful cultivation of the Earth and its peoples by the Females of Creation, the patriarchs, thirsty for power, emerged from the Steppes to migrate across the globe. In their vengeful path, they destroy whole populations of Artists and Healers. They accomplish this with relatively little effort, scaring the shit out of humanity with threats of anguished eternities in hell. They relegate the Artists and Healers to menial lives -- lives of servitude and degradation. They convince them they are weak, incapable, and unequipped to survive without them, the patriarchy.

Although this continues for nearly eight thousand years, the light of Creativity, however slightly palpable, never falters. The Artists and Healers, however diminished, perpetually transform themselves and, in the process, sustain the memory of pre-patriarchal Peace.

Eventually, patriarchy grows weak in the knees, as of course it must, for "domination", a shared hallucination, must ultimately capitulate under the weight of its de-natured bulk. The patriarchy falls, cracks, crashes, and many -- those who refuse to release the illusion -- are crushed under its illusionary weight, impaled by its hideous scales. The scales of justice and hierarchy -- the belief in either/or; the scales of measurement, quantification, and linearity. These glinting shards fracture the patriarchy into a smoldering heap.

The Artists and Healers scoop these pieces into theirs hands and collect them in a brass bowl. They will reassemble them, using them as tesserae for a new constellation. They’ve been weaving this constellation for a mighty long time – countless millennia in fact. Only the threads have been as invisible/ invincible as the Artists and Healers themselves. Now, braided, tangled, knotted together, this Creation forms a net that protects the aspirations of all who join in the reweaving of the Universe as Nature intended.

Stop the Executions was painted by Judith Hoch who is shown, at left, with Laura Cerwinske, who modeled for the painting, at the opening exhibition of the same name at the Cape Cod Community College Art Gallery in 1991. The work is part of Hoch’s series depicting the longest holocaust in human history, one of the millennia of holocausts of women – the witch hunts and executions that took place in Europe from medieval through early modern times. These holocausts spanned three centuries and did not end until the final part of the eighteen-century. They did not end because no one no longer believed women were witches, but because the courts finally declared that there was no judicial evidence that could prove or disprove the fact of witchcraft -- something like proving or disproving the Virgin Birth. Prosecutions against women then changed to charges brought against them for abortion and prostitution. Just as in witchcraft accusations, women were accused of the crime of being women and prosecuted for their sexuality, just as they (we) are today via refusals of equality in professional opportunities and compensation and in rights for control over our own bodies.

To see Judith Hoch's entire series, Accursed Charms, go to www.judithhoch.com.